L&HR Mine Hill branch route?

Discussion of the L&HR and its predecessor the Warwick Valley Railroad for the period 1860-1976 at its inclusion with ConRail

Moderator: David

L&HR Mine Hill branch route?

Postby salminkarkku » Thu Jan 25, 2007 5:26 am

We are having trouble plotting the route of the old LHR Mine Hill branch in the Franklin NJ area for SPV's revised "Northeast" atlas.

I thought that it ran to Ogdensburg parallel to the NYSW, but the atlas's author mailed (referring to the layout in the present edition):

"I have always understood that the LHR used trackage rights on the NYSW tracks to reach the Ogdensburg Mine until the NYSW abandoned the Middletown branch whereupon the LHR took it over. Are you implying that the Mine Hill RR referred to on lhr.railfan.net/history is this? It’s not shown on the Historical USGS maps from 1903. I’m not sure when NYSW Middletown opened but it’s listed in the 1891 OG. Also, the 1903 USGS map shows the branch to Mine Hill as I’ve shown it and shows it connecting with the LHR not NYSW and with no facilities en route. There was a smelter in Franklin as I’ve shown it. We need more clarification on this area particularly as all my sources show the lines as drawn."

Could anyone throw some more light on this? Thanks.
salminkarkku
 

Postby Marty Feldner » Fri Jan 26, 2007 2:31 am

I don't know where you got your information, but the Mine Hill Railroad never had anything to do with the Ogdensburg mine; it was totally contained within Franklin, built in 1892 to reach a mine and lumber yard up the hill from the L&HR and NYS&W mains. In 1912 it was formally merged into the L&HR. At most it was less than 3 miles long.

This isn't exactly arcane or buried information- details can be found in both the Crist/Krauss "L&HR Volume I" book, and in the Boyd/Antz "L&HR In Color" books (the latter includes a map of Franklin showing the mines, and railroad trackage).

The referenced web page (from my website) contains a direct scan/OCR of a short history issued by the L&HR for their centennial in 1960. It was presumably written by an official of the road (my guess would be Ed Brown), and as such has to be taken as at least close to the actual facts.

As for the Ogdensburg mine (Sterling Hill Mine), it was serviced by the NYS&W (with the zinc cars turned over to the L&HR at Franklin) until that branch was abandoned in 1958; the mines had been shut down for economic reasons. When Sterling Hill reopened, the L&HR bought the trackage from Franklin to Ogdensburg from the NYS&W, to serve the mine. This service lasted into Conrail, until the ore was finally depleted in the early '80's.

Incidentally, the NYS&W branch was the Hanford Branch, from Beaver Lake to the New York State line at Unionville. There it connected with the Middletown and Unionville. Both were originally part of the failed 'Midland Route', and were only known as the 'Middletown Branch' for a short time (I'd have to pull out the NYS&W and NYO&W books to be more precise). The fact that it appears on a USGS topo map as late as it does only means the maps weren't updated to indicate corporate changes- a not uncommon occurence.

In other words, be very careful about what you take as gospel...

(Including anything I've written, above :-)
User avatar
Marty Feldner
 
Posts: 368
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 7:50 pm
Location: Warwick New York

Postby njmidland » Fri Jan 26, 2007 9:16 am

When Sterling Hill reopened, the L&HR bought the trackage from Franklin to Ogdensburg from the NYS&W, to serve the mine. This service lasted into Conrail, until the ore was finally depleted in the early '80's.


Just a small nit-pick here. Technically, the mine is not depleted. There is still a lot of zinc ore down there, but it is not economically viable to mine it. When New Jersey Zinc gave up and defaulted on their property taxes (about 1986), they shut down the pumps and the lowest levels of the mine (where the zinc still is) have flooded.
User avatar
njmidland
 
Posts: 311
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 8:30 am
Location: NJ

Postby Marty Feldner » Fri Jan 26, 2007 6:24 pm

Nit noted! :-)

Slightly off topic, but 100% correct, Tim.

Staying off topic for a moment, the Sterling Hill Mine was featured on a recent episode of The Travel Channel's "Best Places to Find Cash and Treasures" program (2 weeks ago, I think). The subject was flourescent minerals; several shots had the familiar loading silos in the background.
User avatar
Marty Feldner
 
Posts: 368
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 7:50 pm
Location: Warwick New York

Re: Mine Hill branch route?

Postby woodsie » Sun Dec 21, 2008 8:13 pm

Yup, lived 4 houses away from the "Mine Hill branch" It climbed up a grade all the way to the old open pit iron mine. The track started up by heading north, and curved back to the south until reaching the tailings dump aka old open pit mine. It served 3 customers; Harden Co [coal and lumber] Kulsar's cementblock [boxcars full of cement bags] and BDSimmons [coal and lumber]The loop shown in the map book of RRs is reversed and incorrect!
Modeling the LHR in HO, 1940s, Franklin, NJ
User avatar
woodsie
 
Posts: 22
Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2008 7:37 pm
Location: Lancaster County, PA

Re: Mine Hill branch route?

Postby mikedc3 » Thu Dec 25, 2008 12:56 pm

Just a small nit-pick of a nit-pick. The ore remaining at Sterling Hill is on the upper levels not the lower. Sterling Hill was mined from bottom to top.

The main reason the mine closed when it did was because the greedy town fathers wanted to tax the ore still in the earth which made the mine unprofitable to operate. The company fought the tax issue and lost by filing some papers late or something like that. They then closed the mine. I believe there were 5-7 years worth of ore left. Typical NJ political greed.
Check out my abandond RR and Canal pictures at:
http://img13.photobucket.com/albums/v37/MIKEdc3/
Password is pics
User avatar
mikedc3
 
Posts: 201
Joined: Sun Apr 04, 2004 8:08 pm
Location: Hopatcong NJ


Return to Lehigh and Hudson River Railway

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests