The Lehigh and Hudson River Railway
Motive Power, and Roster Information
Over its lifetime, the Lehigh and Hudson rostered approximately 100
locomotives, both steam and diesel (and one short-lived 'doodlebug'
motorcar, the M1).
Prior to 1880, Erie motive power was used. This was a common practice at the
time on what
were essentially local feeder lines to the Erie mainline; they were built to the
Erie's then 6 foot gauge. The original Warwick Valley Railroad, between
Warwick and the connection to the Erie at Greycourt, was, at the time, only
one of many such roads.
Early L&HR steam power (1880 to 1916) was an assortment of conventional
rear-cab 4-4-0's, a camelback 2-6-0, a camelback 0-6-0 (2nd #15, the only pure switcher
owned by the road), a camelback 4-4-0 (#8, which according
to local legend held the speed record for an L&HR engine)
and a sizeable fleet of 4-6-0 and 2-8-0 camelbacks, similar to
contemporary Reading power.
The center-cab 4-6-0's, numbered 20 - 34, were built between 1894 and 1907 and by 1940 all were gone (three, the 23, 32, and 33, had been sold to the Middletown and Unionville over the years to become their #2, #4 and #3; the rest went to scrap).
The twenty engines of the 50 and 60 class were relatively small camelback 2-8-0's bought between late 1903 and 1908. They were very similar to contemporary Reading power (RDG class I-5a). Like the 4-6-0's most were gone by WWII, but three- the 52, 60, and 63, lasted until the end of steam. During the '40's these three were used for local switching at Franklin, Warwick, and Greycourt, and the daily east end local between Warwick and Maybrook.
In 1916 the L&HR started buying small orders of larger engines, beginning
with the four engines of the 70 class, 2-8-2's with rear cabs perched over a
wide Wooten firebox. With their long, relatively small diameter boilers
sitting over 56" drivers, they looked at best ungainly. Many have called
them ugly (I've always liked them- probably because of that).
In late 1918, four USRA light Mikados were purchased- the 80 class. Well
proportioned, powerful enough for their purpose, they served the L&HR well
until the end of steam.
The six monster 90 class 2-8-0's came in 1925 and 1927. Very similar to the
Reading's I-10's, they were among the largest Consolidation types ever built.
World War Two brought the need for more power. It also brought the War
Production Board; that meant no new designs for steam power 'for the
duration'. The result for the L&HR was the 10 class- three 4-8-2's in 1944,
virtual duplicates of the existing B&M R-4d class.
Handsome and efficient engines, they were well suited to the L&HR's needs.
In 1950, the diesels came.
Dieselisation was swift. The L&HR decided on what came to be known as the
RS-3 model 1500 horsepower road-switcher from Alco to do the job, and ordered
thirteen units. (An interesting question; why Alco? Since 1894, all steam
power had come from Baldwin. If anybody reading this has a definitive answer, I'd like to
hear from you.)
Perhaps because they were to completely replace the steam
power, they were numbered 1 to 13.
The paint sceme was reportedly developed by Alco, and seems to owe a lot to
the Pennsylvania's diesels- Dulux gold 'cat-whisker' stripes, on a Brunswick
green carbody; the design on the PRR dates back to their famous GG-1
electrics. The 'short hood' stripes (euphemistically) owe a lot to the
CNJ's road switchers.
And the L&HR's new Herald (the intersecting lightning streak would come
later) could be construed as a graphic update of the PRR's classic
Keystone emblem, representing the L&HR's capstone position as a bridge line
between southern New England and the rest of the country.
A pencilled note on the back of the last steam locomotive roster blueprint
simply says "Last trip steam engine held 12/10/50- W E Burns".
Older steam power was sold for scrap immediately.
The three 4-8-2's were held in storage for a while against a possible
future need (their numbers had been taken by the last three of the
new Alco's, so on paper
at least, they were renumbered as the 40 class, a series never previously
used). Within a year or so (less than three months, according to one
shop worker at the time), the barely broken-in steamers joined their
elders as scrap. They had seen just six years of service.
With the change from steam to diesel, the roundhouse in Warwick essentially
became redundant, along
with the coal pocket, water tanks, ash pit, and other steam support
facilities. Most of the roundhouse was rented out for storage space. The L&HR
kept a few stalls to store new track maintanace equipment, and to house
it's private car, the 'Warwick'.
A spectacular overnight fire in 1953 destroyed the roundhouse and its
contents, including the 'Warwick' (which had been maintained in pristine
condition, ready for use at any time).
The nearby shop building was converted to service the new diesels, with two
stalls used for car maintenance.
The thirteen Alco RS-3's served the L&HR well for about twenty years.
Only two, #3 and #10, were ever repainted; for the road's centennial in 1960,
these two were chosen to share duties with the Reading's 'Iron Horse Ramble'
veteran 4-8-4 steam locomotive #2124 in hauling excursion trains over the
length of the L&HR. (Two trains were run, starting in Warwick, running the
length of the line from Maybrook to Belvedere; power was swapped so that all
riders would get to ride behind the 2124.)
The two units got a new coat of Brunswick Green paint, losing their
Heralds were painted on the corners of the hoods, with the roadname on the
sides of the long hoods and the 'radio equipped' version of the herald on the
By the early sixties, the L&HR needed more power. The RS-3's (upgraded
to 1600 horsepower in the early fifties) were too few in number and power to
handle increasing traffic. Various units were leased from several sources,
including some new Reading Alco Century's.
Motive power people were impressed with the Reading's C-424's, and went back to
Alco with an order for (eventually 9) Century 420's. The first two 420's
built by Alco were the L&HR's 21 and 22; the Alco C-420 operating Manual
used a picture of the 21 on it's front cover. Numbers 21 and 22 were built in
1963, numbers 27, 28 and 29 in 1966. The 29 was the last locomotive bought
by the Lehigh and Hudson River.
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