Category Archives: New York State

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
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DEXTER AND NORTHERN RAILROAD COMPANY

The railroad of the Dexter and Northern Railroad Company, was a single-track standard-gauge steam railroad, located in New York. The main line extends easterly from Dexter to Dexter Junction, a distance of 0.462 mile. The carrier also owns 0.419 mile of yard tracks and sidings. Its road thus embraces 0.881 mile of all tracks owned and used. In addition, the carrier has trackage rights over the railroad of the New York Central Railroad Company between Dexter and a point about 2 miles west of Brownville, N. Y.

CORPORATE HISTORY

The carrier was incorporated July 23, 1908, under the general laws of the State of New York. The date of its organization has not been ascertainable from the records reviewed.

DEVELOPMENT OF FIXED PHYSICAL PROPERTY

The owned mileage of the carrier, extending from Dexter to Dexter Junction, N. Y., a distance of 0.462 mile, was acquired by construction. The returns of the carrier to valuation order No. 20 show that its property was constructed during the period from 1908 to 1910 by or under the supervision of the Dexter Sulphite Pulp and Paper Company.

1956:

the Dexter & Northern Railroad line was purchased by the New York Central Railroad and reopened for service.

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Who brought Robert Moses down?

It was Nelson Rockefeller, Governor of New York State

He also formed the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and saved the Long Island Railroad

Robert Moses was a double-edged sword. He built a lot of great things and destroyed a lot of great things at the same time.

Moses was one of the contributing factors to the rapid decline of commuter rail in the New York City metropolitan area in the 1950’s and 1960s. Just when state governments were starting to warm up to the idea of subsidies, Moses would use his power to block funding of any type to the railroads. To understand his attitude towards commuter rail, his mantra was more or less, “The public should not be providing funds to benefit private for-profit corporations.” Never mind that the private for-profit corporations were providing a necessary service. There would be no direct subsidy until he was out of power.

When Moses was removed from power by Rockefeller, they made Moses chairman of the World’s Fair committee, a position that would make him look bad if he turned it down. Since you can’t be chairman of more than one committee at a time, he lost his powerful position, and his voice. By 1968 he was a “consultant” to the MTA, and he passed away in 1981.

Let’s look at what happened immediately AFTER Moses was gone.
1965 – Governor Rockefeller proposes to purchase the LIRR from the PRR. Some commuter rail equipment purchases are funded for NYC lines out of Grand Central.
1966 – The Metropolitan Commuter Transportation Authority purchases the LIRR from PRR.
1968 – Five transit authorities are created across New York State, MCTA becomes MTA.
1970 – MTA contracts with Penn Central to subsidize Harlem and Hudson Line operations out of Grand Central.
1971- New equipment arrives on LIRR and PC lines… and so on and so on…

Was Moses the catalyst of all evil directed towards the railroads? The jury is still out, but he was certainly a major factor.

In reading about Moses, you see that Moses was a creature of his particular time, and that in that time, the things he did were fashionable politically and popular with the public. At the time, for example, everybody wanted expressways — these were the answer to all congestion problems — and few people seemed to realize the problems they would generate. The Moses projects were the projects that the politicians wanted to spend money on, so he was successful in getting it. The dreary housing projects he built later in his career are examples of the same thing.

Moses has to be judged by the standards and fashions of his time, and not in hindsight. He was no more or less foresighted than most others then.

It would be interesting to speculate what a young Moses would be doing now, with mass transit in fashion and lots of public money available.

RICHFIELD SPRINGS BRANCH

The Richfield Springs branch of the The Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad Company extended through Bridgewater, where it connected with the Unadilla Valley Railroad, a shortline that served Edmeston and New Berlin to Richfield Springs on Canadarago Lake, once a rather fashionable resort. Here, from 1905 until 1940, the DL&W had a passenger and freight connection with the Southern New York Railway, an interurban to Oneonta. Milk and light freight were the chief sources of revenue on this branch. Delaware Otsego subsidiary Central New York Railroad acquired this branch from Richfield Jct. to Richfield Springs, 22 miles, in 1973. Enginehouse was at Richfield Springs. Became part of NYS&W northern division after NYS&W bought the DL&W Syracuse & Utica branches from Conrail in 1982. Traffic on line gradually dropped off. Line east from Bridgewater embargoed in 1990. Abandoned and track removed in 1995, westerly 2-3 miles left in place for stone trains. In 2009: This old railroad is now owned by the Utica, Chenango and Susquehanna Valley LLC in Richfield Springs. They also own the 1930 Newark Milk and Cream Company creamery in South Columbia.

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Central Warehouse in Albany NY

In Albany, New York there is a huge warehouse that has gone sort of obsolete with advances in frozen food procedures and exit of Albany as a meat processor. Not only does it have a rail siding and an interior “railroad station”, but it is only a few feet away from the Amtrak New York to Chicago line. It is almost shouting distance from the Livingston Avenue Bridge that is the Amtrak New York to Chicago line. Well anyway in October, 2010 it caught on fire from someone removing steel pipes and using cutting torches near cork insulation. See some great pictures of the Central Warehouse.

Fire continued to smolder inside the former Central Warehouse cold storage building more than 48 hours after the fire in the Albany landmark was first reported, but Albany Fire Chief Robert Forezzi Sr. said the vacant eyesore is in no danger of collapsing. Firefighters were shooting 1,000 gallons of water per minute into the building’s 10th floor in an attempt to extinguish cork insulation that was still smoking. Despite more than two days of fire damage and constant water being pumped into the structure, Forezzi said the 83-year-old building’s massive concrete and steel frame will hold. The only evidence Sunday that the 400,000-square-foot former refrigeration facility had been ablaze was water running down the outside walls.

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Amsterdam, Chuctanunda and Northern Railroad

Here’s an old map of Amsterdam (courtesy of Russ Nelson) which shows the Kellogg’s Branch (Amsterdam, Chuctanunda and Northern Railroad) leaving the New York Central mainline which runs on the East side of the Mohawk River.

Across the Mohawk River, is the West Shore Railroad.

Another, more detailed, map of the Kellogg Branch from Gino’s Rail Page, shows the entire extent of the branch. Careful! It’s BIG

In the Amsterdam, New York, area, a short spur leaves the old New York Central mainline and goes up a hill to the upper portion of Amsterdam. Once this was a separate railroad. It has continued as a branch under Penn Central, Conrail, and now CSX.

It is known as the Kellogg Industrial or by CSX as “CP-173 -to- QCG1.60”.

Here’s what the branch looks like:

CP-173: Chicago Line: Kellogg’s Yard QCG0.00
New York State Route 5 Undergrade Bridge QCG0.33
Chuctanunda Creek Bridge QCG0.98
Vrooman Avenue Grade Crossing QCG1.20
James Street Grade Crossing QCG1.40
Church Street Grade Crossing QCG1.49
Jay Street Grade Crossing QCG1.49
End Of Track QCG1.60

The Kellogg Branch was actually a separate railroad corporation: The Amsterdam, Chucktanunda and Northern Railroad Company. The Kellogg family owned it, and had built it (1879) to serve the their mills on the hill in upper Amsterdam. The NYC leased the RR (1907) and operated it. This railroad corporation used to show up in “Moody’s Railroads” as late as 1954 and shows it extending “about 1 mile” from the NYC main line to Jay St., Amsterdam. The AC&N owned the right-of-way, and NYCRR owned the track, aggregating about 2.71 miles including side tracks. There were 200 shares of stock outstanding, with a par value of $100, all owned by Lauren Kellog and Elizabeth K. Swift. It paid a dividend of 14.75 in 1953.

1959 Employee Timetable shows equipment restrictions as cranes X-13 to X-16 and engines nos. 526 to 566, 1000 to 5104, 6600 to 6903. The cranes were all 250-ton wrecking cranes, and the engine restrictions essentially prohibited cab units. The maximum gross weight for cars operated without special authority on the Mohawk Division at the time was 220,000 lbs (nominal 70 ton capacity) and there were no additional weight restrictions on the Branch. In 1950, the restriction read: engines heavier than U-2a, U-2b, U-2d and U-2f must not operate over the Kellogs Branch. (those were 0-8-0’s).

It is one of the steepist adhesion railroad grades in service in the country.

The Kellog’s Branch was established in the late 1800’s as a connection for the Kellogg and Miller Linseed Oil operation. Remains of this can be seen behind the present Dunkin Donuts on Route 67 in Amsterdam. The line was extended to the Sanford Carpet Mills, present day Noteworthy Printing.

NYC named the line the Kellogg’s Branch and for some reason, Conrail refered to it as “The Kellog’s Branch.” Why they dropped the last ‘G’, who knows.

In 1905, a spur was built off the Branch (Originally called the Linseed Oil Branch) headed north to the Mclarey and Wallins Carpet Mills, later Mohawk Mills. A large wooden trestle was built across a ravine to reach the plant. There was a steam generating plant there as well, which facilitated another trestle, this one made of stone. Parts of the trestle are still on the property. The smoke stack, seen all over Amsterdam and as you made your way up the NYS Thruway was just knocked down recently.

Sometime in the 1960s, a spur was built to Fiberglass Industries in the Edison Ave. Industrial Park. This is THE sole remaining customer.

The line was abandoned from the FGI spur north around 1990. Some of the last customers on the line were a paper company, COLECO toys (Former Sanford Mill) and a lumber yard just north of the FGI switch. The trestles were removed sometime in the 1990’s. There were several impressive ones. The two at Mohawk Mills, and a large wooden trestle that curved over the Chuctanunda Creek near the Forest Ave. Paper Mill.

A Conrail caboose was used to push up the branch, but after a derailment in 2004 it was moved to the CSX interchange where it has sat ever since. In 2006, 3 trips are made a week, usually Monday, Wednesday. and Friday. Inbound covered hoppers of sand come in and emptys go out.

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New York Central Fire Brigades

New York Central had several fire departments composed of volunteers from railroad employees. Some locations like West Albany and Selkirk had actual fire trains. Other locations had a single car. Beech Grove Shops on the Big 4 in Indianapolis had a home made fire engine pulled by a tractor. Several cars were available for the Adirondack Division as the road passed through a forest preserve. These cars had lots of the backpack pumps, called Indian Pumps. In 1950 West Albany was still a big railroad facility as evidenced by the West Albany Fire Brigade.

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THE SYRACUSE JUNCTION RAILROAD COMPANY

The New York Central entered the Carrier Corporation plant on what was still referred to in 1950 as the Syracuse Junction Railroad. The air conditioning unit being loaded was bound for the United Nations building being constructed in 1950.

Incorporated June 9, 1873. The road was built by The New York Central and Hudson River Railroad Company to take the two freight tracks of its four track system around the city of Syracuse and was opened November 16, 1874. It was leased to The New York Central and Hudson River Railroad Company April 10, 1875, as a legal formality, and on October 7, 1879, was absorbed under authority of law.

(Photo clipped from an old New York Central Headlight)

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Niagara Junction Railway

Niagara Junction Railroad operated in Niagara Falls, N.Y., and had 11 route miles / 44 track miles (all electrified).

In 1976, there were 10 “motor’s” working the Niagara Jct. Railroad. The seven locomotives ordered in 1952 from the General Electric Company, were the largest single order for GE style locomotives at that time, allowing the NJ to remain all-electric after almost every other common carrier had gone diesel. The Niagara Junction was taken over by Conrail on April 1, 1976, when the locomotives were re-numbered to Conrail’s 4750 series in August 1977. Electric operation was discontinued in January 1978, when the NJ #14-20 were barely 26 years old! By 1980, Conrail had moved entirely to diesel power and had scrapped four of the “Juice Boxes.” 1983 saw the remaining six sold for scrap value. Metro-North Railroad bought the three and outfitted all three with “third rail” pickup’s so they could be used around and under NYC’s Grand Central Terminal. In 1998 the last three units were placed in a “dead line,” their fate unknown.

The Niagara Junction operated strictly in the City of Niagara Falls except for Foote Yard, which I believe is actually in the Town Of Niagara. The engine house was located on Hyde Park Blvd. Extension in the city of Niagara Falls. The building is and track are still there, but Conrail couldn’t wait to get the overhead wiring down.

Before Conrail, Niagara Junction was controlled by the Erie.

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New York Central’s Fall Brook Subdivision

In 1873, the Blossburg and Corning Railroad and the Wellsboro and Lawrenceville Railroad were merged to form the Corning, Cowanesque and Antrim Railway. Owned largely by the Fall Brook Coal Company, the CC&A was reorganized in 1892 as a part of the Fall Brook Railway, which, via three additional holdings, the Geneva and Lyons Railroad, the Syracuse, Geneva and Corning Railway, and the Pine Creek Railway, offered through passenger service between Lyons, New York, and Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

In 1899 the Fall Brook Railway was leased to the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad, which was in turn reorganized in 1914 as the New York Central Railroad. All ex-Fall Brook lines were operated as the Fall Brook Subdivision of Central’s Pennsylvania Division. The New York Central was succeeded in 1968 by the Penn Central Transportation Company, which was itself succeeded in 1976 by Conrail.

In 1988 Conrail ceased operation of its line between Wellsboro Junction and Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania, leaving only the line between Gang Mills (near Corning), New York, and Wellsboro, and making the name “Wellsboro Junction” something of an anachronism. With this abandonment, the remaining line became and continues to be the only railroad in Pennsylvania’s Tioga County.

On December 31,1992, Conrail ceased operation between Gang Mills and Wellsboro. So that freight service might be maintained, the line was purchased by Growth Resources of Wellsboro (GROW) and began a new life as the Wellsboro and Corning Railroad. Tioga Central began operating passenger excursion trains over the Wellsboro and Corning in May, 1994.

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