Historic Trains Visit Grand Central This Weekend
May 08th, 2013
From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Saturday and Sunday the public can view some of the world’s most famous Trains, Metro-North’s newest rail cars and other special railroad equipment during the “Grand Centennial Parade of Trains.”
In Vanderbilt Hall, there are kid-friendly activities and the Terminal’s first model train and “Railroadiana” antiques and railroad collectibles event. All events are free.
The “Parade of Trains” of historical railroad equipment, including an observation car from the iconic 20th Century Limited, comprises the largest and most diverse collection of privately owned train cars ever assembled in Grand Central Terminal. The event also includes a variety of retailers and regional railroading museums lining part of Vanderbilt Hall, offering sales and hosting exhibits of unique railroad and train-related items.
An area of Vanderbilt Hall will be transformed into “Kid Junction,” which will be full of free activities for children and families to enjoy, including an activity area and a modular train display from the “Chuggington” animated train series (seen on the “Disney Junior” channel), demonstrations with a Master Builder from the LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester, and creative activities led by New York Transit Museum staff and The New York Botanical Garden. Metro-North employees will staff departmental demonstrations, where families can learn how many functions support a smooth-running railroad.
Among the historic cars to be featured in “Parade of Trains”:
The 20th Century Limited “Hickory Creek” – Built in 1948 by Pullman Standard, this sleeper-observation lounge car was part of the New York Central Railroad’s 20th Century Limited, which is widely considered the most famous train in the world. The 20th Century departed daily from Grand Central Terminal and was synonymous with first-class service, speed and comfort. With Hickory Creek as a backdrop, the 20th Century was christened at Grand Central in 1948 by Dwight Eisenhower and actress Bea Lillie, with a champagne bottle filled with water from the Hudson River, Lake Erie, and Lake Michigan, symbolizing the railroad’s “Water Level Route.”
Montana – The Montana was built in the Milwaukee Road shops as a tap lounge for the streamlined 1947 Olympian Hiawatha, which ran between Chicago and Tacoma/Seattle. The car was retired from regular assignments in 1955 and converted to a business car. Later, it was leased to the Wisconsin Central and then operated on steam excursions. It’s now in private ownership.
Vista Valley – The sleeper-observation lounge car Vista Valley was commissioned by the Santa Fe Railway to upgrade its flagship Super Chief train in 1947. It primarily served the West Coast and hosted many traveling movie stars and VIPs in its day. Retired in 1971 and subsequently sold into private ownership, Vista Valley’s interior remains intact and appears today as it was created for the Santa Fe.
FL-9 Locomotive – Unique to the New York, New Haven and Hartford lines (and eventually operated by Metro-North), these dual-power locomotives were designed specifically for operation into Grand Central. Essentially diesel-electrics, they could pick up power from the electrified third rail when operating through the tunnel into the Terminal, thus eliminating exhaust fumes. The Electro-Motive Division of General Motors built these locomotives from 1956 to 1960.
Phoebe Snow Cars –These cars were built in 1949 as tavern-lounge observation cars for the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western’s Phoebe Snow train. The train was named for a promotional character who always wore white clothes to promote its clean-burning coal fuel; with these cars, it ran between Hoboken and Buffalo and later, under the auspices of the Erie Lackawanna railroad, to Chicago. These cars currently serve as MTA Metro-North Railroad’s two inspection cars.
MTA Metro-North’s M8 – This contemporary car is the newest equipment used by Metro-North Railroad in conjunction with the Connecticut Department of Transportation. The M8s debuted in early 2011 and are the most technologically advanced commuter cars in the country. Customer comfort and experience is enhanced with roomier seats, larger windows, better lighting, and more advanced communication options than previous cars. The vibrant red color echoes the historic colors of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad, a predecessor to Metro-North.