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

  by mdamico23
Hi Everyone,

I am looking for information on Penn Central's Cowanesque Valley Branch. The CV was a former New York Central line which extended south and west from Lawrenceville, PA. By the PC days, I think the terminus was Elkland, PA. Elkland was also served by the Wellsville Addison & Galeton. During the NYC days, I believe this line extended further south and west through Westfield, PA and then connected with the Buffalo & Susquehanna (later B&O and then WAG) and Coudersport & Port Allegheny RR at Newfields Junction, PA.

I was wondering if any one knows when the CV was abandoned. (I do not think it was included in Conrail). And, also, was there a connection with the WAG in Elkland, PA? What was the traffic on this line? And a broader question- what type of diesel power would have operated on this line during the early 1970s. (I'm thinking either small switchers or roadswitchers such as RS3's, GP7s etc).


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  by TB Diamond
The Cowanesque Valley branch was originally a part of the Fall Brook Rwy. which was absorbed by the NYC&HRR in the 1890s. This became the Pennsylvania Div. of the NYC.

The branch extended to Ulysses, PA where it connected with the C&PA. It did not go as far as Newfield Jct.

The NYC abandoned the branch Westfield-Ulysses in 1933 and Elkland-Westfield in 1964. The WAG purchased the former NYC trackage in both Westfielld and Knoxville in 1964 and constructed connections to that trackage at both locations. There was never a connection between the WAG and NYC/PC in Elkland.

Am not totally sure, but I believe the remainder of the branch was abandoned by PC about 1973.

Have no information concerning traffic volume towards the end of the line.

In addition, have no power type information. However, as a possible clue in the WAG book by Ed Lewis there is a photo of the WAG/PC interchange at Ansonia that includes PC unit no. 8170 which may be a EMD SW7 and which is described as being "The PC switcher from Wellsboro Jct.". One may assume that this unit was also utilized on the Cowanesque Valley branch.
  by thebigham
Was the PC's Elkland branch abandoned due to being washed out from Hurricane Agnes?
  by erie2937
There is a color pic in one of the MSB books on NYC showing an H16-44 at the crossing of the NYC and the B&S/B&O/WAG. I don't have the book anymore so I can't provide the title. There was only a tilt board at the crossing, no other signals, no building. In late steam days NYC used E-1 2-6-0 locomotives on the CV Branch.

There are no buildings in Ulysses now. R-O-W there is easy to follow. There is a diner in Ulysses operated by a railfan. He has pics of local railroads on the walls.

Along the road up the hill on the east side of town there was some old C&PA rail in a small pile. C&PA actually entered Ulysses from the southeast because it had to make a wide loop to climb over the hills before heading west to Newfield Junction.
  by mdamico23
thebigham wrote:Was the PC's Elkland branch abandoned due to being washed out from Hurricane Agnes?
I've always wondered that myself. PC's Elkland Branch was abandoned in late 1972-early 1973 and I've always thought either Hurricane Agnes or the tannery fire had something to do with it. Other than the tannery, I can't imagine many other rail shippers on this line by the early '70s.

  by thebigham
^I thought the WAG was the only railroad that served the tannery. I'm not sure.

Agnes was in in June 1972.

The NYC line was probably washed out at that time.

The Elkland tannery fire was later in 1972.
  by TB Diamond
Cowanesque Lake now covers some of the east end of the former NYC Cowanesque branch r.o.w.

Could the pending construction of the reservoir possibly have been a factor in the abandonment of the line?
  by thebigham
^I'm sure that was the reason.
  by mdamico23
thebigham wrote:^I'm sure that was the reason.
Chris- not trying to doubt you, but from what I've read online, Cowanesque Lake wasn't completed until 1990. That leaves 17 years between the abandonment of the branch and the "opening" of the Lake. Lawsuits and construction could have taken much of those 17 years though...

As far as the "CV" serving the tannery, I think I read somewhere that the WAG served one side of the tannery in Elkland and NYC/PC served the other. Not completely sure where I saw that, but perhaps that explains why PC still served Elkland into the '70s, with the portion beyond abandoned in the '60s.

  by thebigham
^I read that construction on the dam began around 1972.

*going to go do a Google search*
  by TB Diamond
Several years after construction of the original reservoir was finished the Corps of Engineers commenced an enlargement project which was, indeed, completed in 1990.
  by thebigham
  by thebigham
From the Yahoo group:

In an NYCS document that I just acquired, I found a reference to the Fall Brook system, aka Pennsylvania Division of the NYC.

In this document it is stated that 14.6 miles of railroad between Westfield and Ulysses were abandoned on 26 September 1933.

I don't recall seeing that date elsewhere.

Hugh T. Guillaume