Lake Ontario Shore Railroad
The Hojack Line

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.

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.
Trains on CSX going North of Syracuse still run thru Fulton...From Syracuse thru Woodard Jct., to Phoenix, they are on former NYC/PC/Conrail. At Fulton they use the original 1920s-vintage O&W Fulton Bypass on the East side of town, hence from there to Oswego. There are original NYC bits and Ontario & Western pieces here and there.

Out-of-service is the line from Syracuse to Fulton on the west side of the Oswego River, which was once the Oswego & Syracuse RR (DL&W then ELRR). The portion north of Fulton was sold to the Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation (now National Grid Group). The ex-DL&W line is referred to as the Baldwinsville Secondary and ends just north the Birdseye plant. I believe the out-of-service track extends from there, through Minetto and Oswego to where Niagara-Mohawk received oil shipments which were pumped to its steam plant on Lake Ontario. That was on the ex-NYC Lake Ontario Shore Line to Rochester. A new track connected the ex-DL&W line with the ex-NYC line in the West Yard area of Oswego.

Crossing the city from northeast to southwest, the New York Central captured the bulk of the non-coal business in Oswego. Created by merging several small roads begun in the early 1800's, the Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg Railroad completed its route from Watertown through Oswego to Suspension Bridge in Niagara Falls in 1876. In 1891, the RW&O became part of the New York Central & Hudson River Railroad.

Today, trains no longer cross from the east side to the west side through the courthouse tunnel and the long bridge. Recently, the tunnel has become part of a walking trail through the city. Conrail, then CSX, use the old Lackawanna line to reach the west side of Oswego from Syracuse and the old O&W line to reach east side industries.

By Ken Kinlock at kenkinlock@gmail.com

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Timetable: West Yard (Oswego) to CP85 (Suspension Bridge)
The Lake Ontario Shore as of 1965 as part of the
Syracuse Division of the New York Central

Station

Mile Marker

Remarks

West Yard 25.0 Oswego Railroads
Furniss 28.8
Hannibal 34.3
Crocketts 36.8
Red Creek 44.8 Comstock Canning Co.
Wolcott 50.6
North Rose 55.2
Alton 60.3
Wallington 62.3 Pennsylvania Railroad went North here to coal dock on Lake Ontario
(See FOOTNOTE A)
Sodus 65.2
Williamson 71.4
Ontario 76.3
Fruitland 79.1
Union Hill 80.9 Duffy Mott Co.
Webster 83.8
Windsor Beach 93.4 7.2 mile branch to Rochester, State Street
Charlotte 94.2 6.9 mile line to Jay Street Junction
Rochester trolley to Charlotte
Greece 100.5
Hilton 103.7
Collamer 104.8
Walker 107.2
Hamlin 110.1
Morton 114.3
Kendall 116.5 Kendall History
Brice 121.5
Carlton 124.2 Carlton's History
Waterport 127.1
Ashwood 130.3
Lyndonville 134.2 Village of Lyndonville history
Millers 138.2
Barker 142.6
Appleton 147.5
Burt 150.7
Wilson 156.6
Elberta 159.8
Ransomville 162.3
Model City 168.0
C.P. 85 175.3 Connection with New York Central Railroad
Footnote A:
The NYC Hojack was the east west line and the Pennsy Elmira to Sodus Point was the North South line. PRR crossed the Hojack at grade - 90 degree crossing.
Today, what is left is operated by a short line, OMID (Ontario Midland RR). Track north from Wallington to Sodus Point and the old coal dock was removed some time ago.
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Railroad Biographies
See KC Jones BLOG about Railroad History
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End of the Hojack in Photo

A great collection from the 1970's near Rochester on the Hojack
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Bike Trails Along Railroads



Throughout the United States and Canada, there are numerous bicycle trails that either run alongside existing railroads or run on the abandoned right-of-way of a railroad.

In Québec, the longest one, the "P'tit Train du Nord" runs for 200 kilometers (120 miles) from Saint-Jérôme to Mount-Laurier on an abandoned Canadian Pacific route.

South of Saint-Jérôme, this route continues to Blainville alongside what will become a busy rail commuter line. Photo above shows its route past the new intermodal terminal at Saint-Jérôme.

In Central New York State, a great trail runs on the former Troy & Schenectady branch of the New York Central Railroad.

Further downstate, abandoned portions of the New York Central's Putnam Division and Harlem Division are now bike trails.

Part of the Wallkill Valley branch of the West Shore is a bike trail.

Cape Cod has a scenic trail on what was once the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad.

Along Lake Ontario shore, a portion of the old Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg Railroad is a trail now.

This is only a small sample. There are LOTS MORE!

Photo Copyright © 2006 Ken Kinlock
Fly Along the Hojack!

If you have "GOOGLE EARTH" installed on your computer, you can "fly" along the Lake Ontario Shore Railroad from Oswego to Suspension Bridge with the "PLACEMARK" below: (Click to get GOOGLE EARTH)

Talk to us about help using Google Earth© for your business presentations!
Take a trip on the
Lake Ontario Shore Railroad (Oswego to Suspension Bridge)
New York Central Railroad
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Track 61
Here is a picture of Track 61. See what is so mysterious about Track 61 at Grand Central Terminal.. Also find out about a railroad that did NOT make it to Conrail: The New York & Harlem. Find out about Metro-North.
New York Central Branch from DeKalk Junction to Ogdensburg, In 1861, the Potsdam & Watertown line merged into the Watertown&Rome, the name of the new railroad was changed to Rome, Watertown&Ogdensburg, and a 19-mile line built from DeKalb Junction to Ogdensburg. It lasted until the 1980's. Read the whole story.
On June 13, 1845 the Troy & Greenbush Railroad opened between Troy and Greenbush, NY. It is the last link in an all-rail line between Boston and Buffalo. See more random dates in railroad history.
Isn't it amazing how much we all remember (and have forgotten about the NY Central)? 40 plus years? OMG, we rode parlors to Chatham and sleepers to the Adirondacks. Geez, we remember a lot. Why is all this stuff gone? Why did we have a PC and a Conrail.

Abandonments: Lake Ontario Shore Railroad

Oswego to Hannibal abandoned 1978, now hiking trail

Hannibal to Red Creek (Conrail) 1980 (OMID had been designated operator)

Hannibal to Webster sold to Ontario Midland, Oct. 15, 1979

Webster to Windsor Beach abandoned 1978

Charlotte to Barker abandoned 1978

Barker to Suspension Bridge 1979

(Portion from Suspension Bridge at Niagara Falls to “Riverview” north of Niagara University campus dismantled in the late 1960s by Penn-Central. Had not been used since construction of Niagara Power Project)

Rochester to Windsor Beach abandoned 1978

Through passenger service, Oswego to Rochester and Suspension Bridge, discontinued Feb. 2, 1935

Railroads On The Rebound

Over the last 50+ years, railroads have changed a lot. Now they are about to change again.

It is all about a combination of economic factors and climate factors.

Since 1950 , railroads have consolidated. Freight moved from a "box car mentality" to a "unit train,mentality". Passenger went from a robust business to a "caretaker" arrangement called AMTRAK. This happened as everybody could drive for free on the Interstate Highway System or fly on an airline system where the government subsidized both airlines and airports. In the meantime, railroad express and railroad post offices went "down the tubes". The old Post Office Department and the Railway Express Agency could not adjust to the new way. UPS and Fex Ex could.
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The

NY Ontario & Western in Oswego

Over the years we have accumulated a lot of information on short line railroads.
A lot of these are already posted.
Interesting Railway Stations

Bridges near Webster

2 small wooden bridges on the former ROW embankment along Lake Road near the outlet bridge. One goes over a small path, while the other (further east) goes over a dirt driveway that leads from the road to a cluster of lakeside cottages. The latter bridge is near the intersection with Bay Road.
A much larger (steel?) bridge goes over Lake Road.
The former Hojack ROW between Vosburg Rd and the end of OMID is now a trail with several small bridges, as well.

REFERENCE

Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg Railroad
Lake Ontario Shore Railroad
Railroad Forum on the Hojack Line
The Greater Rochester Railfan
The Hojack Line
Once Railroads, Now Trails
Books on Local History
By Shirley Cox Husted

Town of Parma City of Rochester Monroe County
A BRIEF HISTORY of: the Lake Ontario Shore Railroad
plus the Rotten - Wood & Old Rusty Rails

- a story of the rail line through Webster
by Dick Batzing - Webster Historian
Memories of the “Hojack”
Railroad Magazine, August, 1945, pp 104-105
The Bertrande Snell Stories
Stories by "Bertrande" from the
Syracuse (N. Y.) Post Standard
Map of the Syracuse Division of NY Central
Rochester Institute of Technology Model Railroad Club
1870 letter from Gerrit Smith to the directors of the Lake Ontario Shore regarding difficulties in securing funding to complete the railroad.
From Wichita State University Special Collection
Timeline of railroad development in the Rochester area.
A great HOJACK WebSite Devoted entirely to the history of the Rome, Watertown and Ogdensburg Railroad. Our goal is to capture the RW&O through articles, photos and Forum discussions. We will also offer a glimpse of what remains of the RW&O today through photos of existing stations and structures.
www.dictionary.ms
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The U.S. Open
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milk train

Once upon a time, milk trains were important


New York Central Milk Business
Cremery 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.

The Hojack Trail

West End of the Hojack Trail East End of the Hojack Trail
West End of the Hojack Trail East End of the Hojack Trail
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Beautifully engraved certificate from the Rome, Watertown, and Ogdensburgh Rail Road Company issued in 1874. This historic document has an ornate border around it with vignettes of a train, two allegorical woman, and people watching Niagara Falls. This period cancelled certificate is hand signed by the company’s president ( Charles Parsons) and assistant-secretary and is over 131 years old. This bond was convertible into the company's Capital Stock if converted prior to July 1, 1879.
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