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SmartCat Sundays: New York Central Company Manners History

Railfans are an interesting bunch – found within the group of us are all different types. Some like to ride trains and collect “rare mileage.” Others eschew riding the trains altogether so they can get that perfect photo of it. Some build their old memories in models, and others do the same in vast collections of ephemera and artifacts. It is fairly obvious that I am one of those folks that loves taking photos of trains, but I am also a serious collector of timetables (public – not employee, though I do have a few of those) and other paper...

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SmartCat, your guide to the Harlem Line History

Several years ago when I really started getting interested in the history of the Harlem Line, and began collecting old timetables and artifacts, I had the grand idea that I would create a “digital museum” for the line. Although I attempted it with the “Harlem Line Historical Archives,” the archives were poorly organized, extremely clunky to find anything, and extremely time consuming to update. In an effort to create something better, I began work on SmartCat last summer. I had been hoping to launch it in the fall, but it never happened. Six months later, and long overdue, I am...

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Early Harlem Line Timetables, and new timetable catalog Trains History

Quite a while ago I started up a minor project, what I called the Historical Archives. My goal was to collect as much old paper history of the Harlem Line and assemble a museum of sorts – timetables, maps, tickets, photos, and news articles – digitize it, and put it online for everyone to view, completely for free. (There are folks in the city that have better collections than I, such as the Transit Museum and the NYPL, but these are kept under lock and key, and you can’t have them unless you shell out the dollars.) Anyways, the more...

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Friday’s From the Historical Archive: John M. Wisker Trains History

Last week I posted about the Park Avenue Tunnel Wreck in 1902. The engineer of the train involved in that wreck was named John M. Wisker. I was curious to know the fate of this man after the events of the wreck. He was put on trial for manslaughter for the deaths in the wreck, but was ultimately acquitted. I can only imagine the emotional toll this all took on him. From the start of the whole ordeal, he was blamed for the wreck. Newspapers questioned his experience as an engineer. He was even held in jail for a short...

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Friday’s From the Historical Archive: 1902 Park Avenue Tunnel Wreck Paves the Way for Electric Service Trains History

Recently I’ve been having a lot of fun poring over the history of the Harlem Line and trains in the area. I mentioned a few weeks ago a new part of the site called the Historical Archives. When it first opened the Historical Archives had a few timetables, maps and newspaper articles. Now it contains well over a hundred different entries. I must thank the folks at the Research Library at the Danbury Railway Museum because many of the timetables in the Archive come from their collection. I figured that in addition to my normal blogging of current events and...

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Harlem Line Historical Archives Trains History

If you are an astute observer, you may have noticed several weeks ago that a new link appeared over on the right of the site, entitled the Harlem Line Historical Archives. Basically, I thought it would be kind of cool to scan a bunch of my old collected timetables, and to put up my digital collection of timetables (most of them I do not have hard copies of). Now that the collection online has over 40 pieces, mostly timetables, as well as a few maps, I thought I would sort of “announce” it. And now you will notice, there is...

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