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Desperately need help identifying locomotive NY Central
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Deborah
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Desperately need help identifying locomotive NY Central
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« on: Jun 29th, 2016, 11:39pm »
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Hello and greetings. I am looking for some help..please??
(Cross post from the main line)
I am doing image research/fact checking for a great photographic art book coming out in the fall. I readily admit I am quite out of my league when it comes to the rails and trains.  
 
I would like some help identifying this engine (Image attached) and the "livery" if at all possible. The Library of Congress caption says this a 1905 image of the Empire State Express traveling through Syracuse (which I understand applies to the entire train) but it is obviously not the famous 999. The number seems to be 3837 (most likely). I suppose that it is carrying the cars of Empire State Express through Syracuse towards a major switching station.  
I have researched tons of sites with descriptions of the engine numbers and I simply cannot find this one ascribed to any engine.  
 
In 1894 NY Central engines (probably 999) were described  
"Set atop lacy 86.5-inch diameter drivers, with lead truck and tender wheels 40 inches in diameter, the glistening black device, its boiler, smokestack and cylinders fairly gleamed in front-to-back jackets of blue-gray, mirror-bright Russia iron. (rather flowery).  
I do not easily see those big 86" diameter wheels in this image, but the foreshortening is quite extreme and they could be there.
 
The image attached is a cropped portion of a much larger Library of congress image. It is only partially colorized (work in progress, the engine does not have color added yet) It is completely possible that grey and blue/black will work here no problem. But we sincerely would like to get the facts correct on this image.  
 
If anyone has any information I would sincerely appreciate it.  Some one has told me that the attached is 4-4-2 Atlantic type .
Thank you so much.  
Deborah


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« Last Edit: Jun 29th, 2016, 11:40pm by Deborah » Logged

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Roger_Hensley
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Re: Desperately need help identifying locomotive NY Central
 
« Reply #1 on: Jun 30th, 2016, 7:12am »
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According to your number, It was an Atlantic built in June of 1906. This info comes from "New York Central Later Power 1910-1968"
 
The 999 was an earlier engine and did not pull all of the Empire State Express trains. Either my book is incorrect as to the build date or your photo is later than 1905.
 
Best I can do.
 
(Oh, the color of the Loco number plate is incorrect. Sorry.)


« Last Edit: Jun 30th, 2016, 7:14am by Roger_Hensley » Logged

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HwyHaulier
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Re: Desperately need help identifying locomotive NY Central
 
« Reply #2 on: Jun 30th, 2016, 8:20am »
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Deborah - Lodge Members -  
 
Thanks for wandering in! This one of the best of endless discussions ever posted here!
 
One of the fellows here remarked about the cars. See the first in line Baggage/ Mail. Your writer recalls a "quick and dirty" rule the  
presence of "truss roads", so to support the car framing, invariably needed with wooden cars.
 
Meanwhile, see this with respect to thinking of Chicago Museum, concerning NYC&HRRR #999. Compare with sources you have  
located? Did the vaunted Museum get the colors right?
 
http://www.msichicago.org/explore/whats-here/exhibits/transportation-gallery/the-exhibit/999-steam-locomotive/
 
Also, note the explanation, Empire State Express a Buffalo - Syracuse schedule. N.B. Also confessing on the record and a caveat,  
your writer more comfortable with B & O, SOUTHERN and SEABOARD issues. <G>
 
.........................HTH................ Vern............................


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NYC_Dave
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Re: Desperately need help identifying locomotive NY Central
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« Reply #3 on: Jun 30th, 2016, 10:15am »
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If you look at the enlarged Library of Congress TIFF photos I think it is more likely that the locomotive number is 3897.  
Data from the book Locomotives of the New York Central Lines by Edson & May:
Class Id Atlantic built 1904 - original number 2897
Renumbered 3897 in 1905
Therefore the 1905 date could be correct!
I don't know how colors could be determined since there would be no color photographs. A number of colorized postcards of trains in Syracuse exist from this time period, but I have seen none with this particular locomotive.



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Deborah
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Re: Desperately need help identifying locomotive NY Central
 
« Reply #4 on: Jun 30th, 2016, 1:55pm »
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on Jun 30th, 2016, 10:15am, NYC_Dave wrote:       (Click here for original message)
If you look at the enlarged Library of Congress TIFF photos I think it is more likely that the locomotive number is 3897.  
Data from the book Locomotives of the New York Central Lines by Edson & May:
Class Id Atlantic built 1904 - original number 2897
Renumbered 3897 in 1905
Therefore the 1905 date could be correct!
I don't know how colors could be determined since there would be no color photographs. A number of colorized postcards of trains in Syracuse exist from this time period, but I have seen none with this particular locomotive.

 
That is great. and yes, thank you for the clarification on the number. I've pulled quite a number of postcards from the time. Also written descriptions of the engines.
 
Edit: Hit post too soon. I'm confused by your baggage/mail reference. Also, are you saying the Empire Express was not pulled NY Central?
 
As for color schemes...I cull together as many references as I can and make a decision based on what I do know of BW photography of the time period, how other know colors are represented in the image, the weather, the nature of rail travel etc...I refer to old postcards, Kodachrome slides, rail yard images, notations in periodicals and written reports of the train lines in newspapers f the day. Anything I can find actually. I was about to say that introduction of the Empire State Express engine was written up as having "front-to-back jackets of blue-gray, mirror-bright Russia iron" which I don't  really understand and hope that someone can explain it.
 If that writer was indeed describing the 999, then no, Chicago might not have gotten it right. But I've posted on this forum because I understand how important details are to rail people and we don't want to get the details wrong in this image.
 


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HwyHaulier
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Re: Desperately need help identifying locomotive NY Central
 
« Reply #5 on: Jun 30th, 2016, 3:25pm »
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Deborah - Lodge Members -
 
That was my earlier remark about the "Baggage/ Mail" Car. In the view you have posted, see the equipment. There is the Locomotive,  
and its Tender for coal and water. Behind that is a Passenger Car, and evidently of largely wood construction. To be precisely correct,  
it apparently a "Coach/ Baggage". That is, part of it with Coach seating. The forward part of the Car (and relying on what seen of door  
arrangement) with a section for Baggage, and also possibly Express shipments.  
 
The Empire State Express indeed a New York Central System operated train. Its System a number of controlled Railroads. The Chicago  
photo displays, "NYC&HRRR". That is, New York Central & Hudson River Railroad, one its System major lines.
 
The color noted, "...front-to-back jackets of blue-gray, mirror-bright Russia iron...."? Also to think of it as a polished gun metal hue.  
Your writer not well schooled enough in NYC RR practices to report how much longer post 1894 that it the standard.
 
..........................HTH......................Vern......................


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Deborah
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Re: Desperately need help identifying locomotive NY Central
 
« Reply #6 on: Jun 30th, 2016, 3:41pm »
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Well...that's some very good information actually. No matter the engine color, the engine will also have a fair layer of dust, soot, oil, coal etc....so it's the base and whether there are two different colors at play that we really need. It would also be nice to know what color the (and please pardon my severe lack of terminology here) the "cow catcher"  since it's more prominent. Was it usually red?

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HwyHaulier
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Re: Desperately need help identifying locomotive NY Central
 
« Reply #7 on: Jun 30th, 2016, 3:58pm »
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Deborah - Lodge Members -
 
Your writer must admit it would venture into speculation and conjecture about whether the pilot (also sometimes noted as  
"cowcatcher), in this instance was other than black...
 
About presence of grime, dirt, dust and other grunge? In the era, many Railroads presented very competitive appearances.  
A result, the Passenger equipment had frequent washing. The practices widespread and fairly commonplace, and well into  
the 1950s...
 
.......................HTH................Vern............................


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Norm_Anderson
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Re: Desperately need help identifying locomotive NY Central
 
« Reply #8 on: Jun 30th, 2016, 5:24pm »
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I think it's unlikely that the pilot would be painted bright red at this date.  There are photographs and woodcuts, of course, from the 1870s and early 1880s that show locomotives decorated in a downright gaudy fashion, with everything from gold filigree on the driving wheel spokes, to the engineer's name on the side of the cab (at one time, specific engines were assigned to specific engine crews), to elk antlers mounted above the hurricane-lamp headlight.  But by 1905, most of that had faded into history, and the railroads wanted to project an image of sobriety and permanence, not razzle-dazzle.  All of that notwithstanding, The Empire State Express was a train of importance, and care would have been taken with the overall cleanliness and condition of the equipment.
 
I am convinced that the color descriptions you have referenced were intended to describe the 999 alone, and should not be taken as the standard for all locomotives of the period.  If you have access to hand-tinted postcards or posters from the period, they are probably a reliable guide-- their selling point, like yours, would have been fidelity to the actual, not "truth-y-ness."
 
 
Regards,
 
Norm


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Deborah
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Re: Desperately need help identifying locomotive NY Central
 
« Reply #9 on: Jun 30th, 2016, 8:15pm »
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on Jun 30th, 2016, 5:24pm, Norm_Anderson wrote:       (Click here for original message)
I think it's unlikely that the pilot would be painted bright red at this date.  There are photographs and woodcuts, of course, from the 1870s and early 1880s that show locomotives decorated in a downright gaudy fashion, with everything from gold filigree on the driving wheel spokes, to the engineer's name on the side of the cab (at one time, specific engines were assigned to specific engine crews), to elk antlers mounted above the hurricane-lamp headlight.  But by 1905, most of that had faded into history, and the railroads wanted to project an image of sobriety and permanence, not razzle-dazzle.  All of that notwithstanding, The Empire State Express was a train of importance, and care would have been taken with the overall cleanliness and condition of the equipment.
 
I am convinced that the color descriptions you have referenced were intended to describe the 999 alone, and should not be taken as the standard for all locomotives of the period.  If you have access to hand-tinted postcards or posters from the period, they are probably a reliable guide-- their selling point, like yours, would have been fidelity to the actual, not "truth-y-ness."
 
 
Regards,
 
Norm

It would seem that the 999 was the show piece. All the other engines of that time were what they were. Hopefully reliable and speedy. Thank you!


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Re: Desperately need help identifying locomotive NY Central
 
« Reply #10 on: Jun 30th, 2016, 8:16pm »
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on Jun 30th, 2016, 3:58pm, HwyHaulier wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Deborah - Lodge Members -
 
Your writer must admit it would venture into speculation and conjecture about whether the pilot (also sometimes noted as  
"cowcatcher), in this instance was other than black...
 
About presence of grime, dirt, dust and other grunge? In the era, many Railroads presented very competitive appearances.  
A result, the Passenger equipment had frequent washing. The practices widespread and fairly commonplace, and well into  
the 1950s...
 
.......................HTH................Vern............................

 
Thank you Vern. Point taken!


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HwyHaulier
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Re: Desperately need help identifying locomotive NY Central
 
« Reply #11 on: Jul 1st, 2016, 10:04am »
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Deborah - Norm - Lodge Members -
 
In the NYC System discussion, see this which explains "Lake Shore & Michigan Southern" line which provided Buffalo - Chicago  
route. Here, scroll down to "LS&MS" 1869 - 1914 era. See Photo of a new Locomotive delivered to the line in 1907. In the details,  
we may be seeing a somewhat glossy paint on the unit, as of that date, of course.
 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Shore_and_Michigan_Southern_Railway
 
In your Photo depicted at Syracuse, atop the locomotive boiler, note the sheen of the sand dome and steam dome. We may also  
guess it was in "pool" assignments. That is, each Locomotive not assigned to a particular Engineer. A detail which supports this?  
Notice the bell, directly behind the stack, is not polished. Same way handrails do not appear polished, either. Also, all of this works  
to support commentary from Norm...
 
N.B. See this ref. history of EMPIRE STATE EXPRESS...  http://www.american-rails.com/empire.html
 
.................................Vern..........................


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Norm_Anderson
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Re: Desperately need help identifying locomotive NY Central
 
« Reply #12 on: Jul 1st, 2016, 1:09pm »
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Vern, these are interesting and valuable links.  (And, an apology to you, Deborah, if this thread takes on a life of its own, long after it has ceased being useful to you.  Among us railfans, it doesn't take much to get us going . . . )
 
I would observe, however, that the locomotive shown in the article about the Empire State Express should not be used as a guide to the locomotive in your photo.  That two-tone black and silver livery was for the streamlined version of the train, which debuted thirty or forty years later.
 
The wiki article on the history of what would become the New York Central System was a revelation to me.  The 1905 locomotive, then would definitely have been lettered "NYC&HR" not "NYC" and would not have operated west of Buffalo.  (Long distance passenger trains of that era would have been in the care of several locomotives, in succession, on their journey).
 
 
Regards,
 
Norm


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HwyHaulier
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Re: Desperately need help identifying locomotive NY Central
 
« Reply #13 on: Jul 1st, 2016, 3:06pm »
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Norm - Deborah - Lodge Members -
 
Well, at least we run a tasteful and polite "club" (affinity group) here. Who knows what any new arrival should discover?  
In this current example, about most anything one might want to know!
 
Note in the article about EMPIRE STATE EXPRESS, it asserts it was a New York - Buffalo daytime operation. Compare,  
the text at the Chicago Museum does not make it clear. That is, #999 reported on a Syracuse - Buffalo schedule. Likely,  
the speed run done on that segment of the line. Makes a great deal of sense in that SYR - BUF topography is rather flat.  
Also, on many stretches it "shadows" the earlier Erie Canal. "Shuffle Off To Buffalo", indeed!
 
Your remarks on "power assignment" back then. Concur, in moves within the legal structure which NYC System, a guess  
that NYC&HRR sub did not operate West of Buffalo? Rather the West handled by LS&MS sub. (and other subs)?
 
..........................Vern.......................
 


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Norm_Anderson
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Re: Desperately need help identifying locomotive NY Central
 
« Reply #14 on: Jul 1st, 2016, 4:41pm »
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on Jul 1st, 2016, 3:06pm, HwyHaulier wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Note in the article about EMPIRE STATE EXPRESS, it asserts it was a New York - Buffalo daytime operation. Compare,  
the text at the Chicago Museum does not make it clear. That is, #999 reported on a Syracuse - Buffalo schedule.
 
Your remarks on "power assignment" back then. Concur, in moves within the legal structure which NYC System, a guess  
that NYC&HRR sub did not operate West of Buffalo? Rather the West handled by LS&MS sub. (and other subs)?
 
..........................Vern.......................
 

 
I am probably blundering in where I should fear to tread, but it seems reasonable to me that on a New York - Buffalo run, there might be three engines (or four, if they were already using electric motors between GCT and Harmon) . . . 1. New York - Albany;  2. Albany - Syracuse;  and 3. Syracuse - Buffalo.  Perhaps in that era locomotives were kept within the bounds of their respective divisions?
 
The wiki article makes it sound as though in 1905 the NYC&HR and LS&MS were not just different subdivisions of NYC, but were separate railroads-- affiliated perhaps, but distinct nonetheless.
 
 
Regards,
 
Norm


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Re: Desperately need help identifying locomotive NY Central
 
« Reply #15 on: Jul 1st, 2016, 7:55pm »
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Hello all!!
 
Believe it or not...I am still following you all.  It's fascinating. And yes, extremely polite which I truly, TRULY appreciate.  As a moderator of a sub on the "wild-west" of Internet forums -- Reddit (albeit, a tame one), but one where I must regularly remove horrible comments and extremely rude discussions,  this discussion is like a breath of fresh, heavenly air.  And I am glad to hear that I was able to offer up a topic of interest for you.  And believe me, if I chose to work on a train image myself, or my book guy has another for me to research, as will come right back!! So thank you all!!
 
I was concerned while reading your responses that I may need to return to the drawing board so to speak..and begin researching engines for another line, but I have to say, that last link (American rails) gave me a description of the engines and a typical color for the company.  I'm fairly confortable recommending the black for the engine, with some shine for gears where it is indicated on the image...and then perhaps more of a green black might do it. It's a good observation that the bell is not shined.  Would it still be brass? Or is it steel?
 I did include a number of antique postcards from my research to the artist just this morning. So I'm hopeful that I've got it right. It would seem that I will not get 'dinged' unless I recommend a red cow catcher and a purple train...which is what I believe a less diligent colorizer did on Shorpy a few years back.  It was then, and still is, alarming in the extreme to look at.  My apologies for adding in my own commentary there.  I just didn't want you to think if you've seen that image, that that's what all of us do.  
If anyone does feel like looking at some work, my website link is in my profile.  And no I'm not trying to promote myself. I just thought someone might be curious is all as to the type of work I am researching for.  Each of us has a different style, but mine is quite close to the colorizer I'm researching for. I also research the heck out of everything I personally work on. So the depth of this discussion is wonderful. Would anyone happen to know shipping in the 19th century?  I'm completely stumped by an image.  I'm not expecting a response to that....I'm just being silly. .  
 
Thank you all again.  And please, continue...I'm still receiving the notices and am thoroughly enjoying them and this topic.  
 
Deborah


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Norm_Anderson
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Re: Desperately need help identifying locomotive NY Central
 
« Reply #16 on: Jul 1st, 2016, 9:05pm »
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Deborah, thanks for your kind words.  I've hung around these Forums for about ten or twelve years now, and we seem to be a pretty flame-retardant bunch.  It's one of the things that keeps me coming back.
 
I was just over on Youtube, and managed to locate a couple of interesting clips--
 
The first is an Edison Kinescope (?) from 1902, showing the Empire State Express behind the famous 999.  You can clearly see those enormous driving wheels.  Someone apparently let the passengers know they were going to be filmed for posterity (undoubtedly a rare and exciting "big deal" in 1902), as they have handkerchiefs at the ready as the train rolls by.
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LuWP5oq3IQ

 
The second is also an Edison Kinescope, and also of the Empire State Express, but taken in 1905 as the train scoops water at speed from a water trough placed between the rails.  (This innovation allowed trains to maintain higher average speeds over long distances, since they didn't need to stop at water tanks to replenish their supply of water for the boiler.)  This video shows a locomotive much nearer to the one shown in your photo.  My hope is that it may supply further visual clues.
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdeZhsBoznc

 
Regards,
 
Norm
 
P.S.  I visited your site and saw some of the other work you have done.  I believe the photo you are working on now is in trustworthy hands.


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Deborah
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Re: Desperately need help identifying locomotive NY Central
 
« Reply #17 on: Jul 1st, 2016, 10:06pm »
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Wow! Those clips are amazing. That second train really shines. Fantastic. I'll be passing that one along for the sheer joy of it.  Thank you I'm glad you liked the work.
To be fair, I am doing the research for these images for another colorer's project. We call it color reconstruction to differentiate from colorizing, which is much more like a hobby.  The research can take as long or longer than the actual digital color work in Photoshop. Both research and the work are equally time consuming. So contracting out is really helpful in large projects since doing both is just exhausting. The other person is here. www.dynamichrome.com  
Cheers! Deborah


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HwyHaulier
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Re: Desperately need help identifying locomotive NY Central
 
« Reply #18 on: Jul 2nd, 2016, 8:33am »
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Norm - Deborah - Lodge Members - All Hands -
 
Norm: WOW! The 1905 EDISON film clip nails this entire story! Note the new ATLANTIC types covered the run.  
The "track pans" for water is astonishing. The clip does support the earlier view here of the EXPRESS at Syracuse.  
To be picky: As the locomotive comes into view and passes, note the shiny boiler jackets. Your writer tends to be  
of a mind the base color was a metallic gun metal gray...
 
Deborah: A caveat. Note carefully the area of the boiler jacket, ahead of the bell, and including the stack, likely in  
a flat medium gray. It seen on locomotives of numerous lines. Else, your writer of a mind much of the unit from the  
bell and back in a "gunmetal" appearance.
 
The Bell? Yes, usually these brass. In your Photo at SYR, neither it or the handrails polished. This hints at "pool  
power" assignments. That is, a given unit not handled by one dedicated engineer...
 
Your Ship Photo? Ah, post it up here somewhere. NY/NJ Harbor Railroads a good topic area. In a recent topic,  
the gang here identified much of what seen on the Hudson River in support of the Weehawken, NJ Station...
 
Norm: Concur with your comments on power assignments, and how local crews assigned on NYC - BUF runs.  
Do you happen to have Brotherhood Contracts (BRE) dating to the era? <G>
 
Electrics in New York (Harmon - GCT)? Consider following. Fits into time dates here so nicely...
http://transpressnz.blogspot.com/2012/03/new-york-central-electric-locomotive.html
 
..................................Vern...........................


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Re: Desperately need help identifying locomotive NY Central
 
« Reply #19 on: Jul 2nd, 2016, 4:56pm »
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on Jul 2nd, 2016, 8:33am, HwyHaulier wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Norm - Deborah - Lodge Members - All Hands -
 
Norm: WOW! The 1905 EDISON film clip nails this entire story! Note the new ATLANTIC types covered the run.  
The "track pans" for water is astonishing. The clip does support the earlier view here of the EXPRESS at Syracuse.  
To be picky: As the locomotive comes into view and passes, note the shiny boiler jackets. Your writer tends to be  
of a mind the base color was a metallic gun metal gray...
 
Deborah: A caveat. Note carefully the area of the boiler jacket, ahead of the bell, and including the stack, likely in  
a flat medium gray. It seen on locomotives of numerous lines. Else, your writer of a mind much of the unit from the  
bell and back in a "gunmetal" appearance.
 
The Bell? Yes, usually these brass. In your Photo at SYR, neither it or the handrails polished. This hints at "pool  
power" assignments. That is, a given unit not handled by one dedicated engineer...
 
Your Ship Photo? Ah, post it up here somewhere. NY/NJ Harbor Railroads a good topic area. In a recent topic,  
the gang here identified much of what seen on the Hudson River in support of the Weehawken, NJ Station...
 
Norm: Concur with your comments on power assignments, and how local crews assigned on NYC - BUF runs.  
Do you happen to have Brotherhood Contracts (BRE) dating to the era? <G>
 
Electrics in New York (Harmon - GCT)? Consider following. Fits into time dates here so nicely...
http://transpressnz.blogspot.com/2012/03/new-york-central-electric-locomotive.html
 
..................................Vern...........................

Yes. I did notice the shiny vs flat.  Bell info very helpful.  Thank you so much.  


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