End of the track: West Shore south of Amsterdam, New York
Courtesy of Gino’s Railpage
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.
1) http://www.trainweather.com/aban.html Most STB (Surface Transportation Board) abandonment filings between 1999 and present are listed by year. You can then use the docket numbers or location information to search for additional information if needed, or find the full text of each abandonment from other web sites.
2) http://www.stb.dot.gov/decisions/readingroom.nsf/WebServiceDate?openform Enter a railroad company, county name, city name, etc. in the search box to list abandonment documents for that location/company. I do not know the exact date range that this database covers, but it’s at least 1994 to present. Note that more than just abandonment filings are listed, so you may have to sift through the various documents that come up. Links to open each document are along the left-hand side of the page.
3) UNFINISHED RAILROADS OF NEW YORK STATE Photos, maps, and information regarding unfinished railroads across New York state.
4) RAILROAD MAPS OF NEW YORK STATE A collection of railroad maps documenting portions of several abandoned routes across New York state.
5) www.abandonedrails.com ABANDONED RAILS
Tyler City Station: WebSite about abandoned rail in Western Connecticut
Tyler City Station
a pleasant and informative cyber-destination and a starting point for those interested in the history of railroads. The focus will be on those in southwestern Connecticut, but we may take a side track into other local historical topics spinning off from railroads in this and possibly in other geographic areas as well. The important role that the railroad played in the development of this state and this country can hardly be overestimated.
Here is an idea of the contents: Track 1. Tyler City – Railroad Boom Town; Track 2. The New Haven and Derby Railroad, 1864-1941; Track 3. New Haven and Derby Extra: Locomotive roster, statistics, officials; Track 4. New Haven and Derby Mainline: Tour from New Haven to Ansonia; Track 5. New Haven and Derby Extension: Tour from Derby Jct. to Botsford; Track 6. The Iron Horse in New Haven, 1838-1920; Track 7. New Haven Extra – Photo and archival materials; Track 8. West Haven: Railroads and Orphans; Track 9. Brookfield and its Railroads, 1840-1941; Track 10. Danbury and its Railroads, 1850-1920; Track 11. Bridgeport; Track 12. Waterbury; Track 13. Terryville; Track 14. Middletown; Track 15. Hartford.
Other Abandonments in New York State
|Line Name||Segment||Railroad||Miles||Prior Company||Date|
|Chateguay Branch||Plumadore to Lake Clear Jct||D&H||22||1940|
|Sackets Harbor branch||Sackets Harbor to Watertown||NY Central||11||1949|
|Cape Vincent Branch||Limerick to Cape Vincent||NY Central||16||1952|
|Adirondack Division||Malone to Gabriels||NY Central||1961|
|Ogdensburg Branch||Ogdensburg to River Gate||NY Central||42||1962|
|St. Lawrence Division||Watertown to Roots||NY Central||8||1963|
|St. Lawrence Division||Lyons Falls to Lowville||NY Central||13||1964|
|Adirondack Division||Gabriels to Lake Clear Junction||NY Central||5||1965|
|Chateguay Branch||Lyon Mt to Dannemora||D&H||16||1966|
|Carthage Branch||Watertown to Great Bend||NY Central||10||1967|
|Carthage Branch||Great Bend- Carthage||NY Central||7||1970|
|Adirondack Division||Snow Junction to Lake Placid||PC||110||New York Central||1972|
|Clayton Branch||Clayton to Philadelphia||PC||22||New York Central||1973|
|Harlem Division||Millerton to Chatham||Conrail||35||New York Central||1976|
|Cape Vincent Branch||Watertown to Limerick||Conrail||8||New York Central||1976|
|Gouverneur & Oswegatchie Branch||Emeryville to Edwards||Conrail||6||New York Central||1978|
|Adirondack Division||Malone to Huntingdon||Conrail||56||NY Central||1980, 1983|
|Harlem Division||Wassaic to Millerton||Conrail||11||New York Central||1980|
|Chateguay Branch||Dannamora to Otis Jct||D&H||20||1981|
|Aqueduct Branch||CP9-Aqueduct||Conrail||3.8||New York Central||1983|
|Camden Secondary||Rome to McConnellsville||Conrail||10.1||New York Central||1983|
|Dolgeville Branch||Little Falls-Dolgeville||New York Central||9.9||New York Central||1964|
|Adirondack Division||Herkimer-Poland||Penn Central||16.5||New York Central||1972|
|Adirondack Division||Prospect Junction to Poland.||New York Central||?||New York Central||1943|
(Either side of the Poughkeepsie Bridge)
|Poughkeepsie Secondary Track||Poughkeepsie-Hopewell Jct||Conrail||11.6||New Haven||1983|
|Wallkill Valley||Kingston-New Paltz||Conrail||?||New York Central||1977|
|Wallkill Valley||Walden-New Paltz||Conrail||38.8||New York Central||1983|
|Complete list of NYC’s Putnam Division abandonments|
Other railroad abandonments interesting to me because they relate to areas I have written about. Courtesy of trainweather.com
| Delaware & Hudson Troy Branch:
NEW YORK â€“ DELAWARE AND HUDSON RAILWAY COMPANY, INC, dba CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY COMPANY – To abandon a 1.3 mile line of railroad known as the Troy Branch extending from milepost T1.81 at Green Island to milepost T3.11 at Cohoes, in Albany County, NY. Effective on March 19, 2004. (STB Docket No. AB-156 (Sub-No. 24X, decided February 9, served February 18, 2004)
| Poughkeepsie Hospital Branch:
NEW YORK â€“ NEW YORK AND EASTERN RAILWAY, LLC/CSX/ NEW YORK CENTRAL LINES, LLC â€“ For NY&E and CSXT to discontinue service over and for NYC to abandon an approximately 4.7-mile line of railroad between milepost QCO 0.0 and milepost QCO 3.2 and between milepost QCK 29.5 and milepost QCK 31.0, in the City and Town of Poughkeepsie, Dutchess County, NY. A final decision will be issued by October 15, 2004. (STB Docket No. AB-873X, AB-55 (Sub-No. 652X), AB-565 (Sub-No. 17X, decided July 13, served July 19, 2004)
| New York Central Putnam Division:
NEW YORK â€“ NEW YORK CENTRAL LINES, LLC – To abandon and CSXT to discontinue service over an approximately 1.5-mile line of railroad between milepost QVP 0.0 at Melrose Avenue and milepost QVP 1.5 near the southernmost edge of the tunnel at Southern Boulevard in Bronx County, NY. Effective on April 17, 2003. (STB Docket Nos. AB-565 (Sub-No. 13X) and AB-55 (Sub-No. 628X, decided March 11, served March 18, 2003)
| Delaware & Hudson Albany Main:
NEW YORK â€“ DELAWARE AND HUDSON RAILWAY CO. INC., D/B/A CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY COMPANY – To abandon a 9.14+/- mile portion of railroad known as the Albany Main or the Voorheesville Running Track, between milepost 10.94+/- and milepost 1.8+/- in Albany County, NY. Effective on July 16, 2003. (STB Docket No. AB-156 (Sub-No. 23X, decided June 9, served June 16, 2003)
| Long Island Garden City branch:
GARDEN CITY, NEW YORK – LONG ISLAND RAILROAD CO. – To discontinue service over a line of railroad between milepost 18.8 in Garden City and milepost 21.0 in Garden City, Nassau County, NY, a distance of 2.2 miles. A final decision will be issued by September 6, 2002. (STB Docket No. AB-837X, decided June 5, served June 10, 2002)
| South Shore Branch:
INDIANA – CHICAGO SOUTHSHORE & SOUTH BEND RAILROAD – To abandon a line from a connection at the east end of CSS’s Lincoln Yard near Second Street to the end of the line at the facility of the Pioneer Lumber Company, a distance of less than 1/2 mile in Laporte County, Indiana. This line may have been a part of another carrier’s main line years ago. Final decision by November 16, 2001. (STB Docket No. AB-344, Sub No. 1X, decided August 14, served August 20, 2001)
| New York City Cross Harbor Railroad:
NEW YORK – NEW YORK CROSS HARBOR RAILROAD, INC – Asked to authorize the abandonment by New York Cross Harbor Railroad, Inc. (NYCH), of the Bush Terminal Yard (a/k/a “First Avenue Yard”) and the Harborside Industrial Center (a/k/a “Brooklyn Army Terminal”) (jointly the Tracks and Facilities), in New York, Kings County, NY. (STB Docket No. AB-596, decided December 14, served December 21, 2001)
| Boston & Maine Watertown Branch:
MASSACHUSETTS – BOSTON & MAINE – To abandon the Bemis Branch from m.p. 8.83 to m.p. 10.94, 2.11 miles, in Waltham and Watertown, MA. Written comments due by June 12. (STB Docket No. AB-32, Sub No. 89, decided May 15, served May 18, 2000)
Tracking Abandoned Railroad Mileage
Source for mileage and owner road marks:
* National Transportation Atlas Databases, 1999 *
* National Rail Network 1:100,000 *
* Bureau of Transportation Statistics (comp.) *
* U.S. Department of Transportatation *
* Washington, DC *
The data covers the 48 contiguous states plus Hawaii.
The mileage was derived by computing the length of each line and summing by owner mark and status. This process may have resulted in significant cumulative errors. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK.
Copyright 1999 James R. Irwin
Permission is granted to copy and distribute this listing provided that this notice, the citations, and the copyright are included.
Removing the Maybrook Line tracks in 1983
Nine years after the big bridge in Poughkeepsie burned the tracks of the Maybrook Line were removed. This photo shows the last train on the line picking up the sections of rail as they were torn up. The rails were in section as much as a quarter mile long. They were winched onto a set of special train cars with racks to fit the rails. This was the very last train to pass over the Maybrook Line. When it was gone there were no more rails.
A group of dedicated rail fans were braving the winter cold to witness the sad events. After 90 years of service the Maybrook Line will fade into the history books. There will be no more trains but Dutchess County purchased the abandoned roadbed with the intention of building a north south highway but those plans did not work out. Instead the County will use the property as a utility corridor and bury water lines under the old ballast. The plan also includes paving it to form a hiking and bicycling “rail trail” for public use. The scene in this photo will be the Hopewell Junction end of the rail trail with a parking area. The depot in the distance is being restored to become a museum and educational facility for the town. There may not be any more trains on the Maybrook Line but a bit of Hopewell Junctions railroad history will be preserved in the old depot.
Click here to see more on the Central New England Railroad in Hopewell Junction
Canal Line today through New Haven
Connecticut’s Farmington Canal was converted to a railroad by 1848. The road was named the New Haven & Northampton, but has always been called the Canal Line. The road’s first terminal in New Haven was between Temple Street and Hillhouse Avenue.
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