• Bob Butterfield, 20th Century Ltd engineer

  • Discussion relating to the NYC and subsidiaries, up to 1968. Visit the NYCS Historical Society for more information.
Discussion relating to the NYC and subsidiaries, up to 1968. Visit the NYCS Historical Society for more information.

Moderator: Otto Vondrak

  by WSRDTr19
I have three pictures of Bob Butterfield on disk. They were taken at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1939 at the official opening of a 1/6 scale live steam model railroad on the campus, called the Rensselaer Central Bob was invited to be the engineer of the inaugural train that broke the ribbon during the ceremonies. The engine was a model of 4-4-0 No. 870. I was given the photos by Harold Crouch, RPI Class of 1943, together with some information about the event. Being an RPI grad myself, Class of 1950, I wanted the materials saved at RPI so brought them to an archivist in the RPI library. There were some materials at the library about the Rensselaer Central and the opening ceremonies, and I think it was in those materials that I saw mention of the fact that Bob Butterfield had run the prototype No. 870 at an early stage in his career.

This is my first post, and I know little about the forum. Is it possible to post photos? I scanned the above-mentioned pictures and saved them on disk, and would be happy to post them if that is allowed.......AND if somebody can tell me how. Being of a pre-computer-age generation, I have only minimal computer skills.


  by wjstix
latonyco wrote:
shlustig wrote:On the old Hudson Division Engineers' Rosters, as well as those of other divisions, engineers had to have a special qualification to run the Century as indicated by a reference mark next to their names.

This applied to both regular men who owned the runs and to extra list enginemen. If a non-qualified man was next in line on the list for an open Century run, he was passed by without penalty.

Don't know how long this lasted.
What extra qualifications were required of the enginemen who worked the Century as opposed to those who worked on the NYC's other name passenger trains? I would have guessed that safe and smooth operation would have been the primary criteria which they all had to meet.
I'm not sure about NYC, but I believe some railroads required engineers assigned to high-speed passenger trains to have gone thru some additional training and testing before being OK'd to run those trains. Just because someone had run trains well for a long time, they might need some extra training to get 'up to speed' (pun intended) on high-speed trains. I know there was a terrible wreck on the Northern Pacific in the early sixties, when an engineer had spent 15-20 years running trains on a branchline and then decided to use his seniority to take a spot on the North Coast Limited that maybe he wasn't really suited for.
  by Tommy Meehan
Bob Butterfield hired out on the Central as a 16-year-old oil boy at the W. 72nd St roundhouse in 1884. In 1890 he went into engine service. According to the article in the New York Central employee magazine linked on the previous page, in 1904 he ran a delayed mail train at an average speed of 105 mph between Croton and Ossining. Butterfield retired in 1938 after 54 years service and 20 years as engineer on the Twentieth Century Limited. He passed away in April 1946.

Here's a photo: