baseball stadium station

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baseball stadium station

Postby rhallock » Sat Jul 02, 2016 7:45 pm

Besides being a railfan, I am also a baseball fan and decided to journey to Syracuse to see a game there. Approaching the ballpark, which is close to the Amtrak station, I crossed a track. Of course I had to investigate it. To my surprise I found that there was what appeared to be a small passenger station near the ballpark, with signs "no trespassing- NYS&W RR" on it. I am guessing that this was part of the "On track" service that was run years ago in the Syracuse area with an RDC. Was the station there actually used? I rode the RDC once and didn't see any mention of service to the ballpark. The track between the little station and the CSX main line is heavily overgrown, so unless it connects with something at the other end, it must be out of service.
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Re: baseball stadium station

Postby lvrr325 » Sun Jul 03, 2016 3:29 am

Not only has it never been used, the track isn't even connected to anything anymore. It used to be a spur into the Regional Market that served a couple of other customers ages ago, but was disconnected when the Regional Transportation Center was built. Somewhere I have a shot of a CNW boxcar derailed in there around the curve where the tracks are now pulled up.

For Ontrack, the plan was to extend the track along the main line (Former CR #7 IT I believe, itself extended from the 292.7 hand throw switch down to the mall) from the mall platform across Park Street on the east side of the RTC platform and then tie into this spur. The biggest obstacle to this is the former NYC bridge across Park Street is only two tracks wide for whatever reason. So another bridge next to the existing one would have to be added. But that area is all filled in swamp and when they started trying to drive pilings and such for the bridge - which was purchased and sat in the RTC lot for several years (until the county sold it for scrap at a huge loss, no less) Conrail made them stop out of fear it would cause damage to the existing structure, apparently it was causing it to shift, as the ground isn't that stable there (fun to think about when driving over all this on I-81). IIRC two attempts were made to build a support for it and both times they had to stop. Now that CSX has redone the abutments for their bridge I don't know if that would make a difference or not.

So no bridge, no connection to the new station, no connection to the ball park platform, made the whole thing more or less redundant. Eventually this became obvious to where they ended the shuttles, although that could have been managed better if they really wanted ridership to grow, too.

But remember Ontrack was just more or less a scam in the first place. It was Walter's way to get the county to force Conrail out of the former DL&W from Jamesville to where it ties into the main line at CP-293 and via the Salt Land Spur connector, which Conrail didn't want to sell. He needed this portion of the line so it could be rehabbed for freight traffic, so he could remove the Sea-Land/CSX stack trains from the former D&H portion of the route from Buffalo to Binghamton. Which in itself was a retaliation for the bankruptcy court awarding the D&H to CP rather than to his investor group. By then those stacks came into Buffalo from the west on Conrail anyways, so extending them to Syracuse was no big deal (I believe prior to 1988 they came up the now-B&P into Buffalo). I actually went out to catch the first train on this routing - at night, so I set up some time exposures with the camera that came out pretty nice.


My guess is one day you may see that entire bridge replaced so they can widen Park Street to four lanes with shoulders, due to the traffic levels there, and perhaps they'll build a three or four track structure then, but I wouldn't hold my breath waiting to see it.


Actually, I take it back. Two ex-Metro North/NYC RDCs did use this track once, maybe about 1990. Conrail was delivering three to I believe somewhere in Indiana and derailed them, damaging one pretty badly on the end. They stuck them in this siding and donated them to the CNY NRHS who parted them out.
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Re: baseball stadium station

Postby rhallock » Mon Jul 04, 2016 12:24 pm

Thanks for the info. Its a shame that Ontrack turned out to be a fiasco. A lot of money was spent on the stations, I wonder how many people actually used it. I was the only passenger the day I rode it, if I remember rightly. They used a token from the FJ&G RR as a ticket.
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Re: baseball stadium station

Postby The RR Authority » Wed Jul 27, 2016 8:35 pm

The Ontrak was also a scam in that the NYS&W agreed to run the shuttle in lieu of paying property taxes. They have stopped the shuttle but still enjoy a tax free ride.
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Re: baseball stadium station

Postby lvrr325 » Tue Aug 02, 2016 1:41 am

Technically, Onondaga County owns the track, or at least the right of way, and could remove them as operator if it desired, but there might be some legal hurdles involved. Walter was a master of cementing things in his favor. It's considered an operating subsidary as the Syracuse, Binghamton and New York Railway, reusing the original name of the entire branch.
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Re: baseball stadium station

Postby The EGE » Tue Aug 02, 2016 9:13 am

For those of us playing along with home, here's a Street View shot of the never-used station. The platforms at Carousel Center, Armory Square, and Syracuse Dome stations are also still around.

Oddly enough, this isn't the only never-used mini-high platform out there. One was built at Falmouth, Massachusetts in 1989, in preparation for a branch of Amtrak's Cape Codder. But instead, some questionable state legislative maneuvers resulted in the line from North Falmouth to Falmouth being rapidly abandoned and turned into a bike path. The mini-high there, too, is sitting unused in the weeds.
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