York Station

York Station

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York Station was designed by William Peachey and Thomas Prosser. The station was built to accommodate trains on the York & Midland Railway and the Great Northern Railway entering York. The station was extensively enlarged in 1877.

York Station Front

A planning application has been submitted that will transform York Station Front with the removal of Queen Street Bridge and a reorganisation of the layout leading into the station.

Go to our Planning Portal to share your views on the planning application, using ref. 19/00535/FULM and 19/00542/LBC. You'll need to log in to the Portal to leave your comments.

Although the expiry dates for both planning refs have now passed, you can still submit comments if desired.

Since 1877, York Railway Station has helped to transform the city, connecting York to the wider world. Now the station and surrounding area are set to play a key role in the development of York Central, one of the largest city-centre regenerations in Europe.

We want to reorganise the awkward and confusing entrance to the railway station to:

  • keep vehicles and pedestrians apart
  • make it easier to change between modes of transport
  • create new public spaces and a more pedestrian-friendly experience
  • create an improved setting for the City Walls and other heritage buildings in the area

Artist's impression of York Station Front

A Brief History Of NYC's Grand Central Station

Grand Central Terminal is the busiest train station in the country – it’s both one of the world’s most popular tourist attractions and one of the most traveled through hubs for commuters and travelers alike. Grand Central Terminal covers 48 acres and has more platforms than any other train station in the world. It’s both a gateway for travel and a destination in itself – housing artwork, bars, and restaurants. Grand Central Terminal is an icon in NYC, an essential part of daily life for New Yorkers, and a destination for travelers from around the world.

The history of Grand Central Terminal is long, but it began around the 1800s when rail travel emerged in society. Freight and passenger rail travel was a huge part of the city’s growth, and in the 1830s, New York City’s first railroad line was constructed. More railroads were built, and as things expanded, it was clear that a hub was needed for all the railroads. Midtown was the logical choice, so in 1871, the Grand Central Depot opened. After a renovation in 1901, the name was changed to Grand Central Terminal.

In many ways, Grand Central Terminal was a symbol of wealth and power, so its design is bold. By 1900, the Terminal’s structure struggled to keep up with the growing traffic electrical trains were becoming more prominent over steam engines, and it was clear that change was needed. In 1903, a design competition was held for a new architect, and the firm Reed & Stem won. And though Reed & Stem had many new plans, there were concerns that these plans wouldn’t emphasize grandeur and elegance, so another firm, Warren & Wetmore, was hired and proposed a grand façade with giant archways.

The results were truly stunning. A Parisian artist was brought in, adding bronze and stone carvings, marble on the floor and walls, and sculptures of Mercury And Hercules, which adorned the 42nd Street façade. Further, there were amenities such as a shoe shine room, an oak-floored waiting room for women, and a barber shop, and from the beginning, it was defined as a ‘tourist-friendly place’ where travelers could ask questions and receive excellent service.

And as train travel grew, Grand Central Terminal grew along with it. More tracks were built deeper underground, and an electrical sub-station was built on 50th Street to power the entire terminal. The huge amount of tracks required the largest transportation control system ever built at the time, and the Terminal was truly the first of its kind in its size and efficiency.

But still, luxury and prestige dominated in its early years. From 1902 to 1967, passengers boarding the train from New York to Chicago would have a red carpet sprawled out for them to walk on. Red Caps would carry your luggage into the station, and dining cars served elaborate meals. By the 1950s, however, air travel and highway travel grew while luxury train travel declined, and Grand Central Terminal primarily became a commuter train station. Slowly but surely the luxury died out, and Grand Central gradually became the commuter hub it’s known as today.

When the Old Penn Station Was Demolished, New York Lost Its Faith

One of Penn Station&rsquos 22 famous eagles being removed from the building&rsquos one remaining facade. The statues ended up in far-flung places like the New Jersey Botanical Garden and on the roof of Cooper Union. July 12, 1966. Credit. Jack Manning/The New York Times

There was a time when New York City had the gateway it deserved.

Demolished more than half a century ago, the former Pennsylvania Station by McKim, Mead & White was hardly the first great building in town to face the wrecking ball. The Lenox Library by Richard Morris Hunt and the old Waldorf-Astoria by Henry Hardenbergh on Fifth Avenue also came down. For generations, New Yorkers embraced the mantra of change, assuming that what replaced a beloved building would probably be as good or better.

The Frick mansion, by Carrère and Hastings, replaced the Lenox Library. The Empire State Building replaced the old Waldorf.

Then, a lot of bad Modern architecture, amid other signs of postwar decline, flipped the optimistic narrative.

When Penn Station became during the mid-1960s a subterranean rat’s maze, the city seemed to be heading very definitely south. The historic preservation movement, which rose from the vandalized station’s ashes, was born of a new pessimism.


People today forget that the original station’s construction, shortly after the turn of the last century, caused its own tumult. Several midtown blocks needed to be leveled, which meant displacing thousands of residents from the largely African-American community in what was once known as the Tenderloin district in Manhattan. The emptied lot, awaiting McKim’s masterpiece, now looks almost comically vast in photographs.

The building that opened in 1910 — its concourse longer than the nave of St. Peter’s in Rome, its creamy travertine quarried, like the ancient Colosseum’s, from Tivoli, its ceiling 138 feet high, its grand staircase nearly as wide as a basketball court — was a “beautiful Beaux Arts fortress,” as the architect Vishaan Chakrabarti has put it.

Grand Central Terminal, at Park Avenue, by the architects Warren and Wetmore, created a bustling new urban hub intricately woven into the fabric of the surrounding streets. By contrast, Penn Station had its fancy portes cochères for the railroad’s well-heeled customers, and 84 huge, somber Doric columns, with 22 roosting eagles guarding the entrances.

Inside and out, the building was meant to be uplifting and monumental — like the Parthenon on steroids — its train shed and waiting room a skylit symphony of almost overwhelming civic nobility, announcing the entrance to a modern metropolis.

With its swarming crowds and dust motes dancing in shafts of smoky light, the station was catnip to midcentury photographers, filmmakers, artists and architects. It was the architectural embodiment of New York’s vaulted ambition and open arms.

Alas, by the Depression, the building had already begun to decline, and by the mid-1950s, the Pennsylvania Railroad was bleeding money — a victim of cars, planes and general urban decline. Interstate highways and commercial air travel, buoyed by lavish government subsidies, were taking a toll on train ridership. Once bright and gleaming outside, the station, which cost a fortune to maintain, was now increasingly grimy, like the streets around it. Shops were shuttering where businessmen who missed the 5:45 to Trenton used to pick up chocolates for their wives.

36 comments on &ldquo 100 years of station master memories &rdquo

hi Sally im Gary, could you tell me if the Mallard was ever used in transporting troop during the 2nd world war

the reason I ask was my father was in the Durham light infantry and he had a model of the Mallard

I was very interested in the article by Mohammed Ayub who I remember as a great ASM to work with at Liverpool Street. Fond memories indeed Jock,I do hope you’re well.
Best wishes
Jerry Panter

Hi Jerry
Thanks very much for your comment.
Dad was glad to see that he’s still remembered.
Dad would love to hear from you.
Best regards

Hello Jock and Jerry. Have fond memories of working with you both, I was a box lad in the Liverpool street signal box in 1977/78.
Steve Webb

HI SAlly can you please tell me how I can find any information on my grandfather who was a station master at Lime street station around 1920/1930, his name was Wright Higginson.
kind regards Ray Oliver

I can’t find any information on my Great Grandfather John Thomas Godfrey who was station master at Ingoldstone in 1860. Any suggestions?

Hi Gary did the train to York run from Darlington to
North road and. On to York station in the 50s/60s I remember going to Great Yarmouth from Darlington to York then changing trains at York to Great Yarmouth

Hi has anybody information re Station Master of Maud, Aberdeenshire named Dyer. Regards

Hi, I’m trying to find out if a family story is true. My great grandfather John Joseph Gerard who was born in 1858 was an engine driver, I have a photograph of him in his uniform. It is thought that he became the Station Master at Lime Steeet Station, Liverpool. Is there a list of former Station masters that I could refer to?

Hi I’m trying to track a photo of my late grandfather who was staion master at Newcastle and Darlington stations in the 1950’s and 1960’s. The picture is on the platform with Sir Winston Churchill, my grandfather was George Renton, hoping someone can help

any info on samuel cott station master of st pancras 1940 and then chairman of british rail northern

Looking for when a relative of mine was station master at Kings Cross.
Somewhere between 1960 and 1966 approx, his name was EW Allen.

Are there any photographs of Oakley station in Bedfordshire existing from the 1950 s and who were the staff there

Looking for a picture of my father who delivered stores from st pancras to kidbrooke in 1940s ,his name was Thomas james pyne ,known as jim . his father also worked on the railway before, had same name as my father

I’m trying to get information on a Robert Gilmour ,who I believe was the last stationmaster at Derby station , and I believe he was at Luton before Derby ,I have newspaper clippings of when he got the job in Derby ,also a photo of him meeting prince Philip at Derby ,I’m not a relation but was left these items in a will , not sure if they would be of any use to anyone ,

I am the grandson of Leonard Mumford. Len was first a signalman at Waterloo, beginning his service in 1909 with the LSWR and subsequently became Assistant Station Master in 1944, having previously received the BEM in recognition of his bravery and conduct at Waterloo during the Blitz,

I have recently retired and I am researching an article I am writing about Len’s railway career which concluded in 1959, when he retired from the post of station master at Holborn Viaduct, Blackfriars and Elephant & Castle stations. I have been trying to obtain information about the long-serving station master at Waterloo during the 1940s. I know his surname is Greenfield: indeed I have a letter he wrote to my grandfather and a signed photograph of Mr Greenfield wearing his dress coat and top hat. He has signed the photograph in “Southern Railway” green ink.

His letter to my grandfather says he began working at Waterloo in 1925, but I can find no other references to him. I would be grateful to receive any information you might hold about Mr Greenfield, or advice as to where I might direct my research.

I have just discovered that an old wooden cuban cigar box, which my nana kept some jewellery, medals etc. in, has some writing underneath the thin wooden cover ‘sheet’. It reads: ‘Given to Euston Station Master Xmas 1920’. How can I find out who that might have been? Any ideas?

I am the grandson of Harry Nichols who at the time was the youngest person to be promoted to the position of Station Master Great Western Railway. I believe this to have been just after the first world war.
He was in charge of Maidenhead, Taplow and Wantage.
His birth certificate shows that he was born in Ipswich Suffolk in the eighteen hundreds. which of course is the area of The Great Eastern Railway.
I have no idea how or when he joined the Great Western.
I have a photo of him in uniform which was taken in the garden of the railway house at Maidenhead.

I am looking for any records of three generations of Atkinson who were station masters in Yorkshire. The last at at Saltmarshe and one at Pately Bridge. One also started as a signal man on Goole Swing Bridge

Details of senior station staff were often included in local directories. These were the ‘Yellow Pages’ of the day, giving information about towns, cities, and the trades therein They give the name of the station master, freight manager, and others.
Many Directories have been digitised and uploaded to the Internet- Google for details.
Hope this helps,

I am researching an ancestor Edward Scott Pond on the marriage certificate where he is the father of the bride, he lists his occupation as ‘Station Master’ this was 26 June 1860. I would like to find a roll if there is such a thing and find out what Station he was located at if possible.

I believe a mr bill tagg was the youngest stationmaster either in Staffordshire or in the country he was stationmaster at gnosall in the 1950s

Dear Sally, in 1967 my family and I arrived in Liverpool Lime Street station from London very late. We had earlier in the day stepped off a plane from Lagos in Nigeria ( Homeless and British evacuees from Biafra.) It was a weekend and we only had Nigerian money that was no longer valid and banks were closed.
I was due to have our fifth child within three weeks and the other children were ages:years – 10/8/5/2. In addition my husband was unwell, struggling with a back injury. I would appreciate being able to identify the platform where we all sat on a seat whether outside or inside the station and where a Liverpool Policeman – beautiful man came and rescued us and put us in a hotel room overnight and we were then taken to a hostel where husbands were not allowed to stay. Any historical references such as images: of the platform regulations procedures would be deeply appreciated.

My great grand father was station master at St Pancras sometime from 1830 on. Does anyone know where to look at records. His name was John James Rogers.

My late great grandfather, Arthur John Tilley was a Station Master at the Desford Station in 1911, which is in Leicestershire. Before that, the Railway Employment records record him as being recruited on 22 June 1894 to work at the Little Eaton station in Derbyshire on the Midland Railway line.
I don’t know anymore about his work other than the above facts, so I would love to know more details if anybody can help me please? He was born in 1872 in Stanion, Northamptonshire..
Many thanks!

Hi Sally, My Grt, Grt, grandfather was a Stationmaster at Shoreditch in the 1840’s, until that station changed to Bishopsgate, c1850. Can you help me, as to where I look to find his records. I have discovered many article about him in the
“British Newspapers”..he’s my brick wall!! Many thanks…

i am trying to find any details of my father william wilson train driver from polmadie engine sheds .for a time he was acting station master at glasgow central . he was on the milage runs down south .was on trials wit d10000and d10001 in scotland .ended his career at railway school training steam engine drivers to learn about diesals .any info would be greatly appreciated

Does anyone have any information about a distant relative of mine, William Sangster (1845-1918) who was described as a retired stationmaster on his death certificate. His address in 1918 was given as Dun Mill, Dun and he lived in Dun in 1911, so I’m guessing he was stationmaster at Bridge of Dun which is very close. He was married three times all his wives were called Margaret which must have avoided embarrassing slips of the tongue.

Hi I’m the daughter of Robert Phillips.he was station manager at Glasgow Central in the 70’s.have you got any info.thanks

I would like to find out when my great great uncle was stationmaster at Temple Meads station.His surname was Harding and I think it would have been early in the 20th century.I don’t know his Christian name but his wife was Lucy.Thank you in anticipation Valerie Cole

My grandfather was the last stationmaster at abbeyleix station county laoise in eire.
His name was Thomas hogan.

I understand that my great grandfather by the name of something like Viles may have been stationmaster at Kings Cross in the late 1800’s. Is there anyway to check this.

Have you a list of the stationmasters at Kings Cross from say 1890 to1920 . I am looking for a name something like Vialls.

Hello My Nan was Called Ivy Turner she worked on the platform at Vauxhall station London guessing 1970. She was a real character she was about 4ft 5 blonde hair always worn in a bun or plats. I remember someone called Kenny working there around the same time.Would be great if anyone remembers her.

Roland Spencer ,possibly stationmaster at Crewe was my great uncle. Any information would be appreciated.

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The Ashland Place Connection

The Ashland Place Connection was not a project that was planned by the Independent. In fact, it wasn't even in John Hylan's first proposal. But it was planned by the BMT, and with John Hylan in office, any construction and expansion by any private rapid transit operator would be prohibited. The BMT was willing to fund and build this connection itself, but would not because the City would not complete the eastern portion of the BMT 14th Street / Eastern Line (today's Canarsie Line) and the Nassau Street Loop. This project was likewise affected, and had it ever seen the light of day, the subway as we know it today would have been very different. There may have been another elevated line in Brooklyn today called the Fulton Street El.

The Ashland Place connection was a proposed linkup between the BMT Fulton Street El and the BMT 4th Avenue subway at Ashland Place. It would have alleviated some of the congestion of the BMT Southern Division through DeKalb Avenue in 1924, the BMT Brighton, Culver and West End Els, as well as the Sea Beach Line and 4th Avenue Subway, all sent their 16 tracks into DeKalb Avenue. But only six tracks would come out -- two via the Montague Street tunnel to the BMT Broadway subway and four over the Manhattan Bridge -- two to the BMT Broadway Subway at Canal Street and two to the Centre Street Loop, terminating at Chambers Street. The BMT anticipated the City constructing the Nassau Street Loop, which would have eliminated the bottleneck at Chambers Street (and, therefore, DeKalb Avenue), increasing throughput by allowing additional trains to run into Broad Street. Since this wasn't happening, there would be no way that the BMT would built yet another feeder line into an already saturated section of the subway. Portions of the Fulton El were strengthened in anticipation of this connection being built, but it never happened. Had it seen the light of day, there may have been a three track elevated line along Fulton Street, or at the very least, some connection between the BMT and the Independent (as the IND Division of the NYC Transit System) at DeKalb Avenue.

Two relatively modern footnotes to this story:

  • In 1968, the New York City Transit Authority opened the Chrystie Street connection, discussed further below in the history of the IND. Not only was it intended to unify the BMT and IND divisions, it was also meant to alleviate the same congestion the BMT was trying to address back in 1924.
  • DeKalb Avenue (and the Manhattan Bridge) continues to be a source of congestion for riders of the BMT Southern Division, the Chrystie Street connection notwithstanding, to this very day.

Understand [ edit ]

York was known as Eboracum by the Romans, who founded the fortress city on the River Ouse in the year 71. York was home first to the Ninth Legion and later the Sixth. York quickly became one of the most important cities in Roman Britain, and after 211 became the capital of the province Britannia Inferior. Constantine the Great—later responsible for making Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire—was first proclaimed Emperor in the city.

After the Romans York was taken by the Angles and was renamed Eoforwic c. 400AD.

Captured by the Vikings 866, the city quickly took on a new identity as Jorvik (pronounced "Yor-vik") and experienced a major urban revival as a centre of Viking trade and settlement in northern England. The Coppergate excavations of the 1970s revealed much of this Viking past. Most of the streets were given names ending in -gate, which are retained today, just as you will find in towns in Denmark and Sweden.

After the Norman Conquest, York became the second city of England, and kings often moved their court here while campaigning against Scotland. King Richard III had a special connection with the city and although portrayed as a villain by Shakespeare, many locals will tell you that it's all Tudor Propaganda. During the Georgian era, York's racecourse attracted the rich and influential from around the country, which meant in turn that the city was saved from the worst ravages of the industrial revolution - the factory and mill owners didn't want to pollute their "playground".

Industry finally came to York with the arrival of the railways in the 1830s, and owing to its strategic position approximately halfway between London and Edinburgh on the East Coast Main Line, the city became a major headquarters, junction and works for the railways, a role which it continues to this day. The other major industry of the city was confectionery the Rowntree's works, now owned by Nestlé, is the only one still producing but a delicious chocolatey smell still wafts through the city when the wind is in the right direction.

Ellis Island Timeline

Ellis Island is little more than a spit of sand in the Hudson River, located just south of Manhattan. The Mohegan Indians who lived on the nearby shores call the island Kioshk, or Gull Island. In 1630, the Dutch acquired the island and gifted it to a certain Michael Paauw, who called it Oyster Island for the plentiful amounts of shellfish on its beaches.਍uring the 1760s, it is known as Gibbet Island, for its gibbet, or gallows tree, used to hang men convicted of piracy.

Around the time of the Revolutionary War, the New York merchant Samuel Ellis purchases the island, and builds a tavern on it that caters to local fishermen.

Ellis dies in 1794, and in 1808 New York State buys the island for $10,000. The U.S. War Department pays the state for the right to use Ellis Island to build military fortifications and store ammunition, beginning during the War of 1812. Half a century later, Ellis Island is used as a munitions arsenal for the Union army during the Civil War.

Meanwhile, the first federal immigration law, the Naturalization Act, is passed in 1790 it allows all white males living in the U.S. for two years to become citizens. There is little regulation of immigration when the first great wave begins in 1814.

Nearly 5 million people will arrive from northern and western Europe over the next 45 years. Castle Garden, one of the first state-run immigration depots, opens at the Battery in lower Manhattan in 1855. The Potato Famine that strikes Ireland (1845-52) leads to the immigration of over 1 million Irish alone in the next decade.

Concurrently, large numbers of Germans flee political and economic unrest. Rapid settlement of the West begins with the passing of the Homestead Act in 1862. Attracted by the opportunity to own land, more Europeans begin to immigrate.

After the Civil War, Ellis Island stands vacant, until the government decides to replace the New York immigration station at Castle Garden, which closes in 1890. Control of immigration is turned over to the federal government, and $75,000 is appropriated for construction of the first federal immigration station on Ellis Island.

Artesian wells are dug and the island’s size is doubled to over six acres, with landfill created from incoming ships’ ballast and the excavation of subway tunnels in New York.

Beginning in 1875, the United States forbids prostitutes and criminals from entering the country. The Chinese Exclusion Act is passed in 1882. Also restricted are “lunatics” and “idiots.”

The first Ellis Island Immigration Station officially opens on January 1, 1892, as three large ships wait to land. Seven hundred immigrants passed through Ellis Island that day, and nearly 450,000 followed over the course of that first year.

Over the next five decades, more than 12 million people will pass through the island on their way into the United States.

On June 15, 1897, with 200 immigrants on the island, a fire breaks out in one of the towers in the main building and the roof collapses. Though no one is killed, all Ellis Island records dating back to 1840 and the Castle Garden era are destroyed. The immigration station is relocated to the barge office in Manhattan’s Battery Park.

The new fireproof facility is officially opened in December 1900, and 2,251 people pass through on opening day. To prevent a similar situation from occurring again, President Theodore Roosevelt appoints a new commissioner of immigration, William Williams, who cleans house on Ellis Island beginning in 1902 by overhauling operations and facilities.

To eliminate corruption and abuse, Williams awards contracts based on merit and announces contracts will be revoked if any dishonesty is suspected. He imposes penalties for any violation of this rule and posts “Kindness and Consideration” signs as reminders to workers.

To create additional space at Ellis Island, two new islands are created using landfill. Island Two houses the hospital administration and psychiatric ward, while Island Three holds the contagious diseases ward.

By 1906, Ellis Island has grown to more than 27 acres, from an original size of only three acres.

Anarchists are denied admittance into the United States as of 1903. On April 17, 1907, an all-time daily high of 11,747 immigrants received is reached that year, Ellis Island experiences its highest number of immigrants received in a single year, with 1,004,756 arrivals.

A federal law is passed excluding persons with physical and mental disabilities, as well as children arriving without adults.

World War I begins in 1914, and Ellis Island experiences a sharp decline in receiving immigrants: From 178,416 in 1915, the total drops to 28,867 in 1918.

Anti-immigrant sentiment increases after the U.S. enters the war in 1917 German citizens seized on ships in East Coast ports are interned at Ellis Island before being deported.

Starting in 1917, Ellis Island operates as a hospital for the U.S. Army, a way station for Navy personnel and a detention center for enemy aliens. By 1918, the Army takes over most of Ellis Island and creates a makeshift way station to treat sick and wounded American servicemen.

The literacy test is introduced at this time, and stays on the books until 1952. Those over the age of 16 who cannot read 30 to 40 test words in their native language are no longer admitted through Ellis Island. Nearly all Asian immigrants are banned.

At war’s end, a “Red Scare” grips America in reaction to the Russian Revolution. Ellis Island is used to intern immigrant radicals accused of subversive activity many of them are deported.

President Warren G. Harding signs the Emergency Quota Act into law in 1921. According to the new law, annual immigration from any country cannot exceed 3 percent of the total number of U.S. immigrants from that same country, as recorded in the U.S. Census of 1910.

The Immigration Act of 1924 goes even further, setting strict quotas for immigrants based on country of origin, including an annual limit of 165,000 immigrants from outside the Western Hemisphere.

The buildings on Ellis Island begin to fall into neglect and abandonment. America is experiencing the end of mass immigration. By 1932, the Great Depression has taken hold in the U.S., and for the first time more people leave the country than arrive.

By 1949, the U.S. Coast Guard has taken over most of Ellis Island, using it for office and storage space. The passage of the Internal Security Act of 1950 excludes arriving immigrants with previous links to communist and fascist organizations. With this, Ellis Island experiences a brief resurgence in activity. Renovations and repairs are made in an effort to accommodate detainees, who sometimes number 1,500 at a time.

The Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1952 (also known as the McCarran–Walter Act), combined with a liberalized detention policy, causes the number of detainees on the island to plummet to fewer than 30 people.

All 33 structures on Ellis Island are officially closed in November 1954.

In March 1955, the federal government declares the island surplus property it is subsequently placed under the jurisdiction of the General Services Administration.

In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson issues Proclamation 3656, according to which Ellis Island falls under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service as part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument.

Also in 1965, President Johnson signs the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965, also known as the Hart-Celler Act, which abolishes the earlier quota system based on national origin and establishes the foundations for modern U.S. immigration law.

The act allows more individuals from third-world countries to enter the U.S. (including Asians, who have in the past been barred from entry) and establishes a separate quota for refugees.

Ellis Island opens to the public in 1976, featuring hour-long guided tours of the Main Arrivals Building. During this year, more than 50,000 people visit the island.

In 1982, at the request of President Ronald Reagan, Lee Iacocca of the Chrysler Corporation heads the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation to raise funds from private investors for the restoration and preservation of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.

By 1984, when the restoration begins, the annual number of visitors to Ellis Island has reached 70,000. The $156 million dollar restoration of Ellis Island’s Main Arrivals Building is completed and re-opened to the public in 1990, two years ahead of schedule.

The Main Building houses the new Ellis Island Immigration Museum, in which many of the rooms have been restored to the way they appeared during the island’s peak years. Since 1990, some 30 million visitors have visited Ellis Island to trace the steps of their ancestors.

Meanwhile, immigration into the United States continues, mostly by land routes through Canada and Mexico. Illegal immigration becomes a constant source of political debate throughout the 1980s and 1990s. More than 3 million aliens receive amnesty through the Immigration Reform Act in 1986, but an economic recession in the early 1990s is accompanied by a resurgence of anti-immigrant feeling.

In 1998, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that New Jersey has authority over the south side of Ellis Island, or the section composed of the landfill added since the 1850s. New York retains authority over the island’s original 3.5 acres, which includes the bulk of the Main Arrivals Building.

The policies put into effect by the Immigration Act of 1965 have greatly changed the face of the American population by the end of the 20th century. Whereas in the 1950s, more than half of all immigrants were Europeans and just 6 percent were Asians, by the 1990s only 16 percent are Europeans and 31 percent are Asians, and the percentages of Latino and African immigrants also jump significantly.

Between 1965 and 2000, the highest number of immigrants (4.3 million) to the U.S. comes from Mexico 1.4 million are from the Philippines. Korea, the Dominican Republic, India, Cuba and Vietnam are also leading sources of immigrants, each sending between 700,000 and 800,000 over this period.

The American Family Immigration History Center (AFIHC) opens on Ellis Island in 2001. The center allows visitors to search through millions of immigrant arrival records for information on individual people who passed through Ellis Island on their way into the United States.

The records include the original manifests, given to passengers onboard ships and showing names and other information, as well as information about the history and background of the ships that arrived in New York Harbor bearing hopeful immigrants to the New World.

Debates continue over how America should confront the effects of soaring immigration rates throughout the 1990s. In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Homeland Security Act of 2002 creates the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which takes over many immigration service and enforcement functions formerly performed by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).

In 2008, plans are announced for an expansion of the Ellis Island Immigration Museum called “The Peopling of America,” which opened to the public on May 20, 2015. The museum’s exploration of the Ellis Island era (1892-1954) was expanded to include the entire American immigration experience up to the present day.

Station information


Staffing level

Cash Machines

Baby Changing


Self-Service Fastticket


Step Free Access

This station has step free access to all platforms.

This station is a category A station according to the Office of Rail and Road station classification system https://www.orr.gov.uk/media/10955.

Lifts and level access to all platforms. Lift available from station concourse (platform 3) to platforms 5 -11. Customer assistance available 'Call for Aid' button by taxi rank at front of station. No level access to National Rail Museum via platforms 10/11, exit at front of station and around Station Hotel.

Accessible Ticket Machines

Accessible machines are available on the main concourse

Accessible Booking Office Counter

DDA compliant counter is available during Travel Centre opening times

Staff Help Available

Opening hours

Assistance meeting point is Customer Information Point in main concourse

Seated Area

Customer Help Points

Located at the front of the Station

Waiting Room

Opening hours

This station has heated waiting rooms available. Seating is available at an accessible height in the waiting room and on platforms

The Modern New York Central System, Into The 20th Century

Although not quite as large as rival Pennsylvania the NYC was a formidable competitor and recognized as one of the country's elite railroads.  It operated a network of more than 10,000 miles and served nine states as well as southern Ontario and Montreal, Quebec.  

It upgraded most of its lines around New York with third-rail, electrification for safer and more efficient operations (it also utilized electrification around Cleveland and Buffalo/Niagara Falls), expanded its "Water Level Route" to four tracks from New York to Buffalo, utilized double-tracking on most key routes, and maintained a robust passenger/commuter fleet.  

The NYC weathered the onslaught of traffic during World War I and the government's mismanagement under the United States Railway Association (USRA) at that time.  It also managed to escape the Great Depression without falling into bankruptcy although the system had fallen onto hard times.  

While the Central had a large and exquisite passenger fleet its flagship was without doubt the New York-Chicago 20th Century Limited. Arguably the most regal passenger train ever created the Limited was adorned in grays, silvers, and whites while ushering in the Art Deco era of interior design.  

It was streamlined in 1938 (and one could only hope to find a seat on the Limited, let alone afford a ticket!) and powered by handsome 4-6-4 (J-3a) Hudsons, stylized by Henry Dreyfuss.  

The New York Central System is remembered for many things but perhaps the railroad’s crowning achievement was its Grand Central Terminal located in downtown New York City.

Opened in 1913, three years after the Pennsy opened Penn Station, GCT replaced the earlier Grand Central Station.  The new terminal held an impressive 48-track yard below ground to accommodate both commuter and long-distance services.  It was beautifully adorned inside and out (as only the Vanderbilt family would allow), and served NYC trains until the end.

Today, it thankfully still stands and not only continues to haul commuters but is also a National Historic Landmark and one of New York’s popular tourist attractions.

A pair of New York Central F3A's (only a few months old) showcase new Merchants Despatch Transportation reefers in a publicity photo taken near Churchville, New York in October of 1947. Ed Nowak photo.

The Central rebounded well during World War II and felt so good about its future prospects that it ordered 420 new lightweight, streamlined cars in 1945 to overhaul its passenger fleet.  This was in addition to 300 cars it had already ordered only a year earlier.  

Mr. Schafer and Mr. Solomon point out in their book that the combined purchase (720 cars) was the largest single order, ever, for any American railroad. ਊlas, as the industry soon realized the wartime traffic boon was but a mirage. ਋y the early 1950s, as traffic sank the Central was nearly bankrupt and its rival was in far worse shape.  

In a poignant sign of the times, the PRR lost money for the first time ever in 1946 and continued to spiral through the following decade.  

The NYC's fortunes soon turned when Alfred Perlman was elected president. Under his guidance the railroad began an aggressive campaign to upgrade the property, modernize the network, and cut costs as effectively as possible. 

In doing so, he completely dieselized the locomotive fleet, built new classification yards, and introduced new innovative marketing schemes such as Flexi-Van service (the trains themselves were known as Super Vans), an idea far ahead of its time, which was the first successful application of Container-On-Flat-Car service (or COFC).  

Penn Central And The Formation Of Conrail

According to Rush Loving, Jr.'s book, "The Men Who Loved Trains," Perlman and the railroad's culture was laid back where ideas and open discussion freely flowed to solve problems, which greatly aided in getting the company back onto its feet.  

Still, despite Perlman's efforts the NYC's future remained uncertain as an independent carrier.  The merger movement was stirring as systems attempted to cut costs and streamline operations in the face of declining traffic and strict government regulations.  

The Norfolk & Western had acquired rival Virginian in 1959, the Erie/Delaware, Lackawanna & Western merged in 1960 to form Erie Lackawanna, and Chesapeake & Ohio was eyeing the Baltimore & Ohio.

It was during this time that the longtime rivals began exploring the idea of merger, despite Perlman’s protests to find a more logical partner.

In the end and despite a long search it was eventually decided a merger with the PRR was the only option. Surprisingly the ICC approved the union that virtually gave the ill-fated Penn Central Transportation Company a monopoly in the Northeast.  

The new conglomerate was born on February 1, 1968.  On merger day chaos ensued and the new railroad literally fell apart right from the start.  To make matters worse the NYC and PRR could not have had more opposite corporate cultures.

The NYC and PRR folks did not care for one another, magnified by the latter's arrogance.  The Pennsy had always maintained a militaristic structure.  

Their corporate attitude was one of adherence and knowing one's place in the chain of command it was extremely strict, new ideas were shunned, and orders came down from higher ups.

Mr. Loving points out in his book that no other railroad within the industry was disliked as much as the PRR.  Naturally, as these two teams failed to work together, pure hell and pandemonium resulted.

Another Ragan piece featuring the famous, steam-powered "20th Century Limited." This one was showcased in the 1942 calendar.

The PC was losing over $1 million a day and trains were becoming lost throughout the system, as personnel were not properly trained on how to dispatch their trains.

In addition, because the merger had been so hastily planned there had never been a true system established to route and monitor movements.  

As the red ink became an unstoppable flash flood maintenance was deferred and derailments became the norm with large sections of main line reduced to 10 mph slow orders.  

After only two years of operations and financial assistance completely gone, the destitute Penn Central officially declared bankruptcy on June 21, 1970 shocking the financial world.  

When PC was formed the Pennsylvania had technically acquired the Central and despite its financial problems at the time the PRR maintained a stellar credit rating and view throughout Wall Street.  It was a gold-plated corporation with a long history of success.  Nobody, especially the PRR folks, believed it could fail.  

The result of the bankruptcy was also a ripple effect throughout the entire Northeast as other teetering railroads, which depended on the PC to interchange traffic, struggled to keep their freight moving.  It became so bad by the mid-1970s that the Penn Central was facing total shutdown if financial assistance, any means of help at all, did not arrive.

New York Central Diesel Locomotive Roster

The American Locomotive Company

Model Type Road Number Date Built Quantity
S1811-873, 950-9571941-195071
RS38223-8352, 8353-8357 (P&LE)1950-1953135
S28500-8536, 8537-8549 (P&LE), 8550-85891943-195090
S48590-8632, 8633-8667 (P&LE)1952-195378

Model Type Road Number Date Built Quantity
VO-660501-502, 752-7611942-194512
DR-6-4-1500 (A)3200-32031947-19484
DR-6-4-1500 (B)3300-33011947-19482
DR-4-4-1500 (A)3400-340319484
DR-4-4-1500 (B)3700-370119482
LS-10008400-8405 (CR&I)19496
LS-12008406-8411 (CR&I)19516
LS-8009800-9820 (CR&I)195121

Electro-Motive Corporation/Electro-Motive Division

Model Type Road Number Date Built Quantity
SC604-610 (CR&I)19367
SW1574-654, 610-621 (CR&I)1939-195093
F3A1606-1635, 3500-35031947-194834
F3B2404-2419, 3600-36011947-194818
GP75600-5611, 5612-5625 (P&E), 5626-5675, 5676-5685 (P&LE), 5686-5712, 5713-5737 (P&LE), 5738-58171950-1953218
GP95900-5903 (CUT), 5904-6028, 6041-60751954-1957164
NW28700-8704, 8705-8714 (P&LE), 8740-8749 (P&LE), 8750-8773, 8803-8810, 8880-88971946-195075
SW89600-9601 (CR&I), 9602-96271950-195328
SW9009628-9630 (CUT), 9631-96461954-195519

Model Type Road Number Date Built Quantity
Erie-Built (A)4400-4405, 5000-50051947-194912
CFA24-5 (C-Liner)4500-450719528
CFA20-4 (C-Liner)5006-5017195012
Erie-Built (B)5100-51011948-19492
CFB20-4 (C-Liner)5102-510419503
CFA16-4 (C-Liner)6600-660719528
CFB16-4 (C-Liner)6900-690319524
H10-449100-9103 (P&LE), 9104-91101946-195011

Model Type Road Number Date Built Quantity
U28B2800-2821 (P&LE), 2822-2823196624

New York Central Steam Locomotive Roster

Class Type Wheel Arrangement
A-1 (Various), A-2Berkshire2-8-4
A-3, A-4, A-30, A-60, A-61Switcher0-4-0
B Through B-105 (Various)Switcher0-6-0/T
C Through C-106 (Various)American4-4-0
D Through D-2b, J/aSaddle Tank2-4-4T, 2-6-6T, 4-6-6T
E-1b Through E-65 (Various)Mogul2-6-0
F-1 Through F-105 (Various)Ten-Wheeler4-6-0
G-1 Through G-104 (Various)Consolidation2-8-0
H Through H-3 (Various), H-30Twelve-Wheeler4-8-0
H-5 Through H-10b (Various)Mikado2-8-2
HS-1a, S-1a/b, S-2aNiagara4-8-4
I Through I-100a (Various)Atlantic4-4-2
J-1 Through J-3 (Various)Hudson4-6-4
J-40, J-41Prairie2-6-2
K Through K-80 (Various)Pacific4-6-2
L-1 Through L-4 (Various)Mohawk4-8-2
M, M-1 (Various)Switcher0-10-0
NE-1, NE-2/a/dArticulated2-6-6-2
U-1b Through U-61 (Various)Switcher0-8-0
Z-1Santa Fe2-10-2
A former New York Central E8A leads Penn Central's "Empire Service," Train #80, which is boarding at Hudson, New York on September 2, 1968. Roger Puta photo.

Realizing the severity of the situation the federal government stepped in and setup the Consolidated Rail Corporation, which comprised the skeletons of several bankrupt Northeastern carriers, and began operations on April 1, 1976. 

With federal backing Conrail began to slowly pull out of the red ink (it took many years) and by the 1980s was a profitable railroad after thousands of miles of excess trackage (and sometimes perhaps not so excess when compared to today’s boom of the industry) was abandoned and/or upgraded.  

Today, even Conrail is no longer with us having been split up amongst CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern in 1999, with CSX taking much of the NYC while NS got a good chunk of the Pennsy.

In any event many parts of the railroad continue to serve an important role in moving goods (and people) from eastern markets to the Midwest and vice versa (such as its main line Water Level Route).

Watch the video: York Railway Station Announcements


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