Maple Express

All about the Arcade & Attica Railroad

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ctclark1
Posts: 343
Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2012 10:46 am

Maple Express

Post by ctclark1 » Sat Mar 30, 2019 8:35 pm

So my girlfriend is amazing and surprised me this morning with a trip on the Maple Express. Despite having lived in the area nearly all of my life, I have never actually managed to make things work to get on the A&A in my 33 years (despite protests from my sisters that they insist they were keeping me out of trouble 30 some-odd years ago, I don't remember it so I maintain my claim that this is my first trip). I'd say she picked a great trip too, because of the extra mileage up to North Java. I've been led to believe by one of the organizers that this set of weekend excursions is the first excursion to ever go past Curriers, is that true? Even if not, its certainly a rare experience.

I didn't spend my entire day taking pictures, but got a few to commemorate my day and figured I'd share them with you too in this pseudo report.

Starting as I presume any other excursion would, we gathered at the Arcade Depot. The first thing I noticed was not only was 113 on the head end (north), which sadly I knew about due to the issues with 18, but 112 was also hanging out on the south end. I didn't think this was due to a power issue but simply for convenience, which our Conductor confirmed while underway to Curriers. Pulling out through Arcade, across the creek, and along 98, the ride was decent. Once we turned more northward and pulled away from 98, the ride was actually fairly rough, if I'm honest. Don't get me wrong, I'm not expecting Acela comfort here, obviously, but it was a bit rougher than I expected for the main excusrion area. As we kept our seat facing north the entire time, watching 113 through the end window of car 305, this was actually more pronounced on the return trip when 113 was trailing vs leading, but anyway, back to the trip.

After some banter from the conductor, we pulled into Curriers for a quick break before continuing on to North Java.
Quick break at Curriers on the trip North

Back underway, the recent overhaul work on the track showed here. Like I said, I'm not expecting anything immaculate, but the jossling was certainly reduced and we seemed to be going faster. It was fun to see some of the chasers catching us along the way, I presume there were more than normal because of the rarity of coaches beyond Curriers. Through the trip, our conductor had informed us that the reason for two locos was because there were some cars in the way at Residorf and the plan was to disconnect 113 just south of the passing siding, have it move the cars into the siding, and then have 112 push us into position for unloading. As you can see in the picture they changed plans somewhere along the way, and instead decided to just shove the car closer to the Perry Rd crossing, then back off of it to our unloading spot (presumably it seemed, wherever they could find the least wet/muddy spot)
At North Java, we were allowed to visit Kibler Maple's sugar shanty one car at a time.

On the return trip, as it had started to warm up, I convinced the g/f to venture back to the open car with me. We were out there from just north of Welch Rd to Java Center. I got some photos of the nature preserve as well as over Beaver Meadow Rd (while my g/f covered her eyes, she has problems with bridges), and took some video as we approached the crossing in Java Center.
Passing Beaver Meadow on the trip South.
On-train view over Beaver Meadow Road, not something many get to see.
Video approaching Java Center crossing (Sorry for the potato quality at the beginning, it gets better.. I don't know what was up with my phone)

Back at Curriers, we were treated to a very tasty pancake breakfast (Lunch?) and some more time to explore the area, although the depot itself was not open, just the new added buildings. I don't know if this is standard for excursions?
Back at Curriers for pancakes, I got a picture of our "new lead engine"

The return trip from Curriers to Arcade was where I really noticed the worse condition of the track versus what was repaired north of Curriers. With 113 trailing DIT instead of leading, the added motion and in some cases, extreme bouncing where very noticeable through the end door window on the coach. I did also notice that there appears to be some difference in easing on the brakes between 112 and 113. While I understand there may be some difference in experience between leading and trailing (coach 305 was at the north end, so was in the lead on the way up and trailing on the way back) roughness in the braking was definitely more pronounced on the return trip, and this was experienced even on the open car (leading) on the trip south.


Please understand that this is all just observation. I have no complaints about the trip or the A&A. It's an amazing operation and I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Like I said, I'm so glad my g/f picked this set of excursions (not knowing about the extra mileage, she's never been on either and didn't know about the normal Arcade/Curriers length of trips), I feel so lucky to have been on this rare mileage trip for my first ride and it absolutely exceeded my expectations!

DGC-24711
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2018 9:52 am
Location: 14094

Re: Maple Express

Post by DGC-24711 » Sun Mar 31, 2019 12:04 am

The Curriers station was indeed open, as I went inside!

So happy to have gone to the end of the line because on every A&A excursion I've been on that has stopped at Curriers, I can only stare at the tracks heading further north and longing for more.

ctclark1
Posts: 343
Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2012 10:46 am

Re: Maple Express

Post by ctclark1 » Sun Mar 31, 2019 8:55 am

Was it? Darn! Oh well, maybe next time.

Like I said, I'm so happy my g/f surprised me with this to begin with, but the fact that she picked this trip, without even knowing it was a rare trip to North Java made it so much better!

thestrasburg90
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Joined: Wed May 14, 2014 6:17 pm

Re: Maple Express

Post by thestrasburg90 » Thu Apr 04, 2019 9:58 pm

Glad you enjoyed the trips! These were in fact very historical as trips have not run to North Java in a very long time. The trackwork you mentioned was to bring the Curriers-North Java line out of "excepted" status (if you don't know what that means, it means that the line is not subject to the typical standards and regulations set by the FRA but only essential RR personnel can travel over the line, meaning for something like 40 years only freight ran on that portion, "excepted" derives from no travelers allowed "except" essential RR personnel, like freight crews). We are very pleased with the improvements the rehabilitation of that line has brought and in the future we are working to improve the entire line!

dj_paige
Posts: 443
Joined: Sat May 01, 2004 10:10 am
Location: Rochester, NY

Re: Maple Express

Post by dj_paige » Fri Apr 05, 2019 4:41 pm

I am unable to see the photos, as none of the links work for me :(
Paige
"If you get the chance to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance" -- LeAnn Rimes
My Flickr Photos

ctclark1
Posts: 343
Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2012 10:46 am

Re: Maple Express

Post by ctclark1 » Fri Apr 05, 2019 9:57 pm

I thought I fixed it so they didn't require sign in, sorry!
Also, since I apparently can't edit the posts...
Hopefully these work!
An added bonus, I played with the panorama
thestrasburg90 wrote:The trackwork you mentioned was to bring the Curriers-North Java line out of "excepted" status
I thought I remembered that track being excepted. Makes sense. I'll have to keep an eye out for more "extended" trips.

dj_paige
Posts: 443
Joined: Sat May 01, 2004 10:10 am
Location: Rochester, NY

Re: Maple Express

Post by dj_paige » Sat Apr 06, 2019 5:23 am

Nice pictures! Thank you for sharing1
Paige
"If you get the chance to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance" -- LeAnn Rimes
My Flickr Photos

joesbag
Posts: 80
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2007 12:54 pm
Location: small middle Tennessee town on the former Tennessee Central

Re: Maple Express

Post by joesbag » Tue Apr 09, 2019 8:30 am

ctclark1 - Glad you had a great time on the 30th. The A&A did run at least one special excursion to N. Java in the early 1980's. I rode one that was in May of 1981 if I remember correctly. They may also have had another in '82 or '83. Indeed, it has been a long time since they have been able to run the entire length of the line. The trackwork done last year was really great. In talking with a couple of the A&A crew on the Maple Express trip they indicated that the railroad intends to begin resurfacing the Arcade to Curriers portion of the line beginning later this month which will hopefully smooth out the rough ride you noticed.

Glad you enjoyed a great trip. For me, it was great to see snow for the first time this winter because we weren't blessed with any down here in the Nashville area.

DGC-24711
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2018 9:52 am
Location: 14094

Re: Maple Express

Post by DGC-24711 » Wed Apr 10, 2019 10:23 am

There's a photo link for A&A photos that were taken of track improvements in this forum and I found photos from the March 23rd run on it. There was snow in the photos that weekend. We like to hit up a Maple Weekend site every year and I try to get available on the 2nd weekend for a chance of better weather. On the 2nd weekend one year recently, I remember riding a horse drawn wagon in 19 degrees with whipping winds and snow, so it's all a shot in the dark anyways.

So we went on the March 30 run, and it was intermittently rainy. I heard comments from people on my car that "oh man it's so muddy looking should we even get off?". I don't know if they eventually did, but we did. I still have some dried mud on the tops of each toes of my boots from it! I've been in sloppier farm parking lots, I don't mind. I know my wife and I have been to Kibler's before--the bigger excitement to me was to physically see the end of the line for A&A--I don't know if she remembered or not, but either way I was able to enjoy it again!

[I just couldn't get my father in law to stop at Merle's Maple on 98 on the way home, we ended up taking 77 back to Niagara County.]

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Benjamin Maggi
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Location: Albany, NY

Re: Maple Express

Post by Benjamin Maggi » Fri Apr 19, 2019 9:52 am

ctclark1 wrote: I did also notice that there appears to be some difference in easing on the brakes between 112 and 113. While I understand there may be some difference in experience between leading and trailing (coach 305 was at the north end, so was in the lead on the way up and trailing on the way back) roughness in the braking was definitely more pronounced on the return trip, and this was experienced even on the open car (leading) on the trip south.
For what it is worth, from Curriers to Arcade heading south is nearly all downhill. On the trip north you might not have experienced rough braking as they might not have much need for brakes climbing the grade.
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