Rail City information

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Rail City information

Postby Benjamin Maggi » Fri Oct 13, 2017 8:55 am

I was researching something and came across a reference to the Rail City Museum, which was in upstate NY somewhere between Syracuse and Watertown. As a kid we would camp in Pulaski, NY, and around 1995 my parents brought me here. However, by that time the trains were gone (auctioned off in 1993, though we didn't know it) and the museum itself was closed for the day (or maybe permanently). Based on the brochure we had seen, I expected to see actual trains and was disappointed.

I went to their website (http://www.railcitymuseum.com) and it said that after 2015 it closed for good. The mailing address listed is 162 Stanley Drive, Sandy Creek, NY. However, in looking at it online it is hard to see where the roadbed and tracks actually were. Does anyone have any good pictures from the past that show how the museum and trains fit into the landscape?

Thanks.
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Re: Rail City information

Postby nydepot » Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:13 pm

I've never seen one. You can find the 1994 aerial at historicaerials.com

43.662417, -76.161040

The water tower is still there and you can see some faint lines NE of that were some tracks were.
Last edited by nydepot on Fri Oct 13, 2017 4:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Rail City information

Postby tree68 » Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:41 pm

I think I have some 8mm film from Rail City - I just don't know where. I recall visiting there as a kid in the late 50's. Unfortunately, my young mind wasn't tuned into rail preservation at the time - it was just another activity during our vacation.

The closest I've ever seen to a detailed map was a hand-drawn map from a brochure or something.

There was an airstrip there, as well.

There was a detailed diorama done of the attraction, in the area of the station and water tower. I believe the Oswego County Railroad Museum may have it.

There have also been efforts to preserve the materials in the station/museum. Don't know how that's going.
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Re: Rail City information

Postby erie2937 » Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:25 pm

My father made some 16mm films when we visited Rail City. I have them but have not seen them for many years.
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Re: Rail City information

Postby RailCityBob » Fri Oct 13, 2017 10:41 pm

The museum you visited closed in 1974 after 19 years of operation. The Rail City Historical Museum closed in 2015 after 18 years of operation. This was merely a static museum of what the original Rail City used to be and it operated from 1997 to 2015. I found my father's medium format B&W negatives in 1991, built a darkroom, and spent 10 years developing over 3,000 of them via Kodak Chemistry into 8 x 10 inch prints and 11 x14 inch prints for the RCHM. My Dad always had a slide camera, Graphflex & 16mm movie camera everywhere he went so he photographed every location he visited most long since abandoned.

The track and last ten locomotives were sold in an auction 1993. B&H No. 11 now operates on the Everett RR http://www.everettrailroad.com/excursio ... sions.aspx The Everett is also restoring H&BTM RR #38. The rest of the equipment is now all over the USA and Canada in various museums. Where Rail City is sadly no longer with us the equipment was saved and is now on display across the country. We still own the property, live there from May to Nov., and have many memories, movies and photos of Rail city. Iperiodically give presentations on Rail City as noted on the website. The water tower is no longer there being sold in 1993 to the Attica & Arcade RR. They never assembled it and sold it to another operation. The Deer River Station is all that is still intact from the former museum as well as the beach bathoue we converted into a summer residence in the early 1970's. We were fortunate to have a very exciting childhood growing up with Rail City chasing trains across the US and Canada.
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Re: Rail City information

Postby Leo_Ames » Sat Oct 14, 2017 1:56 pm

The museum that was started after the auction, was open past 1995.

I didn't know it existed until I read the December 1995 article in Trains Magazine about Rail City. Sometime after that was published, my family was coming home after picking apples down in Mexico, and I saw the depot as we went by. We turned around and were able to go inside and tour it, and bought a few things. So it likely was the Fall of 1996. I think we even went back again later on.

It had a nice gift shop and lots of historic photographs on display.
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Re: Rail City information

Postby tree68 » Mon Oct 16, 2017 6:06 pm

Leo_Ames wrote:It had a nice gift shop and lots of historic photographs on display.

It was, if you will, a museum about a museum...
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Re: Rail City information

Postby jnugent56 » Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:37 am

I highly recommend checking out the Facebook group titled, "Remembering Rail City Museum and Fire Dept.". People have been sharing all sorts of photos and videos from their collections. You probably won't find a better treasure trove of information!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/869917756430796/
Last edited by Otto Vondrak on Thu Oct 19, 2017 5:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Rail City information

Postby Benjamin Maggi » Wed Oct 18, 2017 3:02 pm

Thanks RailCityBob for your memories. It sounds like it was a fantastic childhood!

Thanks everyone else too. I will check out the Facebook page Joe!
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Re: Rail City information

Postby charlie6017 » Wed Oct 18, 2017 8:30 pm

RailCityBob wrote:The museum you visited closed in 1974 after 19 years of operation. The Rail City Historical Museum closed in 2015 after 18 years of operation. This was merely a static museum of what the original Rail City used to be and it operated from 1997 to 2015. I found my father's medium format B&W negatives in 1991, built a darkroom, and spent 10 years developing over 3,000 of them via Kodak Chemistry into 8 x 10 inch prints and 11 x14 inch prints for the RCHM. My Dad always had a slide camera, Graphflex & 16mm movie camera everywhere he went so he photographed every location he visited most long since abandoned.

The track and last ten locomotives were sold in an auction 1993. B&H No. 11 now operates on the Everett RR http://www.everettrailroad.com/excursio ... sions.aspx The Everett is also restoring H&BTM RR #38. The rest of the equipment is now all over the USA and Canada in various museums. Where Rail City is sadly no longer with us the equipment was saved and is now on display across the country. We still own the property, live there from May to Nov., and have many memories, movies and photos of Rail city. Iperiodically give presentations on Rail City as noted on the website. The water tower is no longer there being sold in 1993 to the Attica & Arcade RR. They never assembled it and sold it to another operation. The Deer River Station is all that is still intact from the former museum as well as the beach bathoue we converted into a summer residence in the early 1970's. We were fortunate to have a very exciting childhood growing up with Rail City chasing trains across the US and Canada.


Thanks for sharing these memories. I dug out my copy of Trains Magazine from 12/95 and read the article
about your Father's and family's work. Must have been a lot of fun over those years.

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Re: Rail City information

Postby Leo_Ames » Wed Oct 18, 2017 11:56 pm

I missed RailCityBob's post the first time through the thread.

Is the gazebo gone in front of the depot? I remember when we visited that there was an old gazebo that I seem to recall we were told was going to be restored. It looked pretty old, so I assume it dated back to the days when Rail City was still operating.
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Re: Rail City information

Postby tree68 » Thu Oct 19, 2017 6:28 am

Leo_Ames wrote:Is the gazebo gone in front of the depot? I remember when we visited that there was an old gazebo that I seem to recall we were told was going to be restored. It looked pretty old, so I assume it dated back to the days when Rail City was still operating.


I wasn't looking for it last time I drove through there, but I checked the satellite image and it's still there in that. So is what's left of the building that held the fire trucks, which fortunately were finally rescued. They are in Middletown.
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