Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg Railroad Company




The Freight House, Family Style Restaurant

20 Market St, Ogdensburg, NY 13669, Cross Streets: Between Jackson St and Brown St

If you are looking for a nice sit down meal, this is a nice place. They have train sets running and it has a nice, quiet atmosphere. Food was good. Everything from steak to seafood to Italian


Rome Watertown and Ogdensburgh


In New York State, a significant portion of the trackage north of the New York Central main line was once part of the Rome Watertown & Ogdensburgh. At one point it had 643 route miles. 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 territory between Rome & Watertown was and is sparsely populated and difficult to build a rail line through. However, upon approaching Watertown the territory changes. It is somewhat more populated and easier to penetrate. Furthermore, it is close to the busy St. Lawrence River.

After reaching Watertown, the new railroad was immediately extended to Cape Vincent which had its ferry to Canada. 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 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. It was able to use both routes effectively by channeling traffic from the west through Syracuse and from the east through Rome.

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.

Unfortunately the traffic was not there to maintain this huge line and the once prosperous RW&O ran into financial difficulties. Samuel Sloan of the Lackawanna picked up the property quite cheaply. His first move was to convert the locomotive fleet to hard coal. Other than that, he ran the RW&O very poorly.

Charles Parsons wrested control from Sloan. He was a New Englander with a lot of good business sense. Assisted by Henry M. Britton, he solved many of the problems of the RW&O. They extended the road a few miles from Norwood to Massena in order to connect to the Grand Trunk leading into Montreal. Another addition was a direct line from Syracuse to Oswego. As well as improving the roadbed and bridges, they put an extension into Rochester.

At the same time the RW&O was expanding, another railroad was built from Utica to the North Country. 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.

Faced with the prospect of the Fitchburg Railroad connecting with the RW&O; the New York Central organized the Mohawk & St. Lawrence to build to Watertown. A connection of only about 70 miles would have been required to connect the Boston, Hoosac Tunnel & Western with either Utica or Rome. This would have given a Boston-based company access to Lake Erie. This, of course, upset the New York Central very much. Fearful of another West Shore fiasco, banking interests got Parsons talking to the Vanderbilts. Rather than compete, a deal was made in 1891 whereby the RW&O was leased to the Central.

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 Islands up as a premier resort area.

Watertown almost got another railroad in the 1890’s. 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. With aid from some Watertown businessmen, Austin Corbin of the EC&N chartered the Camden, Watertown & Northern. Although some construction was started, it never really had a chance and just died. Later on, the Canastota to Camden line was abandoned. The Elmira to Canastota line lasted until just a few years ago.

The spelling of Ogdensburgh versus Ogdensburg is confusing. Obviously, the “h” is missing in today’s spelling but it was in the name of the railroad. Therefore I drop the “h” in spelling the town and leave it when spelling the railroad.

As late as the mid-1950’s, most of the RW&O was still in service. Everything east of Oswego was part of the St. Lawrence Division. By 1961, the St. Lawrence Division had merged into the Mohawk Division. The old Lake Ontario Shore Railroad was part of the Syracuse Division.

In 1956, the former RW&O lines (682 miles) were:

· Rome (Signal Station 34) to Richland (45 miles). This was cut back to Camden by 1961. Camden to Rome survived until CONRAIL. A Utica to Massena passenger ran over this route in 1956.

· Watertown to Newton Falls (64 miles). Carthage to Newton Falls was freight only while Carthage to Watertown carried passenger runs from Utica to Watertown, Ogdensburg and Massena.

· DeKalb Junction to Ogdensburg. (19 miles). This route carried a single passenger run each way.

· Massena to Syracuse (Signal Station JG) (159 miles. This is the major “survivor” in the CONRAIL era because of the Montreal connection. It was double track between Pulaski and Richland as well as between Adams Center and Watertown. There were two daily runs between Syracuse and Massena as well as a Utica to Massena passenger that joined this line at Watertown. The Utica to Ogdensburg train ran on this line from Watertown to Philadelphia. By 1961, the only surviving passenger run was a Syracuse to Massena “Beeliner”. It was gone by 1965.

· Ogdensburg to Utica (134 miles). This line was freight only from Carthage to Utica as all passenger runs went through Watertown. As well as Utica to Massena, Utica to Ogdensburg and Utica to Watertown (Beeliner), two Adirondack Division trains ran over this route from Remsen to Utica. Philadelphia to Ogdensburg was cut by 1965 as well as Lowville to Lyons Falls.

· Syracuse to Oswego (34 miles). This freight-only line ran from N.Y.C. Junction to Oswego via the NYO&W.

· Edwards to G&O Junction (Gouverneur) (13 miles) (freight only).

· West Yard (Oswego) to Pulaski (25 miles) (freight only). This line was cut from Mexico to Oswego by 1961.

· Rivergate (Philadelphia) to Clayton (16 miles) (freight only).Main Street (Watertown) to Roots (5 miles) (freight only).Watertown to Limerick and Dexter (8 miles) (freight only).Ontario Branch (150 miles) (freight only).Rochester to Charlotte (10 miles) (freight only).



Watertown, NY Railroad Station





Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority

The Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority owns two shortline railroads that are operated by a private contractor d/b/a the New York and Ogdensburg Railway Company. This railroad serves the Port of Ogdensburg and connects with CSX, thus providing total intermodal service for industries of Northern and Central New York, as well as Eastern Ontario, Canada


Ogdensburg and the North Country

All about railroads North of the New York Central mainline. Mostly New York Central, a lot of Ogdensburg, some Rutland, and even the Massena Terminal.


Utica to Ogdensburg (via Philadelphia) (134.4 mile)

The Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg (RW&O) never ran to Utica, except via trackage rights over the NYC from Rome. The line ran from Utica to Ogdensburg via Remsen, Carthage, Philadelphia and Rivergate was originally the Utica and Black River. There was still daily passenger service in 1956 but gone by 1961 (except Watertown using the Massena-Syracuse line). Cut north of Lyons Falls (44 miles from Utica) and south of Lowville (29 miles from Philadelphia) by 1965. Philadelphia to Ogdensburg was gone by then too.


Syracuse to Massena (164.3 miles)

The rail line through Canton is the CSX Montreal Secondary running from Syracuse to Montreal (Fort Covington, NY). They run 6 trains or so a day. There is plenty of CN run-through power on the line, as well as the usual unique CSX lash-ups. It used to be known as the St. Lawrence Division of New York Central System. There was steam power until diesels started showing up around 1949. There were three passenger trains daily in each direction between GCT and Massena. Two (one morning and one evening departure from each end) went via Watertown and Utica, and one, in the afternoon via Syracuse. The evening trains ran overnight and carried Pullman sleepers in both directions between Massena-GCT, Massena-Pittsburgh(via Buffalo), Ogdensburg-GCT, Watertown-GCT. The Ogdensburg sleeper was coupled/set off at DeKalb Jct. The only food service was a coach was set up as a grill arrangement so you could get some breakfast, because stops like Governeur, Canton and Potsdam were not until about 9 a.m. give or take. These trains usually had a combo baggage/RPO car at the head end. Railway Express was also carried. Anthracite coal was of course still the principal fuel to heat homes and so quite a few hoppers came into the area.

These trains usually had a combo baggage/RPO car at the head end. Railway Express was also carried. Anthracite coal was of course still the principal fuel to heat homes and so quite a few hoppers came into the area. The long freights were 80 to 100 cars typically, and pulled by one huge single steam engine. There was not(and probably still isn’t) an auto block system on most of this line of 150 or more miles, so everything depended on TO supported by use of semaphores on the more important stations with telegraph facilities. I understand that most of the line is welded rail and maintained in excellent operating condition. The line is in great shape. Nicely groomed ballast and certainly plenty of welded rail. I paced a train from Potsdam into Canton last summer, and it was really moving along quite fast. The other nice thing about the line is very diverse power. Anything from BN SD40-2’s, to CN SD70’s and CSX B36-7’s! Paper companies in the North Country change hands every two or three years, or so it seems, so I’m not sure who operates it now but it is still active. It is served by a spur off the CSX Montreal Secondary just north of Potsdam. The spur curves away from the secondary to the northwest then turns about 120 degrees to the right and enters the plant running east. A CSX local out of Massena does the switching for about 10 cars a week.


DeKalb Junction to Ogdensburg. (18.9 miles)

The Ogdensburg-Dekalb Junction branch of the former New York Central was abandoned in 1987. After Penn Central and the start of Conrail the branch went through several short line operators. They were Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority, St. Lawrence RR, and North Country RR. The only customer was a paper mill in Ogdensburg, and when that closed that was the end of the operation. The removal of the line was rather unique–local Amish people were contracted and pulled up the rails using their horses and buggys!

Not sure about OBPA and St. Law. RR on the branch in question – DeKalb Jct. to Ogdensburg, via Rensselaer Falls and Heuvelton, about 19 miles? Both did in fact at various times own or operate the line to Ogdensburg over the former Rutland RR from Norwood, about 30 miles.

Final operator of the line was Ontario Eastern RR, affiliated with Ontario Midland RR & Ontario Central RR. They used an ex-D&H RS-3, #4085. There were a couple other VERY small shippers, but the paper mill was the life (and death) of the line. The 1916 ETT shows six (6) trains daily in each direction between DeKalb Jct. and Ogdensburg. They were spaced out from about 6 or 7 a.m. to about 6 or 7 p.m., with a typical elapsed time of 40 minutes, including the two intermediate station stops of Heuvelton and Rensselaer Falls. I would imagine that one trainset consisting of an engine and one or two coaches plus a combo mail/baggage car could have handled the entire operation. Pullman sleeper cars were likely attached to early morning northbounds, and to early evening southbounds. By 1956, there was only one passenger run a day left. It was gone by 1961.

Ogdensburg – DeKalb Junction
Apr. 1, 1976
Conrail is created and operations of the Ogdensburg Secondary is signed over to Ogdensburg & Norwood Railway.

Apr. 1, 1977
O&NR became St. Lawrence Railroad.

SLRR returned the Ogdensburg Secondary to Conrail.

Mar. 1980
Conrail signs operations of the Ogdensburg Secondary to North County Railroad.

The Ontario Eastern Railroad ran out of DeKalb Jct. and was operated by the same group that ran ONCT and OMID. The Ontario Eastern Railroad Corp.(ONER) was incorporated in 1981 to take over as designated operator of the Ogdensburg-DeKalb Jct. line. It served a rail-dependent paper mill at Ogdensburg owned by Sonoco Products. (The mill was formerly owned by Diamond National). ONER had one unit of motive power, an ex-D&H RS3. The General Manager, Jim Colpoys, also came from the D&H. The company was an affiliate of Rail Services Associates of Syracuse. RSA also managed the Ontario Midland and the Ontario Central Railroads. ONER even had its own subsidiary, the Jersey Southern R.R., which operated a 4.3 mile branch in South Deerfield Twp., N.J., serving the Seabrook Farms frozen food plant.

The paper mill at Ogdensburg struggled on until about 1985, when it closed for good. The road shut down operations, since there was no other business. After about a year, the track was removed. March 1987 seems about right as the date of abandonment.

An interesting note is that the contractor who removed the ONER rails was Amish – even in the mid-1980’s, the rails went down the same way they went down, with men and horses instead of machines. Before 1920, was probably the peak of passenger traffic, shows about six (6) trains daily in each direction between DeKalb Jct. and Ogdensburg. They were spaced out from about 6 or 7 a.m. to about 6 or 7 p.m., with a typical elapsed time of 40 minutes, including the two intermediate station stops of Heuvelton and Rensselaer Falls. I would imagine that one trainset consisting of an engine and one or two coaches plus a combo mail/baggage car could have handled the entire operation. Also Pullman sleeper cars were likely attached to early morning northbounds, and to early evening southbounds. In 1947 to 1950, they ran a Gas-Electric,steam and early diesel.


Edwards to G&O Junction (Gouverneur) (13.8 miles)

Rome (SS34) to Camden (to Richland) (22 miles)

Utica to Richland was about 58 miles but the actual trackage ran from Signal Station 34 near Rome. In 1956 there was a single passenger train each way. 22 miles from Richland to Camden was abandoned in 1957. Camden to Rome was abandoned in stages from 1977 to 1983.


Watertown to Newton Falls (75.6 miles)

The portion of this line between Carthage and Watertown was removed in the 60’s. (It was part of the old RW&O main from Utica). I saw in 1965 Benson Mines a Pittsburgh ore train which usually ran via Philadelphia but was detoured that day. The detour was preferred because it kept the train out of downtown Watertown and most of the street crossings. The line was a segment of the Carthage and Adirondack RR, not the RW&O. The C&A ran from Sacketts Harbor via Watertown and Carthage to Newton Falls.

I believe the line that ends at Benson Mine is now GVT owned Mohawk Adirondack & Northern. But the paper mill at the end of this line in Newton Falls closed and for now, there isn’t much in the way of traffic there. The mill is being looked at by an investment group, so there’s still hope that the line will be operational again in the future. The fate of the 46-mile Carthage-Newton Falls line is very much up in the air. As a previous poster has noted, this former NYC branch’s last significant customer, the Appleton Papers mill at Newton Falls, is now closed. The only other traffic consists of plastic pellets destined for Tupper Lake, via a transload. Several years ago, this line was sold by Conrail to the Mohawk, Adirondack & Northern, a subsidiary of GVT Rail, of Batavia, N.Y. The MA&N has not asked for abandonment, but that could happen if the mill stays shut. Benson Mines is located 3 miles from Newton Falls. In the 1960’s it originated a daily train of iron ore for Pittsburgh, but the open pit mine has been closed for years and won’t reopen.


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”.


Watertown to Limerick (8.7 miles)

Actually ran from Main Street (Watertown Junction)


Main Street to Roots (5.1 miles)

(Roots is 5.5 miles Northeast of Watertown on the line to Massena)


Rivergate to Clayton (15.8 miles)

(Rivergate is 5.4 miles from Philadelphia on the Utica to Ogdensburg line)


Utica to Adirondack Junction (232 miles)

Was intact until the late 1950’s. The former Conrail line to Montreal was the New York Central Adirondack Division. The track between Malone Jct. NY and Beauharnois, Que. and between Vallyfield, Que. and Adirondack Jct., Que., was owned by the St. Lawrence and Adirondack Ry, a NYC subsidiary, and leased to the NYC. Track between Beauharnois and Valleyfield was leased from CN. NYC passenger trains to Montreal operated from Utica via Malone to Adirondack Jct on NYC, then into Windsor Street Station on CP. Freight trains ran into St. Luc Yard on CP. NYC ran a through freight train via Utica and Montreal, UM-1 and MU-2, which among other traffic handled bananas from Weehawken set off by WB-3 at Utica. That train and most other freight traffic was later rerouted via Watertown and Norwood, then via trackage rights on the Rutland to Malone Jct, then north on the NYC to Adirondack Jct. When the Rutland went out on strike in 1961 that train returned to the Adirondack for a short while, then began operating as DM-11 and MD-12 (Dewitt – Montreal) via new trackage rights on CN from Massena to Huntingdon, then via the original route to Adirondack Jct. After Conrail was created, CN sold that piece of the Massena Subdivision west of Huntingdon to Conrail.


Lake Clear Junction (Saranac Lake) to Lake Placid (16 miles)

Already the subject of many articles, not covered here.


Massena Terminal

The Massena Terminal still exists. It is owned by Alcoa and serves the Alcoa plant from the CSX yard at Massena Springs. It has two EMD switchers painted red and white. They are hard to photograph since most of their time is spent inside the plant.


Rutland (and successors)

The St. Lawrence Railroad went out of existence several years ago. At the time, the tracks from Norfolk to Waddington had been mostly removed but the company operated the segment to Norwood and the track from Norwood to Ogdensburg which is owned by the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority. A successor company calling itself the St. Lawrence and Raquette River Railroad operated the Norwood-Ogdensburg trackage and it’s own few miles Norwood to Norfolk until the late 1990’s when it came under new ownership as the New York and Ogdensburg Railroad (NY&O). The NY&O has two EMD switchers and a GE 70-tonner. The two EMDs are still in St. Lawrence “baby blue” paint. They bore white “St. Lawrence” lettering until the NY&O took over and painted the lettering over with the “baby blue.” The entire NY&O is FRA excepted track. It exchanges cars with CSX in Norwood. It makes the all-day trip to Ogdensburg usually once per week. In addition to the port, it serves a company in Ogdensburg that makes magnets for tiny electric motors and there is an outdoor transfer facility for a few cars on the spur that once was used for coal deliveries to the Ogdensburg Psychiatric Center. It also serves a paper mill next door to it’s engine house in Norfolk. Ogdensburg tries hard to find some traffic for the NY&O. One plan was to haul salt from Retsof, NY to the port for loading into vessels. Before the deal was finalized, the mine had some sort of accident and was flooded. A new mine is under construction in Hampton Corners, NY. The NY&O is far from dead. Recently they bulldozed the former Rutland yard at the Port of Ogdensburg and installed a new CSX Transflo Facility. The facility consists of the two tracks with 100 lb rail with wide areas between the tracks for trucks to off load or on load materials to the cars. The facility is supposed to be paved with ample lighting and environmentally safe drainage systems. The tracks and crushed stone are in-place. It appears as the paving and lighting will be completed in the Spring Of 2000. There is a new plywood manufacturing plant going in the industrial park. It is to be located next to the main line near where the old hospital siding was. They expect to generate 10 – 15 cars per week. Acco is also expected to build an additional warehouse in the same industrial park. It is suppose to have rail access too. Now they have cars brought down to the port and materials stored in one of the cold storage buildings. As for the motive power, they are still using the EMD switchers. The GE is out of service. My understanding is the cylinder walls are too thin. I also understand the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port plans on rebuilding the line with 100 lbs. rail all the way to Norwood. They expect to do the Ogdensburg to Lisbon section this year. With the anticipated traffic, they need it! They are also looking for bigger power. Lastly, they plan on building an engine house in Norwood to cut the trip time down. Most of the traffic goes between the CSX interchange in Norwood and Ogdensburg. The northern part of the Rutland from Burlington to Ogdensburg NY was torn up in 1964, including the long causeway over the Lake Champlain islands (recently converted into a bicycle trail, with ferry). The trackage between Ogdensburg and Norwood (ex-Rutland), along with a branch to Norfolk (a short segment of the former Norwood & St. Lawrence RR) is operated by the New York and Ogdensburg RR. The property is owned by the Ogdensburg Bridge & Port Authorty (OBPA). Over the years, OBPA has designated a series of operators on this marginal line. The first was Ogdensburg & Norwood RR. Others include the St. Lawrence Railroad (a subsidiary of the car-leasing company, National Railway Utilization Corporation). During the time NRUC leased the line there were hundreds of boxcars in service with the SLAW (St. Lawrence RR) reporting marks. Later, line was leased to the New York & Lake Erie in western NY and other shortlines in Pennsylvania and Canada.


History of the Rome Watertown and Ogdensburg Railroad

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.


The Massena Terminal was built in the early part of the 20th Century, same time as the The Massena Terminal was built in the early part of the 20th Century, same time as the ALCOA plant. It is basically a intra-plant switching road for ALCOA and interchanged with the NYC and CNR at the Massena yard. The yard ownership was split among the NYC, CNR and Massena Terminal. NYC brought in all the Alumina used at ALCOA. The Massena Terminal is currently operated by Genesee & Wyoming.ALCOA plant. 


The Rutland Connection

Ogdensburg had a big connection with the Rutland Railroad.

A railroad was constructed from Ogdensburg to Rouses Point and was opened in 1850. It was originally called the Ogdensburg and Lake Champlain line of the Northern Railroad.

The Rutland Railroad leased the Ogdensburg and Lake Champlain line in 1901 to connect the port of Boston with Ogdensburg. From there, its Rutland Transit Company fleet could connect to the numerous Great Lakes ports and thus the Midwest. That plan was short-lived, as the U.S. government prohibited ownership of both shipping and rail interests by one company through passage of the Panama Canal Act of 1915.

Pictures of the former Elm Street Station in Malone are replaced with images of the structure today, now housing town offices and a bank.

One of the most interesting remnants of the railroad is the Chateaugay embankment and tunnel. It is sometimes visible looking south from the Route 11 bridge over the Chateaugay River. A 300-foot long tunnel, 25 feet wide and 22 feet high, was used to divert the river in order to protect the earth embankment used to bridge the river. It took two years to build, at a cost of $130,000. Water still runs through the tunnel, which was completed in 1848.

The end of the line came after a final strike by railroad workers in 1961. In December of that year, the Rutland Railroad applied to the Interstate Commerce Commission for total abandonment of the line, which was approved in September 1962 and took place the following year.

Did you know that both the New York Central and the New Haven railroads had a financial interest in the Rutland at various times?

The Rutland even ran from Bennington, Vermont to Chatham, New York. Once this branch was gone, they delivered the milk via the Boston & Maine through Troy.

Find out more about the Rutland from the Rutland Railroad Historical Society and the Rutland Railway Association.

There was no connection between the NY Central and the Rutland in Ogdensburg. The Oswegatchie River split the town down the middle. The Rutland came into Ogdensburg from the East and had a terminal right by the present hospital there.

The NYC had a yard with a station on the west bank of the river. There were two routes from the West into Ogdensburg. One route was the line from Dekalb Jct., on the NYC’s -Syracuse – Massena route. The other was from Morristown, down through Redwood, to Theresa. There the line connected with the Clayton branch and headed south through Ft. Drum, down through Carthage and on to Utica.


Watertown was once the headquarters of the Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg Railroad. Watertown is also the “Capital of the North Country. When I was in Canton, WWNY-TV was about the only U.S. station we got.

In addition, St Lawrence County Historical Society has put together a great history site that includes a lot of material on the railroads in the area.



The Fabled Rutland Milk

See Penney’s Blog about the Fabled Rutland Milk. Pictured at the left is a “rider car” bringing up the rear as the train goes through the Troy Union Railroad on it’s path from Ogdensburg, down through Vermont to Chatham, then down the New York Central Harlem Division to New York City.



The Walter Snow Fighter is popular in Watertown, NY.

See more
Walter Snow Fighters
All about William Walter.


A Chronicle of the Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg

Compiled by Richard Palmer
Watertown Times, March 14, 1936

Line From Rome to Cape Vincent Was Completed in April, 1852

N. Y. C. CAPE VINCENT BRANCH Train 804 Pulls Into Watertown Depot at 12:10 P. M. to End Passenger Traffic Career—Freight Service to Continue—JeffWells and George Walker Are Noted Trainmen of Line.


Today the Cape Vincent branch of the New York Central system passed a milestone in its 84 years of history, when at 12:10 p.m. train No. 805 (sic) drew in at the local terminal from that village pulling the last passenger train ever likely to run over the route again.

For the past several years passenger service on the Watertown-Cape Vincent branch has been steadily declining. The system applied to the public service commission to cut out all passenger service on the line. This was recently granted and today the passenger train to and from Cape Vincent rode the rails for the last time. Freight service will continue as formerly on this line.

The Cape Vincent train left here as usual at 8:40 this morning. This train is known as train No. 804. Its return trip was made on time and the service officially ended at 12:10 this afternoon at the close of the return run. Engineman Frank I. Peacor (sic), 446 South Meadow street, was at the throttle. Samuel A. Jones, 440 West Ten Eyck street, was the conductor and John W. Schryver, 413 Coffeen street, was the brakeman.

As far back as the summer of 1847 plans were being made to build the Watertown, Rome, and Cape Vincent railroad. A poster of that date refers to the proposed road as highly importantfor all citizens from the St. Lawrence on the north to the Erie canal on the south. Subscriptions were being sought. The poster stated: By the charter we have till the 14th of May, 1848, to complete subscriptions, and make an expenditure towards the road.

The venture gained ground rapidly thereafter. A board of directors was organized and on April 6, 1850 the actual organization of the Watertown & Rome railroad designed to connect Rome with Cape Vincent was accomplished at the American hotel in this city. The organization was capitalized at from $1,000,000 to $l,500,000.

Work Began at Rome.

The original officers of the Watertown & Rome railroad were: President, Orville Hungerford, Watertown; secretary, Clarke Rice, Watertown; treasurer, O. V. Brainard, Watertown; superintendent, R. B. Doxtater, Watertown. The directors were: S. N. Dexter, New York; William C. Pierrepont, Brooklyn; John H. Whipple, New York; Norris M. Woodruff, Watertown; Samuel Buckley, Watertown; Jerre Carrier, Cape Vincent; (probably a sentence or two followed which failed to be copied).

Construction soon began at Rome and by the fall of 1850 track was laid for about 25 miles north of Rome. But it was not until May of 1851 that the first engine puffed into Jefferson county. In the summer of 1851 work went ahead on the construction of the road between this city and Cape Vincent. Contractors were at work on the new line throughout the summer and fall.

Line Reaches Chaumont in 1851

Among the first engines that traveled over the Rome & Watertown road were the Lion, the Roxbury, the Commodore, and the Chicopee. It was during this pioneering stage of the railroad that Orville Hungerford died, on April 6, 1851. W. C. Pierrepont, was named president to fill the vacancy, and it was under Mr. Perreponts jurisdiction that the Watertown & Rome railroad was finished.

The line was pushed through to the village of Chaumont in the fall of 1851 and in April, 1852, reached Cape Vincent, the original northern terminus. Cape Vincent was an important point of entrance to the country even in those days and the railroad linked the St. Lawrence river with the interior of the state. With the Cape Vincent line finished the regular operation of trains began formally on May 1, 1852. And so almost ten years before the beginning of the Civil war, Cape Vincent was united with the rest of the world by a railroad.

A ferry at Cape Vincent, The Lady of the Lake, connected the village with Kingston, Ont., and the trains were operated to connect with the ferry. Extensive docks and piers were built and a great wooden-covered passenger station was erected. This was built in 1852. It resembled a great barn with a huge gap of an entrance where the trains ran through. This old station stood from 1852 until 1895.

The end of the station was a tale of tragedy. On the night of Sept. 11, 1895, the train from Watertown arrived on time to connect with the Kingston boat. Suddenly a violet storm swept over Cape Vincent and passengers on the dock sought shelter inside the great station. The wind swooped down on the ancient structure, lifted it off the ground and then dropped it, smashing the whole building in a great crash. Two person were killed and many more were injured.

Old Station a Landmark.

Thus for 40 years that old station stood as a landmark at Cape Vincent. The conductor of the train on the evening of the tragedy was the late W. D. Carnes, city, better known to everyone as BillyCarnes. In 1889 Mr. Carnes moved to Cape Vincent and for twelve years he served on the Cape Vincent branch, having the run from that village to this city.

The late Jefferson B. Wells has been characterized as the commodore of the old fleet.Wells was long in the service of the railroad and spent many years of his life as engineer on the Cape Vincent branch. His skill in handling locomotives is still recalled to this day. His two favorite engines were the T. H. Camp and the Antwerp. As engineer of the old 44he is also remembered. This engine spent most of the later years of her life on the Cape Vincent route. Many stories are told of JeffWells and his railroading days.

“999”Used on Line.

The famous engine, the 999,whose record of 112.5 miles an hour in 1893 has never been equaled, was in its later days assigned to the St. Lawrence division and during 1912 it was placed on the (paragraph truncated in copying).

In the 1870s and 80s when the Thousand Island region was entering palmy (sic) days, the Cape Vincent branch played an important part in the early development and interest of tourists in the St. Lawrence river. Excellent docking facilities were built at Cape Vincent. Besides the great covered station which stood at that time, there were the freight sheds and a huge grain elevator. But passenger service was by no means the only development on the Cape line. Freight of all kinds was unloaded from trains there and placed on steamers to make its way across to Kingston. The first shipment of silk from the Orient over the transcontinental route of the Canadian Pacific railway was made into New York city by way of the Cape Vincent ferry and the Rome and Watertown railroad in the fall of 1883.

The separate corporate existence of the R.W. & O. continued until 1914, when the Vanderbilts made a single corporation under the name of the New York Central railroad.

George B. Walker, 259 Flower avenue west, who retired from the Central last summer, was a veteran engineer of the Cape Vincent branch for many years. Other engineers have at times filled in during the history of the Cape Vincent branch but probably Jeff Wells and Mr. Walker are the best known of the group.

Heavy Sunday Traffic.

E. N. Lucas, who has been station agent at Chaumont for 30 years, today recalled the great crowds that used to make use of this line. He remembered that 3,000 people came into Chaumont by train on July 4, 1908. He said that three trains were required to draw them and that two of them were doubleheaders. Sunday night traffic before automobiles came into general use also was heavy, it was recalled.

Mr. Lucas said that so far as he knew no one ever lost his life on the Cape Vincent branch of the railroad. No very serious train accidents occurred on the line. It was remembered that about 45 years ago the Cape train jumped the track between Three Mile Bay and Rosiere but no one was killed. The coaches were badly damaged, however, and some passengers were injured.

The passenger agent at Cape Vincent now is C. F. Fairand; at Rosiere, Harry Rainear; Three Mile Bay and Chaumont, E. N. Lucas; Limerick, William Johns; Dexter, Bruce Munson and Brownville, Evan Davis.

The Eastern Greyhound lines announced today that the regular bus service will be maintained on the route. Buses leave Watertown for Cape Vincent at 11 a.m. and 5:15 p.m. and leave Cape Vincent for this city at 7 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. The 11 a.m. and 7 a.m. buses do not run on Sunday.

Railroad Magazine, August, 1939, P. 24

True Tales of the Rails

The Death Order
By Ralph A. Snyder

In the days when I knew Remsen, N.Y., the Thousand Islands Special, No. 55, would pause there briefly for the many orders on the telegrapher’s desk, for Remsen was one of those brass-pounding jobs where good telegraphers worked like the devil to move the business.

One order for the Special stood above all others in importance on a certain morning in 1904. A restrictive order is always so. The flimsy delivered that morning read: “No. 55 will wait at Boonville until 5:15 a.m. for No. 90.” It was a simple wait order, entirely correct even to the signature and timing. The conductor’s lantern swished. The long train of vacationists moved away. Darkness enveloped Remsen.

Train orders containing a meet or wait affecting trains always go to all trains affected. In this case, the fast southbound cheese train, No. 90, drew the other side of this correctly repeated order. No. 90’s part of the order was copied by a lady operator up the line. The night was warm, yet at her office a brisk fire burned in the stove. An an intruder, a man bulked in a heavy overcoat, sat against the stove.

After the lady had copied the order and properly repeated it, the man stalked over to her side. His lips trembled with questions and cautions. Was she sure she had copied it right? How would she manage to hand it up? Couldn’t the order be written out in more plain words? It hardly made sense, according to the man, who was a soldier just returned from the hot Philippines. The oman was his wife. His prudence evidently undermined her not too great ability. Perhaps that’s why she began recopying the safe order.

No. 90 slowed, for the crew knew thee was a lady at Lyons Falls. As soon as the caboose had highballed, the engineer opened again. He checked with his watch and timecard. Time to make the siding at Boonville on his order. He’d not delay No. 90 a moment.

The fast freight shot past the siding of Port Leyden, around the curves and stretches leading to the place he had selected to head in. Suddenly a level beam of light rounded a curve, then the lights of an oncoming Thousand Island Special. There was no time to wonder. No time to apply air. for before the engineer could scream a warning they were at each other. Two speeding iron monsters in a fatal embrace on a single-track road!

Officials met and conferred. The sudden death and maiming of scores of vacation-bound passengers was more than a divisional incident. Back at Lyons Falls telegraph office, the wires had abruptly gone mute. The lady might easily have grounded the wires south and gotten in touch with her dispatcher, but fear had grappled her. The returned soldier understood no wires. They called the day man.

The agent promptly grounded and got (P. 25) the dispatcher. But the director of train destiny knew nothing. Only time would reveal the secret. Idly the agent looked down to see the many tissues in the waste basket, which held an unusually large number of crumpled order forms. Slowly he began spreading them out. Several orders, parts of orders, all about one situation – the time No. 90 had on No. 55. When he checked with the file the order that had been delivered, it told a horrible story. The delivered order read: “No. 55 wait at Boonville until 5:55 a.m. for No. 90.” It was a recopied order.

Should ever an emblem of death in railroading be carved, it would be that of a recopied train order. Under the original order which the agent found in the basket, he knew that No. 90 would have been compelled to take siding at Port Leyden. But under the order the freight crew received, they would have plenty of time to make Boonville – a point the dispatcher never intended them to make. There was only a difference of forty minutes. Surely time is the essence of Railroading.

Railroad Magazine, July, 1940, P. 128

Who remembers the old Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg (now a part of the New York Central)? I spent the winter of 1880 at the RW&O station in Mexico, N.Y., mar Oswego, and I’d like to hear from readers who were acquainted with this 400-mile pike.

The RW&O was rather primitive. With the exception of a stretch of four miles, iron rails were still in use in 1880. These rails. which had been brought over from Wales, were of the 56-pound type. No fishplates were used on them, the joint coming on a tie. A chair, made of boiler iron, about six inches square, with a lug turned up on the two opposite sides to keep the “chair” in place, was used to prevent low joints The ends of these rails often became battered and a low joint was almost inevitable. In such a case “shims,” or broad, flat wedges of wood, were used to correct the low spots.

Bridges, usually of wood, were often too frail to support two engines at once. In case of a double-header, the leading engine was cut off before the train crossed. In 1880 the RW&O had about fifty serviceable engines. A dozen or more of them were ancient and very light.

Not an engine on the line was equipped with air, while very few had injectors. i vividly recall a time when one of the injectorless engines was stalled in a long deep cut, behind a snowplow. Before the gang could shovel her out, the water was low. To meet this emergency, they set men filling the tank with snow, jacked her free from the rails and let her drivers spin, thus keeping her alive.

Of the other engines, I remember two of the inside connected vintage. Steam chests, cylinder, guides and crossheads, etc., were under the boiler and back of the smoke arch. Main rods connected with cranks in the driving shaft instead of with a crank-pin in the driver, as at present. Perhaps a dozen of the locomotives were wood-burners, with balloon stacks. Firemen became very expert in handling the blocks of wood, often standing well back of the tender, hurling the blocks end-over-end and seldom missing the firebox door. Long woodsheds were not rare along the line, but the majority of the engines were soft-coal burners, with diamond stacks. It was at about this time that straight stacks with red-banded tops began to make an appearance.

Our train orders were anything but simple. There was no such thing as a “standard” order. Semaphores were unknown on the line. In most cases, operators used a flag, stuck in a crack on the platform, or wedged against the rails. The simplest orders were entangled in endless red tape, a change of meeting-place between two trains requiring as many as nine separate and distinct messages, answers, verifications and okays.

In spite of all this, or possibly because of it, timetables had often not the faintest connection with actual running schedules. An extra train, called a wildcat, was enough to throw the line into a frenzy of orders and counter orders. to illustrate: An original order would be sent out,”Welch and Welch (conductor and engineer). Wildcat, London to Liverpool, this day.”

At this point, the dispatcher stepped in with orders. he first designated a meeting-point, ignoring the timetable. The operator at the designated point was then given the following order, “Flag and hold Train One until Train Two arrives, this day.” The operator was required to repeat this order and receive an okay before the next step could be taken. The next order went to the wildcat, “Run to M (the point designated) regardless of Train One.”

Next, Train One (assuming there had been no mixup in this storm of orders) was held at the designated point. This state of affairs was reported by the operator to the dispatcher. The dispatcher then okayed the statement. The op returned to Train One with the okayed statement and his order book. Conductor and engineer were then required to okay this already okayed statement and the whole thing was once more relayed to the dispatcher. When, or if, the second train arrived at the meeting-point, the whole procedure was gone through once more.

An additional complication was that separate copies of each order had to be given to conductors and engineers involved and carbon paper was not used.

In January, 1881, I was given a position as operator with the Lackawanna in the freight and coal yards at Syracuse. This line was far more modern than the RW&O.

The two divisions of the Lackawanna reaching Syracuse were both laid with steel rail. For some years, the Northern Division had operated a clumsy and costly system of trackage. It consisted of standard and broad gauge on the same ties. This made a specially designed drawhead necessary, Couplings had to be made at an angle, and links of an unusual shape were carried on the tank of every engine. “Foreign” cars sometimes proved puzzles. Just when the third rail was taken up, I don’t know, but I well remember that the marks were still on the ties.

At that time most of the engines on the roads I saw, in contrast to the Rome line, were equipped with air for train use, but had no power brakes on drivers and trucks. A hand-brake on the tank and the reverse lever had to serve the purpose when the engine ran light. I believe injectors were in universal use on these lines.

Vast quantities of anthracite were carried, not only for home consumption but also for shipment by water to Canada, through the port of Oswego. Most coal was handled in jimmies, four-wheeled, boxlike affairs, each carrying about six tons. The jimmy was equipped with a bib hook for drawhead, a three-link coupling and a cruel dead-block. This type of coupling left some inches of slack between any two cars and what happened to the caboose riders when the engine took up the slack, I leave to the reader’s imagination. The brake on these jimmies consisted of a long lever and rachet, operated from the running board side of the car. All boxcars, flats, gondolas, and jimmies were equipped with the bloody dead-block.

As far as I can learn, not another man of ll those who were working on the line from 1880 to 1884 is now living. If, however, I’m wrong and any of the number read this letter, I would be most happy to hear from him. – L.S. Boyd, Geneva, N.Y.


Where Did the Term “Hojack” Originate?

By Richard Palmer
Central New York Chapter, NRHS
Syracuse, N.Y.
Although the rail lines north of Syracuse, both abandoned and existing, have passed ownership from Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg to New York Central, to Penn Central, to Conrail and finally CSX. This railroad has from time immemorial, been known as the “Hojack.” The origin of this title seems to be lost in the mists of antiquity. Attempts have been made to determine the origin of this nickname, but without much success – until recently. The term applied to the entire system, stretching from Massena to Lewiston, Rome to Cape Vincent via Watertown, Sackets Harbor to Utica via Carthage; and from Richland to Syracuse. The portion of the line from Oswego to Lewiston, running parallel to the shore of Lake Ontario, was always known as the “West Hojack.” Joseph Hughes, an oldtime New York Central conductor on the St. Lawrence Division of the New York Central, said he was told the term “Hojack” originated when one man standing on the main track for some reason waved his hand to the another man on a siding and hollered– in derision–“Ho, Jack.”

Still another story was that men on the division were in the habit of saying “Hello, Jack” to each other. One often quoted story is that the term Hojack originated from the engineer of the first train in 1851 between Rome and Cape Vincent, who was named Jack Welch (often called “Big Jack”). Welch used to be a farmer and was more familiar with horses than steam locomotives. When he stopped the trains he would shout “Whoa Jack!”. This supposedly evolved into “Hojack” over time. Even more unbelievable is this quotation taken from a history of the R., W. & O. written by Dick Batzing, Town of Webster (N.Y.) Historian:

Many people fondly called the R.W.& 0. by its nickname, “Hojack.” It seems that in the early days of the railroad, a farmer in his buckboard drawn by a bulky mule was caught on a crossing at train time. When the mule was halfway across the tracks, he simply stopped. The train was fast approaching and the farmer naturally got excited and began shouting, “Ho-Jack, Ho-Jack.” Amused by the incident, the trainmen began calling their line the “Ho-Jack.”

The Syracuse Post-Standard of Jan. 12, 1906 carried this brief article:
Central Employees Ordered to Drop the Nickname.
Henceforth in the lexicon of the New York Central Railroad there is to be no such word as “hojack” if the authorities of that road can render the use of the word obsolete. An order, it was said last night, has been privately issued to the employees of the R.,W.&O. division prohibiting them from using the objectionable nickname.

The question then arose as to why the term would be objectionable. Obvious the edict did not work as “Hojack” has continued to prevail right to this day. It soon became obvious that the term meant something completely different than people have concocted over the years, which tend to be unsubstantiated folklore.

An article was finally discovered in the Syracuse Herald of May 11, 1926 that sheds more light on this subject. This was a feature article about the work of the New York Central police force in Syracuse. Of course this was during Prohibition, and vagrants were riding the rails. The article states these people were classified by railroad men into three categories – the hobo, the hojack and the tramp. “The hobo,” according to Inspector F.E. Welch of he Second Railroad Police District, “is a person who will not work, but will steal. It is custom to pillage and rob stores in small towns and hop a freight to the next town or village, there to repeat the procedure. A hojack works now and then, dresses fairly well and although always with some funds, will not pay for railroad transportation. The tramp is a harmless sort of a person who, through laziness alone, will not work. However, he is honest and generally carefree and happy. He spends most of the winters in jail and in the summers roaming the country.”

It was also discovered that the term Hojack applied to the RW&O division at least as far back as the early 1900s and probably before, as n newspaper articles refer to trains being late late due to bad weather on the Hojack.

Still further evidence shows that the term “Hojack” was by no means confined to the RW&O. Even the Erie used the term. The Port Jervis Evening Gazette of Feb. 5, 1880 claimed it assigned this name to the way freight.*


*Port Jervis Evening Gazette, Oct. 28, 1879 – While the Hojack was backing down to the depot Wednesday afternoon a horse in a team attached to a wagon from the country got its foot fast between the rail and the bed of the track in a manner similar to that which a horse belonging to Thomas Cuddeback was ruined some time ago. it was with a great difficulty that the horse Wednesday was saved from a similar fate. The foot was got out just in time to get out of the way of the train.

Port Jervis Evening Gazette, Feb. 5, 1880 – The name Hojack, which the Gazette gave to the way train laving here for the west at 1:30 in the afternoon, sticks closer than a brother, and the train is now generally known by that name.


Why the R.W.& O.Adopted the Four Leaf Clover Trade Mark

From the Collection of Richard Palmer
Rome Daily Sentinel April 14, 1891 pg.2, col.5

Railroad Matters.

Why the R.W.& O.Adopted the Four Leaf Clover Trade Mark – Other Items

The choice of the four leaf clover as the trade mark of the Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg Railroad was the idea of the general passenger agent. Mr. Butterfield chose the four leaf clover becouse of its popular symbolism with all good luck, and also for its peculiar adaptability to the R.W. & O. initials.

To further carry out the idea of good luck for road and patrons, Mr. Butterfield selected for the stem of the clover trade mark the French legend “Bonheur,” which says, in one word familiar to everybody, “good luck go with you,” “good fortunes attend you,” “god speed you.” this trade mark has attracted wide-spread attention, and the general passenger agent has received hundreds of letters commending the appropriateness of the design.

The extreme appropriateness and unique blending of the legend with the trade mark have been the cause of very general remarks and even of envious emulation. A western railroad of prominence and size has recently, through the New York State superintendent of public instruction, offered a prise of one hundred dollars to any teacher in new york state who shall suggest a word for a trade mark which will be as appropriate as “Bonheur.”

The word has not yet been found and probably will not be. The German “gluck aut” is the only motto approaching “Bonheur” in comprehensiveness, and this motto, although under consideration at the time of the selection of “Bonheur,” was discarded in favor of the more euphonious and generally comprehended one. the trade mark is now to be found on all freight cars, including coal cars of the r.w.&o., and in differing sizes on all advertising matter, and on all stationery of the passenger department.

Application for a patent of the trade mark has been filed in Washington, and the patent will, of course, prevent the adoption by any other corporation of the four leaf clover and its legend “Bonheur.”

_________ The trestle built in Utica in 1887-8 by the New York, Ontario & Western Railroad, connecting the Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg, has been abandoned. This trestle was built so that the former road could transfer its cars over to the Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg without having to pay the Central road for the privilege of crossing its tracks. It was also used by the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western railroad for the same purpose, the charges being only 50 cents a car, while the Central railroad charged $1 a car. During the period that the trestle has been used thousands of cars have been run over it and a large amount of money has been saved by the roads. The reason for abandoning it is that cars are not loaded at the Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg freight house now, but at the Central freight house, and since the central road does its own shifting and transferring no charges can be made.

Superintendent R.C. Jackson of the railway mail service has directed that mail be forwarded on Sunday trains between Utica and Watertown and Utica and Ogdensburg.

Oswego Palladium April 14, 1891 pg.1, col.1

Railroad News.

Theodore Butterfield, the general passenger agent of the Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg Railroad, is the inventor of the trade mark recently introduced upon all the cars, stationary and advertising mattier of that line. The trade mark consists of a four-leaf clover bearing the initials “R.W.& O.” and carry upon the stem the word “Bonheur.” It is an appropriate and suggestive symbol, and readily imprints itself upon the eye.

Mr. Butterfield has applied for a copyright to protect the trade mark.

Utica Daily Observer, April 14, 1891 pg. 4, col. 7

Railroad Matters.

It has become quite popular recently for the different railroads companies to choose a “trade mark” or a distinctive sign by which their cars, advertising paper, stationery and various belongings may be marked and which distinguishes them at a glance. the black diamond, white diamond, maltese cross, maple leaf, arrow, winged wheel, etc., have all become familiar, and when one of them is seen by a railroad man he knows the name of the road at a glance.

It is a very convenient custom and in many instances a very pretty one, as it renders possible effects in advertising and printing that would not be secured otherwise. Among the recent trade marks is the four leaf clover, which within a few weeks has suddenly bloomed out upon all the printing of the Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg Railroad.

Someone has said it was the idea of the late H.M. Britton, but this it is not so. The design was original with Theodore Butterfield, general passanger agent, becouse of its popular symbolism with good luck. The design carries upon the clover stem the word “Bonheur,” which says in one word, “good luck go with you; good fortune attend you; God speed you.”

It is very pretty design, and mr. butterfield has been complimented upon its selection by many railroad and newspaper men. In all quarters the R.W.& O. will be known as the Four Leaf Clover route. It is learned that a western railroad of prominence and size has recently, through the New York State superintendent of public instruction, offered a prize of one hundred dollars to any teacher in New York State who shall suggest a word for a trade mark which shall be as appropriate as ‘Bonheur.”

The word has not yet been found and probably will not be. The German ” Gluck Auf” is the only motto approaching “Bonheur” in comprehansiveness, and this motto, although under consideration at the time of the selection of “Bonheur,” was discarded in favor of the more euphonious and generally comprehended one.



The “Hojack” and the station at Wolcott, N.Y. stand silent, waiting for the trains that will never return.

from the Collection of Richard Palmer


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>>>What if the Penn Central Merger Did Not Happen

New York Central Railroad

>>>NY Central Shops At Harmon

>>>More On The West Shore


>>>Troy & Schenectady Railroad

>>>Railroader Biographies

>>>Webb’s Wilderness Railroad

>>>Who Owns Grand Central and What Is Track 61

>>>Catskill Mountain Branch

>>>West Side Freight Line

>>>Grand Central Terminal

>>>20th Century Limited

>>>Peoria & Eastern Railway

>>>Chicago River & Indiana Railroad

           The Indiana Harbor Belt

>>>NY Central Harlem Division

>>>Castleton, Selkirk and Hudson Valley

>>>Robert R. Young


>>>Original New York Central Railroad

>>>NY Central Hudson Division

>>>Putnam Division Of The NY Central

>>>Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg Railroad Company

>>>Dekalb Junction to Ogdensburgh

>>>New Jersey Junction Railroad

>>>What If No Penn Central?

>>>Boston & Albany Railroad

>>>New York Central Lines Magazine

>>>>>>NY Central 1919-1925

>>>>>>NY Central 1925-1931

>>>>>>NY Central Locomotive 999

>>>>>>NY Central Annual Meetings

>>>>>>NY Central Joliet Cutoff

>>>>>>NY Central Pullman Lettering

>>>>>>NY Central RW&O Chronicals

>>>>>>NY Central GCT #1 Wrecker

>>>>>>NY Central 1921 Transportaton World

>>>>>>NY Central Health & Pleasure

>>>>>>NY Central Ken Knapp

>>>POTUS: Lincoln and Trains

>>>The New York Central Railroad in 1950

>>>More About The New York Central Railroad

>>>New York Central Song