Remnants of the Erie mainline

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Remnants of the Erie mainline

Postby peterde » Mon Apr 14, 2014 12:02 pm

I found these items relating to the Erie mainline on my walks along the Heritage Trail, the former Erie mainline in Orange County NY.

Image

Image

Image

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Re: Remnants of the Erie mainline

Postby TSTOM » Thu Apr 17, 2014 10:02 am

peterde -

Love these photos/artifacts....

I get what the first 2 are but can you identify the items in the last 2 photos ?

thanks
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Re: Remnants of the Erie mainline

Postby MSC34 » Thu Apr 17, 2014 10:28 am

Peterde:

Thanks for sharing these great pics. I too am wondering what the third item is.

I kick myself for not having ridden on this line before its abandonment. While riding the Heritage Trail is great, it's not the same.

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Re: Remnants of the Erie mainline

Postby map193 » Thu Apr 17, 2014 8:14 pm

I believe the last photo is a the top cross member a telegraph pole. Those silver studs would have been the studs that attach the insulators to the pole. That metal strap would have attached to the pole itself to stabilize the cross member, there would have been one of them on either side so the cross member could not tilt one way or another. I'm not sure what the third artifact is, but it appears to have a cable running out of it. The stand does not have any holes in the bottom so I doubt it was ever fixed to the ground.
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Re: Remnants of the Erie mainline

Postby peterde » Thu Apr 17, 2014 9:31 pm

Yes, the last picture is a telegraph pole cross member. That was still there as of 2 days ago. The third item was a bit of a challenge for me also. However I did identify it as a cable riser for the signal system made by the Railroad Accessory Corporation. Very similar to the one below.
Image
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Re: Remnants of the Erie mainline

Postby 130MM » Fri Apr 18, 2014 7:40 am

Sometimes this item is referred to as a "chicken head".
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Re: Remnants of the Erie mainline

Postby peterde » Fri Apr 18, 2014 7:00 pm

I never heard of that term, but I did hear it referred to as a "bootleg" . It amazes me that all these things survived over 30 years after the line was abandoned. I believe it was torn up soon after the last train run, but I'm not sure exactly when.
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Re: Remnants of the Erie mainline

Postby map193 » Fri Apr 18, 2014 8:21 pm

You would be surprised how long these those types of things last, especially when they are tossed in the weeds and not disturbed. In Jamestown for example, I have found ties in the ground from the original Erie grade before the grade crossings were eliminated and that has been 80+ years!

How about did you figure out what that cable riser was? Was there a name stamped on there somewhere that you were able to search? I searched for Erie Railroad signaling devices last night for about an hour and couldn't find anything.
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Re: Remnants of the Erie mainline

Postby peterde » Sat Apr 19, 2014 8:02 pm

Cast into the head was the words "RACO RISER PATENTED NO 44?" took me a while to identify the company as the Railroad Accessories Corporation, and google searches for imagines for that turned up patents for other models.
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Re: Remnants of the Erie mainline

Postby TSTOM » Mon Apr 21, 2014 4:31 pm

As they say, ya learn something every day !

Until today never saw or ever heard of a 'cable riser'. So based on the drawing, these things were mostly buried next to the rail ? Any idea when they were installed ?

Great find and photo pete !
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Re: Remnants of the Erie mainline

Postby Suburbanite » Tue May 27, 2014 5:11 pm

Now there is no commuter service to Monroe, Chester, Goshen, or Middletown. And the trip to Port Jervis takes at least an hour longer via the Graham Line. They really hated commuters in those days, didn't they? Was there any other justification for tearing the rails up (steep grades or whatever?) Or was it just to get a few bucks for the scrap? When was the Main Line cut? Who owned the route then? Was any move made to save service?
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Re: Remnants of the Erie mainline

Postby TSTOM » Thu May 29, 2014 8:29 am

I always questioned why the ERIE had the 2 routes to begin with. Pretty rural back in the day and a long ride to JC or Hoboken. I don't know the primary factors that effected the decision to favor one line over the other but guessing it was more about moving freight trains than moving money losing passenger trains.
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Re: Remnants of the Erie mainline

Postby ExCon90 » Thu May 29, 2014 3:00 pm

The reason for building the Graham Line was to provide more favorable gradients for freight trains. As on-line industries on the Main Line dried up or moved away, Conrail determined that it had no further use for the Main Line and offered it to Metro North for sale if they wanted to buy it. I believe MN concluded that it would make more economic sense to develop the Graham Line rather than spend money on the Main Line (even if Conrail had sold it for $1, MN would be on the hook for maintenance); availability of parking may also have played a role.
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Re: Remnants of the Erie mainline

Postby Suburbanite » Fri May 30, 2014 12:20 am

But almost nobody lives on the Graham Line! On the old Main Line, there were commuters even then from the towns ultimately bypassed. A couple of them are sizable, and I have known some commuters from there who complain about having to drive to distant stations, or to take buses. So what logic could Metro-North have been applying? The logic of developers who wanted the land on the ROW, perhaps?
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Re: Remnants of the Erie mainline

Postby ExCon90 » Fri May 30, 2014 3:10 pm

I'm trying to remember the sequence of dates here. Up until Jan. 1, 1983, transit agencies from MBTA to MARC contracted their commuter services to Penn Central and later Conrail. If Conrail sought abandonment of the Main Line prior to 1983, the question for MN would have been whether to acquire the Main Line from Newburgh Jct. almost to Port Jervis and assume responsibility for all operation and repair (and hiring the people to do it) versus paying PC or CR under existing terms to operate over the Graham Line. When the North East Rail Service Act became effective on 1/1/83 Conrail was excluded from providing commuter services under contract, and all those agencies had to decide whether to take on the responsibility themselves or hire a different contractor. As we know, NJT and MN (was MN already operating on its own prior to 1983?) elected to run the service and own the tracks themselves, but back then I they weren't to know that the transit agencies were going to have to make that decision in the future. It's hard to say what choice would have been preferable without knowing what the costs of acquiring the Main Line would have been at the time.
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