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A look back in time: September 1958

By | September 2, 2008

50 years ago in railroad history... A supplement to the Classic Trains Online Look Back e-mail newsletter

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New Jersey challenges the constitutionality of the Transportation Act of 1958, under whose provisions the Erie and New York Central seek to discontinue their Hudson River ferry service. . . .

Reading Company completes a $500,000 upgrade at its Port Richmond Marine Terminal on the Delaware River in Philadelphia; new ore-unloading machinery nearly doubles the facility’s capacity. . . .

Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range tests EMD’s new SD24; although the Minnesota ore-hauler sticks with normally aspirated power, the SD24 is the first of the builder’s long line of six-motor, turbocharged freight diesels. . . .

Rock Island tests GM’s lightweight Aerotrain in Chicago suburban service. . . .

At 9:01 a.m. on Sept. 15, two GP7’s and three coaches of eastbound Jersey Central commuter train 3314 plunge into Newark Bay after running off the end of an open drawbridge; 44 passengers and 4 crewmen (including engineer and fireman) die and 48 are injured in one of the worst rail accidents of the postwar era. . . .

A report based on ICC Examiner Howard Hosmer’s yearlong study of railroad passenger service is released on Sept. 18, and it paints a gloomy picture; the “Hosmer Report” concludes that, at the current rate of decline, passenger trains (excluding commuter runs) will be gone by 1970. . .

On Sept. 28, Soo Line 4-6-2 2719 powers a 10-car excursion from Minneapolis to Ridgeland, Wis., for the Minneapolis Railfans Association. . . .

Also on the 28th, Chicago & North Western pulls its Overland Route passenger trains out of Omaha Union Station in favor of CNW’s own depot across the Missouri River in Council Bluffs, Iowa. . . .

Pennsy announces that it will not issue a 1959 wall calendar, ending a 34-year tradition.

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