On June 12, 1925, orders were issued to all station employees who came in contact with the public and all platform personnel, that they could no longer appear in public without their coats. Officials were worred about a shoddy public appearance at a time when the threat of auto, bus and truck competition was increasing rapidly. In order to maintain a dignified and impressive appearance, all emplyees were to wear coats; "...no matter how hot the day they are forbidden to appear with shirt sleeves uncovered."
July 1, 1925 had been a rather uneventful day as the Empire State Express rolled eastbound out of Rochester, NY station. Just west of Palmyra, engineer William A. McMullen of Buffalo and fireman Thomas Fry were suddenly engulfed in scalding steam. As the cab filled with the shooting steam, McMullen closed the throttle and hit the emergency brake. Both men made their way to the running boards and clung to the handrail as the train, with brakes screeching and smoking, travelled over an eighth of a mile farther down the track.
When the train had stopped and both men were helped from the running boards, McMullen was found to be severely burned on his face and arms. It was nearly a half hour before the cab could be entered to determine the cause of the failure. It was reported that a "steam cap" on the backhead had blown off. This may have been a staybolt cap. Thanks to McMullen's quick reaction, there were no other injuries and a more serious accident was averted. A relief engine was called and soon the Empire proceeded on her normal way.
60 passenger engines of a new and improved type go into service on our lines this month. They are the most powerful six-driving wheel locomotives ever built, and tests show that they are the most forward step in locomotive construction in years. A distinctly New York Central achievement, this type will be known as the "Hudson."
This engine differs from its predecessors chiefly by having the four wheeled, powered truck under the cab. This gives a more even distribution of the great weight, and hence greater starting and tractrive power.
The story of the New York Central is largely the story of the development of ever more efficient and more powerful locomotives. Thus does the "Hudson" become the lineal descendant of the "DeWitt Clinton" and take its place as the new empress of the rails. 50 of the Hudson engines will be on the New York Central, and 10 on the Michigan Central. Those on the New York Central will be numbered from 5200-5249; those on the Michigan Central form 5250-5259.