Tag Archives: railroad

Amsterdam, Chuctanunda and Northern Railroad R.I.P.?

Yesterday I got some sad news from our good friend Gino DiCarlo. The little railroad that went up the hill in Amsterdam, New York has lost it’s only customer. The railroad was officially named the Amsterdam, Chuctanunda and Northern Railroad. It is known as the Kellogg Industrial or by CSX Rail as “CP-173 -to- QCG1.60”. It leaves the CSX (with Amtrak) “Chicago Line”, climbs a steep hill, and even has a “switch back”. More details on it later, for now, the loss of THE CUSTOMER.

More than 100 workers in Amsterdam, New York will lose their jobs in the coming months. One of the city’s manufacturers is closing its doors.

This week, Fiber Glass Industries, Inc. announced that both its Amsterdam plants will close in the next 90 to 120 days.

In a release, FGI Chairman John Menzel, who would not speak about the closure, blamed competition from foreign manufacturers as a primary reason for the plant’s closure.

Menzel said the company is “competing with government-owned and government-financed competitors in China who have built more capacity than the market can absorb, and their government continues to subsidize these companies to export to the U.S.” 

The release also states the company was “stymied in an effort to work out a sale to an undisclosed foreign buyer” by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, and despite growth in sales, the company had been operating at a loss since 2008.

The company has operated for 57 years and employs around 120 workers.

United Steel Workers District 4 Sub-Director Richard Knowles released a statement on the closure, criticizing the U.S. government for not protecting American businesses against China’s “continued manipulation of trade and currency rules, across all industries.”

Amsterdam’s Community & Economic Development director Robert von Hasseln said the city’s immediate concern is to assist the families of the employees who lost their jobs.

That’s going to be our first focus. Afterwards, we’ll work on trying to find the best tenants possible for the two buildings,” said von Hasseln.

Kenneth Rose, CEO of the Montgomery County Business Development Center, said the county will roll the two FGI facilities into its marketing efforts to help bring new business to the area.

There’s going to be the potential of two facilities within the City of Amsterdam that we’re going to have to put out there and market aggressively, and reach out to our existing contacts and some potential leads that we’ve been working with to see if there’s interest in these facilities for them,” said Rose.

Mark Kilmer, President and CEO of the Fulton-Montgomery Chamber of Commerce, said that the region is a great place to do business. Kilmer agrees with FGI’s contention that the closure of the plants has nothing to do with its facilities or workers.

It has more to do with the cost of doing businesses both in New York and the United States in general. It’s just sometimes prohibitive when it comes to competing with foreign nations,” said Kilmer. “Gradually I think there are steps that being taken to correct that problem, but this is just one of those situations where it hasn’t been corrected fast enough.”

In a city hit hard by the loss of manufacturing jobs over the past several decades and a county where about 1 in 5 people lives in poverty, it’s easy to cast the loss of FGI in with the rest. But Robert von Hasseln said that’s somewhat of a misconception.

There’s a natural tendency here to think, ‘Oh well, this is just another chapter in Amsterdam’s demise, we lost the big mills decades ago and then lost a lot of businesses between 1995 and 2005.’ But the fact is the amount of businesses – the rate we’re losing businesses has gone way down, and some of our businesses, including manufacturing, are doing very well,” said von Hasseln.

Von Hasseln said Amsterdam’s economy is unlikely to rely solely on one industry in the future, as it did in the 20th century on its carpet mills. He predicts the city will be “balanced” with a mix of tourism, high tech centers, and commercial and manufacturing.

Hope all you politicians are happy. China is “wonderful”, Russians are “bad”. Have not heard about an American job lost to Russians.

Some additional info from Aaron Keller: The Leader-Herald and WNYT (NBC) in Albany are reporting today that Fiber Glass Industries is shutting down.  I believe this was the sole and last customer CSX had up on the hill in Amsterdam going back at least 20 years.  

The switchback rail line up there, I believe, is owned by the local economic development corporation or some sort of quasi-government group, though I’d have to double-check my documents on that.  

I wonder what’s next?  There has been no service up the hill for several years.  Now, the plant’s shutdown would suggest that the future is bleak.  

The line was built as the Amsterdam, Chuctanunda and Northern Railroad, which in turn was wholly owned by the Amsterdam Linseed Oil Works.  Though the railroad was owned by the linseed people, the “rails, ties, track fastenings, and ballast are the property of the New York Central” according to the commissioner’s reports.  The line was always operated by the New York Central and its successors.  It was known in recent years by employee timetable designation as the Kellogg Industrial.  


OK, now it is “brain dump” time for railfans, historians and all other interested people.

Amsterdam, Chuctanunda and Northern Railroad


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.


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


Why Was the “Fabled Rutland Milk” Called FABLED?




I, Penney Vanderbilt, named it.
Not only have I written a blog about it, and mentioned it in other blogs, BUT my blog header shows a picture of it passing through the Troy Union Railroad.
So what does “fabled” mean? “famous, especially by reputation”.  Synonyms include: celebrated, renowned, famed, famous, well known

An alternate definition is MYTHICAL: People never believed it was still running.

Now for some facts:
Milk trains were disappearing. The attitude was USE TRUCKS.
The Rutland was disappearing. Well it did; but even their branch to Chatham got cut forcing the trip through Troy.
Any trip through was slow. Can you spell “street running”?
Rutland equipment was old and obsolete. Check out the “rider car”. Even the locomotive was “first generation” diesel.
Look at a map: It started out as far North as you can get in New York State; rolled through Vermont; and went all the way to New York City.
Even Uncle Sam was trying to kill it: Vermont milk could not go to New York City because it was a different “Milk Shed”
The Green Mountain Gateway even used “fabled” to describe the whole railroad:
“The Rutland Railroad was a fabled system located in the New England area. Based out of Rutland, Vermont the railroad is best remembered for the large amount of milk and dairy products it moved over its system and its classic forest green and yellow livery. The railroad finally succumbed to a long battle of money troubles in the early 1960s when a strike collapsed any hope of the Rutland staying solvent as it shutdown operations in 1961.”
Even AMAZON uses the term “FABLED” to describe the Rutland itself (and “pitch a patch“)
“The Rutland Railroad was a fabled system located in the New England area. Based out of Rutland, Vermont the railroad is best remembered for the large amount of milk and dairy products it moved over its system and its classic forest green and yellow livery. The railroad finally succumbed to a long battle of money troubles in the early 1960s when a strike collapsed any hope of the Rutland Railroad staying solvent as it shutdown operations in 1961. Today, happily, much of the former Rutland Railroad system is still operated by successor Green Mountain Railroad, which hauls both freight and excursion passenger service over the line, much to the delight of the thousands of passengers which arrive annually to ride aboard its popular trains.”

All Aboard Florida shows new proposals for Miami Railroad Station


All Aboard Florida is a privately funded, 235-mile express passenger rail service that will transport passengers to and from central Florida and Miami, with stops in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.

South Florida leaders and All Aboard Florida executives touted the Miami station as a nine-acre transportation hub, which will be situated just east of Miami-Dade County Hall.

The new Miami station will be built near Florida East Coast Railway’s old downtown train depot.

Opened in 1912, it operated during the glory days of railroad travel. Henry Flagler founded Florida East Coast Railway in 1895 and is credited with making South Florida a tourist destination through his passenger rail service. It was demolished in 1963.

All Aboard Florida is expected to create more than 10,000 jobs during construction.

Opponents argue the train will bring more noise and congestion.

The express train is scheduled to begin service in 2016.

Union Pacific Railroad’s New Cross-Border Facility Will Give Shippers More Options


Union Pacific Railroad, one of the leading railroad networks in the U.S., announced the completion of its new rail facility in Santa Teresa, New Mexico. The facility involved an investment of more than $400 million and was scheduled to be operational in 2015. However, Union Pacific has managed to complete the facility a year ahead and shall be inaugurating it on May 28 2014. With the opening up of the facility, the traffic entering the area is expected to increase by 500 to 800 trucks per day. This will increase Union Pacific’s cross-border traffic with Mexico leading to growth in revenue.

Union Pacific’s Santa Teresa rail facility will cater to truck to rail conversions, fueling and inspection of locomotives, and crew changing facility. The facility is expected to increase Union Pacific’s employee count by 600 by the year 2025. New Mexico is also expected to see a benefit of over $500 million once the facility is operational.

There’s not much out here other than roads, warehouses and cacti — and now a sprawling Union Pacific Railroad intermodal terminal and fueling station. Secluded as it is, what happens at this $400 million facility in a desert framed by mountains ripples through UP’s 32,000-mile U.S. network and taps into one of the largest trends in transportation rail: domestic rail growth.

Santa Teresa Facility Is Strategically Located to Benefit From Mexico Trade

Union Pacific’s Mexico Shipments Are Expected To Grow Driven By Growth In Automobile Exports

Automotive shipments accounted for 45% of Union Pacific’s overall Mexico shipments in 2012.Additionally, Union Pacific caters to 90% of the automotive shipments in and out of Mexico. Therefore, growth in automotive exports from Mexico to U.S. will help drive growth in volumes and revenues for Union Pacific.

See more about “Union Pacific — the railroad established by Congress and Abraham Lincoln to span the continent

More About New York Central Railroad’s Harmon Station


One of our most popular blogs is about the NY Central’s shops at Harmon, New York.

We are now bringing you more stories about Harmon as well as more pictures (courtesy of Wayne Koch).


An interesting story is New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey and the NY Central Niagara steam locomotives .

Just North (timetable West) of Harmon are several tunnels on the New York Central. 

Harmon in Hurricane Irene

In 1946, Niagara Locomotive 6001 is being pulled by 4 models to show how great Timken roller bearings worked.


Harmon Passenger Station

The old station was torn down, in Penn Central days.

The station was torn down and relocated to the south of the original location about 1974-1975, and it might have been before that. The first time I used the new location, it was in the autumn of 1975. At that time, what is now the dry cleaners was the ticket office for both Penn Central commuter trains as well as Amtrak.

A catalytical factor in the change was the need to raise all the platforms for the new M-1 trains introduced about 1971. Also, the station was moved because the parking lot at the top of the hill became too small, and management wanted to make “modifications” to the yard which boosted the need to relocate the station “out of the way”. Now with more than ample parking, one must worry in severe noreasters, tropical storms and hurricanes about flooding in the parking lot.

The old New York Central station at Harmon was pretty neat, despite the killer climb up the stairs from the platform that seemed to go on forever. It was a self contained structure above the tracks, paralleling the bridge, which I’m sure served as the inspiration for the present structure.

I heard that the present station will soon be either “Modified” or demolished for something completely different, I suppose it’s part of the project to tear down the old New York Central engine house and build a newone. This will be the THIRD dramatic alteration of Harmon station at it’s present location, in just over thirty two years.

For any newbies, the bridge there now is NOT the bridge from Central days, you can still see the footings for it. The entrance to the old station was an enclosed walkway with a few small windows, immediately to the left of the bridge. Years ago , everybody called that station just “Harmon”.

If one were to model the Harmon station in HO or N gauge, the best start would be with the old Atlas coal mine, just because of the shape.


How did one get to the Pentagon in 1944?


Recently, an author writing a book asked us how his “character” would have gone by train from Chicago to the Pentagon in 1944.The Pennsylvania Railroad (and all other railroads entering Washington DC) used Union Station. The formerly huge rail yard near the Pentagon, “Pot Yard”, was freight-only.

We took a look at DC Transit map and nothing shows as going across to the Pentagon. 1958 and 1944 are identical. This was the main trolley provider in DC. I confirmed this with .

Took a look at another map.

and found an interurban line that crosses the river at Arlington Junction and connects with DC Transit. So their MIGHT have been a rail route. But these interurbans were “on their knees” after the Depression and could not gear up to adequately serve the Pentagon. More discussion on topic:

I’m guessing the Army (did they control the Pentagon before there was a Department of Defense???) set up some bus routes. Probably a bus stop and a desk at Union Station?

Know the answer? Please comment.

See “Rails Around the Nation’s Capital”. A collection of articles about Railroads and Transit in and around Washington DC. Metro, Virginia Railway Express and Maryland DOT are covered. Also the Washington Terminal Railroad and other small railroads that were once a part of Washington.

Massachusetts Plan Starts Small for Big Upgrade to Rail System

ImageImageLater this spring, Bostonians eager to flee to Cape Cod the weekend will have an option other than sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic for 70 miles and fuming along with everyone else.

Starting May 24, 2013, they can hop a train to Hyannis, where regional buses, ferries and rental cars will await to whisk them out to the beaches, islands and wind-swept dunes.

The train, the first passenger service to the cape since 1995, is one small piece of a major $13 billion transportation overhaul envisioned by Gov. Deval Patrick. That overhaul is aimed chiefly at repairing and upgrading worn-out bridges, roads and commuter lines in Massachusetts, but about 20 percent of it would go toward reviving train service to the cape and elsewhere in the state.

Mr. Patrick said that upgrading these in-state routes would spur economic development. It would also provide important links for Amtrak’s long-range plans to establish high-speed train service throughout New England.

In addition to service to the cape, Mr. Patrick has proposed reviving service from Boston to Fall River and New Bedford as well as from the Berkshires to the Connecticut border to enable future service to New York City. He has proposed extending service to Medford. He has also called for an $850 million expansion of the number of tracks at Boston’s South Station to accommodate more commuter lines and longer-distance Amtrak trains. The station now is a major bottleneck that causes serious delays.

Proposed Rail Projects in Massachusetts
Evan McGlinn for The New York Times

Read this whole story


Webb’s Wilderness Railroad opened up the Adirondack wilderness


(Map above is the Adirondack Division of the New York Central Railroad)

(Train station above is at Big Moose)

William Seward Webb‘s building of the Adirondack & St. Lawrence Railroad was a notable achievement. Although educated as a physician, he built two hundred miles of railroad in a short period of time and opened up wilderness where others had failed. Read More about Webb’s Wilderness Railroad.

Other features you won’t want to miss are the railroad to Ottawa and an Adirondack timeline of railroads.

Summary of Dates for how New York Central (now CSX) got to Montreal .

The New York Central Railroad was important to the Adirondacks. See a timetable map from 1948 of the Adirondack, St Lawrence and Ottawa Divisions . Find out about the head end equipment that the New York Central ran through the Adirondacks. We have some great New York Central Railroad Pictures. too.

There are plenty of pictures on the site. See trains in snow . Find pictures of Big Moose Station , Old Forge and Malone .

Recently, the Adirondack Scenic Railroad has reopened much of the line. Find out more about improvement of the Adirondack Railway Line .

and Railway Historical Society of Northern New York former Lowville-Beaver River Railway .

Webb’s ancestors came to this country in 1626. His grandfather was a general in the Revolutionary War. His father was a newspaper editor who coined the name “Whig” for the political party of that name. He also served as ambassador to Austria and Brazil. William Seward Webb was born in New York City on January 31, 1851. He went to Rio with his parents in 1861 and returned to the United States in 1863 to attend a military academy at Sing Sing, New York. There he spent five years, after which he went to Columbia University until 1871. This was followed by two years of medical studies in Paris and Vienna, then more medical school at Columbia. He interned for two years, set up a private medical practice, then got interested in business.

He became a partner in a Wall Street firm. In 1885 he was elected president of the Wagner Palace Car Company and remained in charge of that corporation until it was merged with the Pullman Company in 1899. He used his executive talents to make Wagner into a strong and profitable enterprise. He increased the rolling stock from 170 to 800 cars.

In 1881 Dr. Webb married Lila Osgood Vanderbilt, youngest daughter of William H. Vanderbilt, by whom he had four children.

“Adirondacks” means “tree eaters” to the Indians, so named because a tribe who lived there had to eat bark because it was so tough to find food sometimes. Geographically, the region is bordered on the east by Lake Champlain; on the south by the watershed of the Hudson and Mohawk; and on the north and west by the St. Lawrence valley and Lake Ontario. The region stretches about one hundred miles east-west and seventy-five miles north-south. It consists of rugged mountains, virgin forests and numerous streams and lakes. The New York State Legislature established the area as a forest preserve and as a park. Dr. Webb made the Adirondacks a practical reality to the people of New York and the whole United States.

About Rail New York


Rail New York (RNY) is a web-based public advocacy group with one simple goal:To improve the Quality of Life in New York City and Long Island by promoting increased freight rail transportationOur focus is primarily on the counties of the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn (Kings), Nassau and Suffolk counties, part of an area known as the “East-of-Hudson” region.

This long-overdue logistics shift will have the ultimate effect of significantly reducing traffic congestion, air pollution, public health issues, and infrastructure decay in the region — all the while increasing public health, improving traffic flow, reducing stress, improving our economy, and bestowing upon us a multitude of other benefits to improve New York’s Quality of Life.

In a tragic irony, the intense population density, infrastructure limitations, and unique geography of New York City and Long Island make our region more desperate for rail-based freight logistics than any other part of the country, yet we are severely inhibited from being fully-integrated with the national freight rail network. New York City and Long Island receive ~1% of its freight by rail, compared with the ~15% national average. Our goal is to change the numbers in New York’s favor and shift freight logistics to a more rail-based strategy. We strive to bring that paltry 1% figure up to match the national average.

A tall order? Perhaps. But not so daunting when the right people, armed with the right information, make the right decisions. We are here to serve that information, highlight the problems, offer solutions, and report on progress.

We work aggressively to promote freight rail transportation (freight trains) in New York City proper as well as Nassau and Suffolk counties and the entire East-of-Hudson region. We provide the statistics and case studies establishing the solid and undeniable fact that increasing our reliance on freight rail logistics is the answer to many of the region’s transportation, infrastructure and public health problems, among many other issues. Rail New York strives to grow the freight rail sector in New York City and geographic Long Island by furnishing unbiased facts to the public, politicians, municipal agencies, business leaders, institutions, and other policy-makers to build support for freight rail transportation so as to make it a more integral part of the East-of Hudson’s freight logistics strategy. Everyone will benefit.

What’s more, we are constantly expanding our membership roster of regional New Yorkers and vested parties from all throughout the world to build even greater support for freight rail solutions in the East-of-Hudson region. We are leveraging the ever-growing size of our membership base to encourage public policy in favor of freight rail logistics, which has been ignored for way too long. RNY gives everyone a common organization through which we can all make our voices heard:

New York and Long Island absolutely require freight rail to survive today and to be sustainable in the future!

One boxcar can carry the load of 3 to 4 semi tractor-trailers, and a single freight train can carry one ton of freight over 400 miles on one gallon of fuel. Best of all, freight trains won’t clog the highways and will not adversely impact the East-of-Hudson region’s Quality of Life. Freight trains ARE the answer to our worsening problems.

New Haven Railroad Cedar Hill Yard

LCLatCedarHillDriving north from New Haven, Cedar Hill yard cannot be overlooked. Its still used, but not to the extent it was 50 year ago. Imagine, over 9,000 cars handled on one day! Cedar Hill was built between 1910 and 1920. Cedar Hill became in the 1920’s the keystone of the whole New Haven Railroad freight operation. It seems to have started out as a more local facility, then grown into that larger role. Or was the idea of making it the center part of the original intention?

Cedar Hill was built between 1910 and 1920. The roundhouses were built in 1911. The Shore Line Receiving Yard, New York/Maybrook Receiving Yard, the two humps, Eastbound Classification Yard, and Westbound Classification Yard were built in 1918. The Montowese Tie Plant was built in 1922. The LCL warehouse and terminal were built around 1930.

There is a lot of information about Cedar Hill in Freight Terminals and Trains by John A. Droege.

If they started construction 1910, planning must have been around 1909. That puts the beginnings of Cedar Hill firmly in the Mellen era, along with his other major projects. Cedar Hill became in the 1920’s the keystone of the whole New Haven Railroad freight operation. It seems to have started out as a more local facility, then grown into that larger role. Or was the idea of making it the center part of the original intention?