Steam in Manhattan

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Tue Sep 29 15:52:29 EDT 2009

Regarding steam in Manhattan, I don't think it was totally banned on
the island, just in the tunnels as a result a wreck, which I presume
is the one referenced. Several people were killed as result of the
smoke, steam and mess and inaccesibility resultant thereof.

When Reading 2101 was used in AFT service in the 1970's, I have been
told it was towed thru the Hudson tunnel, minus its fire.

Bob Cohen


> To expand what's already been contributed (just moved from NJ to MO, so

> I'm depending on memory, not my library).  The NYC ordnance followed a

> horrendous collision in the smoke filled NYC tunnel under Park Avenue.

> The further use of steam locomotives on Manhattan Island was banned.

> NYC rebuilt Grand Central as it exists today - two track levels;

> electric traction, etc.  The ban on wooden passenger cars may also have

> been based on a fatal accident on the Brooklyn elevated lines

> when excessive speed on a downgrade + curve into a tunnel smashed the

> wooden 'el' cars into the face of the portsl.  Think it was called the

> Malbone St. wreck.


> Jerry Crosson



> -----Original Message-----

> From: NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at>

> To: 'NW Mailing List' <nw-mailing-list at>

> Sent: Sat, Sep 26, 2009 12:51 am

> Subject: RE: No wood cars in Penn Station?


> The Hudson River tunnel, Marty! And there was probably a New York City

> ordinance regarding fire hazard. That is why New York Central and New

> Haven had to run electrics into Grand Central.   Jim


> Hello, Jim -


> I'll play the dummy and ask how steel cars are related to Penn

> Station. I'm going to -guess- that wooden cars  were prohibited because

> of the fire hazard in such an enclosed space. Is this the case?


> - Marty Swartz


> [Jim Nichols said:]

>> Supplemental information: Dad's records show them as 1000 and 1001,

> class RC, and 1002-1005 as class RD, built Pullman 1910 and purchased from the

> Pennsylvania. The mystery is: how long did PRR own them, since N&W

> bought them the same year they were built? .... In any event, PRR was buying

> steel cars because of the new Penn Station in New York, so were happy to

> unload these almost new wood cars.??? Jim Nichols

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