Western Connection RW&O / Wabash

Discussion of the NYO&W Railway and predecessor New York and Oswego Midland Railroad (NY&OM) for the period 1866 to its abandonment in 1957. Visit the historical site here: O&WRHS.

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Western Connection RW&O / Wabash

Postby Cactus Jack » Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:30 pm

Anyone have any input on how effective the conection was west from Oswego via RW&O and Wabash ?

Was this primarily a passenger extension or was there any substantial freight routed that way. It would seem that by doing so NYC would have short hauled themselves. Certainly the future of the old LOS (RW&O) did not fair well.
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Re: Western Connection RW&O / Wabash

Postby edbear » Fri Apr 26, 2013 8:50 pm

I think Oswego never amounted to much of a freight interchange with the RW&O. The line along Lake Ontario was single-track with sidings with 20-55 car capacity and using smaller motive power. The RW & O served a lightly populated, non-industrial area. It probably originated lots of lumber, apples and some vegetables and milk (destined primarily to NY City) and terminated lots of coal. RW & O's heaviest passenger traffic probably originated on the NYC in New York City and was destined to Lake Ontario beach towns. A number of roads served the smaller Lake Ontario ports: BR & P at Genesee Dock (Rochester), DL & W, NYO & W and NYC at Oswego, PRR at Sodus Point and Lehigh Valley at Fair Haven. All of these roads, except the O&W, also served the big Lake Ontario port, Buffalo. I think no matter what the O & W boosters wanted, Oswego and the other smaller ports shipped mostly cross Lake Ontario traffic. Except for the BR&P (B&O) all of the cross-lake business had to be loaded into lake steamers; BR & P had a carferry. Before the NYO & W reached the Pennsylvania coal fields in 1890, it had a contract with the D & H to take coal at Sidney, NY for delivery to points on the O & W. The RW & O fell into the NYC family and unlike some of the tourist car lines run in conjunction with Boston & Maine, Wabash, Nickel Plate and others that utilized parts of the West Shore, I think the NYC put as much freight as it could on the Water Level Route mainline. Early on the through passenger trains, Chicago Limited/NY Limited were routed via Earlville, NY and the Chenango Branch to Syracuse (and probably not wanting to have a crew base at Earlville)they rerouted again into Utica. These trains died around 1927.
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Re: Western Connection RW&O / Wabash

Postby lvrr325 » Sat Apr 27, 2013 3:26 pm

I've postulated before a theory which could have kept the O&W running into Conrail - were the O&W to take over the RW&O rather than the NYC getting it, they would suddenly become yet another New York-Buffalo bridge line - but with the added benefit of lines to the north the others didn't have. They'd have single line service competing only with the New York Central for New York-Montreal traffic.

Strategically it would put them in a decent place, although the infrastructure would still be fairly weak on some parts of the line. It might be nice to also add the line from Syracuse to Earlville into that mix, which the O&W should have built in the first place but didn't, it was independent then folded into the West Shore and NYC.
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Re: Western Connection RW&O / Wabash

Postby Cactus Jack » Sat Apr 27, 2013 4:26 pm

Regarding the New York - Montreal traffic, I wonder why perhaps more didn't go O&W - Sidney - D&H. Or did O&W do that interchange at Jermyn, PA account of mileage based rate which I think would havde been a few miles more than via Sidney for O&W originated freight north.

I've also wondered why O&W - D&H didn't promote more of a NY - Montreal passenger service. When Trains 1 & 2 were cut back to Walton that has always seemed a strange destination. Delhi had the State school, later SUNY that may have been more productive than turning at Walton. Guess what I am saying is could they have done a D&H connection making the whole of Trains 1 & 2 more productive ? Perhaps too terminating at Walton or Cadosia was a more certain way to play out the demise of service and just get rid of it.

Interesting about the theory of O&W / RW&O west. I think building that really hurt the RW&O, which then makes me wonder why it didn't work out for the RW&O the way it seems it may. Wasn't that under the Parson's regime ?

Certainly the O&W made it appear by way of their maps they ran all the way to Chicago. Not sure what that Wabash connection at Suspension Bridge did for them but recently looking over some old billings to Norwich and Walton I note cars coming off the Pere Marquette and a good number doing the car floats through Lake Michigan (Green Bay) and the Detroit River.
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