New York, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad Co. (Nickel Plate Railroad, Buffalo, NY) Files

Collection Number: 5537

Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library

This collection was processed with the help of generous funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).
DESCRIPTIVE SUMMARY

Title:
New York, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad Co. (Nickel Plate Railroad, Buffalo, NY) Files, 1915-1962
Collection Number:
5537
Creator:
New York, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad Company;
Nickel Plate Railroad
Quantity:
1 linear ft.
Forms of Material:
Records (documents).
Repository:
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
Abstract:
Grievance files, arbitration files, correspondence, and transcripts from the US Board of Mediation regarding a dispute between the New York, Chicago, and St. Louis Railroad [Nickle Plate Road] and the Brotherhood of Railway, Airline and Steamship Clerks, Freight Handlers, Express and Station Employes.
Language:
Collection material in English


ORGANIZATIONAL HISTORY

The New York, Chicago, and St. Louis Railway Company, more commonly known as the Nickel Plate Road [NKP], was founded in 1881. It ran along the southern shore of the Great Lakes, connecting Buffalo to Chicago, running through Cleveland and Fort Wayne. The Nickel Plate Road was a successful railroad, operating over 1600 miles of track in the Midwestern region of the United States at its peak.
In 1916, the Van Sweringen brothers purchased the Nickel Plate; they then expanded their railroad through the acquisitions of the Lake Erie and Western Railroad and the Toledo, St. Louis and Western Railroad, which was known as the Cloverleaf. These purchases expanded the reach of the Nickel Plate to Peoria, Illinois and to St. Louis and Toledo, respectively. The three lines were consolidated into one company in 1923. An additional consolidation with the Pere Marquette Railway and the Chesapeake and Ohio railroad was proposed in 1924, but was ultimately rejected by the Interstate Commerce Commission in 1926. In 1949, the Nickel Plate Road signed a ninety-nine year lease for the Wheeling and Lake Erie Railroad, granting it access to the mid-Atlantic states and the coal fields located there.
The Nickel Plate remained a solvent business through the 1950s, but in 1964 due to the increasing financial pressures on the railroad industry, it merged with six other railroads into the Norfolk and Western Railroad.

COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

Inclusive date range: 1890-1962
Bulk dates: 1921-1948
The collection contains records from the Nickel Plate Road. The bulk of the records are grievance reports filed by the employees' unions, and then the resulting correspondence between company managers, superintendents, union representatives, and the employees. Extensive internal communication between various divisions of the Nickel Plate is also documented. The correspondence also contains documentation of the various rules and regulations that are were agreed upon between the management and unions in their contracts. Other agreements include those between various railroad unions and both the Pere Marquette Railway Company and the Lake Erie and Western Railroad, both of which were controlled by the then owners of the Nickel Plate Road. Of particular interest is the twenty-six year grievance process regarding the types of seating present in the train engines, and which class of employee had rights to which particular seat; these records include hand-drawn renderings of the types of seats thought to be appropriate by various interested parties.
SUBJECTS

Names:
New York, Chicago, and St. Louis Railroad Company.

Subjects:
Railroads--United States.
Pere Marquette Railway Company.
Order of Railroad Conductors.
Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen.
Brotherhood of Railway, Airline, and Steamship Clerks, Freight Handlers, Express, and Station Employes.
Seniority, Employee--United States.
Grievance arbitration--United States.
United States. National Mediation Board.
Railway Labor Act--United States.
Arbitration, Industrial--United States.
Wages Arbitration, Industrial--United States.

Form and Genre Terms:
Records (documents)


INFORMATION FOR USERS

Access Restrictions:
Access to the collections in the Kheel Center is restricted. Please contact a reference archivist for access to these materials.
Restrictions on Use:
This collection must be used in keeping with the Kheel Center Information Sheet and Procedures for Document Use.
Cite As:
New York, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad Co. (Nickel Plate Railroad, Buffalo, NY) Files #5537. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library.

RELATED MATERIALS

Related Collections:
5005: Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Miscellaneous Records
5174m: Wheeling and Lake Erie Railway Company Work Agreements, Regulations, Wage Book and Book of Rules
6039: Railroad Files

CONTAINER LIST

Container
Description
Date
Box 1 Folder 1a 1890-1941
Box 1 Folder 1b 1890-1941
Box 1 Folder 1c 1890-1941
Box 1 Folder 2 1919-1932
Box 1 Folder 3 1922-1948
Box 1 Folder 4a 1933-1944
Box 1 Folder 4b 1921-1924
Box 1 Folder 4c 1962
Box 1 Folder 5a 1929
Between the Brotherhood of Railway, Airline, and Steamship Clerks, Freight Handlers, Express, and Station Employes and the New York, Chicago, and ST. Louis Railway Systems. October 21 1929 - October 23 1929
Box 1 Folder 5b 1929
Between the Brotherhood of Railway, Airline, and Steamship Clerks, Freight Handlers, Express, and Station Employes and the New York, Chicago, and St. Louis Railway Systems. October 21 1929 - October 23 1929
Box 1 Folder 6a 1929
Between the Brotherhood of Railway, Airline, and Steamship Clerks, Freight Handlers, Express, and Station Employes and the New York, Chicago, and St. Louis Railway Systems. October 24 1929 - October 31 1929
Box 1 Folder 6b 1929
Between the Brotherhood of Railway, Airline, and Steamship Clerks, Freight Handlers, Express, and Station Employes and the New York, Chicago, and St. Louis Railway Systems. October 24 1929 - October 31 1929
Box 1 Folder 7 1929
Between the Brotherhood of Railway, Airline, and Steamship Clerks, Freight Handlers, Express, and Station Employes and the New York, Chicago, and St. Louis Railway Systems. November 1 - 13 1929