O & W Milemarkers and Whistleposts

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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O & W Milemarkers and Whistleposts

Postby NYCUticaSyracuse81 » Wed Apr 23, 2014 3:13 pm

I'm trying to find out what happened to the concrete milemarkers and whistleposts when the line was scrapped? Hundreds must have been removed, and I'm not sure how much value they would have had as scrap. I'm wondering if it's possible they were knocked out of the ground upon abandonment, and in some places, still sitting of the side of the former ROW?

I've seen mileposts at the Munnsville and Central Square depots, and have heard that there is one still in the ground on the former mainline at PennellVille. I think there may even be one on the Utica Branch at Clinton, NY, so I know that there are survivors, but I'm curious as to what happened to the rest of them during the scrapping process?

Thanks-81
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Re: O & W Milemarkers and Whistleposts

Postby mikeexplorer » Mon May 05, 2014 3:41 pm

I have been on most of the Scranton division and have never found one mile post. There used to be one whistle post in Starlight, PA but it was destroyed last year.

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Re: O & W Milemarkers and Whistleposts

Postby Cactus Jack » Sat May 10, 2014 12:18 pm

Hiking and hanging about the remains of the O&W in the late 1960's there were still a few concrete mile markers and whistle boards out there.

I've often wondered where so many of those went. The bases were pretty big and the whole deal pretty heavy to pick up and transport out. Many were in somewhat remote locations too. I remember MP 240 south of Earlville as a kid. I went back in the mid- 1970's to take a photo of it and found a big hole in the ground. Obviously someone had gotten in there and carted it off. Who and to where seems a mystery. I've never seen any of this stuff advertised and only a few people admitting to having markers or whistle boards. My recollections are that in the mid to late 1960's they were out there but disappeared quickly by the early - mid 1970's. I do recall more whistle posts than mile markers and I wonder if by 1957 that there were missing markers even then. While the mile markers would have a collectable appeal I would not have thought it that big or that so many would not have surfaced somewhere by now. Not long ago there was one next to a home in Hamilton, NY (247?) - it was the marker between Hamilton depot and Eaton Street. Back in the 70's the ROW was all open up there and I rode my 10 speed bike from Hamilton to Eaton Street crossing and noted a sawed off MP.... the base and maybe 3ft were still solid in the ground. Shortly after I noted the top of the post as a lawn ornament south of Hamilton on the Randallsville Road. Several years ago it was still there, but I don't know if it is any more.

There was a MP along Route 12 north of Greene NY at one time (MP 167 - I think off the Scranton Division) that was in the yard of an O&W buff but the home was sold a few years back and the spot where the marker was is a play sand box now. I heard the marker was moved and safe, not destroyed or buried.

Maybe some local farmers have some stowed someplace or ???

** UPDATE** I just drove to Hamilton and the Mile Post is still a lawn ornament. It is MP 246.
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Re: O & W Milemarkers and Whistleposts

Postby NYCUticaSyracuse81 » Sat May 10, 2014 5:42 pm

Thanks for all the info C.J.! What street in Hamilton is the MP 246 located? I'd like to check it out when I do the Earlville, Eaton, and Lebanon stations this spring/summer. I've been hiking a lot of the West Shore between Utica & Syracuse as I'm a huge fan of the Shore, and Third Rail interurban that ran between the two cities. In Taibi's Oneida Railway Company book, he states that many of the W.S. mileposts were knocked out of the ground upon abandonment, and as you can imagine, I was overwhelmed with joy when I finally found one that wasn't completely obliterated (NY239). W.S. NY 243 has been restored in-ground, and moved a short distance from its former location. Anyways, this is what got me thinking as to whether other railroads such as the O & W had done the same upon abandonment?

I'm familiar with most of the O & W's right-of-way on the Northern division between Hamilton and Oswego, and most of the Utica and Rome divisions, but haven't hiked much of it. Many sections on the main south of North Bay, are posted and/or heavily overgrown. The ROW north of Sylvan Beach is in great shape as it is used for snowmobiles etc. Over the past two weeks, in between exploring the West Shore and L.V.'s Cortland division, I've hiked a few sections of the O & W around Verona, and Sylvan Beach. Unfortunately, I found nothing. Even if a mile marker or whistle post were nestling in the ground, it would be like finding a needle in a haystack after all these years, and this is along the well groomed sections. It would help if there were a system map, similar to the maps provided in the Oneida Railway Company book, that identified the exact location of each mileposts on the O & W.

I just found this .pdf document that may interest you. It lists many of the remains between Oswego and Cadosia on the O & W mainline. Included are some mile-markers and whistle posts.

http://owrhs.comp-wiz.com/owremains_part1.pdf
http://owrhs.comp-wiz.com/owremains_part2.pdf
http://owrhs.comp-wiz.com/owremains_part3.pdf
http://owrhs.comp-wiz.com/owremains_part4.pdf

Also thought I'd mention that I have found a couple of whistle posts in Durhamville, NY. Not along the old ROW, but rather in the front yards of a couple private residences. I'm guessing that at one time, they were harvested from the former right-of-way of the nearby O & W??
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Re: O & W Milemarkers and Whistleposts

Postby Cactus Jack » Sun May 11, 2014 8:46 am

The marker in the yard at Hamilton is on Lebanon Street Extension. Drive south past the Hamilton depot towards Randallsville and just as you leave town you cross a canal feeder. The marker will be on your left, close to the road but a little difficult to see due to the topography and landscape. The next house south has a big willow and a triangle-ish shape.... so if you get that far, you need to back up one house.
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Re: O & W Milemarkers and Whistleposts

Postby RussNelson » Mon May 12, 2014 12:56 am

For what it's worth, I have never ever seen a Rutland Northern Division mile marker OR whistlepost. Nor any signal bases. Nor any hut foundations. I've only seen milkhouse foundations. It's ... like ... the receiver told the scrapper "Take it. Take it all. Leave no sign that a railroad was ever there."
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Re: O & W Milemarkers and Whistleposts

Postby NYCUticaSyracuse81 » Mon May 12, 2014 5:51 pm

Thanks C.J., I'll will be sure to check it out next time I'm down that way.

I just noticed that the O & W timetable I have posted on my flickr page has the MP numbers listed, so I have a little better idea as to where some of them were located in relation to the stations.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/97630304@ ... 6/sizes/k/
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Re: O & W Milemarkers and Whistleposts

Postby NYCUticaSyracuse81 » Fri Nov 07, 2014 3:15 pm

Just out of curiosity, does anyone know roughly how much an O & W or NYC milepost weights? They seem to be similar in design, so I imagine that their weight would be similar.

Thanks, NYC81
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