• L&HR records saved!!

  • Discussion of the L&HR and its predecessor the Warwick Valley Railroad for the period 1860-1976 at its inclusion with ConRail
Discussion of the L&HR and its predecessor the Warwick Valley Railroad for the period 1860-1976 at its inclusion with ConRail

Moderator: David

  by rfalcone
I just read in the Warwick Valley Dispatch (available on-line) where about 2 tons of historical material was saved by members of the Lehigh & Hudson Veterans Association.

Apparently the stuff was at Orange County Community College slated for who knows what. One call to the Veterans Association later and there were a couple of trucks there to pick it up. According to the article Marty and some other familiar names helped with the move.

You never know, maybe we will get another book from all that stuff.


  by Railjourner
This is great news Rich, thanks for the post. I hope at some point we can hear what all was saved by the association.

  by Marty Feldner
With the article being in both Warwick weekly newspapers, and both being online, it was inevitable that this news would get out (it's been filtering through the local railfan community for a few weeks now).

Here's a link to the article, in the Warwick Advertiser:

http://www.strausnews.com/articles/2007 ... news/2.txt

Simply put, one phone call started things in motion; otherwise this approximately two tons of archives would have wound up in a landfill somewhere (probably by now). The story behind the story is long, and in some ways not pretty, but these archives have been saved. They are safe, and secure, and are being gone through carefully. Several people are involved, and a couple of organizations have been vital in securing the position we're in now. Much work remains to be done, but we're working on it. Stay tuned...

  by Otto Vondrak
Marty- were these the corporate records of the L&HR?


  by Marty Feldner
Simply put, and without going into too much detail for now, yes.

  by metman499
Other L&HR records are currently at the Railroad Museum of PA in Strasburg.

  by rfalcone
How does one go about looking at this stuff? Not that I ever will since I live in Texas but I am just curious.

I would suspect that since it is a museum that it is all sorted and catalogued very well. Is it in a specific room or do they have to go pull the stuff for you?

I would be interested in the process.


  by metman499
The L&HR files are currently stored in our archives annex which is located in the basement of the museum. Typical procedure to physically look at the material is to arrange a research appointment with our archivist. We are in the process of computerizing our finding aids. You will either be given a paper copy or a computer is there for your use to examine what material is there. Once you know what you want the archivist (or a volunteer or other qualified staff member) pulls the material out of the archive and brings it to a reading room where you can examine the documents (under supervision). A photocopier is also there and the first ten copies are free. Since you are a bit of a distance from the museum the other route is to send a letter with a specific question to the archivist at the museum. He or a volunteer researcher will then answer your query and send you any relevant material by mail. For photographs prints are available for purchase. Off the top of my head I don't know what is in the collection photowise but you can try http://www.rrmuseumpa.org/about/library/search.htm to look up what is there.

  by Marty Feldner
metman499 wrote:Other L&HR records are currently at the Railroad Museum of PA in Strasburg.
What's at the museum and what recently resurfaced are part and parcel of the archives saved by the L&HR's last president.

As I said, it's a long story...

  by Otto Vondrak
Marty- thanks for letting us know that these materials were saved... when time permits, will you be able to share some of the long story with us? I can almost hear the heavy sigh as you typed that last response!


Walden, NY resident 1977-1981...

  by njmidland
A lot of credit should be given to Gifford Moore, the last president of the L&HR as well as to Timothy V. Smith, the trustee of the L&HR Estate in the bankruptcy and liquidation. Unlike the other railroads that went into Conrail, the L&HR had no bonded long-term debt. The bankruptcy was the result of not being able to pay current bills due to the PC bankruptcy and the dramatic reduction in traffic, first by the diversions by PC and then the burning of the Poughkeepsie Bridge.

Since it was obvious that the L&HR would be able to pay off its creditors and give its stockholders a nice amount of cash (once the Estate received its settlement from the USRA for the railroad as well as the sale of non-rail assets - mostly real estate) the decision was made to identify significant historical records and preserve them. I was there during 1981-82 when Mr. Moore and Mr. Smith allowed myself (and others) to buy items that were deemed not to be historic (or duplicates). As we picked through the stuff in the Warwick headquarters building it also helped them find additional historic items, especially in hundreds of boxes in the basement. Finally in the Summer of 1982 the Estate held a huge auction selling off the furniture and other remaining items. That day I bought a box of L&HR safety award pins as well as a metal file cabinet that houses my timetable collection to this day. The L&HR had some beautiful solid oak file cabinets and other oak office furniture that I wish I had the money to win that day.

The historical stuff was donated to the Orange County Community College which, at the time, was very enthusiastic about receiving it. Sadly the people at the college interested in it moved on and the interest was gone.

In 1999 or so what was believed to be the entire collection was donated by OCCC to the RR Museum of PA. I went through the stuff in Strasburg looking for material to help our effort to restore the Allamuchy freight house. I was a little disappointed because a lot of the stuff I remebered from 1982 just didn't seem to be there. Knowing that 17 years had passed I just assumed something had happened inbetween and moved on (at the end the stuff was not, shall we say, stored at OCCC in an archival facility).

Now knowing that this material was found and is being identified is great news. It would have been so easy for these two men to have tossed this stuff in 1982, so it is a tribute to them that all these years later their efforts will come to light.

  by rfalcone

Thanks for the info on the museum. To have someone supervise you while perusing the material is pretty serious. I guess once they get possession of this stuff they are intent on keeping it intact and available for the years to come.


Thanks for your recollections of the "end." Glad to hear that a lot of the history fell in to good hands.


  by Marty Feldner
Very good synopsis of of the beginning of this story- from one who was there.

W. Gifford Moore, the last President of the L&HR, was more than a railroader, he was (and is) a rail fan, and rail historian. (He started as a telegrapher on the B&O; to this day he calls Morse the "mother tongue".) I suspect that if anyone else had held the position in 1976, the story today would be very different.

After we had moved and secured the 'lost archives', I emailed Gif and brought him up to speed on what had transpired over the last couple of months. He was genuinely pleased that this stuff had been saved from the landfill, and expressed disappointment in the college's handling of what they had been given.

He knows most of the (relatively few) people involved in this project, which helps...

  by Otto Vondrak
Too bad the college no longer had an interest in maintaining an archive. At least it didn't end up in the trash...

  by woodsie
Has anyone attempted to sort thru the records?
I'm looking for plans for the covered hoppers used in NJZ service: Blt RDG shops series #1900 70 Ton, also Blt CNJ shops series #2000 70 Ton.
Someone posted the RRMusofPA has LHR info in the archives; however, my search resulted in "none found."