B&H questions

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B&H questions

Postby Benjamin Maggi » Fri Oct 21, 2016 2:27 pm

When was the last train that operated over the portion of the line that actually went into Hammondsport. I understand that the portion just north/east of Bath is still existing, but I am thinking more of the last train out of Hammondsport.

Also, how long did the scenic trains (using the blue/white coaches) last and where did the passenger cars end up?

Are there any plans to restore the line to Hammondsport?

Thanks all.
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Re: B&H questions

Postby joshuahouse » Thu Dec 15, 2016 1:26 pm

I think this should all be on the forums (or wayback machine for the previous versions) but the last regular service in and out of Hammondsport would have been somewhere around 1996. That was for the Scenic Train. I don't know anything to speak of about freight in those days, but it would have all been along the historic Erie and DLW portion I believe.

The cars sat near the Agway in Bath for several years and were eventually moved to a siding just outside Kanona where iirc they were used for fire training and then scrapped.

The line has been ripped out and I believe formally abandoned (hopefully?) north of Main street in Hammondsport, although I believe the old engine house is still there.

I seriously doubt there will ever be a need for freight service anywhere along the line beyond the rt 54 crossing again.
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Re: B&H questions

Postby Benjamin Maggi » Thu Dec 15, 2016 2:51 pm

Thanks for the responses.
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Re: B&H questions

Postby ebtmikado » Mon Dec 26, 2016 8:18 pm

Sadly, track is gone north of Rt. 54A, coming into Hammondsport.
When I was last there, in October, 2015, the hulk of the enginehouse was still there.

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Re: B&H questions

Postby Matt Langworthy » Tue Nov 07, 2017 1:28 pm

Stan Clark's Champagne RR excursions lasted on the B&H until his death in September of 1995.

The last train north of Main St in Hammondsport was the clean-up move that pulled out #4 (then OOS) and any remaining equipment in March of 1994. Number 5 had been servicing Taylor/Great Western as a turn based in Bath since the summer of '93. That practice continued until the wineries shut down in the spring of 1995.

Stan had originally planned to base the excursions in Hammondsport and possibly even have a joint operation with the "Keuka Maid" -a dinner/excursion boat he also owned. Unfortunately, he never owned the B&H* and was unable to get permission to operate in Hammondsport. Thus the excursions operated from Bath. They ran to the wineries from 1993 to '94 and to Cohocton from 1993 to '95.

*-Stan operated the RR under contract with SCIDA and the owners of the B&H.
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Re: B&H questions

Postby Matt Langworthy » Tue Nov 07, 2017 2:53 pm

When I moved to Hammondsport in 1976, the waterfront yard was still quite active. The caboose had been retired, but the B&H ran a delivery service out of the depot until 1982. They also had TOFC ramps, which were used primarily by Great Western Winery. The latter was located on the west side of the lake about 4 miles north of the village. Great Western also shipped via boxcar, which was loaded on the team track by the engine house. After Gold Seal shut down in 1984, TOFC ended. The team track continued see sporadic use by other businesses, but even that dwindled by the early '90s. I did see a gondola spotted there in 1992, but nothing after that. It is possible that gondola was the final revenue move on the B&H in the Village of Hammondsport.

The spur to Mercury Aircraft in Hammondsport wasn't removed until the B&H rails north of the wineries were removed a few years back. With that being said, the B&H had stopped servicing Mercury a few years before I moved to Hammondsport.
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Re: B&H questions

Postby Benjamin Maggi » Tue Nov 07, 2017 3:19 pm

Thanks Matt for all of that great information!
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Re: B&H questions

Postby Matt Langworthy » Wed Nov 08, 2017 11:27 am

You're welcome! Having a front row seat for the final 18 years of rail operations in Hammondsport was a treat. I was disappointed when my father announced plans to buy a pharmacy and move out of Elmira, due to the EL mainline being my first railfan experience, However, my attitude changed when I discovered there was an active shortline to watch on a daily basis in Hammondsport. The B&H made me an Alco fan, too.

As stated previously, the rails north of the winery complex are gone now. The ROW is being converted a trail. Great Western Winery owns some of the winery complex now, with Mercury Aircraft owning the rest. Neither of them has shown an interest in rail service. Great Western is a much smaller operation under its current ownership and doesn't receive inbound shipments of liquid sugar or blending wine. Both of those ingredients were hallmarks of Taylor's wine making process, which has moved to Constellation's facility in Canandaigua. Unless Mercury develops a need to ship/receive by rail from the Taylor buildings, the status quo from Rheims to the Rt 54 crossing will remain.
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Re: B&H questions

Postby ebtmikado » Wed Nov 08, 2017 2:30 pm

So sad.
My fondest memories were in the 1950s, when Mr. Garland was president, and I rode in the cab with engineer Bob, or in the caboose. I remember when D-2 Was purchased... such a tiny, shiny new machine! Nice memories. We used to get an ice cream cone at Smellies for 6 cents. Was that the pharmacy your father bought?
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Re: B&H questions

Postby Matt Langworthy » Thu Nov 09, 2017 7:43 am

My father bought Park Pharmacy in early 1976. Smellie's was gone by that point, so I'm not 100% sure where it was.

I arrived in Hammondsport when Tony Hannold was managing the B&H. The RR was a very friendly place- they gave me memorabilia that I treasure to this day. I also got a cab ride one time each in #5 and #4 in 1977. Randy Brewer was the engineer at the time, a position he occupied until retiring in 2010.

Lee, you and I had the privilege of enjoying the finest shortline RR in America. I like the current B&H operation but there is/was nothing as good as the original B&H IMO.
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Re: B&H questions

Postby ebtmikado » Thu Nov 09, 2017 9:17 am

One more thing of interest... In the 1950s, the railroads phone number was 4. St.Gabriel's was 1, and the doctor was 2. I don't remember who was 3.
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Re: B&H questions

Postby ebtmikado » Thu Nov 09, 2017 9:40 am

Also, in the 1950s, the B&H operated a bus service between Hammondsport and Bath.
It was a small black bus, lettered B&H RR Hospital Bus. It also went to the VA Hospital.
I took a few photos of it, but haven't been able to find them recently. The best one was at the Square, on Mechanic Street,
across from the movie theater.

Also, Smellies was on Shether Street, opposite the end of Park Place.

Memories...

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Re: B&H questions

Postby BR&P » Mon Nov 20, 2017 8:48 pm

ebtmikado wrote:My fondest memories were in the 1950s, when Mr. Garland was president,


Actually his name was Ulysses S. Arland, initials USA - which I have heard were proudly displayed on his mailbox.
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Re: B&H questions

Postby ebtmikado » Wed Nov 22, 2017 11:01 am

BR&P wrote:
ebtmikado wrote:My fondest memories were in the 1950s, when Mr. Garland was president,


Actually his name was Ulysses S. Arland, initials USA - which I have heard were proudly displayed on his mailbox.


I knew that, but Spell Check doesn't. ;-)

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Re: B&H questions

Postby ebtmikado » Wed Nov 22, 2017 11:07 am

Mr. Arland's son-in-law, Norman Emilson, was vice president.
Norman's father, Emil Emilson, was my father's fishing buddy.
He lived on Willow Point.

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