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RE: [FJGRailroad] The Black Maria

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  • Dicarlo, Gino
    Great Joe! ... From: joseph Klapkowski [mailto:riverlinejoe@hotmail.com] Sent: Wednesday, January 05, 2005 3:03 PM To: FJGRailroad@yahoogroups.com Subject: RE:
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 5, 2005
      Great Joe!

      -----Original Message-----
      From: joseph Klapkowski [mailto:riverlinejoe@...]
      Sent: Wednesday, January 05, 2005 3:03 PM
      To: FJGRailroad@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: RE: [FJGRailroad] The Black Maria

      That package went out today....................

      >From: "Dicarlo, Gino" <Gino.Dicarlo@...>
      >Reply-To: FJGRailroad@yahoogroups.com
      >To: <FJGRailroad@yahoogroups.com>
      >Subject: [FJGRailroad] The Black Maria
      >Date: Wed, 5 Jan 2005 09:28:20 -0600
      >I just found a great story about a GE Center-Cab Electric motor engine
      >on the net. It's the story of the Black Maria which was originally
      >built for the Cayadutta Electric and wound up on the NYC Troy &
      >Schenectady Branch in Niskayuna. I was looking for some info on the
      >Troy & Schenectady for my web-page when I found the article. I know
      >you'll enjoy it!
      >Engine # 1386, the "Black Maria" (pronounced "Mariah"), was the first
      >double truck direct-electric steeple cab freight locomotive ever
      >produced by General Electric Company. In 1893, the General Electric
      >Company, itself only a year old, had completed it's first electric
      >locomotive, which was a small, slow speed, four wheeled machine that
      >was intended for switching service. It was deemed a success and the
      >company accepted an order to build a second locomotive, to be larger,
      >faster and suitable for regular railway freight service. The contract
      >was with Cayadutta Electric Railway Company of Gloversville, NY, for
      >the price of $14,500. After the contract was signed and the locomotive
      >was being built, Cayadutta elected to buy two larger locomotives, but
      >requested a release from the original contract (which it received). The

      >locomotive was sold the following year in 1895 to the Taftville Cotton
      >Mill (later renamed Ponemah Mills) in Taftville CT.
      >The mill owned one and a half miles of railroad plus sidings, which
      >connected to the Norwich & Worcester, under lease to the New York & New
      >England Railroad from 1895 to 1898. The line was used to bring freight
      >into and out of the mill, as well as several small factories along the
      >way. Being a progressive company, the mill was one of the earliest to
      >use electric power. With the Norwich electric street railway near by,
      >seemed natural to have an electric locomotive and railway.
      >The locomotive was described in ELECTRICAL WORLD of September 8, 1894,
      >as being a thirty-five ton, 500 volt D.C. machine with four motors
      >designed to perform the ordinary work of a steam locomotive of similar
      >capacity, where excess speeds are not requisite, up to thirty miles per
      >hour. It has a pair of independent trucks, each having four wheels.
      >pair of wheels is driven by it's own specially designed motor of the
      >single reduction spur gear type, mounted upon the axle as in ordinary
      >street car practice.
      >The cab rests on the trucks in a manner somewhat similar to that in
      >which the ordinary passenger car is mounted, an ample margin for wear
      >and strength being provided. The cab itself is constructed of sheet
      >and windows in it are arranged as to give an almost unobstructed view
      >from on position in all directions. The design of the cab was to give
      >plenty of available floor space without making the top of the cab long
      >enough to obstruct the sight. The form of the cab also makes a
      >symmetrically shaped locomotive, which would become known as the
      >"Steeple Cab" type locomotive - with hundreds built in the years to
      >The electrical equipment comprises, besides the motors, a
      >series-parallel controller, control resistors, circuit breakers, and an
      >air compressor, which provides the air for the brakes and whistle. In
      >addition, there are the bell, headlights, and sand boxes. It's overall
      >dimensions are 24 ft. long over draw bar, 11 ft. 2in. high, and 7ft. 4
      >in. wide. Wheels are 40 inches in diameter, with a single truck
      >wheelbase of 6 feet. The draw bar pull was stated to be 14,000 pounds.
      >The motor resistors, circuit breakers, and air compressor and its tank
      >are all mounted inside the cab. The single brake cylinder is centrally
      >mounted underneath.
      >The locomotive was originally supplied with a large wooden pilot on
      >end, draw bar couplers, two large headlights, a forty-pound brass bell,
      >and whistle. It also had two trolley poles. In later years, the pilots
      >were replaced with footboards, and knuckle couplers were added. The two
      >headlights and one of the trolley poles were removed sometime during
      >seventy years of service at the mill. Those were the only changes the
      >locomotive saw on it's outside. The nickname "Black Maria", was given
      >the locomotive by the property owners of Taftville, whose front yards
      >rode through for many a year.
      >The locomotive went into service in May 1895. It was in "trouble free"
      >service for many years, with only major renovation being to update the
      >motors in 1911. The change was due to a revision in the Mill's power
      >supply. Its last trip hauling freight was August 3, 1964, bring a load
      >of starch to the mill. Its last operation under power was August 11,
      >1964, when it drove itself onto a flatbed trailer for a trip to the
      >"American Museum of Electricity" in Niskayuna, NY.
      >Engine # 1386 rode the highways of Connecticut into New York and was
      >off-loaded at the G.S.A. depot in Scotia, NY, near the General Electric
      >Facility in Schenectady, NY (the "Electric City"). It stayed within the
      >confines of the G.E. property from October 1964 until October 19, 1965.
      >On October 19, 1965, with the help of the New York Central Alco
      >switcher, the locomotive was moved from the G.S.A., along the freight
      >sidings of Schenectady and up into Niskayuna. The locomotive was
      >along with two interurban cars from the Chicago, North Shore, and
      >Milwaukee Railroad (numbers 162 and 710), on a section of track of the
      >NYC Troy-Schenectady branch where the American Museum of Electricity
      >secured property. The Museum had acquired several acres of land and
      >right-of-way along the Mohawk River in an area known to this day as
      >"Lock-7". The plan was to develop a "working" museum with a loop track
      >and erect storage and maintenance facilities at the site.
      >Unfortunately, the plans for the museum did not come to fruition. The
      >locomotive sat on the siding, along with the two interurban cars, for
      >six years. In the spring of 1971, several of the locomotive's
      >"guardians" discovered that it and the interurban cars had been
      >vandalized for copper. Several sections of copper bus bar and the
      >compressor drive motor had been removed, in addition to a section of
      >locomotive's brass handrail and it's original whistle.
      >It was decided by the American Museum of Electricity to dispose of the
      >equipment. The locomotive was offered as a donation to the Connecticut
      >Electric Railway Association, in view of the fact that they had been
      >found to have sort of a prior claim to it. The Association had
      >approached the Ponemah Mills about acquiring the locomotive well before
      >the American Museum of Electricity, and they had received a verbal
      >commitment from the Mill's former management. The Mill's later
      >management in New York City was unaware of that agreement.
      >With the help of Joseph D. Thompson, the Connecticut Electric Railway
      >received the donation of Engine # 1386, and for $400.00, purchased the
      >Ponemah Mill's line material and Locomotive "C" (now renumbered S-193).
      >The line material and Locomotive "C" were donated to the American
      >of Electricity by Ponemah Mills when they closed their electric train
      >service in 1964.
      >On October 21, 1971, Engine # 1386 was lifted off the siding tracks and
      >onto a flatbed truck by the donated services of the Albany Crane Co.
      >(courtesy of Robert White, a National Railway Historic Society member).
      >With great care and many eyes watching, the locomotive rode down
      >roads it was on six years prior, and arrived at the Connecticut
      >Railway's property the same day.
      >History by Edward J. Paprocki, October 2000.
      >Amended by William E. Wood, April 2001.
      >Mr. Ben Anthony of the "Museum of Erie GE History", in Erie, PA for an
      >article he supplied entitled "Archetype of Steeple Cabs, The Ponemah
      >Mills Electric Locomotive" by Joseph D. Thompson. The article appeared
      >in the National Railway Historical Society Bulletin number 6 in 1965.
      >Mr. William F. Heim for his photographs and copies of correspondences
      >with GE in regards to Engine # 1386.
      >Street Railway Journal - May 1895 article on "Power Source & Engine".
      >Trains Magazine - Volume 19, October 1959 - pages 24 & 25 "Meet The
      >Black Maria" by B. Thomas Walsh, and Volume 26, February 1966 - page 10
      >picture "Move To Niskayuna, NY".
      >The N.R.H.S. bulletin, Volume 37, number 15 - page 17 picture "Loading
      >The Black Maria Off The Siding At Niskayuna, NY For Trip To C.E.R".
      >Special thank you to Mr. William E. Wood, VP New England Region of the
      >National Railway Historical Society, for sharing his archives,
      >photographs, and history notes on Engine # 1386.
      >Lastly, a major thank you to Mr. Joseph D. Thompson for being the
      >primary "Guardian and Savior" of Engine # 1386. Mr. Thompson work hard
      >to protect, save and bring the locomotive to the Connecticut Electric
      >Railway Association's Museum in Connecticut.
      >Gino DiCarlo
      > > Quad/Imaging
      > > A Division of Quad/Graphics
      > >
      >Saratoga Springs, New York
      >518-581-4276 phone
      > > www.QG.com
      > >

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