Penn Central on the Catskill Mountain Branch

Discussion relating to the Penn Central, up until its 1976 inclusion in Conrail. Visit the Penn Central Railroad Historical Society for more information.

Moderator: JJMDiMunno

Posts: 15
Joined: Sat Jul 08, 2006 1:01 pm
Location: Florida

Penn Central on the Catskill Mountain Branch

Post by drobertson » Wed Jul 12, 2006 12:42 am

As a kid I remember seeing Penn Central in Bloomville, NY when it was the end of the Catskill Mountain Branch. This had to be just prior to when the line was cut back to Stamford (1972-74?). The trains were usually only one locomotive and one boxcar to service the Agway feed store in town. Anyone have any idea what type of locomotive(s) worked that branch for PC and what I might have been watching at the time?

Posts: 1137
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 7:24 am

Post by Railjunkie » Thu Aug 03, 2006 9:39 am

If you can find a copy of the Up and Down railroad (I think thats the proper title) there are lots of pictures of the era. Going from memory I cant seem to find my copy, They used RS2/3s, GP7/9/20s even saw a picture of an F7. As a side note I work with a guy who was on the last train to service that branch.

Posts: 363
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2004 6:51 pm
Location: Severna Park, MD

Penn Central on the Catskill Mountain Branch

Post by ChiefTroll » Wed Sep 06, 2006 12:49 pm

drobertson -

Penn Central used just about any 2000-2500 h.p. road switcher on the Catskill Mountain Branch - GP-20's, Alco's and an occasional GE. "The Old Up and Down" by John Ham and Robert Buccenec documents the last years very well. The photo of an F-7A is unusual. The only cab units I had seen on the branch, up to 1965, were two Alco FA-1s, including the 1032, that took the Selkirk wreckers to South Gilboa in February 1958 to rerail a snow plow that derailed behind the Blue Silo Farm.

When the section from Bloomville to Oneonta was abandoned in 1965, KO-1 and OK-2 became KB-1 and BK-2 (Oneonta in the symbols became Bloomville). The train almost always had Stamford and Hobart cars, and they went to Bloomville only if there was a good reason. If they could make the trip within the 16 hour law, they would go to Bloomville and then return to Stamford to tie up and take their rest at the Delaware Inn. Otherwise they would go to Bloomville after tie up, and try to make it back to Kingston under the law.

When they ran to Oneonta, KO-1 usually had two units, RS-2's and -3's, mostly to save time by not having to double Pine Hill, and to avoid turning a single unit on the Oneonta wye. After the cut back to Bloomville, they generally had only one unit, because the business had fallen off, they didn't have as far to run, and there was no place to turn an engine west of Kingston. They just went home in reverse.

I don't think the line was ever really cut back to Stamford. The business at Bloomville just dried up, and they didn't run down there anymore. The Penn Central Estate still owned the railroad to Bloomville, and Conrail operated it as a subsidized light density line as far as there was any business, for six months following the Conrail conveyance on April 1, 1976. The Catskill Rail Committee bought everything from the Ulster County Line to Bloomville from the Penn Central Estate.

By the way, are you related to a former Supervisor of the Town of Kortright?

Gordon Davids

Posts: 15
Joined: Sat Jul 08, 2006 1:01 pm
Location: Florida

Post by drobertson » Wed Sep 13, 2006 1:50 pm


Thanks for the info. I always thought the branch was formally abandon back to Stamford prior to 1976. But the amount of traffic Bloomville generated would amount to the same effect.

And yes, if your thinking of George Robertson - I'm his son.

Did you know him?

Doug Robertson


Post by Kingston » Thu Jan 18, 2007 9:10 pm

New member here happy to see this forum devoted to the Penn Central.
I lived near Kingston and Saugerties and saw River Division trains daily during my bus ride to school. I didn't know much about the Catskill Branch then but have learned a little about it recently after getting a book about the Ulster and Delaware RR as a gift. Thanks for the reference to "The Up and Down"...I'll see if I can find a copy.


User avatar
Otto Vondrak
Posts: 20285
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 6:47 pm
Location: New York

Post by Otto Vondrak » Tue Jan 30, 2007 1:55 pm

See also... progress on reopening the CMB from Rondout to Roxbury:

Moderator: New York State Railfan :: New York Central :: Toy Trains
NYW&B Fan Site :: A Magazine I Read Often :: A Museum I Volunteer At


Post by Kingston » Tue Jan 30, 2007 9:26 pm

Thanks for the links! I haven't lived in the area since 1978 but its nice to keep up to date.


Return to “Penn Central”