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Central New York Railroad



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Central New York Railroad

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

Delaware Otsego Corporation acquired former DL&W Richfield Springs branch from Richfield Jct. To Richfield Springs, 22 miles, in 1973. Enginehouse was at Richfield Springs. Became part of NYS&W northern division after NYS&W bought Syracuse & Utica branches in 4/82. Traffic on line gradually dropped off. Line east from Bridgewater embargoed in 1990. abandoned and track removed in 1995, westerly 2-3 miles left in place for stone trains.

Welcome to our Central New York Railroad and Richfield Springs WebSite

The Richfield Springs branch of the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railway extended through Bridgewater, where it connected with the Unadilla Valley Railroad, a shortline that served Edmeston and New Berlin to Richfield Springs on Canadarago Lake, once a rather fashionable resort. Here, from 1905 until 1940, the DL&W had a passenger and freight connection with the Southern New York Railway, an interurban to Oneonta. Milk and light freight were the chief sources of revenue on this branch. Delaware Otsego subsidiary Central New York Railroad acquired this branch from Richfield Jct. to Richfield Springs, 22 miles, in 1973. Enginehouse was at Richfield Springs. Became part of NYS&W northern division after NYS&W bought the DL&W Syracuse & Utica branches from Conrail in 1982. Traffic on line gradually dropped off. Line east from Bridgewater embargoed in 1990. Abandoned and track removed in 1995, westerly 2-3 miles left in place for stone trains. In 2009: This old railroad is now owned by the Utica, Chenango and Susquehanna Valley LLC in Richfield Springs. They also own the 1930 Newark Milk and Cream Company creamery in South Columbia.

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

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

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

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

Some other sections you will enjoy include head end equipment , New England Gateway, The New "Alphabet Route" and some pictures of snow and railroads .

We have a great reference section too.

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

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

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

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

See more about the 2012 update to the Richfield Springs tourist railroad

By Ken Kinlock at kenkinlock@gmail.com
OCTOBER 2009: This old railroad is now owned by the Utica, Chenango and Susquehanna Valley LLC in Richfield Springs.

See what they are doing to the property.

They also own the 1930 Newark Milk and Cream Company creamery in South Columbia.
Utica, Chenango and Susquehanna Valley LLC
Central New York Railroad locomotive
This Central New York Railroad locomotive was a hard postcard to find. Guess it wasn't too popular.
Hi Everyone,

Lately, area newspapers have been reporting on progress with our narrow gauge railway plans. We feel, as an economic development project, that we have much to offer to promote tourism, create jobs and add a heightened sense of pride to our community. A tourist railroad of world class standard has the potential to make our community a more vibrant and enjoyable place to live.

To that end, we are having an open house on May 12, from 9am to 1pm here in Richfield Springs at our South Columbia Station. We are providing this unique opportunity to meet new friends who would like to participate in the building, marketing and development of this once in a lifetime opportunity.

We have been working at the idea since we purchased the railroad corridor back in 2009.

We have purchased "The Frontier Town" narrow gauge tourist train and rehabilitated the landmark Newark Milk and Cream Company creamery building for future use as a passenger station and retail space. More recently, we have purchased 16 tons of rails to construct a test track to preview the narrow gauge railway. We also have secured select vintage railway signaling equipment to set up on the railroad in the future.

Thank you. Hope to see you on the 12th!

Ben and Ron

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

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Utica, Chenango and Susquehanna Valley LLC

Trace of the Richfield Springs Branch


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In September, 2006: The NYSW issued a public notice listing the ex-DL&W rail lines which it "anticipates will be the subject of an abandonment or discontinuance application to be filed within three years:"

1. NYSW Utica Main Line between Chenango Forks & Sangerfield in NY, MP202.62 - MP 263.50.

2. Fay Street Branch in Utica, NY, MP 284.80 - 285.22.
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Richfield Springs Branch

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

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

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

Passenger service discontinued April 29, 1950.

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

NYS&W operated this branch as "Central New York RR." Abandoned Bridgewater to Richfield Springs in 1995.
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Newark Milk and Cream Company creamery in South Columbia .

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

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Way back when, Utica had three railroads besides the New York Central. Until 1957 these three railroads ran through, and crossed each other in the South Utica/New Hartford area: Ontario & Western, Delaware, Lackawanna & Western, and West Shore (really a part of New York Central). Even the municipal borders varied. Until 1925, what is now South Utica was a part of the town of New Hartford. See the full story on the three other railroads of Utica, New York
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Speaking of Radio Stations, we have a great WebSite about General Electric Company Radio Station WGY in nearby Schenectady. We expect to add some early television soon.

Just Around the Corner by Bertrande H. Snell

Bertrande H. Snell, author of the following article, a native of Parish, Oswego County, N.Y., was a telegrapher all his working life. For many years he was employed by the New York Central Railroad, and for 33 years was a telegrapher for Western Union in Syracuse.

Bertrande Snell commenced his writing career with the Syracuse Syracuse Post-Standard in 1945 and continued it until shortly before his death in 1949. His columns were primarily of a reminiscent or historical nature, which included railroad stories.

If you like his column, we have more.
Syracuse Post-Standard, March 10, 1946

Just Around the Corner
By Betrande Snell

I went over to Oswego one night in August, 1901. I was on my way to Newfane, Niagara County, where I was going to work as telegrapher on the Hojack. As you know, the west end of the Hojack runs from Oswego to Suspension Bridge, following pretty closely the shore of Lake Ontario all the way.

Here at Oswego, was the dispatcher's office, the division offices being situated in Watertown. A new superintendent had just come to Watertown. He was from down New York City way and not widely known in these parts at the time. He barged into the Oswego dispatcher's office one evening for the first time. He walked over to Roy Nutting, the message operator, and asked:

"Anything there for me, young man?"

Roy looked up from his sounder and seeing a perfect stranger before him, promptly remarked:

"I can't say - would they have your picture on 'em?"

Mr. Hustis, being a man with a sense of humor, recovered almost immediately from the shock, introduced himself and was accorded proper service. Yes, Roy was always that way, he had a snappy pick up, and he could let you down easily, or otherwise, as his mood might dictate - a prince of a good fellow! I stayed with Roy that night, and next morning started on my westward way.

It was a long tedious grind from Oswego to Newfane. We rolled and rattled through Hannibal, Red Creek, Wolcott, Ontario, Webster, and various other assorted villages, finally reaching Charlotte, which was near the half-way mark in my journey. From Charlotte, we fared on, ever westward, with the lake at our right and the flat, fertile countryside stretching out at our left. Hilton, Morton, Lyndonville, Ransomville - and then in Niagara county we came to my destination.

"Here you are, oppy," said friendly Fred Hurlburt, the conductor, as we came to a stop., "you ain't been up here before, have you?"

I confessed that this was my first railroad job, and he added, "Well, you'll be okay. Art Dakin, the agent, is a fine fellow - he'll take care of you. So long; see you tomorrow."

At this period, I was considerably on the verdant side; being just past 18, and never having been very far from the parental roof before. However, in a day or two, I was "all set," having made Agent Dakin my friend for life, by offering to help him out on the day job.

You see, the yearly peach season was just opening. Niagara county peaches are known the country over for their exquisite flavor and beauty and these shipping days were strenuous ones on the railroad. I worked from 7 p.m. to 8 a.m.; then, after breakfast I turned to and assist the agent - sometimes, until late afternoon.

So, you wonder when I slept, eh? Why my dear people, it was a sad night for me, when I couldn't get in at least six hours of "shut-eye" on the job! There were few trains at night and Nefane was a relatively unimportant station. The principal reason for assigning a night man there was so he could run the pump and keep the huge water tank opposite the station full of water for the use of locomotives.

The village consisted of the depot, a small store, a blacksmith shop and less than a dozen dwellings within a small radius. Westward, some few rods down the track, was a high trestle over Burt Creek. here one descended 86 steps to the bank of the stream, where nestled the little pump house which supplied water for the big tank.

There were a couple of youths, about my own age, who habitually hung around the depot; and I soon conceived the idea of using some of their spare time (they had, apparently, no other kind). I intrigued Pink Niles with the idea that he should learn to run that pump. He took up with it at once.

"Sure thing," says Pink, "that'll be fun. An' when you've learned me, I'll learn Pete, here; an' in between the three of us, we'll have a hell of a time."

Which is just what we had!

Now the bald fact is, that what I knew about running a steam engine was so little as to be something less than negligible. Even that little was on the negative side. I knew about a few things I was supposed NOT to do with the blamed thing, but the whys and the wherefores of its workings were as a sealed book to me.

Well sir, by reason of the most astounding good luck, we three - Pink and Pete Travis and I -got along famously with the pumping business for a few days. Then disaster began to loom. We had boiler trouble; every day we had it. Nobody knew the cause, nobody had any advice to offer - we probably wouldn't have taken it anyway.

At last, a brilliant light, smoke me right between the eyes, as I was billing a car of peaches. I hurried down to the pump house where Pink and Pete were industriously doing the wrong thing in the wrong manner.

"Shut 'er off!" I yelled. " I gotta idea."

"What, another one?" razzed Pink, "the last one you had wasn't good."

Anyway, we shut her off, pulled fire, and then I set Pete to watch, while I went back to work.

"Soon's you can put your hand on the inside of the firebox, without burnin' it; let me know quick," I instructed.

In a couple of hours Pete came up to the station and said the cooling process was complete. I ran down, grabbed a monkey wrench, shoved railroad lantern in the firebox, followed with head and shoulders, and performed an operation. Then I hustled over to Tom Caine's blacksmith shop and had another operation performed. Then I reversed all of the above processes, built a new fire, and got up steam.

And it worked! The pump started functioning and the recovery was complete.

For several weeks there was no trouble of any kind at the pump house; but finally serious things happened to the pump itself, and here there was nothing I could do, so Agent Dakin wired Master Mechanic Lonergan at Oswego.

Next day came Pete Chetney, trouble shooter, to fix the pump. With master hand and eye, he quickly located and repaired the piston trouble. Then, as a matter of inspection, he aimed his flashlight into the cavernous depths of the cold boiler and peered. He started. He peered again. He sputtered. He cursed. He grabbed a wrench and this time HE operated.

With the damning gadget in his hand, he turned, fixed me with his pale, blue eyes, and - then the explosion!

Pete Chetney was known from Ogdensburg to Suspension Bridge, from Watertown to Salina, as an unrivaled master of vituperation, and he knew no superiors. In the field, he was absolutely unique, and I verily believe that on this occasion he delivered himself of every "cuss" word in his huge repertoire. Pleas, O please, don't ask me to repeat any of it - I could never do it justice...After nearly half a century, I sometimes awake in a cold sweat from dreaming that Pete Chetney is telling me off again!

You see our boiler trouble had been that the soft plug in the top of the firebox kept melting our, extinguishing the fire, and I had been refilling it with melted lead seals. Of course the real trouble was a faulty injector keeping the water at the danger point nd melting the plug.

But I had fixed that! When I went to the blacksmith shop that time, I had Tom Caine weld a piece of iron spike into that pesky plug! Mister, she never leaked after that.

But, why the boiler never blew up is more than I can tell you. Surely Providence holds her saving hand over some mighty dumb people, doesn't she?
Snow Belt in New York State Boonville Station There is a "Snow Belt" in New York State that runs above Syracuse and Utica. It goes East from Oswego to at least Boonville. Here's the station at Boonville.

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Central New York Railroad
The Central New York Railroad (CNYK) operates 123 miles of railroad between Binghamton, NY and Port Jervis, NY. CNYK began operation of this line on December 31, 2004. The line is leased from Norfolk Southern Corporation (NS).

CNYK operates local freight service on this line. The New York Susquehanna & Western Railway (NYSW) operates overhead trains from Binghamton to Port Jervis. CNYK and NYSW are both subsidiaries of the Delaware Otsego Corporation.

CNYK interchanges with the NS at Binghamton, NY, with the NYSW at Binghamton, NY, and with the Stourbridge Railroad at Lackawaxen, PA.
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. affiliate_link
milk train

Once upon a time, milk trains were important

New York Central Milk Business
Creamery in South Columbia, New York
There were two basic types of milk trains – the very slow all-stops local that picked up milk cans from rural platforms and delivered them to a local creamery, and those that moved consolidated carloads from these creameries to big city bottling plants. Individual cars sometimes moved on lesser trains. These were dedicated trains of purpose-built cars carrying milk. Early on, all milk was shipped in cans, which lead to specialized "can cars" with larger side doors to facilitate loading and unloading (some roads just used baggage cars). In later years, bulk carriers with glass-lined tanks were used. Speed was the key to preventing spoilage, so milk cars were set up for high speed service, featuring the same types of trucks, brakes, communication & steam lines as found on passenger cars.

Clayville is where Richfield Junction is. Read this from 1979:

Homogeneous Metals is returning to the Sauquoit Valley.

The company, which specializes in high-technology vacuum treatment of super-alloy metals, will expand its operations in Herkimer into a former knitting mill in Clayville. In 1969, it moved from Chadwicks to Herkimer and recently completed a $700,000 expansion project in Herkimer.

About 30 of its 100 employees in Herkimer will be transferred to Clayville.

The Clayville building has been vacant since 1959, when Utica Drop Forge & Tool moved out. The knitting mill closed in the 1940s.
Erie-Lackawanna Logo Lackawanna logo Unadilla Valley Railroad Company Unadilla Valley Railroad Someone emailed me a picture of a Unadilla Valley caboose because they knew that I had once spent a summer cutting up old rail from this line.

Marcellus & Otisco Railroad

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Ken Kinlock at kenkinlock@gmail.com

Here's what Marcellus looked like in 1953
Here's what Marcellus looked like in 1953

Here's what the Marcellus & Otisco looked like in 1959

Here's what the Marcellus & Otisco looked like in 1959. Map is showing the line and its customers before it shut down in 1959. Click on map to enlarge and find customers.

Dolgeville Branch NY Central

Dolgeville Once had a Railroad from Little Falls

Wake Up Wal*Mart
Railroads in Cooperstown

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

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

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

More About Cooperstown

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

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

The NYS&W headquarters is in the old freight station in Cooperstown which lies between Main Street and Glen Avenue (NY 28) on Railroad Avenue and this structure has been altered a number of times to make it more suitable for the NYS&W offices. At one time, there was also a trolley/interurban line into Cooperstown from Index which is south of Cooperstown on route 28. This line was a branch off the line which ran between Oneonta and Mohawk and the line into Cooperstown lasted until the very early 1940's as a freight railroad. The Delaware & Hudson used to serve Cooperstown from Oneonta every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. They had a water tower with a standpipe, a decent electric turntable and a very nice passenger station which had been converted to a residence. For a long time, the local freight train came in with a combo (coach and baggage car) rather than a caboose. I think this was because they still carried Railway Express shipments to the station at Cooperstown and the job probably had an express messenger on it too. They still did a reasonable amount of freight business in Cooperstown with lumber, coal, grain and feed being the big items but local LCL stuff too. Both Milford and Cooperstown at the time still had full time agents too. This was in the late 1940's. Shortly after the arrival of the diesels, the turntable and water plug came out but Cooperstown still had three day a week service for a long time after that.
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Kingfisher Tower  Cooperstown Train Station
Cooperstown Train Station......Now a private residence
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Who wrote all this good stuff?
See KC Jones BLOG about Railroad History We cover New York Central, New Haven Railroad and other Eastern Railroads. Penney Vanderbilt and KC Jones See Penney Vanderbilt BLOG about Golf and Vacations, especially on the French Riviera We have a lot about Nice, France. Not only do we cover golf on the French Riviera, but also Northwest France, Quebec, Golf Hotels and THE US Open.
See my blog on President Obama's trip to Cooperstown in May 2014.
See Ancienne Hippie BLOG about Railroad History and ice hockey
Ancienne Hippie
Contact us at kinlock@hotmail.com Links to railroad Sites

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