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Earle Baldwin

New York Harbor Railroads In Color Volume 1

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[float=right]nyh.gif[/float]As the United States was emerging as an industrial power many decades ago, the New York City Metropolitan Area became its center of manufacturing and foreign trade. Consequently, railroad companies very much wanted to access the region; however, unlike most other heavily developed urban centers, the area was dissected by numerous rivers, kills, bays and tidal straights. These bodies of water made it impractical for carriers to lay tracks to many points and therefore necessitated the development of creative methods to connect them with the main bodies of their respective systems.

 

Undeterred, the area's railroads established marine departments to provide service to port areas without direct rail access. Utilizing fleets of ferryboats, tugs and barges to transport passengers and freight, the railroad industry provided a wide variety of flexible services to port customers and was largely instrumental in establishing the New York Harbor area as the country's premier port facility. Regrettably, as manufacturing declined and short sighted government policy poured vast amounts of money into highway development to the detriment of efficient rail transportation, New York Harbor railroading began a precipitous decline during the 1960's which has left only one carrier, the Port Authority owned New York New Jersey Rail Corporation, providing car float service within the harbor. It is encouraging, however, to know that plans for a rail freight tunnel are being developed. Also, rail traffic destined to the port has risen dramatically in recent years with the expansion of CSX and Norfolk Southern container operations and the resumption of service to New York Container Terminal, formerly Howland Hook, on Staten Island.

 

Through the pages of "New York Harbor Railroads In Color Volume 1," let us journey back in time to the 1950's and 60's when a variety of railroads were busy serving the Port of New York. Published by Morning Sun and authored by Thomas R. Flagg, the 128 page hardcover book contains a treasure trove of color images of the many types of locomotives, rolling stock, marine vessels and buildings which were used to serve the region. Beginning with an introduction which explains the the history of marine rail development and types of services offered, the book presents photographs of operations of participating railroads accompanied by informative text and captions. Railroads covered are as follows: Baltimore and Ohio, Jersey Central, Lackwanna, Erie, Erie Lackawanna, Harlem Transfer, Lehigh Valley, Long Island, New York Central, New Haven, Pennsylvania, Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal, New York Dock, Bush Terminal and Hoboken Shore. The book is up to Morning Sun's typically high standards of quality with well lighted and composed photographs superbly reproduced.

 

"New York Harbor Railroads In Color Volume 1" was released in 2000 with a list price of $54.95. Production of the book ceased recently; however, Morning Sun titles are stocked by numerous dealers who sell at train shows and advertise in the various hobby magazines such as "Trains" and "Railfan and Railroad" so it should still be relatively easy to locate at a reasonable price. I obtained my mint copy at a 2008 show for $30, providing evidence it can be found with a little effort. The book is well done and all New York City Metropolitan Area railfans will find it fascinating.

 

An image of the book's cover can be found at www.morningsunbooks.com. Click on the Northeast link at the home page.

 

Happy railroading,

 

Earle (1)

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Another very interesting find (E)! People often forget how much the rail ruled all around the banks of the various waterways surrounding nyc up until the end of conrail.

 

- A

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