Info on the Lehigh & Hudson River RR

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

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Info on the Lehigh & Hudson River RR

Postby carajul » Fri Jan 07, 2011 8:06 pm

I've always known about the LHR by name. I've sort of poked around where the wye was off the Bel-Del and even saw the long forgotten CR MOW too. I've looked at some photos from the LHR from the mid-1970s and the track seems to be in horrible shape. In any case can anyone answer this for me...

1. Why did CR outwright abandon the LHR?
2. Was the LHR mainly a bridge RR or did they have a large online customer base?
3. In my readings I'm seeing a lot about a town called Maybrook which I think was in NY. Was this the LHR base of operations or something? Apparently it was once a bustling rr town but after C-day it now has rusty rails.
4. Was the LHR owned by another rr or was it just a private company?
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Re: Info on the Lehigh & Hudson River RR

Postby northjerseybuff » Fri Jan 07, 2011 8:54 pm

I would like to know what happened to the ROW in terms of ownership?did land go back to original property owners or does NS or CSX still technically have rights to the ROW even though abandoned?
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Re: Info on the Lehigh & Hudson River RR

Postby R36 Combine Coach » Fri Jan 07, 2011 9:23 pm

Maybrook was a junction in Orange County, NY that serve was the main gateway for freight to New England via the Poughkeepsie Viaduct. LHRR, Erie, and NH connected here. Once the Poughkeepsie Bridge caught fire inn 1974, traffic died off.

The Lehigh & Hudson ROW is now under private ownership or is State property in some areas. NS uses the Lehigh & Hudson bridge at Easton-Phillipsburg. The LHR between Sparta & Warwick is owned by NYSW and is their "new" main line.
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Re: Info on the Lehigh & Hudson River RR

Postby lhrfan » Sat Jan 08, 2011 12:15 pm

To answer your questions:
1) Conrail kept the L&HR open from P'burg to Framklin/Ogdensburg to serve the Sterling Hill zinc mine until it closed around 1980. They began to pull up the rails from Sparta Junction west to stop ay further expansion of the "new" NYS&W around 1986.

2) The only Large on-line customer was the 2 zinc mines in Franklin and Ogdensburg.

3) Maybrook is in NY. Yad was NH's. L&HR as based in Warwick NY. The bridge fire in '74 gave PC the chance to kill the competition.

4) The RR was owned by a few of its larger anthacite hauling neighbors. Exactly which ones escape me now.
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Re: Info on the Lehigh & Hudson River RR

Postby NYS&W142Fan » Sun Jan 09, 2011 9:12 am

Two other Customers were LimeCrest, just South of Sparta Junction and a Chemical Company, (Ashland I think), located South of Allamuchy NJ in the Muck. Over the years there were a few smaller "Customers", but they were more easily served by truck.
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Re: Info on the Lehigh & Hudson River RR

Postby Tom_E_Reynolds » Sun Jan 09, 2011 7:32 pm

The Lehigh and Hudson River Railroad was a great bridge line in its final days. Absolutly essential before Conrail came in and reorganized the lines for more efficent routing to the North East.

It went about 85 miles from Phillipsburg, NJ to Maybrook, NY. It was owned by Erie-Lackawanna, Lehigh Valley, Jersey Central, Penn Central and the Reading. In the early 70's, the line had over 100 employees, 6 ALCO C420s, even some snow plow equipment.

They also had interchanges with the Erie-Lackawanna at Andover, and the NYS&W at Sparta Jnct.

When the Lehigh & New England shutdown in 1960? (They were just north of the L&HR and parallels the L&HR route through NJ into NY), the L&HR was the last bridgeline in Northwestern NJ.

Then the Poughkeepsie bridge burned on May 8, 1974 and that was it, they were done.

Here is a great site dedicated to the L&HR: http://www.gingerb.com/lehigh_&_hudson_ ... ailway.htm
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Re: Info on the Lehigh & Hudson River RR

Postby carajul » Mon Jan 10, 2011 8:38 pm

From what I have read in my research, the LHR died as a result of the bridge fire. Ok, simple question: why didn't they just find another route around the bridge? Or with CR did they just re-route the traffic anyway making the LHR obsolete?
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Re: Info on the Lehigh & Hudson River RR

Postby wis bang » Mon Jan 10, 2011 9:17 pm

carajul wrote:From what I have read in my research, the LHR died as a result of the bridge fire. Ok, simple question: why didn't they just find another route around the bridge? Or with CR did they just re-route the traffic anyway making the LHR obsolete?


just Google 'Poughkeepsie bridge fire'...this was a spectacular bridge over the Hudson river and the kingpin of their 'bridge route' to New England that's why three pre-Conjob railroads used it. They couldn't pay enough for trackage rights over another route and their competitors wouldn't have allowed it if they did have enough money.
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Re: Info on the Lehigh & Hudson River RR

Postby 56-57 » Mon Jan 10, 2011 10:28 pm

There was no other 'route'.. Maybrook yard without the bridge connecting it to new england from the east was nothing, and consequently, became nothing.

The two other ways to new england were through Selkirk Yard on PC, and by carfloat across New York Harbor. The B&M also has a bridge across the Hudson above Albany, but that basically connected them to PC. The D&H was their other connection to the west, but two pair of trains per day via the D&H wasn't much competition to Penn Central. Regardless, the burning of the bridge decking (not the bridge) was just the ticket for PC. The ICC said they had to give the L&HR and the EL their fair share of traffic from the former New Haven lines when they absorbed that road. However, with the bridge done, they were more than happy to let that traffic ride the mating worms all the way to Saint Louis, if that's where it was going. The L&HR was left to hang and the EL lost some business too, however, it's all moot now, isn't it?

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Re: Info on the Lehigh & Hudson River RR

Postby NYS&W142Fan » Thu Jan 13, 2011 8:41 am

One can only wonder what if the bridge didn't burn or if Conrail left the tracks in place from Belvidere to Sparta Junction, where would the line be today? I know after 911 there was talk of possibly re-activating the line to allow for a route around NYC or as a alternate route to NYC. I'm also reasonably sure the NYS&W would have liked to have the line to get to Allentown. In my opinion, I think the line would still be a valuable asset in today's world.
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Re: Info on the Lehigh & Hudson River RR

Postby njmidland » Thu Jan 13, 2011 10:49 am

Shortly after Delaware Otsego took over the NYS&W in 1980, Walter Rich told the employees that he wanted to go to Allentown. That would have meant taking the NYS&W over the L&HR to Belvidere and then trackage rights beyond. I assume the goal was to interchange with the D&H for that coveted second interchange partner. As we know they ended up going north and connecting at Binghamton. Conrail quickly tore up the remaining L&HR track south of Sparta Jct. It would be nice if it had survived but can't we say that about a lot of lines now gone forever?
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Re: Info on the Lehigh & Hudson River RR

Postby gawlikfj » Tue Feb 01, 2011 3:08 pm

Conrail was so afraid of competition they couldn't wait to get rid of trackage and put the track or ties somewhere else . By doing this also it was less tax they had to pay with the track not there . Conrail did the same with trackage from the Maybrook line to Maybrook yard and to the Poukeepsie bridge .
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Re: Info on the Lehigh & Hudson River RR

Postby L&HR C&S » Sat Feb 26, 2011 11:24 am

I had a chance to talk to Walter Rich in the late 80's about the west end of the L&HR. He and other NYSW officials had looked over the Sparta to Belvidere portion of the L&HR prior to a possible purchase.
Walter said Conrail was willing to sell Spartra to Belvidere to the NYSW, but they would not give him trackage rights from Belvidere to Allentown yard, only an interchange agreement at Belvidere. Whith his, Walter passed on the deal and Conrail did remove the rails the following year. Walter later regtetted not buying the line anyway as a new industrial part was slated for the Trinca Airport area of Green township. In early 1988 NYSW completed estimates for purchasing the ROW from Sparta down to Tranquility and relaying the line with 100lb rail off the Ogdensburg branch and the Staten Island RR. The industrial park was never built do to a downturn in the economy.
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Re: Info on the Lehigh & Hudson River RR

Postby gawlikfj » Sat Feb 26, 2011 12:07 pm

I saw that too in one of the NYSW books I got . The more I look at the books ,the more info you want .
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