Category Archives: Delaware & Hudson

The D&H at one time connected with two railroads in Oneonta

The first was the Catskill Mountain Branch of the New York Central, later Penn Central; the second was the Southern New York Railway, an interurban which ran from Oneonta to Mohawk, NY, on the Mohawk River.

Another neaby railroad that did not connect was the Unadilla Valley.

See more on all three railroads

Mineville Is Getting Back On The Map NOW

MINEVILLE, N.Y. Some look at an abandoned, centuries-old iron mine in New York’s Adirondacks and see a relic. But, an ambitious group of engineers sees the shafts in Mineville as a new way to provide a steady flow of electricity in a growing market for renewable energy. They are pitching a plan to circulate some of the millions of gallons of groundwater that have flooded the mine shafts over the years to power an array of 100 hydroelectric turbines a half-mile underground.

They envision the operation as a solution for solar and wind power producers, who need ways to ensure an uninterrupted flow of energy when the sun isn’t shining and winds are still. While logistically complex, the plan is at the same time incredibly simple: Engineers would drain roughly half of the water from the shafts and pump the remainder into an upper chamber. The water would then be released into a lower chamber, powering turbines and creating electricity. The turbines would be reversed to pump the water back up to repeat the process. Technically, the pumped water is considered stored energy, to be released strategically when power is needed.

For the locals, the pumped storage project would breathe new life into a depressed former mining town, doubling the local tax base, generating hundreds of construction jobs and a dozen permanent ones, and providing extras like a new highway garage and water lines, said Tom Scozzafava, supervisor of the surrounding town of Moriah. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has called for 50 percent of the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources like wind and solar by 2030.


So what and where is (was) Mineville? Well, I turned to the NEB&W Railroad.

The NEB&W Railroad is an “HO” scale railroad associated with R.P.I, a noted engineering school located in Troy, New York. The NEB&W still serves Mineville and Troy (where much of the products of the mine went).

Products went from the mine”minevillemine” to repunlicsteelfromtroymenandsbridgeRepublic Steel in Troy

Railway Post Offices Could Be Dangerous Places

I received an historical story about the wreck of the Rouses Point and Albany in 1894. Could not match picture so show 1908 wreck on Delaware & Hudson in Sidney, New York. Thanks to Dr Frank Scheer.

Passenger train #4 of the Delaware and Hudson Railroad left Montreal just after 9am on the morning of December 3, 1894, bound for Albany, New York.The train consisted of six cars, including a mail and an express and baggage car.

The train suddenly derailed near Port Henry, New York. The engineer and fireman testified that prior to the wreck, just before the train came upon a curve, they felt a jerk from the rear. The fireman looked back and accordingto his testimony, saw the end of the first car headed for the lake, “and in an instant the tender was torn from the engine and ran into the lake.” No official cause was named for the wreck.

The tender, mail and express/baggage cars were thrown into Lake Champlain. Two men were killed, Richard Quinn, the express messenger and T.H. Rouse, of Rouse’s Point, New York, the mail clerk.

Delaware and Hudson Railway-Built Caboose on Napier Junction

Since this is the month to display cabooses on WordPress, thought a good time to show off.

Deleware & Hudson could not go all the way from New York State to Montreal. At Rouses Point it legally became the Napier Valley to go into Montréal. Like everything D&H, it was QUALITY. Not sure where it was built; Could have been Colonie or Oneonta.

INFOWORKS Great Railroad WebSite: 1980 Olympics, Troy Union RR and MORE

It all started out when we got a note from Richard O. Aichele from Information Works Inc. in Saratoga Springs, NY. He commented on one of our WebSites about “Who Owns Grand Central” and then: “Back in 1980 I lived under GCT for several days between runs of the Irving Trust Winter Olympics Spacial.  I was the guy who had the fun of getting the five private cars together, dealing with the railroads and making the trips run as smoothly as possible.  I have some the details of it on my website
Still remember how different – quiet like a cathedral –  GCT was about 3 or 4 AM.

Took a look at his Website. Before I even got to the 1980 Olympics, I ran into a section on the Troy Union Railroad. (One of our favorites).

Then I got to his section on the 1980 Olympics and the Irving Trust Company special train. Great details, great pictures.

He also has a section on the Railroad Steam Era.

Bill would help speed up Amtrak clearance over U.S.-Canada border

U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) this week announced a new bill that would lead to a preclearance border security program for passenger trains traveling from Montreal into New York State.

The proposed “Promoting Travel and National Security Act of 2016” would expand U.S. jurisdiction over the American Customs and Border Protection agents that are operating in Canada, pursuant to border security agreements, the lawmakers said in a joint press release.

Sponsored by U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the bill would facilitate air, rail, marine and overland travel between the United States and Canada, according to Leahy’s office. A new agreement between the United States and Canada would expand those facilities to include rail for the first time.

The bill introduced this week is necessary to establish a preclearance process for Amtrak trains between Montreal and New York City, with stops in the North Country region and Albany, N.Y., the lawmakers from New York said.

Currently, passengers traveling on Amtrak’s Adirondack Line wait at the border for more than an hour while customs agents check the entire train. A pre-clearance program would help speed up that process.

The legislation would ensure U.S. citizens and federal workers are subject to U.S. law and legal protections when working at the pre-clearance location across the border in Canada, where they would be working to “pre-clear” passengers on the Adirondack Line, the lawmakers said.

“Implementing pre-clearance for passenger trains traveling between New York and Canada will be critical to both increasing efficiency and economic opportunities for the North Country and Capital Region — and clearing these legal hurdles now will better pave the way to making this prescreening program a reality,” Schumer said. “This legislation will bring us one step closer to reducing horrible wait times and boosting tourism opportunities for local businesses for years to come.”

Creating a preclearance process for passenger trains traveling between Canada and New York State has been of interest to business leaders on both sides of the border.

“Nothing is more important to the North Country economy than our relationship with Canada, and the North Country Chamber has no higher priority in Washington and Ottawa this year than approval of the pre-clearance agreement negotiated between the U.S. and Canada,” said Garry Douglas, president of the North Country Chamber of Commerce.

Delaware & Hudson Passenger Train Demise

Albany-Binghamton died in 1962 or 63, the commuter trains to Altamont and Saratoga went just about that same time.To be more exact: Trains 250/208 Binghamton – Albany & return came off in January 1963. My September 1930 Susquehanna Division Employes’ Time Table shows no dedicated Altamont commuter service, and no convenient times to and from Albany for commuters on Binghamton trains. Saratoga commuter trains 5 and 40 came off ca. 1960.

The D&H was down to two Montreal trains when 205 and 208 were discontinued in 1963. There had been discussion of substituting Budd RDCs for the Laurentian in that time period also, but I’ve never heard a reliable source on how far that got, or what that would have meant for the night train. (discontinuance, presumably?)

John Hiltz proposed to the NYPSC to substitute Budd RDC’s for conventional equipment on 34 and 35, The Laurentian, ca 1964 but the PSC objected and the issue was not pushed. I don’t recall the night trains, 9 and 10, being an issue at the time.

A little background. Passenger traffic soared in the summer of 1967 during Expo 67 in Montreal. No. 9, the Montreal Limited, had three units (RS-2’s) and 23 cars on Friday night, July 1, 1967. Most were NYC sleepers. The D&H leased coaches from EL and Reading to handle the load, but only used the same passenger RS-2’s. In the middle of that, No. 9 ran into the side of RO-2 at BM Cabin, and the 4024 and 4025 were destroyed. And Buck Dumaine became President of The D&H.

Buck first restored dining cars to 34 & 35, leasing two from the New Haven. He wanted to upgrade the service and grow the business. It was a fairly economical move, because the D&H dining service employees were protected by their labor agreement, and were working various jobs in the Headquarters building, including elevator operators, etc.

With the 4024 and 4025 gone, and most of the existing passenger car fleet in need of serious overhaul, it was a wise decision to upgrade the fleet with some good used locomotives and cars. That took the form of the four PA’s from the Santa Fe, and the 12 cars from the Rio Grande. I was told by good authority that the four PA’s cost $135,000 for the lot, and the Rio Grande cars totaled $120,000. That was almost certainly less money than an overhaul of the car fleet, and it took care of replacing the 4024 and 4025.

I can remember several months early in 1967 when both Montreal trains were covered by two RS-2’s, the 4005 and 4009. One went north on 35 and returned the same night on 10, and other went north on 9 and returned on 34. The only time they missed a turn was for their monthly inspections at Colonie. Two other passenger units were assigned as yard engines at Whitehall and Rouses Point to protect the passenger service.

The PA’s went into D&H service at the end of 1967, after Expo was done.. The first unit, I forget which, arrived at Plattsburgh on the Sunday night after Christmas, I believe. The major problem with the PA’s came up later in the winter, when we learned the hard way that one PA could not heat six cars on No. 9 when the temperature reached minus 20 F.

On the north end, the passenger locals (common reference: “Milk Trains” ) came off in 1963,


Norfolk Southern plans improvements to ex-D&H line

Norfolk Southern is doing more with its property than just talk about mergers with Canadian Pacific.

The Albany Times-Union has been covering this recently. Norfolk Southern has been working on the former Delaware & Hudson line from Albany to Sunbury, Pa., that it purchased in 2015 from Canadian Pacific Railway.

NS has been inspecting the tracks and bridges, and plans to replace thousands of wood ties and “resurface” at least 40 miles of track and possibly as may as 80 in 2016.

NS also is actively seeking to build freight business along the line. The acquisition has eliminated interchanges with CP, enabling it to offer shippers faster service.

The former D&H line also brings NS trains closer to the Mechanicville intermodal yard, which the railroad operates as a joint venture with Pan Am Railways. Pan Am Southern, as the venture is called, operates east to Ayer, Mass., outside Boston.

The $217 million D&H purchase puts NS in direct competition with CSX between Albany and Chicago. The line crosses NS’ Southern Tier line at Binghamton, which connects the Midwest and the New York City metropolitan area.

CP will likely keep the line from Montreal to Albany, over which it moves crude oil and ethanol to the Port of Albany. That line has thrived, moving fracked oil from the Bakken fields of North Dakota to the port.


Northeast PA bids so long to historic D&H

A glance at a map is all you need to get a sense of Delaware & Hudson Railway Co.’s significance to the development of Northeast Pennsylvania and the Lackawanna Valley in particular.

Honesdale is named for Philip Hone, the former New York mayor who served as the first president of Delaware & Hudson Canal Co., the railroad’s predecessor.

Olyphant and Dickson City? Named for George Talbot Olyphant and Thomas Dickson, the company’s fourth and fifth presidents, respectively. Archbald’s namesake, James Archbald, was a D&H senior mechanical engineer.

Early Saturday, after 192 years, the railroad recognized as the nation’s oldest transportation company, and one that drove the region’s growth while helping to fuel the nation’s industrialization, will bid farewell to Northeast Pennsylvania.

The D&H made railroading history in 1829 when, during a short run in Honesdale, its English-built Stourbridge Lion became the first steam locomotive to operate on a commercial rail line in the United States, though the engine proved too heavy for the tracks of the day.

Around the same time, the company opened its 16-mile gravity rail system to haul coal from Carbondale to the canal terminus in Honesdale. It later expanded the system deeper into the valley, where mines opened to meet the demand for anthracite.

“Especially from Scranton to Carbondale, back in the heyday, there were several major breakers up and down the whole valley,” Mr. Kilcullen said. “They provided a lot of jobs and shipped out a lot of coal.”

He said Carbondale in particular “really owes its existence to the D&H,” which eventually established a major railyard and roundhouse there that employed hundreds of people during the height of the steam era.

As the D&H expanded its rail operations in the post-Civil War era, pushing south to Wilkes-Barre and north through New York to Canada, the canal become less important and was abandoned in 1899.

Although it was always a relatively small railroad, the D&H was an innovator, Mr. Kilcullen said. It was among the first railroads to use welded rail and the very first to have centralized traffic control along its mainline.

“It had a lot of firsts even though it was a small operation because it was a fairly rich railroad because of the coal,” Mr. Kilcullen said. “They were a very progressive company and way ahead of a lot of the bigger railroads because they had the money to do it.”

When the anthracite industry died out, D&H became mainly a pass-through carrier of overhead freight, a role it embraced by billing itself as “The Bridge Line to New England and Canada.”

Mr. Barrett said southern carriers who wanted to get traffic to Northeast points had some other options, but the D&H line offered the shortest route to get there.

“Via other railroads, they would get traffic up to the D&H, and the D&H would take it to New England and Canada,” he said.

The average person will likely notice no difference, aside from an eventual increase in rail traffic, he said.

“In the long run, it’s going to be great for the area and great for what they have bought because Norfolk Southern aggressively markets their railroad. They will bring in new customers, and they will provide better service,” Mr. Barrett said. “All in all, my own gut feeling is it’s going to be a good thing.”

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D&H timeline

1823: Charter issued for Delaware & Hudson Canal Co.

1828: D&H completes construction of 108-mile canal from Honesdale to Hudson River.

1829: Gravity railroad from Carbondale to Honesdale becomes operational.

1899: Canal abandoned; corporation renamed Delaware & Hudson Co., operates Delaware & Hudson Railway Co.

1968: D&H taken over by Dereco, holding company for Norfolk and Western Railway.

1988: D&H enters bankruptcy four years after purchase by Guilford Transportation Industries.

1991: Canadian Pacific Railway acquires D&H.

2014: Norfolk Southern Corp. announces it will buy 283 miles of D&H line in Pennsylvania and New York