Chasing railroads for my birthday

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Re: Chasing railroads for my birthday

Postby joshuahouse » Sun Apr 17, 2011 12:03 pm

Where did you come across trolley bridges between Corning area and Naples?
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Re: Chasing railroads for my birthday

Postby RussNelson » Sun Apr 17, 2011 2:04 pm

Yes, good point. I wrote them up for the wrong day. They were between Elmira and Corning (look at the map):
http://www.flickr.com/photos/russnelson/5628558694
http://www.flickr.com/photos/russnelson/5628562568

I kinda rushed out of the house on Friday without having done adequate research on where I was going. So I actually buzzed past a few things I would have enjoyed seeing. E.g. abandoned railroad bridges in Elmira. E.g. this trolley line. I gotta write some software for my cellphone that warns me when I'm coming close to an abandoned railroad or railroad bridge. :)
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Re: Chasing railroads for my birthday

Postby joshuahouse » Sun Apr 17, 2011 7:20 pm

Ah, yes, those were the only ones I could think of (plus another along that line in Big Flats) so I was suprised to hear of others.
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Re: Chasing railroads for my birthday

Postby charlie6017 » Mon Apr 18, 2011 8:58 am

Excellent write-up, Russ........very enjoyable reading, very good info!

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Re: Chasing railroads for my birthday

Postby RussNelson » Mon Jun 13, 2011 4:15 pm

I went on another trip; this time for Father's Day. Wasn't looking for abandoned railroads on this trip because everything is leafed out. Instead, I went bicycling. On the way downstate, I rode the Fonda, Johnstown & Gloversville Rail Trail. It's split into two sections with some rough ATV-quality trail in-between (which I also rode). Unfortunately, the railbed is split at the Wal*Mart distribution warehouse (they built on it). Made my way down to the Catskill Scenic Trail. Rode it from Stamford to Grand Gorge. Then I hit the Tannersville Huckleberry Trail. Spent the night in Hudson. On Saturday, I rode the Harlem Valley Rail-Trail (both sections), then the Putnam Trailway end to end, including the new section which is completed except for a little bit of grading at one end. Spent the night in Poughkeepsie. Headed over to Goshen to ride the former Erie mainline from there through Chester, Greycourt, and Monroe (but really Kiryas Joel). I chose to skip chasing any of the connecting railroads in Goshen and Greycourt because there's not much to see with the leafs on the trees. I did see a bit of the Montgomery branch going east and north. There are still rails beneath the pavement on Grand St.

I had planned to ride the four pieces of the O&W, but I only rode the Mountaindale section (both north and south out of town). On the way to Hurleyville, I decided to stop by the South Fallsburg tunnel to see if I could walk through it. I did! Reported on it over in the Abandoned Tunnels of New York State thread. Then I went to Hurleyville where it was 4:30 and I had a flat tire. I could have fixed it and gone on the ride, but I still have to do the other two O&W rides. Clearly I have to come back, so there was no point in pushing it.
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Re: Chasing railroads for my birthday

Postby pumpers » Mon Jun 13, 2011 7:51 pm

Father's day isn't til Sunday. You'll have to go on another trip. I'm jealous, JS
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Re: Chasing railroads for my birthday

Postby RussNelson » Fri Apr 06, 2012 1:12 am

Went on another birthday railroad exploration trip on 3/30 -> 4/1. First target was the New York, Boston, and Montreal. Went to the Putnam County Trail, walked along until my GPS told me I was in the right spot, and gee, there was the top of the fill that I have a picture of Roger Liller standing on. It looks different today because of the grading done for the rail-trail, but you can see how it all would have worked.

The fill ends abruptly over the ravine, and after I climbed down and up, I found a short vague cut they had started. I found one drill hole, so I'm 100% sure it was a cut for the railroad. Further along, I found another more distinct cut, then a flat area the looked vagueishly like it could be a railbed. Someone had used it as some kind of supply dump, because there were several corrugated metal culverts there, a handful of iron pipes, some valves, and beyond it, a NYB&M stone culvert.

On the way back I walked on some trails, and one of them was obviously on a fill. At the end of the fill was the most substantial culvert yet. It was labeled with a "5" on a wooden post, obviously marking it for some kind of public documentation. Maybe if you enter the conservancy from a different point there are brochures? Anyway, the far side of the culvert was just a stone box. They hadn't begun to fill on that side, so it was pretty neat to see it under construction. Or, well, frozen in the middle of construction.

After that I headed down to Elmsford to bicycle the South County Trail that I had missed last March. That was about 20 miles round trip, from Elmsford down to HF Redmond Junior Memorial Park and back. So except for the active track in Brewster, and a half-mile in Elmsford, you can travel on paved rail-trail on the entire Putnam Branch. Yay!

Then it was Dunderberg Mountain, for the unfinished Dunderberg Spiral Railway. It was to have been two inclined planes hauling cars up to the hotel at the top, then six grades back down, reaching speeds of up to 50MPH. Somewhat more than half the grading was completed, along with a mostly completed tunnel almost at the bottom, one abutment for a bridge, and a half-completed tunnel through a ridge.

There are two marked trails going up the side of the mountain: the Timp-Torne, and the Ramapo-Dunderberg. Both of these trails use substantial portions of the grades. Both of the inclines are mostly completed, although there are a few gaps where there would have been tunnels for the downhill grades.

Saturday, Ray Kelly gave me his nickel tour of the O&W from Cornwall-on-Hudson to Middletown. We saw pretty much every remaining O&W culvert and bridge, plus two Erie bridges over a river, one Erie bridge over the O&W (the one just west of the Thruway bridge, which we didn't see) and one L&NE bridge that Ray didn't know about.

Sunday, I rode the Walden-Walkill Rail Trail (3 miles) plus an unimproved stretch north of Walkill (2 miles) for a total of ten miles round-trip. Headed up to Hurleyville to ride the O&W "trail" there. It's mostly a sandpit for the first half-mile to the east, and a mudpit for the first half-mile to the west, all courtesy of ATVs. That was about 20 miles round trip. It started to rain, so I curtailed my trip and headed to Liberty to see if it was worth riding. Sorta. North and south of town it's a mostly unimproved (they call it "rustic") railbed. In town it's a paved road (State Street).

One last thing: I stopped by Rexford to see the Schenectady Railway trolley tunnel underneath the D&H tracks. They've been doing some work there, and so the fill has been pulled out so you can see into the tunnels. Through them, really, because the fill on the east side has slumped, leaving an opening. I walked north along the D&H tracks. Got passed by an Amtrak train headed north. Shortly after CPF 480, I was able to find a matching tunnel, or at least the wing walls on both sides. The rest seems to have been completely buried.

Hurleyville: http://blog.russnelson.com/bicycling/1333289166.html
Walden-Walkill: http://blog.russnelson.com/bicycling/1333281331.html
South County Trailway: http://blog.russnelson.com/bicycling/1333116598.html
Unfinished railroads of NY State: http://russnelson.com/unfinished-railroads.html
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Re: Chasing railroads for my birthday

Postby chrisnewhaven » Fri Apr 06, 2012 7:13 am

Theres an entrance to the conservancy off of Fair Street, at the base of the hill below the high school. Theres a large map with all the trails labeled on it. I hiked the same area last summer and even found a tie plate at the bottom of the first embankment (probably from the Put though). I love your reviews, keep them coming!
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Re: Chasing railroads for my birthday

Postby RussNelson » Fri Apr 06, 2012 9:44 pm

chrisnewhaven wrote:Theres an entrance to the conservancy off of Fair Street, at the base of the hill below the high school. Theres a large map with all the trails labeled on it. I hiked the same area last summer and even found a tie plate at the bottom of the first embankment (probably from the Put though). I love your reviews, keep them coming!
C.J.V.

I saw the same tie plate, so I'm guessing that you left it there. :-) So did I. :-)
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Re: Chasing railroads for my birthday

Postby Marty Feldner » Sat Apr 07, 2012 7:44 pm

RussNelson wrote:Saturday, Ray Kelly gave me his nickel tour of the O&W from Cornwall-on-Hudson to Middletown. We saw pretty much every remaining O&W culvert and bridge, plus two Erie bridges over a river, one Erie bridge over the O&W (the one just west of the Thruway bridge, which we didn't see) and one L&NE bridge that Ray didn't know about.



L&HR, not L&NE- over the Otterkill Creek, at Burnside.
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Re: Chasing railroads for my birthday

Postby RussNelson » Sat Apr 07, 2012 9:07 pm

Yeah, that question came up on the trip, and we kinda just guessed at it.
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Re: Chasing railroads for my birthday

Postby RussNelson » Sun Apr 22, 2012 1:06 am

I was in Rochester, free for the day because my wife was occupied with handbell ringing. First, I found the Old Way into Kodak Park. The ROW is very visible where it crosses Pullman Avenue, and there's a fence marking the property line of the northwards curve at the west end, but there's nothing else visible.

Then I found the CSX bridges over the subway/canal between Lexington and Driving Park Avenues. They look in good condition, even though they don't really do anything anymore. Then I found the connector track through Norman Street (had to squint to see anything). Then I followed the NYC line paralleling Lyell. Found four bridges, over Orchard, Broad, the subway/canal, and another one over a lengthened version of Moore Street, I think. Amusingly, at Whitney Street, is a CSX sign with their 800 number and crossing identification, so if a car is stuck on the tracks, you can call CSX to report it. I have to hope that they had a listing of all crossings on disused track.

While I was hanging out at Broad Street (where there are parking spaces), I saw two young men exit a vehicle, one with a backpack, and they headed up on the embankment walking west towards the large abandoned building. I had seen that the fence was already breached, and I guessed they were going to do some urbex. Just to have a little fun with them (because they had noticed me parked there), I drove around to Orchard, visible from the bridge. Sure enough, I saw them walking towards the building. They stopped before crossing the bridge, though. As I intended, they saw me and got a little paranoid. "What's that guy doing, watching us??" Then they headed back, so I went back to where their car was to let them know that the joke was on them, but they apparently went back to the building. :D

Headed down to Rush to see the R&GVRR Museum. Did a bit of scraping on a caboose and stacked some blocking. Also rode in the cab of the black center-cap switcher. Wheeeee! Drove over to Honeoye Falls to see how the Rochester Branch trail construction is coming along. Answer: not hardly, at least not there.

Then it was back to town to locate the Glen Haven trolley, to try to locate an abandoned bridge. I did ... TWO of them! One crosses the stream whose valley it goes down, and the other drains some water into the stream. The railbed is currently being used for mountain bicycle single track; walkers also allowed.
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Re: Chasing railroads for my birthday

Postby dj_paige » Sun Apr 22, 2012 9:28 am

Sounds like a fun day. Russ, can you give us a map of those two bridges you found at/near Glen Haven? I don't think I have seen them, and I know you are good at maps.
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Re: Chasing railroads for my birthday

Postby RailKevin » Sun Apr 22, 2012 1:42 pm

I am wondering about those Glen Haven bridges, too. It sounds like they are up the gorge (south/west) as if heading back to the city from Glen Haven.
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Re: Chasing railroads for my birthday

Postby RussNelson » Sun Apr 22, 2012 2:15 pm

dj_paige wrote:Sounds like a fun day. Russ, can you give us a map of those two bridges you found at/near Glen Haven? I don't think I have seen them, and I know you are good at maps.


Except for the constant drip-drip-drip of the rain, it was huge fun. The one that I could see on the aerial photos, under which the stream flows is here: http://www.openstreetmap.org/browse/way/89385462 . The one I couldn't see is here: http://www.openstreetmap.org/browse/way/160654308 . Easiest way to get to them is from the bend with the concrete blocks on Glen Haven Road. Walk along the single track path until you cross over the first bridge. Then start looking for the trolley poles and the second bridge. Yes, RailKevin, that's where they are.

And, apropos of nothing, did you know there was an old Erie Canal tandem lock behind the shopping plaza north of French Road on NY-31? Right here: http://www.openstreetmap.org/browse/node/1726929130 or here are photos: http://www.eriecanal.org/Lock62.html
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