There are many modes of transportation. But at one time, railroads were the preferred method and ideal employer. The trains ran through Syracuse streets. Our YNN studios were at one time, the New York Central Railroad Station. In this edition of Your Hometown, our Iris St. Meran explores their history and impact on the community.
CENTRAL NEW YORK -- "I remember the last trains going by," National Railway Historical Society Central New York Chapter President Albert Kallfelz remembers, "It was kind of nostalgic, but at least it wasn't the last train, it was just the last train through that station."
That was in 1962. That station doesn't exist, but the building does. It is currently our YNN studio on Erie Boulevard East in Syracuse. For decades trains played a major role in and around Syracuse, in fact the tracks went right through city streets.
The design was a decision made by village trustees back in 1837. The execution meant you could hop a train and go almost anywhere in the country, the activity spread to surrounding towns and villages.
Kallfelz said, "Train stations were the center of activity for villages and that's what made a lot of villages prosper because that where your mail came in and your milk went out."
It offered more than a ticket in and out of town, but also a decent income as well for those lucky enough to land a job on the railroads.
Retired railroad machinist Pat Palmiere said, "If you worked on the railroad years ago, you could go downtown and buy anything you want on credit. Your credit was as good as gold because the railroad was a steady job."
It was a job that Palmiere took in 1942 after graduating high school. For next 42 years, he only missed one day of work because of a strike. He climbed the ranks from laborer to his last position as a Machinist.
"I liked going in everyday, every morning, it was like a different job. You didn't know what you would do one day," Palmiere recalled.
That excitement continued every day until he retired. Today, the scene in Downtown is much different, there are few remnants of this moment in time.
"All I have now is memories," Palmiere said.
But there are some tributes to his former life. A copy of a mural lines a portion of our YNN offices. Across the way, along Route 690 are statues created by Duke Epolito on this trestle, called "Waiting for the Night Train."
There's more to learn about the Central New York Railroad System.
Visit the The Central New York Chapter of National Railway Historical Society's website: