Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Cancel for June 15: Nickel Plate Road

Built to compete directly with the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railroad, the New York, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad, aka Nickel Plate, operated from 1881 to 1964.

N.Y. C. & St. L.
JUN  15  1899
R.   R.  Co.

The corporate legal name for the Nickel Plate was the New York, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad.  But early in the history of the railroad it was dubbed The Nickel Plate.  Below is a short history of the origin of the Nickel Plate name:

From the 1954 book "The Nickel Plate Road, A Short History of the New York, Chicago & St. Louis R.R."  The book includes an address make by former Nickel Plate President Lynne White to the Newcomen Society in North America: 

"Through northern Ohio, already served by four railroads, location of the line developed intense rivalries among cities. Three routes were surveyed and communities along each proposed route vied in the raising of public subscriptions to donate rights-of-way. The road's general offices at Cleveland frequently were besieged by delegations hoping to bring about the routing of the line through their communities. During these inter-city rivalries was born the nickname for the New York, Chicago and St. Louis - The Nickel Plate Road - which rapidly became the name most commonly used.

Numerous legends have grown about when and how the name "Nickel Plate" was first applied. The accepted version is that it appeared first in an article in the Norwalk, Ohio, Chronicle of March 10, 1881. On that date the Chronicle reported the arrival of a party of engineers to make a survey for the "great New York and St. Louis double track, nickel plated railroad."

Later, while attempting to induce the company to build the line through Norwalk instead of Bellevue, Ohio, the Chronicle again referred to the road as "nickel plated" - a term regarded as indicative of the project's glittering prospects and substantial financial backing.

In 1882, the Nickel Plate recognized F.R. Loomis, owner and editor of the Norwalk Chronicle, as originator of the term and issued him Complimentary Pass No.1.

Nickel Plate route map from the Nickel Plate Road Historical
and Technical Society

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