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200px New York Central HeraldThe New York Central Railroad (reporting mark NYC) was a railroad operating in the Northeastern United States. 

In 1968 the NYC merged with its former rival, the Pennsylvania Railroad, to form Penn Central (the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad joined in 1969). That company went bankrupt in 1970 and was taken over by the federal government and merged into Conrail in 1976. Conrail was broken up in 1998, and portions of its system were transferred to the newly formed New York Central Lines LLC, a subsidiary leased to and eventually absorbed by CSX and Norfolk Southern. Those companies' lines included the original New York Central main line, but outside that area it included lines that were never part of the New York Central system. CSX was able to take one of the most important main lines in the nation, which runs from New York City and Boston to Cleveland, Ohio, as part of the Water Level Route, while Norfolk Southern gained the Cleveland, Ohio to Chicago, Illinois portion of the line called the Chicago line.

 

Freight Equipment

Specification P-18, Painting Open Top and Flat Cars, first issued December 28, 1921 indicates the following for repainting of cars:

* Shops equipped for handling F-1 black car cement, between April 1 and October 1 painted the cars BLACK. Shops NOT equipped for handling F-1 cement and ALL shops between October 1 and April 1 painted the cars freight car red/brown.

* From February 20, 1941 to June 6, 1956 they were painted freight car red/brown. New cars built built in 1956 and later were painted black.

* From about 1960 to 1968 a black paint replaced the F-1 cement and was used year round on hoppers, gondolas and flatcars. Some special service gondolas received silver paint. Some P&LE gondolas and flatcars were painted Century Green between 1960 and late 1966.

According to “NYC Color Guide to Freight and Passenger Cars” by Sweetland and Yanosey, “The box car red look became passé on the Central in the late 1958 changeover to Century (jade) green.” There are a couple of photos in the book dated 1959 that show green box cars with cigar band logos.

Heralds

Roman style "System" herald used between November 1935 and August 1955. Between November 1935 and March 1944 - the roman "System" herald had a black background. The black background officially removed from the roman "System" herald starting March 2, 1944. Reporting marks and data were Roman style. Reporting marks were 9" and car numbers were 7" on most cars.
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Gothic style "System" herald used between August 1955 and May 1959. The black herald background returned with the gothic "System" herald. (NOTE: The gothic "System" herald was also used prior to 1955 on Pacemaker boxcars and bay window cabooses. Reporting marks and data were Gothic style.. Reporting marks were 11" and car numbers were 9" on most cars.
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Cigar band style herald officially adopted at 1959 Shareholders meeting and cars started to be repainted in the Century Green scheme June 1959. Originally, boxcars painted in the Century green had black roof and ends. September 18, 1961 - the line in the reporting marks was removed. During 1963 - cars started to appear with entire car body painted Century Green and smaller herald appeared on boxcars starting in 1964. Covered hoppers and flexi-van flats were painted gray with black lettering - despite what some model companies have produced - the NYC did not paint covered hoppers Century Green. A small number of covered hoppers were painted black ( usually assigned to company sand service), but never green. It appears that Flexi-van flats never received the cigar band herald. Lots 130G and 148G cars had no heralds.
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Pacemaker Freight Service

Pacemaker cars painted starting in 1946 for service as cars were modified from regular boxcar service to high speed lightweight service. It took until 1953 before all 1000 lot 737-B cars were modified and painted for Pacemaker service.

At time of introduction in 1946, the cars were red and grey with white reporting marks.
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The reporting marks were found hard to read, so in 1948/49, they were changed to black.
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In 1955, the background of the herald was changed to black.
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Cars were renumbered in 1960 and the reporting marks returned to white.
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Diesel Locomotives

The NYC’s 4 FT’s 1600-3 delivered in 1944 were all black with vertical & horizontal nose stripes, but not a true lightning stripe. The 2 F2’s 1604-5 delivered in1946 had the same scheme.
Four E7’s were delivered 3/45 with an early version of the lightning stripe. 4000-1 were light gray with a dark gray band. 4002-3 were black with a black band. Four more E7’s 4004-7 in 10/45 were delivered with the early light gray with dark gray band scheme.
E7’s 4008-23 were delivered in 4/47 with the standard passenger lightning stripe.
F3’s 1606-1610 were delivered 6/47 with the standard lightning stripe and the gray bar ending behind the rear porthole. B-units were solid black. This appeared to be the freight scheme for other units delivered through 1948.
After that the standard freight lightning stripe scheme had the gray band extending the full length of the carbody and the band was also applied to the b-units.
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The cigar band paint scheme for locomotives appears to have been phased in from 1960 to 1962. (Another source claims 1957.)
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Cabeese

steel bay window caboose ready to run 160 73201 big  
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Further Reading

NYC Modeler ezine.