JeffPo's New York Central (bell bottom, red) Lantern Page #3

Last update:  10/29/09


This is a Dietz #6 lantern, that was used by the New York Central Railroad.  The frame of the lantern is stamped NEW YORK CENTRAL.  The red globe is embossed/cast with NEW YORK CENTRAL.  The Dietz #6 style lantern was introduced in the late 1890s and used until the early 1900s.  The red globe indicates that it was used as a stop signal.

These type of lanterns used a drop down fuel fount that was removed from the bottom of the lantern.  However, the wick adjuster was actually inside the globe during use, which meant you had to adjust it before inserting the fount into the lantern.

Here's what the lantern looks like when lit.  It has a deep red glow that is quite beautiful.  I can just imagine a hulking steam engine, coming to a hissing, squealing stop at the signal from this lantern.

New York Central Railroad History

This is an image of an Atlantic 4-4-2 type steam engine, that would have been a mainstay of the New York Central's fast passenger fleet around the time the Dietz #6 lantern was in use.  An unknown photographer recorded this image on May 28, 1937, in the waning years of its use.  Image from the Richard Leonard's New York Central collection.

The New York Central Railroad was founded in 1853 by a merger of ten railroads. Headquartered in New York, it served a large portion of the area with extensive tracks in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Massachusetts, and New England. The New York Central was known as a “water level route”, which meant most of its routes followed rivers and didn’t have significant grade. The steam locomotives of this railroad were built for speed. Financial failings in the 1960’s eventually meant it became a “fallen flag” (i.e. a railroad that no longer exists) in 1968 when it joined the Pennsylvania Railroad in a merger that produced the Penn Central Railroad.   Penn Central was merged into Conrail in 1976, which was purchased jointly by CSX and Norfolk & Southern in 1999.


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