Empire State Express

Empire State Express

Empire State Express

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The Empire State Express was one of the named passenger trains and onetime flagship of the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad (a predecessor of the modern New York Central Railroad). It became the world's first high-speed passenger train on September 14, 1891, when it covered the 436 miles (702 kilometers) between New York City and Buffalo in just 7 hours and 6 minutes (including stops). The train averaged 61.4 miles-per-hour (98.8 km/h), a new world speed record in rail travel, with an officially recorded top speed of 82 mph (132 km/h), though observers claimed to have clocked the train at .


In short order, the train would gain worldwide celebrity, and its route would later stretch to 620 miles (998 kilometers), with Cleveland, Ohio as its western terminus. In addition to its other notable accomplishments, the Empire State was the first passenger train to maintain a regular schedule speed of over 52 mph (84 km/h), and the first to make runs of 142.88 miles (230 km) between stops (between New York City and Albany: the longest scheduled nonstop run ever attempted).

On December 7, 1941, the New York Central inaugurated a new, all-stainless-steel streamlined (Budd) train, powered by a streamlined J-3a Hudson (4-6-4) steam locomotive. Passengers on the inaugural run, who...
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