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Full Steam Ahead: 1904

Full Steam Ahead: 1904

1904. "New York Central & Hudson River R.R. station, Albany, N.Y." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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The locomotive appears to be of a very common NYC&HR design (by Buchanan, I think). Around 1893, one of these was modified with larger wheels (especially the driving wheels) and given the number 999. It purportedly exceeded 100 mph. The 999 was assigned to the Empire State Express, which was the New York Central's answer to the Broadway Limited of the competing Pennsylvania Railroad. Most of the class kept the smaller wheels (as seen in this picture), and remained in service for many years.

Newly built 4-4-0's would have been few and far between by this time, but older ones would have remained in service as long as they were working and useful.

The 999 has been 'preserved', but without the high drivers, and with a replacement boiler and tender. Something like the old tale of my grandfather's axe - the handle was replaced three times, and the head twice, but still my grandfather's axe.


Wikipedia states that the 4-4-0 "American" style locomotive was considered to be obsolete by 1900, although they were used on branch line service into the middle of the 20th century - seems odd to see one in the New York Central system this late, and hauling such a long string of coaches (6?)

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