Railroads near or in sight of the NYS Thruway

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Re: Railroads near or in sight of the NYS Thruway

Postby RussNelson » Sun Dec 15, 2013 11:47 pm

My guess is that the Thruway used the same gentle grade that made the railroad possible, and destroyed all evidence of it.
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Re: Railroads near or in sight of the NYS Thruway

Postby trainsinmaine » Tue Dec 17, 2013 9:15 pm

I did some digging on the history of this. The relocation took place in 1860 when the Western Railroad (predecessor to the B&A) purchased the Hudson & Berkshire Railroad and abandoned the section between East Chatham and Canaan. The ROW was indeed the one we've been discussing.
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Re: Railroads near or in sight of the NYS Thruway

Postby RussNelson » Wed Dec 18, 2013 11:02 pm

Well, there's always one hope for determining the ROW: county tax maps. Every railroad that ever ran had to register a map of its routing with the county. Now, whether that map still exists, or can be found, is another question.
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Re: Railroads near or in sight of the NYS Thruway

Postby scharnhorst » Sun Dec 22, 2013 9:56 am

RussNelson wrote:Well, there's always one hope for determining the ROW: county tax maps. Every railroad that ever ran had to register a map of its routing with the county. Now, whether that map still exists, or can be found, is another question.



Cayuga County Soil & Water on County House Road in Cayuga County has some vary well detailed survey maps that show all the ROW's on them along with the names of the Railroads on them.
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Long gone railroad bridge near Selkirk

Postby tmanz » Thu Sep 18, 2014 7:21 am

At milepost 131.9, the NYS Thruway (I-87) crosses a valley. Below is a small creek and covered conveyor belt which serves a large industry (cement plant?) about 1/4 mile west of the highway. On the west side of the thruway are what look like railroad bridge abutments on either side of the valley. This would have been a very high bridge, and I'm curious whose bridge that was.
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Re: Long gone railroad bridge near Selkirk

Postby RussNelson » Thu Sep 18, 2014 6:58 pm

tmanz wrote:At milepost 131.9, the NYS Thruway (I-87) crosses a valley. Below is a small creek and covered conveyor belt which serves a large industry (cement plant?) about 1/4 mile west of the highway. On the west side of the thruway are what look like railroad bridge abutments on either side of the valley. This would have been a very high bridge, and I'm curious whose bridge that was.

That's the New York Central's Albany Branch. It went from Ravena to Selkirk. If you go to Maple Avenue in Selkirk, and look for the railroad crossing, look south. The existing tracks immediately curve away from a road, but THAT'S NO ROAD!
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Re: Railroads near or in sight of the NYS Thruway

Postby cromb74 » Fri Oct 10, 2014 5:44 pm

Does any one know when this stretch was deactivated? And when then bridge was removed? Thanks!
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Re: Railroads near or in sight of the NYS Thruway

Postby trainsinmaine » Wed Jan 28, 2015 8:08 pm

A little more about the Hudson & Berkshire Railroad between Chatham and State Line, from the little 1988 paperback The Rail-Road is Coming! by John M. Bazan, which I obtained recently:
"In 1854 the bankrupt H&B was sold at a state foreclosure to the Western Railway Company (one of the two predecessors of the B&A, which for several miles ran more or less parallel to it) for $155,000. A railroad official stated: 'The rolling stock, lands at Chatham and State Line, and the wharf property at the Hudson terminus, were owned by separate individuals, and were purchased separately. The entire purchases cost $273,131.18.
"In 1855, the company was reorganized and the name changed to the Hudson & Boston Railroad. It later operated between Hudson and Chatham Four Corners only, a distance of 17.33 miles.
"In 1867, the Western and the Boston & Worcester railroads merged as the Boston & Albany . . .
"Part of the original H&R roadbed is still visible today from Chatham to East Chatham, skirting [the B&A], and along Rt. 295 near the Columbia Corporation. It is difficult, though, to find traces east of East Chatham, where the Berkshire extension of the New York Thruway has leveled most of the roadbed. [The B&A] follows about two miles of the original route between State Line and Edwards Park in Canaan."

The West Stockbridge Railroad, later the State Line Branch of the NYNH&H, was originally a branch of the H&R. Bazan notes that the line was abandoned in the early '60s, but does not indicate how it came under the ownership of the New Haven. I'll have to research this --- I wonder why it wasn't a branch of the B&A?
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Re: Railroads near or in sight of the NYS Thruway

Postby RussNelson » Fri Apr 24, 2015 11:35 pm

trainsinmaine wrote: It is difficult, though, to find traces east of East Chatham, where the Berkshire extension of the New York Thruway has leveled most of the roadbed.

A little bit of snow helps a lot. I saw the railbed a month ago when there was light snow on the ground between the place where the railbed crosses the Thruway, and Columbia County CR-5. Went back on Thursday and went looking where the snow was. The traces continue north of CR-5, first on a fill, which has a "B 165" milepost lying down on it, then through a cut, about 20' deep. I went to the next road intersection, New Concord Road, and saw nothing. My guess is that it's underneath I-90 at that point.
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Re: Railroads near or in sight of the NYS Thruway

Postby trainsinmaine » Thu Apr 30, 2015 11:03 am

Russ, I would love to see that milepost! --- especially given that the track has been gone for 150 years.
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Re: Railroads near or in sight of the NYS Thruway

Postby trainsinmaine » Thu Apr 30, 2015 4:00 pm

That dead-end road that leaves CR 5 just southwest of where CR 5 crosses the Thruway, then parallels it for a short distance to the south --- do you think that's part of the old roadbed? I need to get my bearings.
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Re: Railroads near or in sight of the NYS Thruway

Postby RussNelson » Sat May 02, 2015 9:50 pm

Sorry, what dead-end road? You're not talking about Peaceful Valley Road? It's not dead-end. And where the railroad crosses CR5, it's just west of the Thruway, and there's no road there on either side of CR5.

Part of the original H&R roadbed is still visible today from Chatham to East Chatham, skirting [the B&A], and along Rt. 295 near the Columbia Corporation.

Just so I understand this, there is a railbed distinct from the existing Berkshire sub between Chatham and East Chatham? Where is "the Columbia Corporation"?
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Re: Railroads near or in sight of the NYS Thruway

Postby trainsinmaine » Sun May 03, 2015 6:23 am

RussNelson wrote:Sorry, what dead-end road? You're not talking about Peaceful Valley Road? It's not dead-end. And where the railroad crosses CR5, it's just west of the Thruway, and there's no road there on either side of CR5.

Part of the original H&R roadbed is still visible today from Chatham to East Chatham, skirting [the B&A], and along Rt. 295 near the Columbia Corporation.

Just so I understand this, there is a railbed distinct from the existing Berkshire sub between Chatham and East Chatham? Where is "the Columbia Corporation"?


If you go to Maptech or to Google Images and do a satellite search along 295, my guess is that the Columbia Corporation is the big complex on the north side of the road a couple of miles out of town. There is a trailer park across the road. The current B&A swings near there, but if you take a close look just north and east of the building complex, there is an oxbow in the river. Abutting it is a very straight tree line, which I suspect may be along the original H&B roadbed. This is speculative on my part as I haven't been there, but it supports what Bezan says in his book. Further, there is a curved line off Hartigan Road, near the intersection of 295 and the Taconic State Parkway, that I also find curious.

The dead-end road to which I was alluding is not Peaceful Valley Road, but the road on the other side of the Thruway directly across from it, extending from Route 5 southeast.
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Re: Railroads near or in sight of the NYS Thruway

Postby RussNelson » Mon Nov 14, 2016 11:05 am

trainsinmaine wrote:
RussNelson wrote:Sorry, what dead-end road? You're not talking about Peaceful Valley Road? It's not dead-end. And where the railroad crosses CR5, it's just west of the Thruway, and there's no road there on either side of CR5.

Part of the original H&R roadbed is still visible today from Chatham to East Chatham, skirting [the B&A], and along Rt. 295 near the Columbia Corporation.

Just so I understand this, there is a railbed distinct from the existing Berkshire sub between Chatham and East Chatham? Where is "the Columbia Corporation"?


If you go to Maptech or to Google Images and do a satellite search along 295, my guess is that the Columbia Corporation is the big complex on the north side of the road a couple of miles out of town. There is a trailer park across the road. The current B&A swings near there, but if you take a close look just north and east of the building complex, there is an oxbow in the river. Abutting it is a very straight tree line, which I suspect may be along the original H&B roadbed. This is speculative on my part as I haven't been there, but it supports what Bezan says in his book.

I agree. Looks like a railbed to me. Right here: https://www.openstreetmap.org/way/453312113

Further, there is a curved line off Hartigan Road, near the intersection of 295 and the Taconic State Parkway, that I also find curious.

Hartigan goes over a hill. The only place for a railroad there is next to the B&A, which is next to the creek.

The dead-end road to which I was alluding is not Peaceful Valley Road, but the road on the other side of the Thruway directly across from it, extending from Route 5 southeast.

I see no road there, just a railbed. :-)
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Re: Railroads near or in sight of the NYS Thruway

Postby Matt Langworthy » Wed Nov 30, 2016 1:20 pm

If you wish ride a steam powered excursion under a NYS Thruway overpass, the Buffalo, Cattaraugus & Jamestown Railway will be hosting an excursion on the Buffalo Southern on Saturday 12/10. Please visit their FB page for details:

https://www.facebook.com/BCandJScenicRa ... e_internal
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