NYO&W's Unbuilt Line to Buffalo

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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Re: NYO&W's Unbuilt Line to Buffalo

Postby Cactus Jack » Fri Aug 09, 2013 7:42 am

The Lake Ontario Shore was completed to Suspension Bridge in 1878, two years after acquisition by RW&O. At this time the NY&OM was on death's door and in receivership (since 1873). Samuel Sloan of the DL&W was invlolved with the RW&O and by the early 1880's was literally raping it in order to build his own extension to Buffalo.

Timing was off as the NY&OM and later reorganized NYO&W had little chance of or attractiveness for a merger with RW&O. By the late 1880's the O&W directors had decided their fortunes lay more in being an antracite carrier than an agrarian backwater road and built down into the coal fields which was a lifesaver of a move.

Charles Parson's eventually trumped Sloan and stopped his mayhem gaining control of the now very weakened RW&O. There were various traffic agreements between RW&O and O&W to counter the NYC and the RW&O rival in the north country the Utica & Black River, but I never heard of any talk of merger probably account of the O&W traffic base being so weak. Both the NYC and U&BR were strong competition and Parson's finally was able to buy out the U&BR much to the distaste of Vanderbilt. Parson's soon built the proprty into a 700 mile or so juggernaut but the western extension to Suspension Bridge was a very weak link through very sparse country. It is doubtful that the O&W and RW&O could have ever had the stars line up to merge. One reason was that Parsons newly revitalized RW&O was a thorn in the side of Vanderbilt and Parson's took every opportunity to jab him. The end goal that Parson's saw was a buy out by NYC but at a very premium price, which he got. This was probably more lucrative to him than trying to deal with the NYO&W which was under NYC control after 1883 era of the Westshore as O&W President Thomas Fowler had been and was I believe a counsel of NYC. Kind of a tangled web, but Fowler was Vanderbilt's man. But it is interesting to think of what might have been and as in real life, about anything is possible.

And as I mentioned in an earlier post, the Scranton Division built in 1890 became that defacto "Western Connection" as it was the route of the symbol freights off the LV and DL&W from the west to New England connections via Maybrook while for most of it's life also contributing the lions share of income for the line as coal tonnage. But again, what a sight those O&W 4-8-2's would have been steaming north out of Norwich for Suspension Bridge with manifest freights and bringing in in-bound "beefers" for Southern New England and the Maybrook gateway. Or FT and F3 led time freights up the Rome Branch bound for points in the New York north country or Northern New England and Canada.
Cactus Jack
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