FDR Funeral Train on the Hudson Division

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Morning Zephyr
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FDR Funeral Train on the Hudson Division

Post by Morning Zephyr »

When President Roosevelt died in Georgia and his remains were brought to Hyde Park, where and how did the funeral train get on the Hudson line? If it came up from Washington DC on the Pennsylvania Railroad and went through Manhattan, obviously it did not go via Grand Central. How did was it routed?

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Re: FDR Funeral Train on the Hudson Division

Post by DutchRailnut »

how bout hellgate to New Rochelle, add NYC engine run via Woodlawn MO and up Hudson ?
But this question should really be handled in New York Central forum , MN did not exist till 1983.
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TCurtin
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Re: FDR Funeral Train on the Hudson Division

Post by TCurtin »

A very interesting book FDR's Funeral Train by Robert Klara, describes this move, albeit with some errors. The book says the trains left Penn Station on the New Haven to New Rochelle then turned west to NY on the line into GCT; then went around the wye at MO where the Hudsons were put on. (I use the plural intentionally because there were two sections).

However, that description is wrong: 1. There wasn't a wye at New Haven's New Rochelle Jct. that could be used to route a train from the Hell Gate Bridge route to the west. What was actually done was a NH electric was put on the west end of each section which pulled the trains in reverse down to MO.;
2. When each section arrived at MO it was pulled clear of the home signals at the west end of MO where the Hudson was put on the north (NYCRR west) end.

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Re: FDR Funeral Train on the Hudson Division

Post by Statkowski »

For FDR's trains between Washington, D.C. (on the PRR) and Hyde Park, N.Y. (on the NYC) there were two ways of accomplishing this. The first has already been mentioned in the preceding post (PRR to Penn. Sta., NH to New Rochelle, N.Y.'s Old Yard, trailing NH engine pulling train in reverse to Mott Haven, then NYC up the Hudson Division to Hyde Park, N.Y. with a deadheaded steam engine from Harmon).

The second version is similar in routing, but the train only had to stop in Penn. Sta., N.Y. for an engine change (PRR to NH) and at New Rochelle, N.Y. for another engine change (this time NH to NYC). NYC would deadhead a steam engine from Harmon to Mott Haven (past the interlocking), then run in reverse (with a New Haven pilot) from Mott Haven to New Rochelle. When the New Haven pulled in from Penn. Sta., the now properly facing NYC engine would couple on and proceed down the Harlem Division to MO, go through the wye, stopping to drop off the New Haven pilot along the way once off New Haven tracks, and continue straight up the Hudson Division to Hyde Park. Since we were talking heavyweight Pullman cars with rotating overstuffed seats or section/compartment seats facing every which way, facing forward or backward became essentially immaterial.

Which method was the preferred method? Good question.
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bellstbarn
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Re: FDR Funeral Train on the Hudson Division

Post by bellstbarn »

Dad and I stood alongside West 225th Street, Marble Hill, overlooking the tracks, to view the train. At some time, I was told that the route was through the tunnel under St. Mary's Park, which required no reverse move, just a swap to a third-rail locomotive. Off the Hell Gate Bridge, into Port Morris, swap motors, out to the tunnel, down the Harlem Division, use the track beneath the windows of MO and north on the Hudson Division. I may have heard that explanation on a later fan trip that went under St. Mary's Park. The electric locomotive would have been replaced at Harmon with steam. (Of course, I can be wrong. Somebody might have the train order.)

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Re: FDR Funeral Train on the Hudson Division

Post by Statkowski »

Well, coming off of the New York Connecting Railroad the train would first pass by S.S. 3, Bungay tower and over the Port Morris Branch, continuing on to S.S. 4, Oak Point tower at the other end of Oak Point yard. It would then have to be hauled in reverse through the yard to the New York Central's interchange track located behind S.S. 3. Once the consist exited the running tracks into Oak Point Yard it became the Yardmaster's headache, no longer a concern of the West End Dispatcher.

There was no way of avoiding a reverse move.
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Re: FDR Funeral Train on the Hudson Division

Post by Backshophoss »

Don't think FDR's pvt car would traverse yard trackage due to the car's weight(Armor plating),NH motor to Shell west limits,
2nd NH Motor to MO's Eastern limits,NYC Steam/diesel power takes over at MO.
Also way too many sharp crossovers from the Port Morris branch to crawl thru with 6 wheel passenger trucks. :wink:
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Re: FDR Funeral Train on the Hudson Division

Post by Statkowski »

Don't think FDR's pvt car would traverse yard trackage due to the car's weight(Armor plating)
The weight was immaterial. The New Haven kept a 230-ton steam-powered wrecking crane stationed at Oak Point Yard, and it occasionally entered and departed the yard through the east end, which meant running the whole length of the yard.
Also way too many sharp crossovers from the Port Morris branch to crawl thru with 6 wheel passenger trucks.
Again, a non-issue. The Port Morris Branch was listed as an Emergency Detour Route for New Haven traffic into and out of Grand Central Terminal.
The only restriction (and the New Haven carried plenty of six-wheel Pullmans and dining cars) was that on certain curves two trains could not pass one another at the same time due to overhang.

I've yet to see a track chart for the Port Morris Branch showing the degrees of curvature for its assorted curves, but they certainly weren't that sharp, maybe 14-degrees at the most. In contrast, the curve at Danbury Union Station was a 17-degree curve, and that saw its fair share of six-wheel-trucked cars over the years.
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Re: FDR Funeral Train on the Hudson Division

Post by BR&P »

Statkowski wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 9:36 am

The weight was immaterial. The New Haven kept a 230-ton steam-powered wrecking crane stationed at Oak Point Yard, and it occasionally entered and departed the yard through the east end, which meant running the whole length of the yard.
Presume the 230-ton was the rated maximum lift capacity of the crane, not its actual weight?

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Re: FDR Funeral Train on the Hudson Division

Post by Statkowski »

Cranes D-100 to D 102 weighed more than an I-5 4-6-4 Shoreliner. In working order with coal and water they weighed 379,000 lbs. vs 365,300 lbs for an I-5 in working order without a tender. The weight on each I-5 driver was 64,300 lbs.only slightly more than the 63,400 lbs on each axle of the front crane truck. Yes, there were restrictions on where the big cranes could go.

The three big cranes weighed 189.5 tons each. The Ferdinand Magellan, on the other hand, only weighed 142.5 tons, considerably more than a normal heavyweight Pullman, but nothing overly outrageous.
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TCurtin
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Re: FDR Funeral Train on the Hudson Division

Post by TCurtin »

Gentlemen: I have my doubts about a couple of things we're theorizing about here:

1.RE having an NYC Hudson meet the presidential train at New Rochelle, I have my doubts that a Hudson could run under the low wire in the Mount Vernon cut.

2.I think the NYC would be reluctant to run a train of a Hudson and all those HW Pullmans around the sharp wye at MO.

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Re: FDR Funeral Train on the Hudson Division

Post by bellstbarn »

Dad's photo taken from Marble Hill has gone missing, but it wasn't a sharp photo anyhow. I must claim that no steam engine pulled the funeral train alongside the Harlem River Ship Canal. My memory is of the photo in an album, though I was with him when he took it. In that era, before the Electric Division got the Cleveland locomotives, large electric locomotives handled long-distance and Poughkeepsie trains past Marble Hill. These locomotives had miniature pantographs to help with dead spots at Grand Central switches. Looking over photos on Don's Depot https://donsdepot.donrossgroup.net/dr085.htm, I suspect some of the large electrics (Class T?) came with boilers for steam heating, while others (Class R?) were freight haulers.

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Re: FDR Funeral Train on the Hudson Division

Post by Statkowski »

1.RE having an NYC Hudson meet the presidential train at New Rochelle, I have my doubts that a Hudson could run under the low wire in the Mount Vernon cut.
A New York Central Hudson was no taller than the Pullman cars it normally pulled, the same type cars that routinely ran through the cut. Normal electrified zone safety rules applied - no using a coal rake on a tall pile of coal while under the wire. The New Haven had the same problem with freshly-loaded tenders on westward Maybrook freights going through the cuts west of New Haven Union Station - and occasionally an exceptionally tall pile of coal would draw a momentary arc from the overhead. No big deal.
2.I think the NYC would be reluctant to run a train of a Hudson and all those HW Pullmans around the sharp wye at MO.
The wye isn't as sharp as you might think it is, and was routinely used to turn heavyweight Pullmans as required after servicing but before returning them to Grand Central Terminal.
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Re: FDR Funeral Train on the Hudson Division

Post by Backshophoss »

A T motor took over at MO back then,they were passenger power back then,some S motors did have a steam generator.
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TCurtin
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Re: FDR Funeral Train on the Hudson Division

Post by TCurtin »

bellstbarn wrote:
Fri Mar 13, 2020 1:37 pm
Dad's photo taken from Marble Hill has gone missing, but it wasn't a sharp photo anyhow. I must claim that no steam engine pulled the funeral train alongside the Harlem River Ship Canal.
Assuming your recollection is accurate, it means the Hudsons were put on somewhere past Marble Hill. If so, that would've added another level of complication to the power changes involved. Assuming the two sections came from New Haven's New Rochelle Jct. to MO rear end first, the NYC would have changed to electric power of its own from MO to wherever the change to steam was made [Spuyten Duyvil Jct perhaps?]. It would seem to me to have made more sense to operate with electrics all the way to Harmon. To settle that matter we'd need some photo of the trains [with the power visible!] between Marble Hill and Harmon. According to some documents cited in the book FDR's Funeral Train that I alluded to in a previous post the trains departed MO at 6:40 AM. That information was obtained from a secret service file is the FDR Presidential Library.It was a bright sunny morning. Thus conditions were fine for those interested in trackside photos. The most famous photo was taken by the great Ed Nowak of the train passing just north of Breakneck Ridge. I can't believe it's the only sush photo!

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