Abandoned Railroads

GinoEndOfTrack

End of the track: West Shore south of Amsterdam, New York
Courtesy of Gino’s Railpage

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When was the West Shore abandoned?

Weehawken to Rotterdam Junction (RJ)

Always important, never abandoned.
Tower “RJ”: mile marker 159.6; open day and night in 1961 but closed by 1965. Connection to New York Central mainline at Hoffmans.
NYC continued to operate the West Shore as it was built until the early 20’s, when plans were made to construct a bypass around the difficulties of freight operation through Albany. The “Selkirk Bypass,” as it was called, incorporated a high steel bridge across the river, and a two-hump classification yard in the swampy area between Selkirk and South Bethlehem. This yard evolved into today’s modern Selkirk Yard.
A piece of the original route between Feura Bush and Ravena through South Bethlehem was abandoned in sections over the years after Selkirk was originally built (1924) and when it was rebuilt (1967).

Rotterdam Junction (RJ) to South Amsterdam

Continued to South Amsterdam mile marker 165.9
At Cranesville (mile marker 161) on the stub of the old New York Central West Shore it served a large quarry (Cushing) and several other industries.
This section was torn up in 2004 after being out of service for several years.
The Surface Transportation Board issued the following:
NEW YORK – NEW YORK CENTRAL LINES, LLC –
To abandon and CSXT to discontinue service over approximately 6.3 miles of railroad from milepost QGW 159.6 to milepost QGW 165.9, between South Amsterdam in Montgomery County and Rotterdam Junction in Schenectady County, NY. Effective on April 24, 2003. (STB Docket Nos. AB

A contractor scrapped the line from mile marker 165 or so back to mile marker 161 (Pattersonville) making this now end of track.
At Cushing, there is an old model 40 EMC center cab switcher clearly visable from the highway.
The connection to the NYC main at Hoffmans, as well as the reconfiguring and separation of grades between there and Fullers, were part of the Selkirk/Castleton bypass project.

South Amsterdam to Fort Plain

Torn up by Conrail when the Beech-Nut business in Canajoharie dried up.
(Out of service in 1981)
Canajoharie (mile marker 190.3) was the only station open on the line at the end.
A twice-weekly freight from Selkirk ran to Fort Plain and laid over.

Fort Plain to Ilion/Herkimer

In the early 1970’s, the line had been cut between Fort Plain and Ilion (by Penn Central).
The West Shore served the Ilion plant of Remington Arms, delivering coal for the power plant. This stopped in the late 50’s or early 60’s. The tracks came off the West Shore near East North Street and ran south, crossing East North and East Clark St (near the present day Crossway’s Tavern). They then turned west and ran down the middle of Main Street between the Remington factories that were on either side of the street. Just before Otsego Street the tracks turned south into the plant where the coal would be unloaded. I understand Remington had their own switcher to do this.

Herkimer to Harbor

Harbor (mile marker 226.2; connection to NYC mainline near Utica).
Connection continued West of Harbor to serve industries on Broad Street industrial trackage in Utica.
The Harbor connection (CP-24) lasted until at least 1987.
It served both the Broad St. Industrial Track and the West Shore eastward to Frankfort, South Ilion, and Mohawk.
Line was first cut back to Frankfort where the ex-West Shore RR shops were still standing, and some of the yard trackage was still there.
CP-24 was always Harbor Connection to Tk. 2 only.
No need for crossover to Tk. 1 as CP-25 was a universal plus access to the North Control Siding and Utica Yd.
Double track connection to Utica Yard was via the overhead bridge at CP-24.

Harbor to South Utica

The line through South Utica to a junction with the NYC mainline at Harbor was cut after 1965.
This section featured at least 16 unprotected grade crossings that required a flagman to cross. Industrial trackage which served the old textile mills in New York Mills left the West Shore.
In 1949, this line was double tracked and had a 35 MPH speed limit.
By 1961, it was single tracked and had a 15 MPH speed limit.

South Utica to Vernon

The line between South Utica and Vernon was cut between 1961 and 1965.
1961 employee timetable shows it open, 1965 timetable does not.
The Rome Daily Sentinal from May 3, 1964 announced: “The New York Central Railroad is seeking permission to abandon a 12.3-mile section of its West Shore line from New York Mills to near Vernon.
A 1969 publication of Waldo Nielsen’s “Guide to Abandoned Railroads” states that Vernon to Utica was abandoned in 1966.
The only piece left is the 1/2 mile or so in New Hartford ( part of the NYS&W New York Mills Industrial)

Vernon to Canastota

Canastota was an interchange with the Lehigh Valley.
NYC/PC left the main at Canastota on a switch back and ran east to Vernon 3 days a week in the 50’s.
There was switching action at the Beacon Feed Mill, Dalton Lumber, Chapman Gas , coal for Oneida Ltd and a few customers (feed, grain, farm machinery) in Vernon.

Canastota to Kirkville Junction

Before 1961, the line between Canastota and Kirkville Junction was abandoned and connection to the main line was at Canastota.
Kirkville Junction was the start of the Syracuse Division.
“CONRAIL” by MBI publications, states that the New York Central cut it’s West Shore as a through route between Utica and Buffalo in the mid ’50’s.

Kirkville Junction to Buffalo

Now abandoned almost completely.
The only portion still in use is west of Rochester.

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