Rutland Chatham to Bennington Corkscrew division

Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New York State.

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Postby RussNelson » Sat Dec 23, 2006 10:23 am

Noel Weaver wrote:I can't believe that very much would remain of a line that was torn up
over 50 years ago.


Believe, Notel, believe! I've traced railroads from maps, aerial photos, and in the field that haven't existed for 150 years. In some cases, you could put the tracks right back down. In other cases, I could run my Bush Hog(tm) down the ROW and clear it right out. And yes, in other cases you'd need to start from scratch again. It really all depends on how well-built the railroad was in the first place, and what kind of deterioration has taken place: erosion and bulldozers are bad.
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Postby the missing link » Sat Dec 23, 2006 12:28 pm

Thats good news actually, I think a late spring hike is in order.
Does anyone know what the track diagrams were at the junctions and each village? any existing structures of industries served along the way?
This line would make for a great article in one of the modeling magazines.
begs to be modeled.
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AGAIN, CHECK

Postby henry6 » Tue Dec 26, 2006 10:52 am

the missing link wrote:Thats good news actually, I think a late spring hike is in order.
Does anyone know what the track diagrams were at the junctions and each village? any existing structures of industries served along the way?
This line would make for a great article in one of the modeling magazines.
begs to be modeled.


Again, check Shaunessey's book and other books on the Rutland you will find in your library about local railroads as well as the Rut.

One of the things I have often pointed out about chasing down old ROW's and even contemporay pic locations is to do it in the winter when there is no overgrowth nor leaves on trees. After the hunters have put their guns and bows away but before the thaws and rains of late winter or early spring. Waiting until into spring could be too late; emergence of animals and snakes, planted fields that farmers won't allow passage on, wetter underfoot, and not being able to catch those little spots, are all problems of spring. And for those areas where there are passenger trains (commuter, Amtrak or other) this is also the time to "see" what was and is and where you might get great pics.
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Postby skeeda » Tue Dec 26, 2006 1:52 pm

If you’re really interested in tracking down the Corkscrew, you might want to try and get your hands on a couple of out of print Rutland books done by the late R. W. Nimke, specifically Volume IV on the B&R and Corkscrew Divisions , Volume VII The Addendum (20 pages of it, anyway), and the Spurs and Sidings volume. Photo coverage of the Chatham Division is quite comprehensive (though quality can vary a bit), including shots of the last freight, as well as the scrapping of the line. Track and siding diagrams are covered in both Volume IV and the Siding and Spurs Volume; the latter includes some topographical maps, though.

Also, the town of Petersburgh, NY put out (1991) an interesting soft cover photo book called “Petersburgh, Then & Now” by Peter R. W. Schaaphok, which has couple of railroad shots in it that may be of interest to Corkscrew aficionados, particularly if you’re trying to find where the ROW went in the Petersburgh area.
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Postby JBlaisdell » Thu Dec 28, 2006 7:05 am

Don't discount the fact that the Corkscrew was built at a time where everything moved by wagon or rail. Labor costs were also much less. As labor costs rose after WW I, and paved roads came around in the 20s, lines that were marginally viable quickly became a burden.

The Rutland may have felt a need to take over the Corkscrew to keep the B&A (and therefor the NY Central) out of its territory. Such was a common occurrance in the industry. The Putnam Division was acquired by the NYC (at the New Haven's urging) to keep the New England RR out of NY City.
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THE RUT

Postby henry6 » Thu Dec 28, 2006 9:34 am

The Rut just needed a secure route to NY city for milk, express, and passengers. Check the COMING OF THE NEW YORK AND HARLEM book for insight into this.
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Postby Otto Vondrak » Thu Dec 28, 2006 11:23 am

... and don't forget the NYC Harlem Division freight that was called the "Rutland Milk," more or less the night freight that connected with the Rutland at Chatham. Even after the end of Rutland connections, the night frieight was still called the "Rut Milk."

-otto-
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Postby Noel Weaver » Fri Dec 29, 2006 1:43 am

To add to what Otto just stated, the actual traffic to and from Chatham
still continued on a daily basis as long as the Rutland continued operating
up until the final strike in 1961 that finished the road. They used trackage
rights over the Boston and Maine down to Troy and the New York Central
and Boston and Albany from Troy to Chatham to interchange with the New
York Central (Harlem Division) at Chatham. Apparently although the line
itself was not profitable, the traffic to Chatham was so this was an
effective way to rid itself of a line that was a money loser and difficult and
expensive to operate while holding on to the through freight business that
still remained on the line.
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Chatham Exchange Club Trips on the Corkscrew!

Postby cnefan » Fri Dec 29, 2006 2:37 am

I believe that there were actually three yearly excursions run by the Chatham Exchange Club out of Chatham, NY to Rutland, VT and return. The years, as I recall, were 1949, 1950 and 1951. As for myself, I took in the trip for the first two years of it's operation. The equipment was all wooden coaches with a caboose at the end. I heard that the coaches were all torched after the last run was made. With the possible exception of a couple of trips I made on the O&W in 1947 and 1952, I would say that these runs were the best train trips that I have ever been on.

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Postby pablo » Fri Dec 29, 2006 6:58 am

Leroy, what made them the best? Was it the scenery, which was supposed to be awesome, or was t the coaches, or something else?

I know the line somewhat, and I have heard that it was beautiful, but it's one of those things that might seem better as years go by. Any info you have would be great...thanks in advance.

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Chatham (NY) Exchange Club Trips on the Corkscrew!

Postby cnefan » Sat Dec 30, 2006 12:40 am

As to why I thoroughly enjoyed these excursions over the Rutland's Corkscrew; it was a combination of things. I was traveling with a small group of railfans (most of whom are now deceased) from my hometown of Canaan, CT and we had a ball on both trips that I made. I can't say that it was the scenery that was the highpoint to me; however, I do recall vividly winding around the hill (both ascending and descending) where the monument is located in Bennington and viewing it from several different angles. I think what impressed me the most was the old wooden coaches that were used for these trips plus the caboose at the end of the train. This was in the days prior to high profile cases of litigation which I feel are responsible for the almost complete lack of fantrips these days. There were no enclosed vestibules between the coaches and one really had to be quite agile in hopping from one to another. The caboose was accessible to one and all and many of us rode both up in the cupola plus the hind end platform as well. I might add that the crew of these trains were having as much fun as the fans themselves.

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Postby Noel Weaver » Sat Dec 30, 2006 5:01 am

Seems to me that Chatham had a big group of railfans at that time and
apparently they worked very hard on trips of this nature.
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