NYC Little Falls NY - 1904 Post Card

rhensley_anderson Feb 14, 2019 at 11:31 AM

  1. rhensley_anderson

    rhensley_anderson TrainBoard Supporter

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    New York Central Little Falls NY - 1904
    This card is one of the oldest, postmarked 1904. It shows a 4 track main going through Little Falls, NY and appears to be a pretty busy place. The freight on the right side has a couple of brakemen on the car roofs and a crewmember on the loco cab roof.

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  2. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    Wasn't Little Falls the location where an NYC passenger train jumped the tracks in the steam era? I'm not sure, but the location sounds familiar. Overspeed was the cause? I can't recall. Neat postcard!
     
  3. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    I'm sure Jim (Fitz) will jump here with all the information.
     
  4. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    http://www.gendisasters.com/new-york/22800/little-falls-ny-train-wreck-apr-1940

    LITTLE FALLS, N. Y., Saturday, April 20 — At least twenty persons were killed, another was believed to be dead and at least seventy persons were injured, some seriously, when the Lake Shore Limited, the New York Central Railroad New York to Chicago express, jumped the track one-half mile east of here at 11:40 o'clock last night.

    The total of dead was not known, but Sheriff Charles Malsan of Herkimer County reported to the State police that he believed that when all the bodies were removed from the wreckage the deaths would total thirty-three. Physicians and other rescue workers were obliged to neglect the dead in order to treat the scores of injured who required immediate attention.

    There were thirteen unidentified dead at five funeral parlors in Little
    Falls. At the Upright Funeral Home there were two men about 50 or 60-years old. In the Newitt Funeral Home there were three men and one woman and at the W. H. Shephardson Chapel there were three men, including a Negro porter. The Francis Cotter Undertaking Establishment had three bodies while another was at the Markwart Chapel here.

    Later, as the rescue workers were able to remove much of the debris, Lieutenant John Ronan of the New York State Police said that twenty five bodies had been removed from the wreckage.

    Leaves Track on Curve
    The derailment occurred as the train, fifteen minutes late out of Albany and twelve minutes overdue at Utica, rounded the west end of the curve by the Mohawk River and came under the underpass of the old route of the State east-west highway to Buffalo.

    As the locomotive left the track, it pulled after it a baggage car, a day coach and eleven of the thirteen sleeping cars which, with a final day coach, composed the train. The locomotive plowed on and crashed into a cliff lining the side of the cut. The baggage car and the day coach crashed on top of the locomotive, the debris of the three units filling the cut. Several of the cars behind telescoped the cars ahead.

    In the crash against the cliff the boiler of the locomotive exploded and the blast was heard for hundreds of yards around. Near-by residents phoned to the police and ambulances and doctors and nurses were mobilized from Little Falls, from Herkimer, which is six miles away; from Utica, thirty miles distant, and from Ilion and other surrounding towns. State and local police were summoned from a wide surrounding area.

    April 20, 1940 edition of "The New York Times"
     
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  5. rhensley_anderson

    rhensley_anderson TrainBoard Supporter

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    A photo from the 1940 wreck.

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  6. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    Such tragedy. :cry:
     
  7. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    I pressed [Like] only because of the photo's historical context, but what a terrible scene. :(

    I looked at a map and the railroad bridge seen in the upper left was an NYC branch, gone today.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2019 at 2:45 PM
  8. RailMix

    RailMix TrainBoard Member

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    The locomotive is so mangled that it's difficult to determine its wheel arrangement. I'm assuming that it probably would have been a Hudson, but very little of the running gear is visible. I would assume that the engine crew were among the fatalities. It was a tragically high price for trying to make up 15 minutes.
     
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  9. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    Definitely a J-Class Hudson with the straight parallel boiler. The K-Class Pacifics had a slightly tapered boiler and shorter compared to the cab. Also the smoke box door is that of a Hudson. I can't explain the difference in smoke doors between the Hudson and Pacific. But growing up seeing both with my father's daily commute into The City, my gut says Hudson.
     
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  10. Doug Gosha

    Doug Gosha TrainBoard Member

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    I read some things online and yes, it was a Hudson. There was a railroad official, I believe the director of engines (wrong term on my part), on the locomotive along with the engineer and fireman and he survived. He testified that he told the engineer they were going too fast (the limit was 45 MPH and they were going 59 MPH) and the engineer, instead of braking the whole train, shut the throttle which caused a violent deceleration. This resulted in the water in the tender also violently moving against the front of the tender due to inertia. Other cars rammed into the tender and the rest of the train jackknifed.

    The engineer initially survived the crash but died before they could get him help.

    Oh yeah, one more thing. The curve was the sharpest on the whole NYC system and, later in the decade (delayed because of WWII), they filled in part of the slough and realigned the route which almost eliminated the curve, altogether. Plans had been in consideration quite a while before the wreck but were cost prohibitive. There is a photo of the construction online.

    Doug
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2019 at 11:29 PM
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