| Continued from above... New York Central Railroad needed a new steam locomotive to power it's longer and heavier, elegant first class passenger trains at faster speeds. The result was the 1927 Alco-built 4-6-4 "Hudson"-type. The Hudsons were typically used to pull 16-18 car Pullman trains at speeds up to 94 MPH. |
As for the name "Hudson", Alvin F. Staufer interviewed the Hudson's designer and the NYC's superintendent of motive power, Paul Kiefer, in 1961, and asked about the naming:
I asked Pat (Patrick E. Crowley, NYC President, All Lines) if we should name the engine or if he cared about that at all. We were already calling the L class 4-8-2s Mohawks, after the Mohawk Valley and Indians. And then, I'll never forget that moment, he just looked at me; the sun was shining in from the West, it was late in the day. He swung around in his huge brown leather chair, away from me. He stared out the window for the longest time. He swung back and stared at me, his chin in his hand. Finally he spoke,"Let's call her the Hudson, after the Hudson River."I agreed immediately (not that it mattered) and that's how it was. The name stuck. It was a natural.
Source: Alvin F. Staufer, Thoroughbreds
Introduction of the J3s shortened the schedule of the Twentieth Century Limited between Chicago and New York to 16 hours. After a run of 922 miles from Englewood to the steam terminal at Harmon, New York, the train would proceed under electric power into Grand Central Station, where its elite passengers would receive the famous "red carpet treatment", which included the roll-out of an actual red carpet.
The final ten J3a 4-6-4s, Nos. 5445-5454, were built streamlined in 1938 for service on the Twentieth Century Limited, the New York Central's premier train. No. 5450 (shown) was the first member of the second streamlined group of J3a Hudsons delivered by Alco in 1938. These last five locomotives were similar to the first five, but had roller bearings on their connecting and coupling rods as well as on all axles, and Scullin disc drivers instead of Boxpok. Henry Dreyfus' famous styling for the Century, featuring a finned bullet nose resembling an ancient warrior's helmet, has been hailed as an icon of art deco industrial design.
Henry Dreyfuss designed the entire train, not just the locomotive. The 1938 streamlining of the "Century" was fulfilled with the order (Pullman-Standard) for newly designed lightweight mail/baggage, buffet/lounge, sleeping, dining, and sleeper / lounge / observation cars.The Dreyfuss approach was that of understated elegance - exteriors of light gray and dark gray window bands and white horizontal stripes along the entire length of each car. Interiors were also in cool colors of grays and blues with complementary accents in tan, copper, and rust colors. The whole effect was what Dreyfuss referred to as "cleanlining."
The diners featured their own Dreyfuss-designed crockery on which the menu selections served were as fine as in any Manhattan restaurant. And after the last dinner seating, the dishes were cleared away, and the dining car was transformed into "Caf" Century", an elegant night club with softened lighting and contemporary recorded music.
The newly-designed "Century" was among the first "all-room" trains in America. The "Century" offered double bedrooms, compartments, drawing rooms, and "roomettes" for singles, all private.
The train secretary could assist passengers with dictation, correspondence, hotel and theater reservations, and return trip ticketing. There was also telegraph and valet service, and a barber shop.
Typically, the extra-fare train operated with 13 cars, but it often swelled to as many as 17 cars and at other times operated in two sections (two complete trains, one following the other).Postwar, in 1948, the "Century" received new equipment from Pullman-Standard, American Car & Foundry, and the Budd Company, retiring the 1938 equipment. At that time, diesel locomotives were replacing steam. The Hudsons were phased out and shorn of their streamlining in 1947-1948, to usher in the diesel era with Electro-Motive F-3s and E-7s by General Motors.
The Hudsons were all retired by early 1956 and scrapped.The "20th Century Limited" ran under diesel power until deteriorating economic conditions forced its retirement, with its last run on December 2, 1967, after which it was terminated. It had been in service since 1902, perhaps America"s most famous train.