New York State Railroads, and NY Central Railroad


New York Ontario & Western ‘s Ellenville & Kingston Railroad began in 1871 with an eight-mile section between Summitville and Ellenville, followed by the extension from Ellenville to Kingston in 1901.

The Ellenville and Kingston Railroad Company (which soon was leased to the O&W) had purchased part of the right of way belonging to the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company; the Canal having closed down in 1898. The new Ellenville to Kingston section was built on the old canal towpath from just north of Ellenville to Accord, and opened to traffic in 1901. 


Ulster & Delaware became New York Central Catskill Mountain Branch in 1932.

Arkville was once a real rail junction where the Delaware & Northern connected with the Ulster & Delaware.

The Delaware & Northern was a bridge line to the Ontario & Western at East Branch.


The Greenwich & Johnsonville actually had tracks between those two towns

. Went to D&H.


In 1913 the New York & Ottawa was merged into the New York Central as the Ottawa Division.


The Chenango Branch of the West Shore ran from Syracuse 45 miles to Earlville, N.Y.

It was built as the Syracuse, Ontario & New York Railway and was completed in 1891.


The Utica, Clinton & Binghamton Railroad was owned by the Delaware & Hudson, leased to the O&W, and finally sold to the O&W in 1942 for $250,000. The Rome & Clinton Railroad was sold by the D&H to the O&W in 1944.

The D&H owned these disconnected lines as a result of an 1873 loan to the NY & Oswego Midland that was defaulted.


The Syracuse, Binghamton & New York Railroad Company was built between 1851 and 1854 and purchased by the Lackawanna in 1869.

Also purchased at this time was the Oswego & Syracuse Railroad.


The Utica, Chenango & Susquehanna Valley Railroad was organized in 1866 and came under the Lackawanna in 1870. Inclusion of the Greene Railroad Company linked up this road with the Syracuse route at Chenango Forks.

As well as providing an important link, it also put the Lackawanna in the resort business. The branch to Richfield Springs was on Canadarago Lake and tourist trains now ran from Hoboken. The Utica-Binghamton line was a big dairy carrier and solid milk trains ran until the late 1940’s. Army reservists also used this line up to the 50’s to travel from New Jersey to Utica then over the New York Central’s St. Lawrence Division to Camp Drum near Watertown.


The Watertown & Rome was chartered in 1832 to connect northern New York with the Erie Canal, but it took 17 years before ground was broken near Rome.

The next step was a branch from Richland, located between Rome and Watertown, to Oswego.

Around 1875 the Syracuse Northern was built to Pulaski and Lacona. The RW&O leased it shortly thereafter.


In the early 1870’s, the Lake Ontario Shore Railroad had been built from Oswego all the way along the shore of Lake Ontario to the Niagara River (Suspension Bridge)

. It bypassed Rochester, had no manufacturing industries and was too close to the New York Central. The Lake Ontario Shore wasn’t able to make the grade and was sold to the RW&O in 1875 at a court sale for a bargain basement price. By building a short connection at Oswego, the RW&O now had a through route from Suspension Bridge to Norwood where connections were available to the Atlantic Ocean.


The Utica & Black River proceeded from Utica to Boonville, Lowville and Carthage.

Although incorporated in 1852 by Uticans upset with Rome being the gateway to the St. Lawrence, it only reached Boonville (35 miles) by the Civil War. Lowville was reached in 1868 and Carthage four years later. From Carthage, it went to Clayton then Ogdensburg in one direction and to Sacketts Harbor and Watertown in the other direction (by leasing the Carthage, Watertown & Sacketts Harbor). The U&BR was merged into the RW&O in 1886.


The New York Central paid a high price for the RW&O but got a well-built railroad in a fairly populous and non-competitive area.

Watertown citizens were not terribly pleased with loosing “their” railroad. Mr. Vanderbilt and Chauncey Depew expended a great deal of public relations effort, including a trip to Watertown, to assure the citizens of Watertown that all changes were for the better. The division headquarters was established in Watertown and the RW&O name was incorporated in timetables. Service improved, especially because of sleeping cars running to the Thousand Islands. George H. Daniels, the NY Central General Passenger Agent, turned his advertising magic on and built the Thousand Islandsup as a premier resort area.


Webb’s Wilderness Railroad opened up the Adirondack wilderness.

Although educated as a physician, William Seward Webb built two hundred miles of railroad and opened up the Adirondack wilderness where others had failed. New York Central tracks reached into the Adirondacks. One line even went across the Canadian border to Ottawa.  The Adirondack Railroad originally started in Herkimer and later moved to Utica.


The Elmira, Cortland & Northern (later part of the Lehigh Valley) had extended from Canastota to Camden in 1887.

Camden was on the Rome to Watertown section of the RW&O.

In 1876 the Lehigh Valley took over the Geneva, Ithaca & Sayre Railroad.

The Lehigh Valley had several other branches in New York State: from the mail line to Rochester; the former Southern Central Railroad from Sayre to Lake Ontario; a Buffalo bypass; and the Elmira, Cortland & Northern. Opened from Cortland to Ithaca in 1872 as the Utica, Ithaca & Elmira, this old road was once 139 miles (including the leased Canastota Northern to Camden)


A new commuter line was built through Westchester and Putnam counties in 1879 and 1880.

The New York City & Northern RR was constructed from High Bridge (Bronx) to Brewster.


In 1890 the New York Central & Hudson River R.R. published a book entitled “Health and Pleasure on America’s Greatest Railroad.”

It was a listing of summer resorts and excursion routes that were available. The book not only listed the routes and prices, but contained maps and vivid descriptions of the resorts. This undertaking was engineered by the Central’s advertising guru – George H. Daniels. Daniels was the road’s General Passenger Agent and ranks as one of the greats of American advertising. This ex-patent medicine salesman has been credited with turning the Thousand Islands into a resort area.


The New York Central Lines of 1921 represented what were originally 315 separate companies. The New York Central Lines did not become known as the New York Central System until 1935. The principal component was the New York Central Railroad which represented 186 predecessor companies. Its main line between New York and Chicago was officially completed in 1914 when the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern was consolidated. The 6,075 main line and branch miles of the New York Central Railroad swelled to 12,550 by the leased, controlled and subsidiary lines.

Some of these lines were:

Pittsburgh & Lake Erie

Peoria & Eastern

Boston & Albany

West Shore

Michigan Central

The Big Four (Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railway)

Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo 


Rutland Railroad

There was a junction of the NY Central Ottawa Div with the Ogdensburg & Lake Champlain at Moira. Both roads shared the depot but had separate yards. In the early 1960s, while going to school in the North Country, I remember one of the popular restaurants was called The Crossroads in Moira. I also remember there wasn’t really much in the town to indicate that it had been quite a rail center. The Ogdensburg and Lake Champlain Railroad ran to Rouses Point and Vermont. By 1901 it was the Rutland RR.

In 1857, the Potsdam & Watertown was built to join what later became the Rutland’s line to Ogdensburg. As well as serving as a connector, it served the agricultural towns of Potsdam, Canton and Gouverneur. In 1861, this line merged into the W&R, the name of the new railroad was changed to RW&O and a line built from DeKalb Junction to Ogdensburg.

The 57-mile long Lebanon Springs Railroad was once important to Chatham. The New York & Bennington got a charter to build from Chatham to the Vermont state line. The New York & Vermont would build 6 miles from Bennington to connect with it. The Lebanon Springs purchased the NY & Bennington and built north to Lebanon Springs but ran out of money and just ran tourists from Chatham. The Bennington & Rutland completed the line to get a connection to New York City because the Troy & Boston wouldn’t give it trackage rights. In 1870 the Lebanon Springs and the Bennington & Rutland consolidated into the Harlem Extension Railroad. It was bought by the Rutland in 1901. It was known as the “Corkscrew Division”. In its 75-mile length, it lifted itself out of the Bennington Valley by means of steep grades and sweeping curves and then dropped into the Hoosick River Valley. It crossed the B&M at Petersburg Junction and then meandered through the Taconic and Lebanon valleys to Chatham. It was an entirely rural setting. It ran a lot of milk trains but quit passenger service in 1931 and was torn up in 1953-54. After that, everything Rutland (not much) went through Troy and over the New York Central to Chatham.

Cornelius Vanderbilt predicted the Rutland wouldn’t last 100 years. In the early part of this century, the New York Central bought a controlling interest in the Rutland but later sold a good deal of that stock to the New Haven. Passenger service was poor because there were no towns over 500 on the line. In 1852, the New York & Harlem reached Chatham from New York City and connected with the Western Railroad to create an Albany-NY link. The NY & Harlem never developed into a major link to New York City because the Hudson River was so much better a route. Rutland passenger service went to Troy over the B&M from White Creek instead of to Chatham. The last 27 years of the Rutland’s existence saw only the milk train. It started in Ogdensburg and made no pick ups in-route on the Lebanon Springs. It was eventually rerouted through Troy. The Rutland tried busses from 1925 to 1931. The Chatham line was never an asset. A reorganization in 1950s resulted in the scrapping of the Bennington to Chatham line. The proceeds of this action was enough to buy 450 box cars.


Other New York Central Property

Air Line Railway of Michigan:


The Grand Trunk Railway was chartered in Michigan and Indiana, and the two companies merged in July and August 1868, just after the Canada Southern Railway was chartered, to form the Michigan Air Line Railroad. The Michigan Air Line and Canada Southern planned to form a continuous line from Buffalo, New York west to Chicago, Illinois via a train ferry across the St. Clair River. In 1871 the line was planned as part of a longer Portland, Rutland, Oswego and Chicago Railroad, but that fell through. In 1870 the St. Joseph Valley Railroad was merged into the company, providing a branch from Niles south to South Bend, Indiana. That line had opened in Spring 1870. The main line was completed February 1871 from Niles east to Jackson and from Romeo east to Richmond, and was leased to the Michigan Central Railroad (as part of a shorter route between Detroit and Chicago). The Michigan Midland and Canada Railway was chartered in 1872 to continue east from Richmond to the St. Clair River, and opened in 1873 as part of the Canada Southern Railway. However, due to financial problems, the part between Jackson and Romeo was not built. The east part, from Romeo to Richmond, was split off on October 2, 1872 as the St. Clair and Chicago Air Line Railroad, which leased the unbuilt St. Clair River, Pontiac and Jackson Railroad. The company went bankrupt in 1873, and on November 18, 1875 it was sold at foreclosure, with those lines east of Pontiac sold to the Michigan Air Line Railway. That company made arrangements for operation by the Grand Trunk Railway (which passed through Richmond). On January 1, 1881, the Grand Trunk leased the company, and the line was finished west to Jackson on September 1, 1884. The line from Pontiac to South Lyon was built on the planned right-of-way of the Toledo, Ann Arbor and North Eastern Railroad. In 1916 the Michigan Air Line Railroad merged with the Michigan Central and ceased to exist as an independent country; the Michigan Air Line Railway merged with the Grand Trunk Western in 1928. The only part of the line that has not been abandoned is the east (Grand Trunk) section between Wixom and West Bloomfield, operated by Coe Rail.


Beech Creek Extension Railroad included: Canoe Creek Railroad and Clearfield Southern Railroad.


Beech Creek Railroad (Not be confused with the Beech creek extension railroad, they were seperate comapnies within NYC’s corporate structure!) It came from Jersey Shore up thru Snow Shoe, Pa. to Philipsburg, to Clearfield, skirted Clearfield and headed Southwest into the coal fields around Gazzam in central Clearfield County where the NYC actually owned the lands and mining companies. This part has been abandoned from Clearfield to Gazzam since the 1940’s, the Tyrone and Clearfield was torn up clear down to Vail in the late 1960’s after the Penn Central merger, The Portion of the Tyrone and Clearfield to Grampian was torn up in 1989 and made a rail trail. The portion of the Original NYC “Beech Creek Railroad” from Philipsburg thru Snow Shoe to Jersey Shore was also torn up in the 1980’s but was actually abandoned in the 1960’s as the Unit trains could not use it due to grades and curves, same as the reason for the demise of the Tyrone and Clearfield branch. (You can see this railbed on the way to Altoona from Philipsburg in places, it is the scene of the worst circus train accidents in history.




The Blossburg and Corning Railroad Company succeeded to the franchise of the Tioga Coal, Iron, Mining and Manufacturing Company, which had been incorporated under laws of the State of New York, April 9, 1828, with power to construct slack-water navigation. This corporation was amended by chapter 81, laws of 1833, authorizing the construction of a railroad. Under chapter 90, laws of 1851, the name was changed, April 5, 1851, to The Corning and Blossburg Railroad Company. It was sold at sheriff’s sale December 31, 1852 and incorporated May 19, 1854, under the name of The Blossburg and Corning Railroad Company, the road of which was wholly in the state of New York.


CANANDAIGUA AND CORNING RAILROAD was incorporated May 11, 1845, with a capital of $1,500,000.


The road was allowed to connect with the Chemung Railroad at Jefferson, and to change its name Sept. 11th, 1852, to Canandaigua and Elmira Railroad; it subsequently became a part of the New York Central system.

Cleveland Short Line Railway (merged into NY Central in 1915) was chartered November 24, 1902.

The first section opened February 24, 1910, from the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway at Rockport, southwest of Cleveland, to the Lake Erie and Pittsburgh Railway (jointly owned by the New York Central and Pennsylvania Railroads) at Marcy, southeast of Cleveland. The rest of the line, from Marcy to the LS&MS at Collinwood, northeast of Cleveland, opened on July 1, 1912. In 1915 the company was merged into the New York Central Railroad, a year after the same was done with the LS&MS, and kept its name as the Cleveland Short Line. The line became part of Penn Central in 1968 and Conrail in 1976. By the time of the Conrail breakup in 1998, the majority of trains through Cleveland used the original Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway line through downtown. Of those that used the bypass, over half only used it west of the former Pennsylvania Railroad’s Cleveland and Pittsburgh Railroad (then Conrail’s Cleveland Line). With the breakup, Norfolk Southern acquired the old main line through and west from downtown, up to the Cleveland Line split. CSX got the bypass, except at the west end, west of the crossing with the old Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railway main line (at Short Line Junction), where Norfolk Southern uses it to access the old CCC&StL to downtown. Reciprocal trackage rights are given by each company to the other in case one of the routes is blocked. The Cleveland Short Line east of Short Line Junction is now CSX’s Short Line Subdivision, and is part of their main New York City-Chicago route.


JUNCTION RAILROAD COMPANY was incorporated in 1870.

The road was built by The New York Central and Hudson River Railroad Company to connect its main lines between East Buffalo and North Buffalo and was opened in 1871. It was leased in 1875, and absorbed by The New York Central and Hudson River Railroad Company October 1, 1879.


PINE CREEK RAILWAY COMPANY (NYC) Operated by the Fall Brook Coal Company in State of Pennsylvania


Syracuse Geneva and Corning Railway Company was formed in 1885 by merging with the Penn Yan and New York Railway Company, incorporated in 1877.

The property of the Syracuse Geneva and Corning Railway Company had been leased to the Fall Brook Coal Company for twenty years from 1881. On May 12, 1892, a new lease to the Corning Cowanesque and Antrim Railway Company became operative and remained in force until May 1, 1899, when, under the terms of an agreement dated April 11, 1899, the lease of 1892 was cancelled, and the property leased to The New York Central and Hudson River Railroad Company from May 1, 1899, for the term of its corporate existence, the consideration being a cash rental of $46,375 per annum, and interest upon all outstanding bonds and obligations.


Toledo and Ohio Central



The Wellsboro and Lawrenceville Railroad Company, which was wholly in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, was organized in 1867.


Herkimer to Poland

This line is mentioned briefly in Mike Kudish’s book, Railroads of the Adirondacks, A History. He doesn’t give too much information because this line was outside the Adirondack Park but he mentions it for it’s role in rail service in the park. The line was originally built as narrow gauge and reached Poland from Herkimer in 1882. It was standard gauged in 1891 and extended to Remsen in 1892. His map shows a branch from Prospect Junction to Hinckley and a spur from this same junction into the L&M Stone Co. quarry near West Canada Creek.

In Kudish’s earlier book, Where Did the Tracks Go, he gives a bit more information. About the time this line reached Remsen the Adirondack and St Lawrence began building north from Remsen into the Adirondack Park. Trains into the Park originated at Herkimer. When this new line was taken over by the New York Central in 1893 the southern terminus for Adirondack service was changed from Herkimer to Utica. Service from Poland to Remsen was discontinued in 1943. After service was cut from Poland to Remsen in 1943, New York Central operated this 16.5-mile branch up to Penn Central times. Employee timetables in this period showed no scheduled trains but the station at Poland was open 7 AM to 4 PM at least as late as 1949. Timetables for Remsen to Malone and Adirondack Junction continued to show mileage from Herkimer (line starting at Remsen with 27.67 miles from Herkimer). A remnant of the branch existed as late as 1990 from former Signal Station 26 (once open day and night) into downtown Herkimer. It was used to park welded rail trains. The NYC generally used Alco switchers (S2 or S4) (8500’s and 8600’s) on the Adirondack Division from Herkimer to Poland. That territory belonged to the Adirondack Division crews, even after the line to Lake Placid was abandoned. Another job they owned was DM-11 and DM-12 from Massena to St. Luc (Montreal) over CN and the northern piece of Adirondack Division from Huntington to Adirondack Jct., Quebec; and the Beauharnois Switcher that worked up there and into Malone.




This company was formed September 4, 1867, by the consolidation of the Boston and Worcester Railroad Corporation and the Western Railroad Corporation, and on November 2, 1870, a consolidation with The Albany and West-Stockbridge Railroad Company and the Hudson and Boston Railroad Corporation was effected.


Boston and Worcester Railroad Corporation.

Incorporated June 23, 1831, for the purpose of constructing a line from Boston to Worcester. This line was completed and operations commenced July 3, 1835. Branches from Natick to Saxonville, and from Millbury Junction to Millbury were completed in 1846; from Riverside Junction to Newton Lower Falls, from South Framingham to Milford and from the main line to Brookline in 1847. All these branches were constructed under the original charter of the Boston and Worcester Railroad Corporation.


Western Railroad Corporation

. Incorporated March 15, 1833, for the purpose of building a line westward from Worcester to Springfield, and eventually to the western boundary of the State of Massachusetts. This road was completed and operations commenced October 4, 1841.


The Albany and West-Stockbridge Railroad Company

. Incorporated May 5, 1836, by change of name from Castleton and West Stockbridge Railroad Company (incorporated May 5, 1834, in the State of New York), for the purpose of continuing the line of the Western Railroad Corporation from the Massachusetts state line to Albany. This extension was completed December 21, 1841.


Hudson and Boston Railroad Corporation.

On April 26, 1832, the State of New York chartered The Hudson and Berkshire Railroad Company and made certain advances to aid the construction of its line, which was completed from Hudson to Chatham Four Corners and was opened for use in September, 1838. Owing to a default in the repayment of its advances, the State of New York sold the line November 21, 1854, and it was purchased in the interests of the Western Railroad Corporation and was then reorganized as the Hudson and Boston Railroad Corporation. The Hudson & Berkshire from Hudson to Chatham was picked up by the Albany & Stockbridge. The H&B tracks east of Chatham 4 Corners included a 600-foot tunnel. The H&B remained a branch line through the 1950s. The Hudson & Berkshire road was built by a group of enterprising promoters who hoped to establish a trunk line to the west by linking the Catskill & Canajoharie (the only railroad which received state aid for its construction that did not operate into the 1950s) with the Western Railway of Massachusetts. To aid this undertaking, the state lent the company $150,000. In the fall of 1846, eight years after construction began, the road became financially embarrassed and the legislature agreed to exchange its first-mortgage bonds for a lesser lien. But the business of the company continued to languish and, unable to meet the interest on its obligations, the road was auctioned off by the state comptroller for $155,000. The first-mortgage bondholders realized about 88 cents on the dollar, but the state’s equity was completely lost. This line remained a branch of the B&A until abandonment. A small segment survives near Hudson as an industrial spur.


Grand Junction Railroad and Depot Company.

Incorporated April 24, 1847, by change of name from the Chelsea Branch Railroad Company, incorporated April 10, 1846, and its line built from the main line of the Boston and Worcester Railroad Corporation to the harbor at East Boston. It was purchased by the Boston and Worcester Railroad Corporation March 6, 1867.


The Springfield and North-eastern Railroad Company.

Incorporated May 6, 1878, succeeding the Springfield Athol and North-eastern Railroad Company, which was incorporated February 6, 1873 (by change of name from Athol and Enfield Railroad Company, incorporated April 17, 1869), and which constructed the line from Springfield to Athol and opened it on December 3, 1873. This road was purchased by the Boston and Albany Railroad Company July 8, 1880.

The Boston and Albany Railroad Company controls the railroad and property of the following organizations, which retain their corporate existence:


Chester and Becket Railroad Company

: operated under contract.


North Brookfield Railroad Company:

operated under lease.


Pittsfield and North Adams Railroad Corporation

: operated under lease.


Providence Webster and Springfield Railroad Company

: operated under contract.


Ware River Railroad Company

: operated under lease.

The Boston and Albany Railroad was leased to The New York Central and Hudson River Railroad Company November 15, 1899, for a term of ninety-nine years from July 1, 1900, the consideration being the payment of interest on the funded debt of the lessor company and a guaranteed rental equivalent to eight per cent per annum upon its outstanding capital stock. The lessee company assumed all leases and contracts of the lessor company.



see The New York Central and Hudson River Railroad Company.
The Watertown and Rome Railroad Company was incorporated under an act of the legislature of the State of New York, passed April 17, 1832, chapter 173 of the laws of 1832, and its road opened September 18, 1851. On April 11, 1860, an act entitled “An Act to amend the charter of the Watertown and Rome Railroad Company,” being chapter 273 of the laws of 1860, was passed by the Legislature of the State of New York, authorizing the Watertown and Rome Railroad Company to purchase, to hold, operate and own and annex to its own road all the railroad, property and franchises of the Potsdam and Watertown Railroad Company, which had been incorporated February 15, 1852, and its road opened June, 1857. The purchase was made, in accordance with the terms of the act, on July 25, 1860, and subsequently, under authority of the same act, the Watertown and Rome Railroad Company, by a resolution of its board of directors, on July 10, 1861, changed its corporate title to Rome Watertown and Ogdensburgh Railroad Company, effective as of August 23, 1861.

By an agreement of consolidation, dated October 22, 1874, between the Rome Watertown and Ogdensburgh Railroad Company and the Lake Ontario Railroad Company, which had been incorporated as the Lake Ontario Shore Railroad Company on March 27, 1868, road opened to Oswego in 1873, sold under foreclosure proceedings September 22, 1874, and reorganized September 29, 1874, as the Lake Ontario Railroad Company, the second company bearing the name of the Rome Watertown and Ogdensburgh Railroad Company was incorporated. This agreement was filed and recorded in the office of the Secretary of State of the State of New York on January 14, 1875, under authority of chapter 917 of the laws of 1869, passed May 20, 1869, and acts amendatory thereof or supplemental thereto.

A third corporation bearing the same name was formed by an agreement of consolidation dated October 19, 1875, with The Syracuse and Northern Railroad Company, which had been incorporated February 25, 1868, under the name of the Syracuse Northern Railroad Company, its road opened in 1872, sold under foreclosure proceedings July 31, 1875, and reorganized September 22, 1875. This consolidation was under authority of chapter 917 of the laws of 1869, passed May 20, 1869, and acts amendatory thereof or supplemental thereto, and was filed in the office of the Secretary of State of the State of New York, December 23, 1875.

The final company was formed by an agreement of consolidation dated March 14, 1885, with the Oswego Railroad Bridge Company, a corporation chartered April 22, 1872, and filed and recorded in the office of the Secretary of State of the State of New York on April 20, 1885, under authority of chapter 917 of the laws of 1869, passed May 20, 1869, and acts amendatory thereof or supplemental thereto.

This company added to itself by merger, under authority of the laws of the State of New York, the property and franchises of the following companies:

On August 7, 1889, the Norwood and Montreal Railroad Company, incorporated March, 1884, and its road opened September, 1886. On the same date, the Syracuse Phoenix and Oswego Railway Company, incorporated February 16, 1885. This company was formed on April 22, 1886, by consolidation of The Syracuse Phoenix and Oswego Railway Company (incorporated February 16, 1885, as a reorganization of The Syracuse Phoenix and Oswego Railroad Company, incorporated June 10, 1875, by consolidation of The Syracuse North Western Railroad Company, incorporated September 19, 1874, and Syracuse Phoenix and Oswego Railroad Company, incorporated November 29, 1871, sold January 31, 1885) and Fulton and Oswego Railroad Company (incorporated December 18, 1885). On April 28, 1890, the Rome Watertown and Ogdensburg Terminal Railroad Company, incorporated June 22, 1886, and opened in 1887. This company was formed by merger on February 21, 1888, of the Windsor Beach and Ontario Railroad Company (incorporated November 30, 1887) and the Rochester and Lake Beach Railroad Company (incorporated February 1, 1888) the latter company having, on August 5, 1887, purchased the Rochester and Ontario Belt Railway Company, which was incorporated January 31, 1882.

The railroads and property of the following named companies were leased by the Rome Watertown and Ogdensburg Railroad Company:

Carthage Watertown and Sackets Harbor Railroad Company,
The Niagara Falls Branch Railroad Company,
Oswego and Rome Railroad Company,
The Utica and Black River Railroad Company.

The Rome Watertown and Ogdensburg Railroad was leased for the term of the corporate existence of the lessor company to The New York Central and Hudson River Railroad Company March 14, 1891, the consideration being an annual cash rental of $15,000, to be reduced after April 1, 1901, to $7,000; a guaranteed dividend of five per cent per annum on the capital stock; and all interest on outstanding mortgage bonds. The lessee company assumed all leases held by the lessor company. Consolidated into The New York Central and Hudson River Railroad Company April 16, 1913.

ST LAWRENCE AND ADIRONDACK RAILROAD COMPANY: see The Mohawk and Malone Railway Company.

Incorporated July 2, 1896, under the general railroad law of the State of New York and by acts of Parliament of the Dominion of Canada, 57-58 Victoria, chapter 93, and 59 Victoria, chapter 37, and is a consolidation of The St Lawrence and Adirondack Railway Company, which was formed November 18, 1895, by consolidation of the Malone and St Lawrence Railway Company, incorporated September 10, 1891, under the laws of the State of New York, with line extending from Malone, New York, to the international boundary, opened January 11, 1892, and the St Lawrence and Adirondack Railway Company which was incorporated May 4, 1888, under the laws of the Dominion of Canada, with line extending from the international boundary to Valleyfield in the Province of Quebec, opened January 11, 1892, and the Southwestern Railway Company, incorporated May 22, 1888, by act of the Canadian Parliament, 51 Victoria, chapter 52, with line extending from Beauharnois to Caughnawaga Junction, both in the Province of Quebec, opened in 1897.

The line owned by the company extends from Malone Junction, New York, to Valleyfield in the Province of Quebec, 30.17 miles and from Beauharnois to Adirondack Junction, both in the Province of Quebec, 12.9 miles. To connect these two portions, a part of the line of the Grand Trunk Railway Company, known as the Beauharnois Junction Railroad, extending from Valleyfield to Beauharnois, a distance of 13.3 miles, was leased January 1, 1896, for a period of ninety-nine years at an annual cash rental of $10,000, and to secure access to the city of Montreal, trackage rights were acquired from the Canadian Pacific Railway Company over its line between Adirondack Junction and Montreal, a distance of 8.8 miles, with terminal facilities in the latter named city.

The New York Central and Hudson River Railroad Company became agents of The St Lawrence & Adirondack Railway Company under an agreement dated June 1, 1898, terminable upon sixty days notice in writing by either party, by which it conducts the operations of the entire line from Malone Junction to Montreal, without participating in the profits or sharing the losses of such operation.

On January 1, 1905, The New York Central and Hudson River Railroad Company acquired by purchase the entire outstanding capital stock of The St Lawrence & Adirondack Railway Company, but continues to operate the line under the terms of the above mentioned contract.


In December 1945, the Oswego & Syracuse Railroad merged into the Delaware Lackawanna & Western Railroad

The west side of the city of Oswego was host to the first rail line in 1848. The Oswego & Syracuse Railroad later became the northern end of the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western’s Syracuse Branch, which ran from the mainline at Binghamton thru Syracuse.
Railroad Merger Proposed
April 27, 1945, Friday
WASHINGTON, April 26 (AP)– An application to merge the thirtyfour mile Oswego Syracuse Railroad into the Delaware, Lackawanna Western system was filed today with the Interstate Commerce Commission. The application said the merger would reduce fixed charges of the D.L. W by $55,485 a year and solve certain tax problems. The Oswego Syracuse has been leased by the other road since 1869.


1883: Carthage & Adirondack Railway created to build a railway into the Adirondacks to reach mines.

Opened in 1887 from Carthage to Jayville.
Opened in 1889 from Jayville to Benson Mines.
New York Central & Hudson River leased in 1893.
Opened in 1896 from Benson Mines to Newton Falls.
Merged into the New York Central & Hudson River in 1913 as the Carthage & Adirondack Branch.
In 1950, Benson Mines at Star Lake, New York was the largest open pit magnetite iron ore mine in the world.
In 1978, when Benson Mines closed, 470 people lost their jobs. During the operation of the mine large amounts of tailings were dumped in the area surrounding the mine. Renewed interest in mining the tailings for the magnetite and martite they contain led to present investigation

It’s not currently in use, but the Newton Falls Paper plant would like to be able to use it. It’s been out of service for enough years that all the ties need to be replaced (1 of 7 ties replaced per year times 7 years equals all the ties, right??). 1991: Conrail sold the Lyons Branch to the Mohawk Northern & Adirondack Railroad (including the Carthage & Adirondack Railway). Also included in the sale was the Lowville & Beaver River Railroad. Some confusion: this is NOT part of the Genesee & Wyoming system.

Benson Mines apparently has already-mined rock that could be shipped, but only rail is cheap enough. Looking at historical figures, Newton Falls Paper Mill was never the major shipper on that line, with Benson Mines having about 10 times as many carloads of business. Considering that Newton Falls is working at a fraction of historical capacity today, they probably wouldn’t forward and receive more than a couple hundred carloads per year, at best. Doing the math, for 45 miles of track from Carthage, that isn’t enough business to justify $2.5 million to $7.5 million in public funds. On the flip side, I’d contest the figures quoted for reactivation. We’re talking about a branch with modern, heavy welded rail that was rebuilt for heavy ore trains that amounted to tens of thousands of carloads per year. Obviously, there will be a lot of reballasting due to the terrain (and wildlife), not to mention a huge number of rotten ties, but $7.5 million to restore this line to a 25 mph standard seems excessive.

The Ghost of Benson Mines

Genesee Valley Transportation was founded in 1985, marketing rail-related services to both private and public industry throughout the northeast. Today, GVT is headquartered in Batavia, NY, and operates the Mohawk, Adirondack & Northern Railroad Corp.: The MA&N operates two separate divisions in the Adirondack region. The Northern Division runs from Carthage, NY to Lowville and Newton Falls, while the Southern Division runs from Utica, NY to Lyons Falls and via CSX trackage rights to Rome. The MA&N connects with CSX at both Carthage and Utica, and with the L&BR at Lowville.
* Lowville Running Track – 80 lb rail – 15.6 miles – MP U58.70 – U74.30
* Newton Falls Line – 45.5 miles – MP SA29.70 – SH75.20


Penney Vanderbilt has some great pictures of ore trains at Benson Mines and a great article on“Adirondack Ore Run on the New York Central Called For High Class Railroading”.


Pennsylvania Railroad to Sodus Point


In 1956, the Elmira & Lake Ontario Railroad merged into the Northern Central Railway. The Elmira and Lake Ontario retained its corporate identity until 1956 when it was formally merged into the Northern Central railroad. The Northern Central was fully controlled by the Pennsylvania Railroad, but retained its corporate independence until the PRR collapsed in 1968. The Northern Central Railway began as a collection of smaller railroads which merged and consolidated over time. The history of the portion of the line in New York State revolves around four segments: the route from Sodus Point to Stanley, the route from Canandaigua to Watkins (via Stanley), the segment from Watkins to Elmira, and the route from Elmira to Williamsport, PA. The Sodus Bay and Southern Railroad was built in 1873 to connect Sodus Point on Lake Ontario to the Elmira, Jefferson and Canandaigua Railway at Stanley, NY. Elmira, Jefferson and Canandaigua Rail Road was a 47-mile line from Canandaigua to Watkins (then known as “Jefferson”). The Chemung Railroad was chartered in 1845 and by approximately 1850 had constructed a 17-mile line from Elmira north to Jefferson (now known as Watkins). The Williamsport and Elmira Railroad extended 78 miles north from Williamsport, PA to just south of Elmira, New York. In 1863 the company was leased to the Northern Central Railway. The Northern Central Railway was formed by the consolidation of many smaller railroads extending from Baltimore north to Elmira, New York. By 1861 the company was controlled by the Pennsylvania Railroad, but was operated as a separate company. In 1872 the Northern Central purchased the entire stock of the Elmira, Jefferson and Canandaigua Rail Road and the Chemung Railroad. The company also reached an agreement to operate over four miles of the Erie Railroad to connect the Chemung Railroad with the northern end of the Williamsport and Elmira Railroad. In 1884 the Northern Central purchased all the stock of the Sodus Bay and Southern Railroad, completing a line from Baltimore north to Sodus Bay.


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