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The New York, West Shore, And Buffalo...

...The West Shore Railroad

The beginning of the construction of this railroad up the west side or right bank of the Hudson river in the fall of 1881 precipitated rejuvenation of the South Pennsylvania Railroad by the Vanderbilts.

The New York Central was already in a rate war with the Pennsylvania between New York and Chicago, so the New York, West shore and buffalo in order to get part of the pie endeavored to cut rates even further, which eventually led to its bankruptcy. But not before having been so enraged President William H. Vanderbilt of the New York Central to such an extend that he swore that he would get even with the Pennsylvania Railroad whom he blamed, along with George Pullman, for creating the New York, West Shore, and Buffalo Railroad. Vanderbilt, had in fact, banned all of Pullman's parlors and sleeping cars on the New York Central and affiliated lines in favor of he (Vanderbiltís) Wagner Palace Cars. Hence, "the fat was in the fire" on more the one account.

In the Railroad Gazette of June 12, 1885, page 381, we read:

"It is reported that Mr. A.J. Cassat, formerly vice-president of the Pennsylvania Railroad Co., has been offered the position of Receiver of the New York, West Shore, and Buffalo road. It is stated that Mr. Cassatt has not yet accepted or declined the position, although he has gone so far as to make certain condition upon which his acceptance will depend."

From the railroad Gazette of June 12, 1885, page 383, we also note that:

"Philadelphia interest has been increasing of late purchase of bonds, and the latest rumor is that control of the road is to be obtained by the Pennsylvania Railroad Co., its object being to reorganize the company as soon as possible and to retain the management of the road in its own hands. The West Shore could be used by the Pennsylvania road, or in checking the completion of that road if it is built. In a way that can readily be understood, the West shore in Pennsylvania hands would be a very effective weapon, either offense or defense."

The following from the Railroad Gazette of July 3, 1885, pages 430 and 431, speaks for itself as far as the New York, West Shore, and Buffalo's connection with the Pennsylvania Railroad Company is concerned:

"General Passenger Angent Monett states that the relations of this road with the Pennsylvania Railroad continue most friendly. Relative to the withdrawal from the latter's Jersey Central terminus, he says that it has always been a part of the plan of the West Shore to establish downtown station in New York City. Owing to certain complications the franchise and facilities for operating a ferry were not secured until this spring. As soon as the arrangements were completed, notice was given by the West Shore to the Pennsylvania that after June 21, it would cease to use the Pennsylvania Terminus at Jersey City for its passenger business and thereafter the entire business of the company to and from New York would be terminated through the Weehawken terminus and at its stations in New York at forty-second and Jay streets. The advantage is that the west shore is relieved of the expense of a double terminus. Parlor cars are still run through between Long Branch, Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Saratoga, and the Pennsylvania Railroad is rendering every assistance necessary to promote the interchange of business between the two roads. Through passengers, other than those accommodated in parlor cars, are transferred with their baggage by annex boats built between the large terminal station of the West Shore at Weehawken and the Jersey City Terminal of the Pennsylvania railroad."

It is certainly clear that the Pennsylvania railroad had more than a passing interest in the West Shore or New York, West Shore and Buffalo Railroad and it is not surprising at all that President William H. Vanderbilt of the New York Central Lines looked around for a way to compete or Battle in kind with the Pennsylvania Railroad.

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