A postcard depicting a General Motor’s Aerotrain. From the back of the card: The New York Central System “The Road to the Future.” A General Motors “Aerotrain” is shown on display here at Buffalo, New York in Feb. of 1956. The train failed in regular operation and was in service on the Central less than a year. It was part of a futile effort to upgrade passenger service. Similar units were used briefly on the Pennsylvania and the Union Pacific Railroads. By 1969 the Road to the Future had proved to be the Road to Ruin. The card was distributed in 1970 by Owen Davies, Bookseller.
THE FLORIDA SUNBEAM was operated by the New York Central System, the Southern Railway System, and the Seaboard Airline Railroad. On Jan. 1, 1936 the Florida Sunbeam was inaugurated as a winter-only train between Cincinnati and both coasts of Florida with through cars from Great Lakes cities. In 1949 it was replaced with the much faster, streamlined NEW ROYAL PALM on a changed routing. This linen postcard depicts an ALCO DL-109 diesel locomotive pulling the train. It was advertised as being diesel powered between Cincinnati, Ohio and Valdosta, Georgia.
Mercury was the name used by the New York Central Railroad for a family of daytime streamlined passenger trains operating between Mid-western cities. The Mercury train sets were designed in 1936 by the noted industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss, and are considered a prime example of Art Deco design. The success of the Mercury led to Dreyfuss getting the commission for the 1938 redesign of the NYC’s flagship, the 20th Century Limited, perhaps the most famous train in America.
One of the New York Central System’s most famous trains was the Empire State Express, which ran through upstate New York to Buffalo and Cleveland. With its main offices in New York City, the New York Central was a large railroad with several subsidiaries whose identity remained strong in local loyalties. In the broadest of geographic terms, the New York Central proper was everything east of Buffalo with a line from Buffalo through Cleveland and Toledo to Chicago The NYC included the Ohio Central Lines (Toledo through Columbus to and beyond Charleston, West Virginia) and the Boston & Albany Railroad (neatly defined by its name). The Michigan Central Railroad was a Buffalo-Detroit-Chicago line and everything in Michigan north of that. NYC’s Grand Central Terminal in New York City is one of its best known landmarks. The New York Central System, like many Eastern U.S. railroads, resulted from mergers, consolidations, acquisitions, and leases.
The 20th Century Limited was an express passenger train that was operated by the New York Central Railroad from 1902 to 1967. During that time it became known as a “National Institution” and was advertised as “The Most Famous Train in the World”. In the year of its final run, The New York Times said that it “…was known to railroad buffs for 65 years as the world’s greatest train”.