Hayts Corners, Ovid & Willard

Discussion related to the Lehigh Valley Railroad and predecessors for the period 1846-1976. Originally incorporated as the Delaware, Lehigh, Schuylkill and Susquehanna Railroad Company.

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Hayts Corners, Ovid & Willard

Postby Richard1 » Wed Dec 11, 2013 12:48 pm

Geneva Times,
December 4, 1959

At One Time Ran to Willard --
Hayts Corners-Ovid Branch Rail Line Now History; Tracks Gone
____
By Elizabeth McElroy
OVID - With two and two-tenths miles of branch line of the Lehigh Valley Railroad abandoned from Hayts Corners to Ovid, purchasers of tis abandoned track were the Rochester Iron & Metal Co., Rochester, who have now taken up the steel rails. The better part of the ties on the track will be taken by the Lehigh Valley.
Abandonment of this branch was proposed by the railroad the past February in Washington. It asked the Interstate Commerce Commission for permission to abandon the branch, which it termed "impossible to operate at a profit."
It was on May 31 this year that a switching service to Ovid from Hayts Corners was discontinued, said Leo Flynn, veteran Lehigh Valley station agent, who is presently agent at Hayts Corners. At one time, the branch ran all the way from Hats Corners through Ovid to Willard. However, the line from Ovid to Willard was abandoned June 30, 1936, according to Mr. Flynn. At that time, the last train ran from Hayts Corners to Willard, thereafter the track being torn up.*
The Ovid station was discontinued more than 25 years ago. Miss Frances Huson of Ovid served as the agent here for many years before the station was dismantled by the railroad. Coal was formerly brought into Ovid station on a "pickup," cut loose from the trains on the main line at Hayts Corners. The coal was delivered to the H.W. Collins Coal Co., located on the spur of the track, near the old Ovid Depot.
After the Hayts Corners - Willard strip was taken up, a switch at Gilbert Station on the main line of the Lehigh Valley was used for Willard State Hospital. The Ovid-Willard-Hayts Corners branch line a quarter of a century ago carried passengers, express and mail. (1)
None other than 87-year-old Ira Lindeberg, Water St., Ovid, remembers vividly all the details of this branch which threaded through woodland and rural area in South Seneca County communities. Ira, who is known to everyone about the area, is retired as driver of a horse-drawn bus between the Ovid Lehigh Depot and the Ovid Post Office. His last trip was in 1929.
This quaint vehicle was in use for more than 60 years. It brought daily mail and passengers who had arrived at the little Ovid station via the one-coach Willard train - the daily conveyance between Hats Corners depot and the Willard Lehigh station. Ovid was the only station enroute. Sometimes when weather was bad, Ira would drive the bus to Hayts Corners to take passengers, or bring passengers and bring the mail, when snow would plug the railroad tracks on the Hayts Corners, Ovid and Willard run, blocking the train.
Ira never missed a day on the mile route between the station and the post office during his 22 years of service, despite bad weather and road conditions. The horse-drawn bus, which held 12 passengers, seldom was overcrowded. Heat was furnished by a small oil stove in the front of the vehicle. The bus was lighted by oil lamps or lanterns at each end, and at the ceiling.
Rochester Iron & Metal Co., on dismantling the steel rails for salvage or junk, has the steel melted and molded at steel mills.
Note
*Passenger service last listed in Lehigh Valley public timetable on Sept. 27, 1936. At that time they were Trains 587,583,585,581 westbound and 580, 584, 582, 586, between Hayts Corners and Ovid. 
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Re: Hayts Corners, Ovid & Willard

Postby BR&P » Wed Dec 11, 2013 3:03 pm

Interesting - thanks for posting.

In about 1984 or so I was talking to a neighbor. Come to find out her father, who was in a nursing home but still very alert mentally, had retired as a station agent on the LV. She said he would love to talk railroading and tell of his experiences. I worked with her to set up an appointment to meet the gentleman on a given afternoon, and armed myself with a cassette recorder, notebook and pens, and some LV items to show him to help prod his memory. She said he was looking forward to the meeting.

The big day arrived. About 10AM my phone rang and it was my neighbor. He was gone. I missed him by ONE day! I don't have notes in front of me but I think he was the Leo Flynn mentioned in the article.

Damn!
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