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The Railroad’s Raucous Arrival. White Plains: Part 1 Trains History

Amid loud booms of celebratory artillery fire and the rousing tunes of a brass band, hundreds of onlookers jockeyed for a spot alongside gleaming rails, cheering and popping champagne corks. The crowd’s cries rose to a crescendo as the mighty iron horse cantered round the last curve and roared into full view, steam billowing behind her. The day was Saturday, October 26th, 1844, and at long last—thirteen years for the rails, nearly three hours for the train—the New York and Harlem Railroad had reached White Plains. The new station to which the train had arrived was a simple wooden affair,...

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Sleep Going to Keep Going: Pullman War Ads, Part 1 Advertisements History

When I started researching for the story I posted a few weeks back about how the Nazis didn’t actually plan on attacking a substation at Grand Central during World War II, I amassed quite a lot of information about the railroads during the war. There are many facets to the story – from the gigantic posters that were installed in Grand Central to raise money with war bonds, to the movement of troops and materiel during the war—with railroads carrying 90% of the military’s freight, and 98% of its personnel, trains were an integral operation on the home front. As...

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Santa Claus is coming… Advertisements

If you believe the Pennsylvania Railroad, Santa Claus visits all the good boys and girls while they are asleep tonight, even if they happen to be in a railroad sleeping car. Does that make conductors and trainmen Santa’s helpers? And if you don’t believe the Pennsy, it looks like the Central seems to think that Santa will take a visit to all the overnight trains tonight. So who are we to disagree? Wishing all readers of I Ride The Harlem Line, whoever you are, if you’re still out there despite my lack of posting for the past few years, a...

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Smartcat Sundays: The Puppy Timetable Advertisements History

For almost as long as humans have been walking on this Earth, we have used hats. Whether they be for protection from the elements (with or without cat ears), for symbolic purposes, or simply for fashion, hats still remain an important part of our wardrobe to this day. Some historical figures are even well remembered for their hats, like Jackie Kennedy’s pillbox hats, or Abe Lincoln’s stovepipe hat. Today’s little bit of railroad history is an unofficial railroad timetable distributed by a hat salesman in Oneida, New York. The subject has come up on this blog before, where I have...

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SmartCat Sundays: The New York & Harlem’s Street Railway History

When first conceived, the New York & Harlem Railroad was intended to do just what its name implied – connect lower Manhattan to Harlem. The original charter was granted by the New York State Legislature on April 25th, 1831, authorizing a single or double tracked road from 23rd Street to any point on the Harlem River between Third and Eighth Avenues (Fourth Avenue – later renamed Park – was the route ultimately chosen). Less than a year later, that mandate was expanded to allow construction as far south as 14th Street, and was expanded several more times to ultimately allow...

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Smartcat Sundays: An Executive’s Train Ticket History

Another one of the many things I enjoy collecting are interesting train tickets. Old commutation passes, complete with photo identification of the user, are one of my favorites – however today’s artifact is a bit different. While the tickets belonging to commuters are occasionally found, it is definitely more rare to encounter a ticket belonging to one of the New York Central Railroad’s executives. This leatherbound ticket folio, belonging to C. R. Dugan, has decorative golden corners, and is personalized with gold lettering. Inside are an array of passes for various railroads that Mr. Dugan was able to enjoy in...

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