Pride of the Central (NYC)

Copyright © 1989, T.D.R. Productions
Sheet: 19″ x 24″ / Image: 16″ x 20″

Out of a veil of steam and coal dust, “Super Hudson,” J3a, Extra 5405 West storms out of the twin tunnel bore at Oscawanna, New York in September 1937.

History of the New York Central Hudson Locomotive

No.5200, the first of the famous New York Central Hudsons, died quietly in 1953. After the passing of the matriarch, it was only three years until J3 No.5452, the last of the clan, went to the scrap heap. The 274 J’s, surname Hudson, were numbered 5200-5474, all Alco-built except for a group of 10 turned out by Lima in 1931 for subsidiary Boston & Albany. J1’s 5200-5344 were constructed between 1927 and 1931 for New York Central proper; sister J1’s 5345-5374, outshopped from 1927 to 1930, were renumbered from 8200-8229 on Michigan Central and J1’s 5375-5404 (1929-1931) were renumbered from 6600-6629 on Big Four. Nos. 5405-5454 were J3’s built in 1937 and 1938, and the last 10 were renumbered from B&A 600-619 into Central’s system after World War II (5465-5474 were the Lima products).

J1’s 5311 and 5313 strayed from home to the Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo and were numbered TH&B 501 and 502. No.5315, which headed the Lake Shore Limited, was wrecked in Little Falls, New York, in 1940 and was scrapped. Four rebuildings and two streamlinings in 18 years changed the countenance of No.5344; and 5426 and 5429 both got the streamlining treatment too for handling of the Empire State Express. The 5450 literally blew to pieces when its boiler exploded in July 1943. It was reboilered and returned to service.


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