Utica Branch Discussion Thread

Discussion related to New York, Susquehanna & Western operations past and present. Also includes some discussion related to Deleware Otsego owned and operated shortlines. Official web site can be found here: NYSW.COM.

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Utica Branch Discussion Thread

Postby njt4172 » Wed Jul 12, 2006 9:00 am

Heard several reports from railfans and NYSW employees that at least two thirds of the NYSW Utica Branch will not be repaired following late June's flood. Apparently there are no more freight customers north of Forks.. Hopefully this doesn't happen, but the future of this line does not look good! :(

Steve
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Postby bystander » Sat Jul 15, 2006 6:34 am

anny more on this and how will the get their bussines north and wast if they don't fix up there line? Isnt that an impotrnat part of the railroad?
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Postby ut-1 » Sat Jul 15, 2006 8:03 am

Cars for customers on the Utica Branch are being dropped off in Utica by CSX. The first customers north of Chenango Forks are located in Sherburne (approx 40 miles north of Forks). Thereafter, there are customers in Sangerfield and Utica (one, Matt's Brewery, is off the Main on Schuyler Street, the others are all on the NY Mills & New Hartford Industrials, formerly NYC/West Shore & O&W). Of course, the Susquehanna's shops are also located in the old DL&W Freight House in the Utica Yard. Based on a conversation with someone knowlegeable with the RR, though no final decision has yet been reached, it appears likely that that damage caused by flooding south of Norwich (courtesy of the Chenango River) will not be repaired.
This would be a pity because the tracks from Forks to Norwich were the beneficiary of a major rehabilitation project in 2002 (the tracks north of Norwich received a big upgrade in 2003). If this part of the line is abandoned, the absence of tracks will most likely make the construction of the NYRI Power Line, if approved, easier (the NYS&W signed an agreement allowing a power line to be built along its ROW from Utica to just south of Norwich where it will turn southeasterly and terminate in Orange County). This may be the real motive if the tracks are not repaired. The company line probably would be, "Why repair the line if there are no customers for the first 40 miles north of CF"? Why, then, was the line re-habed in the first place (mostly at taxpayer expense)? Time will tell but I'm hoping the repairs will be made!
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Interesting

Postby JoeCollege » Sat Jul 15, 2006 9:09 am

I don't believe NYSW actually owns the railroad line on the Utica side. Various county IDA's have leased it to them tax free to operate as a railroad. That is one issue being used in the fight against the power lines.

I wonder if the counties involved could terminate the lease, repair the line and find another operator?

I Hope NYRI power lines NEVER happen. I also hope the Utica branch returns to 2-3 trains per day with plenty of local customers (and area jobs) but I ain't gonna hold my breath!
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Postby ut-1 » Sat Jul 15, 2006 10:03 am

The City of Utica is suing the NYS&W claiming that the lease it entered into with NYRI is invalid since: 1) some of the property for the railroad was taken by eminent domain (back in the 1860s!), New York State Railroad Law prohibits such property being used for non-railroad purposes; and 2) the 1982 agreement between the Oneida County Industrial Development Agency and the NYS&W does not confer upon the railroad the power to sub-let its ROW for such an enormous project. The IDA became involved because Conrail sought to abandon this line in 1982. Seeking to preserve local rail service, a deal was struck between Conrail & the IDA wherein title was transferred to the IDA which then turned around and leased the Oneida County portion of the line to the NYS&W. As a result, the NYS&W is exempt from real property taxes. As far as I know, all the counties along the Utica-Binghamton & Syracuse-Binghamton corridors did the same thing. The power line will "grace" many residential areas, small villages and rural areas with its presence and is being fought tooth-and-nail by many interest groups. NYRI officials have testified that if the line is approved electric rates will go up in all areas of the State outside of the NYC Metroplitan Region. To one degree or another, most state politicians, including Senators Clinton and Schumer, have expressed some opposition to the project. The one major exception: the NYC mayor. This will be a years-long battle and the NYS&W is right smack in the middle of it.
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Postby brianpwestgate » Sat Jul 15, 2006 1:54 pm

That's a lot of track on the north end (ca. 35 miles?) for 2 customers. I can definately see this whole line abandoned, sadly, with Utica trackage run by Mohawk Adirondack & Northern.
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Postby ANDY117 » Sat Jul 15, 2006 5:12 pm

Thursday there was an FRA DOT rail inspection vehicle in Binghamton parked alongside the NYSW shops. Pretty spiffy looking. I was unfortunately unable to get photos.
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Postby cjvrr » Mon Jul 17, 2006 4:09 pm

My thought is its not imperative that it be repaired right away. If owned by the local gov'ts, they (or their insurance companies) will be footing the bill for repairs. Could also get FEMA money to do repairs.

I seriously doubt the NYS&W would short haul themselves by switching the service to run from Utica instead of Binghamton. Also makes it a pain in the butt for running units up to Utica for 90 day inspections and other work.

My guess is it will be repaired.

Chris
CV the Civil E
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Postby ANDY117 » Mon Jul 17, 2006 4:59 pm

I think parts of it may be open, I've heard UT crews recently. BUT I think it's considered the utica main south of FORKS, which may explain the form Ds.
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Postby uticajack » Tue Jul 18, 2006 11:54 am

ut-1...
You mentioned that cars for the Utica branch are being dropped off in Utica by CSX. Has an interchange been built between the NYS&W & CSX? As far as I know it was ripped out several years ago.

Jack
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Info

Postby JoeCollege » Tue Jul 18, 2006 12:58 pm

For the past week or so a string of gons and garbage cars has been sitting on the line from the Geneganselet golf course south of Greene as far as the bridge at Forks, behind Quickway, where the branch essentially begins. As of now, at least, the tracks are yard storage at best.
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Postby uticajack » Tue Jul 18, 2006 8:55 pm

Brianpwestgate...
There are more than 2 customers north of Sherburne on the Utica branch. However starting at Sherburne and proceeding north, there are 2 customers there in Sherburne, 1 lumber , 1 grain dealer. In Sangerfield there are at least 3 customers, all grain dealers. Then there is nothing between Sangerfield and Utica except for the rare stone shipments from the Richfield Branch. These are trucked from the Litchfield Stone Quary and transloaded to NYS&W ballast cars. Around Utica there are at least 5 customers served by NYS&W. These businesses were stated by ut-1 in an earlier post.
Later,
Jack
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Postby ut-1 » Wed Jul 19, 2006 5:55 am

Utica Jack: The interchange track off CSX to the Susquehanna still exists. It was damaged following a Conrail main line derailment in the early 90s (young vandals placed shopping carts and chunks of concrete on the main a few miles west of Union Station) but it was rebuilt. However, following the derailment, the NYS&W began interchanging with CSX in Syracuse. Cars bound for Utica were switched in Syracuse and reached Utica via Binghamton. Besides the ag business in Sangerfield, an asphalt company (Oneida Asphalt) now receives cars. Additionally, abt 1 mile north of its big Sangerfield customers, the NYS&W drops cars off at a smaller ag business, Louis J. Gale & Son, in Waterville proper. Finally, a team track exists in South Utica (just south of the ex-DL&W station on Genesee Street). Once in a great while, a local lumber company receives shipments here. They just received a shipment abt a week or so ago which was their first shipment since Feb 2005.
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Utica line

Postby EDM5970 » Thu Jul 27, 2006 7:59 pm

Is there any recent news on this line? They have had a few weeks to do an engineering evaluation. I'd hate see more of the old DL&W abandoned.
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hi

Postby thebigham » Fri Jul 28, 2006 9:05 am

The posts above speculate that the line will be repaired.

Chris
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