I come from a line of railroaders. My grandfather and many of his male siblings worked for the railroad, either on the road or in the shops near their northern Pennsylvania homestead. Those were the shops of the New York Central Railroad. It was one of the iconic eastern railroads founded in the mid-1800s by men with the names Vanderbilt and Corning. In 1968 it merged with the other iconic road- the Pennsylvania RR- to form the Penn Central and then in 1972 they melded with others into Conrail. (His oldest son, my uncle, worked on the Erie Railroad.) I have always been a train lover. It takes me back to my grandfather's backyard where, but a quarter-mile away ran the New York Central tracks. If he was outside he always stopped and watched. I learned to do the same.
The New York Central has been gone for nearly half a century. It's status as one of the original great railroads (robber barons and all) has not diminished. Fortunately the city of Elkhart, Indiana, has kept that history alive in the National New York Central Museum. They located it there since the largest selection yard on the system was there in Elkhart, and it is still the site of over a hundred trains a day passing by.
We had the joy of going through the museum the other week. It was a step into a different world when riding trains- and their economic essential importance- was well-acknowledged.
Among all the memorabilia was a model train layout, Lionel gauge. Here is a short video I put together of the trains making their way from the steam era to modern Amtrak.
But there was more. Here are some of my pictures of the rolling stock, sitting, gathering years, and still sharing memories.