Short Line Railroads
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Short Line Railroads

Lackawanna station New Hartford

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

Welcome to our Short Line Railroads WebSite

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

Amsterdam, Chuctanunda and Northern Railroad

Bath & Hammondsport Railroad

Beech Creek Railroad

Buckingham Branch Railroad

Buffalo Creek Railroad

Carthage & Adirondack Railway

Central Indiana Railway

Cleveland Short Line Railway

Dayton Union Railway

Detroit Terminal Railway

Dexter and Northern Railroad Company

Gary Railway

(reporting mark GRW) is owned and operated by Transtar, Inc., a subsidiary of the United States Steel Corporation. It currently runs along 63 miles of yard track throughout Gary, Indiana as a class III switching carrier for local steel supply.

Indianapolis Union Railway

Jaxport Terminal Railway and the Municipal Docks Railway of the Jacksonville Port Authority

Little Falls & Dolgeville RR

(The) Louisville and Jeffersonville Bridge & Railroad Company

Mannheim Armitage Railway

(The Port of) New York and New Jersey

has several interesting short lines. East Jersey Railroad and Terminal Company A 2 mile terminal road at Bayonne, NJ. In 2008, their roster was as follows:
17 GE 65 ton 400hp /48 -- acquired new; parts unit, cannibalized
18 GE 65 ton 400hp 03/50 i/s acquired new
19 GE 80 ton 600hp /48 --exUS Steel; sold, off roster
EMD SW900 900hp 12/55 i/s exCR / PC 8634, exNYC 9634
EMD SW8 800hp 02/53 i/s exCR / PC 8621, exNYC 9621
Port Jersey Railroad is an intermodal freight transport facility that includes a container terminal located on the Upper New York Bay in the Port of New York and New Jersey.
New York New Jersey Rail LLC is part of the national transportation rail system and moves rail freight by rail barge across NYC Harbor.

Niagara Junction Railway

Niagara River Bridge Company

Notre Dame & Western Railroad

moved coal from the New York Central to the Power Plant on the campus.

The Ontario Eastern Railroad Corp.(ONER)

was incorporated in 1981 to take over as designated operator of the Ogdensburg-DeKalb Jct line.

Owasco River Railway

Penn Eastern Rail Lines, Inc.

Philadelphia Belt Line Railroad

Skaneateles Short Line Railroad

Southern New York Railroad

started as an electric interurban that gradually cut back on passenger service until, in 1940, all wire was taken down and all track removed except a short segment between Oneonta and West Oneonta, NY, which was switched with diesels. Connected with the Delaware & Hudson.

Syracuse Junction Railroad

Troy & Greenbush Railroad

Troy Union Railroad

Washington Terminal Company From short lines, mighty railroads grow. The story of the

Oswego & Rome Railroad Co. and the Watertown & Rome Railroad

Don't miss our reference section

Follow a new railroad into the Adirondack Mountains

of New York State. They run tourist trains, dinner trains, and even a ski train from Saratoga to North Creek. They want to reactivate the railroad to a mine that was closed over 20 years ago. New technology and a new attitude maybe just the right combination.


The first railroad in New York State, and one of the first anywhere, was the Mohawk & Hudson, connecting Albany and Schenectady. The Rensselaer & Saratoga Rail Road followed in 1832, only a year late. Within twenty years, three more railroads came into Troy:
(1) Troy & Greenbush;
(2) Troy & Boston; and
(3)Troy & Schenectady.
The resulting congestion led to the formation of the Troy Union Railroad in 1851, owned jointly by the four roads. It opened in 1854. The tracks were moved from River Street to Sixth Avenue and a new station built. One of the lines was eventually bought by the D&H RR (Rensselaer & Saratoga RR), two were merged into the New York Central RR (Troy & Schenectady RR and the Troy & Greenbush RR), and the fourth became part of the Boston & Maine RR (Troy & Boston RR).

Although the tracks in Troy were moved inland to avoid congestion, the growth of the city overwhelmed it still. Row houses, stores, and factories crowded in on all available land near the track. There wasn't room for the conventional two-storied interlocking towers needed to control the switches at each end of the terminal, so both towers had to straddle the tracks. Switches were thrown by the tower operators through a series of rods and cranks.

In other major cities, early 1900's grade crossing elimination programs rebuilt the right-of-way above or below the streets. Similar plans were drawn up for Troy, but never were built. Numerous streets required a gate guard, to flag the crossing or drop the gates. The track ran part of the way in the pavement of Sixth Avenue, and steam road locomotives inched their way past parked cars. This looked like industrial trackage but was a passenger main.

Troy's first depot (before the Troy Union Railroad) was the "Troy House" on River Street. The second one burned (1862) when Troy had what is known as the "Great Fire". The third one was built shortly afterwards, and lasted until 1900, when Troy finally got a "modern" one. The depot was designed by Reed & Stem, who eventually worked on Grand Central Terminal. The Troy station pioneered individual train platform sheds reached by an underground passageway instead of one huge shed.

Read more about the Troy Union Railroad

By Ken Kinlock at
Railroad Station at Troy, New York

Railroad Station at Troy, New York

The station in Troy was owned by the Troy Union Rail Road. The TURR lasted from the mid 19th Century till the mid 20th Century. It was owned by the New York Central, Delaware & Hudson and Boston & Maine. Access from the South was from Rensselaer; from the West, via the Green Island Bridge; from the North was street running almost the entire length of Troy. See Penney's blog for more information (and a great movie from the 1950's).

Troy Union Rail Road had no locomotives of its own. The "owners" supplied them. Here is the D&H "Transfer" running some cars.

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New York Central station in Ogdensburg New York Central station in Ogdensburg See KC Jones BLOG about Railroad History
KC Jones

Take a look at my blog about railroads in Ogdensburg, New York.

Corsica Ferry

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Stop by and see our Reservations Center.
Corsica Ferry

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The Owasco River Railway in Auburn, NY was purchased 50/50 by the Lehigh Valley and New York Central in the early 1930s. Two shays were brought in to operate the line. The NYC operated the line while the LVRR maintained the locos. One of the shays was kept at the LVRR facilities in Auburn on standby. About the mid-1940s both shays went to the Marcellus & Otisco Lake where they were utilized for a time.

NYC's Shays apparently built in 1923. Alco-GE-IR demonstrator #8835's first demonstration was on the New York Central's west side terminal, starting in June 1924. So, the NYC bought Shays, and then, while they were still new, leapt at the chance to see if there was something better.

The Owasco River Railway was a switching railroad that provided rail service to several industries on the Owasco River in Auburn, New York, interchanging with the New York Central Railroad and the Lehigh Valley Railroad via trackage rights on the New York Central. Incorporated on June 2, 1881 and opened by 1886, it was initially owned by the International Harvester Company, but the New York Central gained control of the company and sold half of the stock to the Lehigh Valley Railroad in 1931.

The company was eventually acquired by the Penn Central Transportation Company, successor to the New York Central, and was abandoned in 1976 when Conrail was formed. Penn Central later used the company to own real estate from abandoned rail lines, and it remains as a subsidiary of American Premier Underwriters, successor to Penn Central.

The New York Central Railroad and the Lehigh Valley Railroad bought the ORRy 50/50 in the early 1930s. At the time a 0-4-0 saddeltanker No. 3 was being utilized on the line which was shortly thereafter replaced by a pair of Shay locomotives. NYC crews were called for the ORRy jobs and the Shays were maintained and hostled by the LVRR at the Auburn roundhouse. The Shays were replaced by NYC No. 506, a Cummings centercab circa the mid 1940s. This unit in turn was replaced by an Alco DRS of 600 or 900 hp.

Owasco River Railway
4 miles. Auburn, NY Locomotives, 2
Several box cars, gondolas and flat cars

For even more information, see Paper Railroads
Owasco River Railway map

Map of where the Owasco River Railway went

Shay Locomotive on NY Central West Side Freight Line

Shay Locomotive Picture (from KC Jones) on the West Side Freight Line. Some of these went to the Owasco River Railway.

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The railroad of the Dexter and Northern Railroad Company, was a single-track standard-gauge steam railroad, located in New York. The main line extends easterly from Dexter to Dexter Junction, a distance of 0.462 mile. The carrier also owns 0.419 mile of yard tracks and sidings. Its road thus embraces 0.881 mile of all tracks owned and used. In addition, the carrier has trackage rights over the railroad of the New York Central Railroad Company between Dexter and a point about 2 miles west of Brownville, N. Y.


The carrier was incorporated July 23, 1908, under the general laws of the State of New York. The date of its organization has not been ascertainable from the records reviewed.


The owned mileage of the carrier, extending from Dexter to Dexter Junction, N. Y., a distance of 0.462 mile, was acquired by construction. The returns of the carrier to valuation order No. 20 show that its property was constructed during the period from 1908 to 1910 by or under the supervision of the Dexter Sulphite Pulp and Paper Company.


the Dexter & Northern Railroad line was purchased by the New York Central Railroad and reopened for service.

See Penney Vanderbilt's blog for some maps, description of the Cape Vincent branch and when it was abandoned.

the Map below from the 1941 ETT shows the numerous railroads in the Watertown area, most of which are gone now.

Watertown area railroads


Dexter Company Owners Say He Contracted to Buy Mills. Special to The New York Times. (); April 23, 1921, , Section , Page 3, Column , words WATERTOWN, N.Y., April 22.--Dr. James E. Campbell and C.W. Campbell of this city, owners of the Dexter Sulphite, Pulp and Paper Company, have brought an action in the Supreme Court of Jefferson County against William Randolph Hearst to compel specific performance of a contract entered into by him May 1, 1920, for the purchase of the Dexter Mills.


The Dexter Sulphite Pulp and Paper Co.
-- The Ontario woolen-mills were built in 1838 at a cost of $150,000. In 1868 the mills were closed, and in 1887 were purchased by the Dexter Sulphite and Paper Co., and converted into a wood-pulp and paper-mill. The officers of the company are C. E. Campbell, president; E. F. Bermingham, secretary and treasurer; James A. Outterson, superintendent.

Sometimes referred to as sulphite paper, this often elegant and useful type of paper has a number of uses. Here is some basic information about the creation of sulfite paper, as well as how the finished product is used in several different ways.

Sulfite paper begins its life through the creation of what is known as sulfite pulp. The process for creating sulfite pulp is fairly easy. Wood pulp is treated with the use of peroxide or hypochlorite and ran through an operation that yields a thick paper product that has lost the natural hue of the wood pulp and began to take on a lighter shade. Repeated applications of the chemical compounds will result in an even lighter shade, until the end product has taken on a brilliant white appearance. From there, the sulfite paper can be further processed to any thickness that is desires, depending on how the end product is to be used.

Dexter & Northern Railway - s/n X559 at Dexter, New York on 7/27/1935 Built 1905 - gauge unknown - 40 tons - Class B 901d

The railway's parent company was the Dexter Sulphite Pulp & Paper Co The company owned two Climaxes. This one and s/n 560. This locomotive's s/n is unknown and carries the "unknown s/n" designation number noted.

See more about logging railroads
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Bath & Hammondsport Railroad

A 9.28 mile short line in Western New York State that used to own a coach and a combination passenger baggage car. According to the Railroad Magazine rosters, this line owned two GE 44-tonners numbered D-1 and D-3 and one Plymouth JDT numbered D-2. Two Alco S-1s, 4 and 5, were later on the roster.

Description of the Bath & Hammondsport Railroad from the Wiki.

"Like" the Bath & Hammondsport Railroad on FaceBook.

The future of the Bath & Hammondsport Railroadby newspaper columnist and reporter Richard F. Palmer

Rail City Museum description of the Bath & Hammondsport Railroad Bath & Hammondsport Railroad

Abandoned Rails talks about the Bath & Hammondsport Railroad

A brief history of the Bath & Hammondsport Railroad

Recent NY State grants (December 2012): Rehabilitation of the Bath & Hammondsport's original line between Bath Jct. to a siding adjacent to the Steuben County Jail also requires a local match (10 percent). That track is currently out of service. After completion next year, B&H Rail Corp. will be able to serve Steuben County IDA industrial sites in the area of the jail.
See Penney Vanderbilt BLOG about Golf and Vacations, especially on the French Riviera
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Skaneateles Short Line Railroad

The Skaneateles & Jordan Railroad Company started in 1836. Starting in the small village of Skaneateles, NY at its depot on the Lake (the Sherwood Inn sits there presently) it ran just five miles North to Hartlot, NY (Later changed to Skaneateles Falls, NY a.k.a. Skaneateles Junction by the New York Central & Hudson River Railroad). The orignal plan was to connect the railroad with the Erie canal. S&JRR had deep financial difficulties and was sold 1850 - the first attempt to build a railroad had failed.

It was not until after the Civil War that the village and local Industy requested that service be restored due to the expansion of plants along the river. With roads being as primitave as they were, the railroad, with help from the community and industries, gathered $100,000 began reconstruction in 1866.

The SSLR struggled for years with things getting worse after 1930. The line lost some industries but kept plugging away. After WWII things got even worse as passenger service fell to the point that the conductor was the only person on the train during its 2 daily trips from Skaneateles JCT to Skaneateles itself. Abandondments took place when industries started to drop service in favor of trucks. The tracks had seen no maintaince from the 1930 to the mid 1970.

By 1974 Stauffer Chemical was the only operating customer on the line and to ensure its rail traffic it purchased the line and started an immediate rehabilitation progam of the line which included several thousand ties and ballast. The railroad kept its own name through the Stauffer years. On Monday, July 13, 1981 the SSLR delivered its final shipment to Stauffer Chemical and the line was cleared later that night.

The Skaneateles short Line served 17 industries from 1836-1981 and had a fleet of 6 steam engines, all retired by 1950, and 2 GE-Erie 44 tonners which were sold to New York State Electric & Gas in 1981. From 1831-1901 the railroad also operated the Skaneateles Steamboat & Transportation Company.and operated 8 Boats mixed of mail and dinner boats. The boat company still lives on and runs a dinner cruise weekly.

See a great WebSite of the Skaneateles Short Line Railroad with several pictures.

See a map of the Skaneateles Short Line Railroad.

See Gino DiCarlo's WebSite on the Skaneateles Short Line Railroad.

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JAXPort Jacksonville, Florida is quite modern now. The Jaxport Terminal Railway and the Municipal Docks Railway of the Jacksonville Port Authority easy access to the Port of Jacksonville.

To help rush goods to market, shippers can take advantage of Jacksonville's location at the crossroads of three major railroads (CSX, Norfolk Southern and Florida East Coast Railway)

The Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT) is a full-service, international trade seaport in the Southeastern United States. JAXPORT owns and manages three cargo terminals in Jacksonville, Fla., including the Blount Island Marine Terminal, the Dames Point Marine Terminal and the Talleyrand Marine Terminal.


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