Vincent Astor's railroad

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Sandiapaul
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Vincent Astor's railroad

Post by Sandiapaul » Wed Apr 03, 2019 5:14 am

I have long been interested in Vincent Astor's railroad in Rhinebeck NY. It started with a good friend of mine who grew up across the street from the Astor estate in the Astor estate caretakers house. When his family bought the house in the early 1960's a riding car from the railroad was still in the house. He still has it today. There is also a box of parts that includes a bent pilot a, brake hangers, piston valves, etc, all in 3/4" scale. He and his brother used to play on the old estate property and remnants of the old railroad still existed.

My friend and his brother have recently discovered some pictures of the railroad. Any pictures were pretty much impossible to find.

I would love to gather some more information and if anyone knows more please chime in.
The posted pictures have notes that are not mine, they were meant as questions for me from my friends.

I'm nearly certain we are looking at 3.5" gauge here and the existing car they have is 3.5". However my friends seem certain that the track remnants they remember were bigger, like 7.25" Indeed years ago I found an eBay auction for a British style 2-4-0 in "7" gauge" that supposedly came from the Astor estate. The auction mentions another locomotive that was previously auctioned, maybe this was a 3.5" engine?

Also check out the 4-8-4 picture. What size is it? This too was supposedly from the Astor's. Where is it today?

Link to 7 1/4" auction loco:
https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/ ... e-68371032

Thanks all, I hope this is of some interest to some.
Attachments
astor rr.jpg
engine house.jpg
Vincent Astor miniature RR turntable & workshop.jpg
astor-4-8-4.jpg
astor pacific.jpg
astor pacific.jpg (14.9 KiB) Viewed 1942 times
Vincent Astor miniature RR track 2.jpg

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LVRR2095
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Re: Vincent Astor's railroad

Post by LVRR2095 » Wed Apr 03, 2019 9:49 am

As I mentioned in the other thread.....Vincent Astor’s railroad at Ferncliff was 3/4” scale 3 - 1/2” gauge. The line was built by Calvert Holt of Greenwich, Connecticut. Mr. Holt built several locomotives and acquired others for Mr. Astor and maintained the equipment for him until Mr. Holt’s untimely death. If you look at the photos in particular the one of a gentleman stopped over the tracks you can see it is clearly 3 - 1/2” gauge.
My late friend George Murray of Manchester, Connecticut did maintenance work for Mr. Astor after Mr. Holt’s passing. George Murray also did work for one of the founders of the S&H Greenstamp Company who also had a 3 - 1/2” gauge estate railroad. That line was in Connecticut on Long Island Sound.
Keith

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Sandiapaul
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Re: Vincent Astor's railroad

Post by Sandiapaul » Thu Apr 04, 2019 7:57 pm

Keith,

Thanks for your response. Seems like you and I are the only ones with interest here!

Do you have any evidence of the connections? Letters, pictures anything??? I would love to add more to this story.

There is some question if the track was ever widened to 7.25" What do you think?

Paul

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NP317
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Re: Vincent Astor's railroad

Post by NP317 » Thu Apr 04, 2019 8:22 pm

I am reading this thread with great interest!
Please keep researching and posting.
~RN

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LVRR2095
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Re: Vincent Astor's railroad

Post by LVRR2095 » Fri Apr 05, 2019 6:48 am

Sandiapaul wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 7:57 pm
Keith,

Thanks for your response. Seems like you and I are the only ones with interest here!

Do you have any evidence of the connections? Letters, pictures anything??? I would love to add more to this story.

There is some question if the track was ever widened to 7.25" What do you think?

Paul
Paul;
George Murray told me about the line at Ferncliff and it was always 3 - 1/2” gauge. He did have letters and photos but they were all lost when George passed away. I truly feel that more attention need to be paid to the history of our hobby. Families will call in an antique dealer to sell the trains, a scrap dealer to haul off the machine tools and the paper ends up in the ash can. We need to make plans for our estates and let our families know that the photos, films and letters have value too.

Keith

Pontiacguy1
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Re: Vincent Astor's railroad

Post by Pontiacguy1 » Fri Apr 05, 2019 7:22 am

I'm interested, but since all this happened before I was born and I have no second-hand knowledge about it either, I don't have anything to contribute to your search. I love historical stuff though, especially the early history of our hobby. I have the reprint of the wandering locomotive books that were published a few years ago, and I got a copy of the Shattock basement layout videos several years ago as well.

Keep digging and researching, maybe you'll get lucky and find something. I was trying to do some research into Mr. George T. Brown, a 1/2" scale modeler from Southern California who had a big 2 1/2" gauge layout in the late 1940's. Seems like every time I found a lead, turned out that the person had passed on, or really had no knowledge about it. Sometimes you just run into a dead end.

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David Powell
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Re: Vincent Astor's railroad

Post by David Powell » Fri Apr 05, 2019 9:43 pm

Reading between the lines of his Model Engineer columns written between about 1927 and 1930 it would appear that L Lawrence, known as LBSC emigrated to America at the encouragement of Calvert Holt and that he worked on and ran engines on the Astor.s railway as a favour to Holt.
He returned to Britain in about 1930, perhaps after the Wall Street crash made things difficult .
Some details are given about the railway which may help fill in the story.
Regards David Powell.

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Sandiapaul
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Re: Vincent Astor's railroad

Post by Sandiapaul » Sat Apr 06, 2019 7:07 am

David that is an excellent lead and we are following up! I didn't know LBSC lived in the US for a time. Thanks all for the interest.

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Sandiapaul
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Re: Vincent Astor's railroad

Post by Sandiapaul » Sat Apr 06, 2019 8:11 am

Here are some pictures of the car that was in my friend's house. Note the interesting way of seating, I never saw anything like that before.
21407.jpeg
21408.jpeg
21409.jpeg

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JohnHudak
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Re: Vincent Astor's railroad

Post by JohnHudak » Sat Apr 06, 2019 8:36 am

Sandiapaul wrote:
Sat Apr 06, 2019 8:11 am
Here are some pictures of the car that was in my friend's house. Note the interesting way of seating, I never saw anything like that before.

21407.jpeg21408.jpeg21409.jpeg
Paul, that car is 3/4" scale..? It looks bigger..

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Sandiapaul
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Re: Vincent Astor's railroad

Post by Sandiapaul » Sat Apr 06, 2019 8:48 am

Well It's 3.5" gauge for sure. Your guess on "scale"

B&OBob
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Re: Vincent Astor's railroad

Post by B&OBob » Sat Apr 06, 2019 11:54 am

Curly's return to England had nothing to do with Wall Street; it was sudden and involuntary.

Anyone with a deep interest in the early years of the live steam hobby should consider acquiring back issues of the British Model Engineer magazine, from its 1898 inception at least through the 1960s. Additionally, the American Model Maker magazine chronicled the hobby here from the late '20s to the 1940s and beyond. Unfortunately I had to dispose of my colllection of those rich journals prior to moving into a retirement facility.

B&OBob

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