Central New York Railroad

ritchfieldjunction

Richfield Junction is about all that is left of the Central New York.

Delaware Otsego Corporation acquired former DL&W Richfield Springs 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 Syracuse & Utica branches in 4/82. 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.

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centralnewyorkbridgewater

This Central New York Railroad locomotive was a hard postcard to find. Guess it wasn’t too popular.

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The Richfield Springs branch of the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railway 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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richfieldspringsclock

The Central New York Railroad ran to Richfield Springs. This traffic signal controlled cars on historic Route 20 for many years.

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The Richfield Springs Branch was operated mostly out of Utica, sometimes as a separate job and other times as part of the duties of the Sherburne Local or the through train to Binghamton, called The Bull. When the Milk Train was running out of Richfield Springs, they had a Utica Terminal crew based there as an outlying terminal. There was a two stall enginehouse in Richfield Springs. This train operated until about 1940. Then everthing once again came out of Utica. DO bought it and ran their first train in early December 1973. Richfield Springs had a good propane business, and the mills at West Winfield were busy. DL&W used 300 and 700 consols, 500 moguls and camel back 900’s. Diesel power was initially 900 series RS-3’s and later 900 series GP-7’s. Erie Lackawanna followed through with the same GP-7’s now numbered 1200’s. Last EL double header was reported on a plow train in 1970. The DL&W Richfield Springs freighthouse was still standing…barely when DO took over but it was quickly torn down. The CNY just dried up and died. The IL Richer feed supplier in Richfield Springs NY closed, Suburban propane switched to trucks and the Titan Homes plant never really required rail shipments of lumber as hoped.

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richfieldspringsjune2009

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Here’s a preview of some of the exciting projects we have put together for you:

Read about the Central New Railroad to Richfield Springs . The other end of this railroad was Clayville . You can follow its path on Google Earth . The Central New York Railroad name still exists too. See a connection the railroad made with the Unadilla Valley RR .

Our WebSite includes not only the Central New York Railroad, but other Central New York locations that had railroads. Some of these are Utica and Cooperstown. 

The owners of the Utica, Chenango and Susquehanna Valley LLC recently purchased materials to support their economic development plan and start a new narrow gauge tourist railroad. “We feel we have a lot to offer the community to stimulate the economy and attract people to our area,” said Ronald Sadlon, who co-owns the company with Benjamin Gottfried. Materials acquired over the past month include 16 tons of rail to use for a test track and a truckload of used railway signal equipment to control train movements. A passenger train is already in place at the South Columbia facility where the test track will be installed.

The company purchased an 18 mile railroad bed that stretches from Richfield Springs to Bridgewater in 2009. They have also purchased additional assets for the railway project, including a 6,000 square foot creamery, which is planned to be used as a passenger terminal and retail space. Narrow gauge trains are far lighter and more fuel efficient than the full sized trains which most tourist railroads operate, according to Sadlon, who added the lighter trains require less fuel to operate and offer riders an exciting rail riding experience even at the slow speeds they are known operate.

Sadlon and Gottfried purchased the narrow gauge “ Frontier Town Train” in the spring of 2010. The train was used for tourists in Frontier Town in Lake George. They said they hope to be able to offer a passenger service with the historic train in the future if the right pieces fall into place. Gottfried said there is currently not a tourist train in southern Herkimer County.

He added an open house is planned for late spring to gather support and to “hopefully find the right mix of interested local people to bring the idea to fruition.”

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Richfield Springs Branch

Station Mile Note
Richfield Junction 0
Bridgewater 4.7 Unadilla Valley Railroad
Unadilla Forks 5.5
West Winfield 7.6
East Winfield 9.7
Cedarvale 11.6
Miller’s Mills 13.2
Young’s Crossing 14.0
South Columbia 18.0
Richfield Springs 21.7

 

Abandonments:

Leaving the main at Binghamton, the Utica branch also included a line to Richfield Springs. Around 1870, the Greene Railroad and the Utica, Chenango & Susquehanna Valley Railroad were built. In 1882, this line was leased to the DL&W.

Milk train, which carried passengers on Richfield Springs branch, discontinued July, 1938.

Passenger service discontinued April 29, 1950.

Utica branch to Conrail, April 1, 1976, to New York, Susquehanna & Western, April, 1982.

NYS&W operated this branch as “Central New York RR.” Abandoned Bridgewater to Richfield Springs in 1995.

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southcolumbiaaerial

Newark Milk and Cream Company creamery in South Columbia (in South East Quadrant)

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uticatease

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uticachenangosvmap

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Marcellus & Otisco Railroad

Unrelated, but also in the central New York State area was the Marcellus & Otisco Railroad.

The nine and a half-mile M.& O.L. ran from Martisco station on the Auburn short line of the New York Central Railroad, down through the winding gorge to Marcellus Falls, on to Marcellus village and over to Otisco Lake. The line hauled freight only in its later years, but once it did a bit of passenger business. At one time it connected at Marcellus with the Auburn & Syracuse electric trolley line. The Marcellus and Otisco Lake ceased operation in 1959 and was abandoned the following year.

There is an article about it and an accident on it in the Syracuse Post-Standard, Thursday, March 2, 1933.

The Martisco Museum was on the NY Central where the two roads connected.

The NY Central Auburn and Syracuse bypassed the Village of Marcellus, but provided a station some two miles north. The present brick structure was erected in 1870 to replace the original wooden building. In 1897, the Marcellus Electric Railroad was chartered to provide a direct rail line between the Village and the station. However, no electric train ever operated on the line.

In 1905, the Marcellus and Otisco Lake Railway was formed to take over operation of the short line. In order to avoid the confusion of two stations bearing the name Marcellus, the New York Central renamed its station “Martisco” as a contraction of Marcellus and Otisco.

The Crown Woolen Mills were located in Marcellus, NY, using Nine Mile Creek as their power supply. The mills used a lot of Scotch and Irish labor. An excellent book covering the topic is Nine Mile Country, The History of the Town of Marcellus, NY, by Kathryn C. Heffernan, Visual Artists Publications,Inc.,1978. The upper Crown Woolen Mills building was torn down in 1986. The lower mill remained and is (was) restored.

Interested in Marcellus? Check this out.
See another source of information on this railroad from Bill Reagan

The M&OL was interesting for its oddball collection of motive power. Over the years it rostered a 2-4-0 Baldwin, a tiny (45 ton) 4-4-0 with blind front drivers, a 2-4-2T, an 0-6-0 with a slopeback tender and an enclosed Canadian-style cab, a 2-truck shay, and a rare 400 hp Vulcan diesel. The M&OL had a subsidiary that operated a 65 foot gasoline-powered launch on Otisco Lake to connect with its passenger trains. Buffalo Creek RR #12, 0-6-0 Alco Brooks, blt 11-1906, was sold to the M&OL in 1932 and was used only until 1934. This is the loco that derailled at Marcellus Falls. It was too big and heavy for the tracks but they mainly used it for hauling Jamesville limestone and cement to built Route 20 then scrapped it in 1934.

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marcellus1959

Here’s what the Marcellus & Otisco looked like in 1959. Map is showing the line and its customers before it shut down in 1959.

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dolgevillebranch

Dolgeville Once Had a Railroad From Little Falls

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cooperstown

Another “neighbor” of the Central New York/DL&W was the Cooperstown & Charlotte Valley.

The Cooperstown and Susquehanna Valley Railroad (later Cooperstown and Charlotte Valley) was opened in 1869 between Cooperstown and Cooperstown Jct. The original purpose of the C&SV was to connect to the Hudson River at Catskill, and they did not plan to interchange cars with the D&H. It would have been a rival to the Rondout and Oswego, later Ulster and Delaware.

cooperstowncouncilrock

Council Rock at Cooperstown
Around Cooperstown by De Brian Nielsen, Becky Nielsen

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kingfishertower

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Cooperstown is noted for baseball, of course. There is a great golf course with a hotel too. Find out more about vacationing in Cooperstown.

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cooperstownstation

Cooperstown Train Station……Now a private residence

More About Cooperstown

Not much railroad activity in Cooperstown, but the New York, Susquehanna & Western has offices and dispatcher there. I believe a visit or tour can be arranged if you call them. Closest railroad activity is Oneonta (D&H).

Cooperstown is no longer really on an active rail line although the Leatherstocking Line runs between Cooperstown and Milford with tourist trains. Their stopping point is south of the village on NY 28 south of the former crossings at Chestnut and Walnut Streets.

The NYS&W headquarters is in the old freight station in Cooperstown which lies between Main Street and Glen Avenue (NY 28) on Railroad Avenue and this structure has been altered a number of times to make it more suitable for the NYS&W offices. At one time, there was also a trolley/interurban line into Cooperstown from Index which is south of Cooperstown on route 28. This line was a branch off the line which ran between Oneonta and Mohawk and the line into Cooperstown lasted until the very early 1940’s as a freight railroad. The Delaware & Hudson used to serve Cooperstown from Oneonta every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. They had a water tower with a standpipe, a decent electric turntable and a very nice passenger station which had been converted to a residence. For a long time, the local freight train came in with a combo (coach and baggage car) rather than a caboose. I think this was because they still carried Railway Express shipments to the station at Cooperstown and the job probably had an express messenger on it too. They still did a reasonable amount of freight business in Cooperstown with lumber, coal, grain and feed being the big items but local LCL stuff too. Both Milford and Cooperstown at the time still had full time agents too. This was in the late 1940’s. Shortly after the arrival of the diesels, the turntable and water plug came out but Cooperstown still had three day a week service for a long time after that.

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