Chasing railroads for my birthday

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Re: Chasing railroads for my birthday

Postby dj_paige » Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:06 pm

I'll definitely have to go check out these Glen Haven bridges. Thanks for the map.

Yes, I knew about Erie Canal Lock 62 behind Pittsford Plaza, it's actually a park and part of a trail.
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Re: Chasing railroads for my birthday

Postby RussNelson » Sun Apr 22, 2012 9:59 pm

dj_paige wrote:Yes, I knew about Erie Canal Lock 62 behind Pittsford Plaza, it's actually a park and part of a trail.

Oh neat! Now I see the trail. Does it go south to the Barge Canal and meet up with Canalway Trail? And it looks like it might just end in the back of the shopping plaza's parking lot.

I'm looking at the Bing aerial photos, and just east of Widewaters Lane is a large canal basin. At the time the aerial photo was taken, the basin, like the canal, has been drained for the winter ... and I can see a definite 7 canal boats, and maybe another five sitting in the mud there.
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Re: Chasing railroads for my birthday

Postby RussNelson » Mon Apr 15, 2013 2:19 pm

I was down in the Catskills hiking the U&D from Highmount down to Phoenicia on the tracks, as much as could be done. We (Arnold Restivo) had a great hike of 15.5 miles, nearly all of it on the tracks. The bridge in Phoenicia is out, but we were able to travel across all the other bridges, one of them by scooting on our bellies on the rails. Close to Phoenicia is a washout with a creek completely eroding underneath the rails. Fortunately, there was a road nearby, otherwise it would have been difficult to cross. There are a good seven complete washouts of the tracks, most over 200', one over 500', and one at least 1000'.

Found the Pine Hill Crystal Springs Water Company ruins south of Pine Hill. Even after all this time, I found one bottle with an intact bottom, so we could read the entire name of the company. Found two sidings in Allaben -- one still has the switch in place, and the other has the switchstand ties and the switch ties, just to the east of where Station Road crosses to the north side of the tracks.

After we got to Phoenicia, I saw the narrow-gauge trestle on the south side of the river. Had dinner, then drove up to Grand Gorge. Searched around for the Delaware and Eastern, but didn't find anything I could definitely say "this is an attempt at grading a railroad". Possibly a railbed on the north side of Ferris Hill Road.

Cobleskill next, where I found a pedestrian underpass (blocked off because of a foot or so of water in the bottom) underneath the NS tracks, and on the east side of town, a pedestrian bridge. Then, on to the Cherry Valley Branch. Found one hidden bridge south of Sharon Springs, and another more obvious bridge over US-20. Walked across both of them.

Drove past the unfinished Fort Plains & Richfield Springs railroad and even after 140 years, and even with being unfinished, it stuck out like a sore thumb! On the south side of US 20, it's a 5' fill running across a field, and on the north side it's an 8' cut (which the neighbor is doing his best to fill in, but you can still see it). Chased that into Richfield Springs, but didn't find anything as stunningly obvious as at US-20. The Southern New York Railway running through town was more obvious, and the DL&W coming in from the west even more so. The DL&W seems to have been left in an odd state. The end of the tracks close to the active tracks still have rail! And all of the bridges have been left in place, all the way from Richfield Junction to Richfield Springs.

After that it was up to Herkimer and tracing the Adirondack Branch up to Remsen. Found four bridges left in place, and a few abutments for where others used to be. They just tore one out behind the Upper Canada Valley Central School, last summer. :( Found Prospect and Prospect Junction and the spurs that went off of it. Found a tunnel through a high fill on Beecher Road northwest of Poland, AND a very small one-lane tunnel a half-mile northwest of that, both off NY-28.
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Re: Chasing railroads for my birthday

Postby RussNelson » Fri Mar 27, 2015 10:15 pm

Oh dear! I totally neglected to make a post for 2014. I'll have to reconstruct it from my GPS log and photographs.

On Friday, April 18th, I started in Potsdam after work, and hit Deferiet where there used to be a big paper mill, rail-served, of course. Saw some of the railbeds, but couldn't get into the plant to see the RR bridges that are still in place.

Spent the night at a fellow railfan's place on Delta Lake near Rome. On the 19th, I set out for Pixley Falls State Park to explore the Ogdensburg, Clayton, and Rome, which has its own topic elsewhere in these forums. Found ALL SORTS of neat stuff. Quite a bit of it was built in the Lansing Kill valley. I didn't see any abutments, nor could I find any direct evidence that the stories about the tunnel were true. I don't doubt them, I just didn't find any hard evidence. There's a huge cut on the eastern end, but the western end is just one big slope of shale. Basically, the entire section, except for bridges, through Pixley Falls State Park was built. Found a still-functioning culvert carrying a small stream underneath the railbed. Found two failed culverts which are now notches in the railbed.

Drove up to Boonville to see what I could find there. Found a treeline which doesn't line up with anything BUT the railbed. And it leads northward to and lines up perfectly with .... Railroad Street. The finished railroad, the Utica and Black River, is nowhere near Railroad Street, but the OC&R is. Fun stuff, right?

Next down south to drive along the Lansing Kill looking for any traces. Didn't find anything through the agricultural section. They either didn't grade it, or graded it so lightly that the farmers have since completely erased it. Going into Delta Lake State Park, though, is a "canal" about 20' into the park, effectively turning the park into an island (except where they filled it for the entrance). Some people claim it's the old Black River Canal, but you can see a proper canal prism further into the park. No, this is a cut built by the OC&R.

Then off to Durhamville to find the O&W concrete arch bridge south of Foster Corners Road. Was expecting to have to push through brush, but since the summer of 2013, somebody cut it all back, like they're planning to use the railbed for something. Like maybe a rail-trail??

On to Oneida to get a picture of the cattle crossing bridge north of the high school. Went looking for leftover industrial tracks along the West Shore but failed to find them. May have been ripped up since the aerial photo was taken. Traced the NYO&W down to John Taibi's house, both to see his house and to pick up a copy of his book on the West Shore electification. I got to see his rebuilt section of third rail track! Awesomely cool!

Next was Vernon and eastwards, looking for extant West Shore bridge. Found one in Vernon, behind the old station. Another one just east of Woods Road. May be another one west of NY-28, but I didn't suspect it until after I got home. Another one in Clark Mills out behind the American Legion Hall. That was it for Saturday.

Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg for Sunday morning. Found all the bridges that I had seen on the aerial photos: east of Tannery Road, west of Tannery Road (just piers, no bridge, but I also found a one-lane bridge tall enough to have been a road bridge), got permission from the property owner (who saw the last train to ever cross the bridge) to explore the bridge north of Trestle Road, saw the abutments south of Liberty Street in Camden, hike east from Penny Mix Road only to find that the bridge there is a reconstruction, only wide enough for an ATV or snowmobile, saw the abutments in Williamstown (and chased the Williamstown & Redfield a little bit).

Headed west towards Oswego to check out the NYO&W and RW&O remains there. They're doing trackwork north of the fort and I wanted to see as much as I could before it all got changed around (as it since has). Mexico has a nicely restored station, used by a business.

Saw a couple of things in Oswego. East 7th Street has an underpass that goes underneath East Schuyler Street, but it also went underneath the RW&O. Couple of industrials north of Mitchell Street that still have rails. Saw the loop around the north side of the forth where the two railroad paralleled each other (O&W on the water side). Saw the bridge, now destroyed, where the O&W crossed over a little creek.

Leaving Oswego, heading east, I found a concrete arch bridge north of Lee Road, north of Newcomb/Dewey Road, north of Manwaring Road, north of County Road 28, and a concrete arch bridge south of Atkinson Road. Then I skedaddled towards home.
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Re: Chasing railroads for my birthday

Postby RussNelson » Fri Mar 27, 2015 11:16 pm

Drove down to New Jersey to hike the Warren Railroad (DL&W) with Michael Helbing, director of Metrotrails, Inc. They work to turn DEFUNCT railbeds in the NJ/NY/PA area into trails.

Friday afternoon, I went looking for the D&H Penn Division near Harpursville. There's a very nice truss bridge behind the public school there, along with some railbed heading north and east towards the main line. As long as I was in the area, I stopped by Tunnel, NY, just to see the tunnel there. Traced it down to Windsor, finding two little bridges on the way, a relocation around a quarry off Fordway Road, and a depot, caboose and bridge over Old NY-17 in Windsor.

That was it for New York railroads, but Lanesboro, PA and the Tunkhannock Viaduct wasn't far. I found Cascade Wye on the D&H, and followed the D&H east from Tunkhannock to a pair of bridges, one truss and the other girder.

Saturday morning, we hiked from Delaware NJ through Manunka Chunk (and the tunnels there, but just the south bore), Buttzville, Oxford (and the Van Ness Gap Tunnel now called Oxford Tunnel, but given the depth of the water, only five of us walked it), Washington, and Port Colden. Michael has been doing this hike every year for the last 19 years. He hikes, rain or snow, every weekend, usually on a railbed, and has not missed a weekend since 2004. Dude is hardcore.

Saw some interesting things on the way. The two tunnels, of course, which were partially collapsed and wet (Oxford was up to my crotch, and the silt up to my knee). Also walked on a concrete arch bridge over the L&HR's girder bridge over the Pequest River in Buttzville. The Pequest Cut was very deep and very pretty. There's an old farm bridge with a stone foundation, and a higher concrete foundation, reportedly done to raise the bridge clearance. Saw the station platform at Oxford, right next to the railbed now used as Lower Delaware Road. Practically in Washington I saw some abandoned spurs still with the rails down, the bridge that used to convey the railroad over the Morris Canal, and an abandoned (filled-in) bridge over an old road. Went to the Hiker's Hootenanny to celebrate the hike, and overnighted in Port Jervis.

On Sunday, I found the never-used bridge over the Delaware, built by the N.Y. and Erie Railroad Company. Not such a challenge because there's a historical marker, but the abutments and pier are quite clear, and I only found the marker because I knew where the bridge was.

Found where the Monticello Branch came off the Port Jervis Branch. Stopped by the D&H Canal Museum in Cuddebackville. It wasn't open, but looking at the canal abutments is free. Went to Monticello, traced as much of the O&W as the snow would let me. Saw the depot there.

Headed up to Andes to see the Delaware and Northern. Lots of it is still visible once it rises out of the Pepacton Reservoir. Stopped in Andes at the station, and walked their 0.8 mile rail-trail. Saw the passing track, the two industrials, and the turntable pit.

Saw the Delhi & Middletown unfinished railroad (most of it was reused by the Delaware and Northern). Just as Kudish says, the most visible section easily accessible is a cattle bridge (abutments), a hump in a field, and a matching cutting into the hillside on the other side of the road. Also spotted the Bovina Branch and the Delaware Railroad, both also unfinished.

Took a quick look at the O&W going south out of Andes. Next, East Meredith to see a pair of bridges on the Ulster & Delaware. Then Davenport Center to see another Ulster & Delaware bridge (and a passenger footbridge over the tracks), and the Cooperstown & Charlotte Valley's abortive attempt to reach Stamford. It ran most of the way into Davenport Center, and was graded east of there. Just east of the Exit 6 on-ramp almost in Oneonta is a wooden trestle for the U&D. You can spot it easily because it's just past a pull-off off the shoulder.

Lots of stuff to see in Cooperstown Junction. The west leg of the wye is paved-over. The caboose is still there, although the string of cars has been moved. The abutment for the C&CV line to Davenport Center is in perfect condition, as are the two piers. The GG1's have been moved, as noted elsewhere here, onto the east leg of the wye.

And after that it was too dark to see anything, although I did drive alongside the Southern New York Railway for quite a ways, and crossed it in Richville Springs.
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Re: Chasing railroads for my birthday

Postby pumpers » Sat Mar 28, 2015 10:41 am

Russ, so how many former RR's was all of that? JS
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Re: Chasing railroads for my birthday

Postby RussNelson » Sat Mar 28, 2015 11:07 am

D&H, DL&W, L&HR, Morris Canal, Milford and Matamoras unfinished (the Erie's charter called for the bridge to be built at that location, which the Milford and Matamoras planned to use, but before they could get around to it, the bridge collapsed and the Erie, through shenanigans, refused to rebuild it), O&W Monticello, D&H Canal, Delaware and Northern, Delhi and Middletown unfinished, Delaware Railroad also unfinished, O&W Delhi, C&CV, and had it been light out, the Southern New York Railway.
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Re: Chasing railroads for my birthday

Postby RussNelson » Tue Jul 28, 2015 7:11 pm

Nolt my birthday, but it was a weekend of railroad chasing. Bicycled the northern portion of the D&H Rail-Trail (their Washington division). That's the part which is in Vermont. Going south, it goes into NY, becomes a short rail-trail near Granville down to the VT border, and becomes a ten-ish mile long rail-trail.

Again the D&H, this time their old main line that ran close to the river in Cohoes. It's now the Cohoes Black Bridge Trail, contiguous from Green Island to Waterford.

Then to Kingston to ride the Kingston Point Trail, which goes out to the Ulster and Delaware's MP0.

Rode on a friend's speeder for two days up in Arkville, on the Delaware and Ulster Rail Ride's portion of the U&D. Took a portion of the day when not riding a speeder to bicycle the Hubbell's Corner to Grand Gorge section of the Catskill Scenic Trail. Yes, all the rails for that section (dated 1911) have been preserved in stacks. No sign of OTM, but I saw 55 gallon barrels which were empty. My speculation? Somebody stole the OTM.

Saw a bit of the Catskill Mountain Railway's narrow-gauge section. There's more of it left than I thought ... worth more time chasing.
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Re: Chasing railroads for my birthday

Postby O-6-O » Tue Jul 28, 2015 8:51 pm

No sign of OTM, but I saw 55 gallon barrels which were empty. My speculation? Somebody stole the OTM.

YUP :(
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Re: Chasing railroads for my birthday

Postby sd80mac » Wed Jul 29, 2015 8:12 am

RussNelson wrote: No sign of OTM, but I saw 55 gallon barrels which were empty. My speculation? Somebody stole the OTM.


OTM?
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Re: Chasing railroads for my birthday

Postby jurtz » Wed Jul 29, 2015 10:35 am

sd80mac wrote:
RussNelson wrote: No sign of OTM, but I saw 55 gallon barrels which were empty. My speculation? Somebody stole the OTM.


OTM?


OTM = Other Track Material (spikes, fish plates, nuts & bolts, etc.)
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Re: Chasing railroads for my birthday

Postby RussNelson » Thu Jul 30, 2015 10:48 pm

Steel that's easy to hide inside other steel being recycled, like underneath car seats and suchlike. Or you find a scrapyard willing to break the law and buy it from you straight-out.
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Re: Chasing railroads for my birthday

Postby RussNelson » Thu Apr 21, 2016 1:09 am

Birthday was March 21st. Next weekend was tied up, weekend after looked to be rainy, weekend after looked to be cold and snowy. Finally went April 14->17th. Went to Rochester, then did a clockwise loop down to Swains, over to Springville, then up to Buffalo, over to Rochester, rode some rail-trails and checked out the Glen Haven railroad.

On Thursday, I mostly just went to Rochester, but I did stop by the Syracuse, Lakeland and Baldwinsville trolley line on the west side of Onondaga Lake, parts now a rail-trail.

On Friday, I went looking for evidence of the Rochester, Nunda, and Pennsylvania unfinished railroad. Found some bits. Stopped by the Livingston County Clerk's office to see if they had a map registered. Nope. There are a ton of deeds registered, so if you wanted to spend about a week reading deeds, you could figure out where it was supposed to go.

Visited Caledonia, which is an INSANE railroad town. It had the B&O, the Erie, the NYC, and the LV. About the only one it was missing was the DL&W. Went to Fowlerville to try to find a cut. The property owner was terribly informative and helpful (Jeanine). Happy to let me go take photos. Found a very obvious cut. Ended up the morning in Retsof looking at a wye track that still has rails but is disconnected on both ends.

Couple of railroad buildings left in Dansville. On to Swains. Stopped by Moraine Road to look for the wye there (nothing, completely plowed away), but I did find that the bridge over the Southern Tier is blocked off. Deck is rotting away -- obviously unsafe. Walked the entire horseshoe (up to the Southern Tier). Kinda brushy, but not impassable. Then found the bridge abutment opposite Chautauqua Hollow Road, used to pass over the highway.

Went looking in Portageville into the Lechworth State Park for the Genesee Valley Canal unfinished tunnel. Saw LOTS of fresh rock movement but no tunnel mouth, none at all. Looked all over where it is supposed to be. Stopped by Silver Springs and walked up the BR&P (later B&O) to the bridge just south of Silver Lake Junction. Went to Java Center to look for the unfinished Northern Extension. Found both ends of the wye off the A&A. You would NEVER be able to find it when the brush is leaved out. Next to Java Village and Strykersville to try to find more bits of this line. I found a bit of railbed north of the highway south of where it intersects with Pit Road.

Saturday I awoke in Springville. Went looking for the Buffalo and Susquehanna remains. There are still some bits visible, here and there. Found LOTS more of the Cattaraugus Branch. Bicycled 10km of it, but only a tiny portion is ready for riding yet. The rest is still ballast. Hoped to get to the high bridge, but it was way too unpleasant. Found lots and lots of bridges along that line, all of them carefully fenced off.

In Buffalo, I found three abandoned bridges west of Electric Avenue. Tried to get a sight of the bridge over Smoke Creek west of Birth Street, but no go. Found the swing bridge next to the CSX line, as well as two other bridges nearby. Another bridge next to I-90 over the Cazenovia Creek. Another upstream from it between Seneca and Orchard Park Road. On Urban St and French St, there are two bridges that have angled edges, for a siding to come off. Climbed up there, got pictures.

Bicycled the Scajaqueda Trail in order to find a bridge underneath Scajaquada Expressway. Yup, it was there. Still has rails, too. Trail goes right next to it, so you can't miss it. Climbed up on the raised tracks over Austin Street. It has an incredible FIVE distinct bridges going over it, each bridge capable of carrying at least four, five, or six tracks. The whole thing is an incredible 420' of overhead bridges on Austin Street.

Next was to bicycle the Tonawanda Rails-to-Trails, which is the Erie's Niagara Falls Branch. Runs from Main Street clear up to Maple Street. Then on to Rochester.

On Sunday, I had a lot of noodling around Rochester to do. Went to the Farmer's Market to walk the tiny bit of rail-trail there. Just one block long, but it had a bridge. Then over to King Street to see what remains of the coal depot. Nothing except the abutments. Everything else is gone. Then went looking for the location of the Rochester Subway going underground. The approach is left, but the rest, up to Brown Street, has been filled-in for a building.

Down to Rochester Junction for a bit of rail-trail riding and exploration. Lots of railroadiana left over there, with three trails converging. Then over to Glen Haven to look at the trolley line. Last thing in Rochester was looking for bridges on the Hojack. They're all still there. Except for the swing bridge, of course.

On to Sodus where I found where the Rochester & Sodus Bay went underneath the Hojack. The tunnel is still there! OMID is trying to fill it in, in a desultory manner. Up to Wolcott to find a bridge. Wasn't a bridge. Was a culvert, waaay down at the bottom of a fill. Also found the end of track, which has some abandoned tracks next to it. Then Red Creek, where the bridge over Red Creek has one of the best sets of decking I've ever seen. And straight home, because it was dark.
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Re: Chasing railroads for my birthday

Postby dj_paige » Thu Apr 21, 2016 6:07 am

Congratulations on what sounds like a great weekend.

May I ask what parts of the Rochester, Nunda and Pennsylvania you saw? And did you find any parts that have previously been unreported here in this forum?
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Re: Chasing railroads for my birthday

Postby Matt Langworthy » Thu Apr 21, 2016 6:59 pm

RussNelson wrote:Visited Caledonia, which is an INSANE railroad town. It had the B&O, the Erie, the NYC, and the LV. About the only one it was missing was the DL&W.


Caledonia also had the G&W. Aerial views on Bing maps show the location where the Erie/EL crossed the G&W on a diamond, and the ROW for a couple of connecting tracks. Fascinating place!

P.S. Happy belated b'day!
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