• Four Track Removal in NY State?

  • Discussion relating to the NYC and subsidiaries, up to 1968. Visit the NYCS Historical Society for more information.
Discussion relating to the NYC and subsidiaries, up to 1968. Visit the NYCS Historical Society for more information.

Moderator: Otto Vondrak

  by Alek9997
I'm sure this has been asked on here before, but I was curious on the dates sections of the NYC four-track main from Albany to Buffalo was downsized to two mains.

  by ctclark1
I don't know as I've ever seen a clear date as to when the project actually progressed across the state (I'm sure it took some time), but based on other information I've seen from time to time, the best I've been able to figure was early to mid '60s. I've determined it was after 1957 from a number of sources, including but not limited to:
  • The Batavia Bypass was opened in 1957, still maintaing the 4 tracks.
  • A map showing the east end of Frontier Yard and the main beyond "UR" (now CSX CP-429) from 1957 shows the 4-track main extending eastward (as opposed to the current layout where 3 and 4 "end" in the CP). Some other '57 diagrams I've seen also indicate 4 tracks still existed at this time.
I'm moderately certain it was done prior to the PC merger in '68, though I don't have concrete proof of that.
  by ExCon90
I rode (as a passenger) from New York to Buffalo fairly often in the summer and fall of 1961, and the 4 tracks were there all the way from Hoffmans to Buffalo, with semaphores. At the time, 2-track CTC was being introduced west of Buffalo, and the word was that the trackage east of Buffalo was to come next.
  by ExCon90
A friend of mine was a signal engineer on the NYC at that time. I asked him about it over the weekend, and he says Syracuse-Buffalo was done by 1963 and the Mohawk between then and 1965. Buffalo-Cleveland, except for Erie itself, was done by 1961. Of course since then the whole object of the rationalization has been defeated by CSX's downgrading of the sidings, which were essential to enable faster trains to overtake slower ones without conflicting with opposing movements.
  by ctclark1
I don't think it was entirely CSX's fault. I wouldn't call myself an expert but from what I've seen and read it appears as though Conrail was pretty heavy-handed when it came to downgrading trackage, along with all the rationalization to remove excess trackage. I have no doubt that if NYC/PC hadn't dropped to a 2 track main, Conrail would have anyway. And correct me if I'm wrong, but hasn't CSX actually returned some of these passing sidings to controlled status?
  by Jim Kaufman
In the late '70s, L. Stanley Crane, Pres. of Conrail at the time, rode the rear of an Amtrak passenger train west from Albany to Buffalo. As he studied the the layout of the mainline (at the time, 79 mph for pass, 70 mph for the "vans" and 60 mph for frt), he told the assembled "suits" in the Conrail PV at the time, "why do you have so many sidings (between CP points)? On the Southern (which he came from), we run the same number of trains on Single Track!"
Well,...within a few months, Conrail began taking out numerous "Controlled Sidings" (remants of the old 4 track main) between Selkirk and Buffalo and the RR suffered big time when traffic resumed after the early 70's recession---no way to get around stalled, outlawed (Hours of Service) and slow moving trains. Yeah they (CSX) are putting more sidings in on the old West Shore, but the mainline Albany-Buffalo still suffers from the loss of the Controlled Sidings. Thanks Stan!
  by ctclark1
Yeah I realize I was sort of mistaken, I had thought that CR removed the signals on a number of sidings (creating a bunch of NCS's) and CSX had upgraded them back to CS's, looking back at ETTs I see that CR hadn't NC'd most of the sidings that they did leave on the main, just removed a bunch of other sidings along the way. But you and I are both more or less correct, Jim, in that it was primarily Conrail that did most of the damage ExCon90 referred to, not necessarily CSX.

I agree, despite being a full CTC 2 track main (as opposed to split direction 2 track mains like other areas still have), there are a dismal number of controlled sidings on the 133 mile stretch of the Rochester Sub - Savannah and Chili are the only two that aren't attached to a yard, that I see. Add Lyons, Batavia, and the insanely long Rochester sidings which could be considered more like yard leads (or even a third main in the case of Rochester) and you're absolutely right, there isn't a lot of space for breakdowns, outlaws, and the like. Fallon's in Wayneport is the only other viable option I see, and that's pretty short and only signalled on the west end because it falls into CP359 otherwise that would be uncontrolled as well (and also not accessible on the east end from track 1 unless they plan for it way back in Palmyra.

Without going back through a 78 or 79 CR track chart or ETT I don't know how many were cut out (I only know of Bergen being removed but guessing there were a lot more completely removed or dead-ended like Jordan) but I can't imagine CR was nice to existing sidings. Even if they had held onto them as NCS for future use or setouts I think CSX would be much better off today and could have considered resignalling them as they're replacing the signals now.
  by Jack Shufelt
Jim, can you advise where the controlled sidings were in the late 70's compared to today? Also, what is the crossover situation today compared to what it was in the late 70's. Did CR add crossovers when they took out the sidings? Are the crossovers in service today capable of higher speeds than those in the late 70's?
  by ctclark1
This is long and detailed. If you need a TLDR version let me know and I'll write one up quick.

Doing a quick comparison of the PC 1975 Buffalo Div Track Chart, the Conrail 1978 Buffalo Div Track Chart, the Conrail 1999 Albany Div Track Chart, and the 2004 CSX Albany Division ETTs, I see the following changes (just focusing on crossovers and controlled sidings, not looking at every spur/IT etc):
Crossover directions are TT West. All changes unless otherwise noted occurred between 1978 and 1999 Conrail TCs.
Edit: Sorry, in rereading, I realized that about halfway through I inadvertently switched from "SS" to "CS" - these should be taken as the same meaning - signals control egress from ends of the sidings)
  • CP 3/CP 296 (Belle Isle) - West end of SS and crossover 1->2 remains unchanged.
  • CP 4/CP 300 (Warners) - Double Crossover 2->1/1->2 remains unchanged
  • CP 5/CP 306 (Jordan) - Crossover 2->1 remains unchanged, East end of former SS off #1 is now dead-end spur leading to Jordan IT (In actuality I believe the Jordan IT has actually been abandoned now as well, but most recent document I have access to is 2004)
  • CP 6/CP 308 (Jordan) - Crossover 1->2 remains unchanged, former Jordan SS to #1 removed.
  • CP 7/CP 313 (Weedsport/N Port Byron) - Crossover 2->1/1->2 remains unchanged.
  • CP 8/CP 320 (Seneca River) - Crossover 2->1 and East end of Savannah SS remain unchanged.
  • CP 9/CP 323 (Savannah) - Crossover 1->2 and West end of Savannah SS remain unchanged.
  • CP 10 & CP 11 (Clyde) - Crossover 2->1, Clyde SS, and Crossover 1->2 all removed between. Signals at CP 10 converted to 326 Autos (western bridge removed). Signals at CP 11 converted to 329 Autos, EB signals added to bridge, were previously on a bracket.
  • CP 12/CP 334 (Lyons East) - Crossover 1->2 only, Lyons SS/Yard Lead from #1 remain unchanged.
  • CP 13/CP 335 (Lyons West) - Crossover 2->1/1->2, Lyons SS/Yard Lead to #1 and Corning Secondary to #2 remain unchanged.
  • CP 14 & CP 15 (Newark) - Crossover 2->1 (@ 14) and Crossover 1->2 (@ 15) Removed between. Newark SS removed, only lead to OMRR remains at former 14 w/no signals. Signals from both condensed to 341 Autos.
  • CP 16/CP 349 (Palmyra) - Crossover 2->1/1->2 Remains unchanged.
  • CP 17 (East of Wayneport) - Crossover 1->2 and east end of SS (what would've been a longer "Fallon's Siding" as CSX now calls it) removed. Fallon's truncated from MP 356 to MP 358 and uncontrolled on east end.
  • CP 18/CP 359 (Wayneport) - Crossover 1->2, West end of Fallon to #2, Crossover 2->1, and #2 to West Shore (in TT Order) remain unchanged. #1 to CS (formerly extending to #3 beginning in Brighton) removed. Remains of CS existed as Fairport IT until recently, with the connection moved to MP361.
  • CP 19/CP 362 (East Rochester) - Crossover 2->1/1->2 remains unchanged. Former crossovers between #1 and CS removed with CS mentioned above.
  • CP 30/CP 367 (Brighton) - Brighton IT->2/2->1/1->SS/1->2/SS->Yard Crossovers all remain unchanged. As mentioned above the CS from Wayneport formerly met directly to the CS here, with a crossover from CS->1 (removed).
  • CP 31/CP 369 (West end of Goodman Yard) - YL->CS/CS->1/1->2 Crossovers remain unchanged. CS continues west CP 373.
  • CP 32 & CP 33 (Rochester) - Existed on #1/#2 only, Bracket signal at CP 33, removed between 1975 and 1979, possible old lead for station?
  • CP 34 (Rochester) - Existed on #3/#4 only, connecting to "Old Line" between Plymouth and Canal streets, removed.
  • CP 35/CP 373 (Rochester) - Crossovers 2->1/1->3(CS)/3->1/2->1 Remain unchanged. Former #4 main crossed to #3 removed. #3(CS) crossed to #4 Main (still existing as NCS westbound), Charlotte RT splits off this NCS here.
  • No CP - Former #4 Main continues to MP 374.4, called "Pfaudler's" by CSX, where it converges back to #1, no main crossovers. #4 formerly continued as NCS to MP 378 (called "Outer Loop" by PC). Remains exist as "Pixley Siding" east of Coldwater.
  • CP 36/CP 380 (Chili East) - Crossover 2->1, 1->Chili Siding remain unchanged.
  • CP 37/CP 382 (Chili West) - Chili Siding->1, West Shore->2, Crossover 2->1/1->2, remain unchanged.
  • CP 38 & CP 39 (Bergen) - 2->1, 1->CS, Bergen Siding, CS->1, 1->2 all removed. Signals converted to Auto 389 (tri-lights).
  • CP 40/CP 393 (East of South Byron) - Crossovers 2->1/1->2 remain unchanged.
  • CP 41/CP 402 (East Batavia) - DLWR->2, 2->1, 1->CS remain largely unchanged. Former Westbound Bracket signal replaced by Conrail with standard posts.
  • CP 43/CP 408 (West Batavia) - CS->1, 1->2 remain unchanged.
  • CP 44/CP 410 (Pembroke) - 2->1/1->2 Remain unchanged.
  • CP 45 (Corfu) - 2->1, Corfu CS removed in entirety.
  • CP 46/CP 417 (Crittenden) - Corfu CS removed as above, Crossover 1->2 remains.
  • CP 47/CP 423 (Wende) - 2->1/1->2 remain unchanged.
  • CP 46B/CP 429 (Depew) - 2->1/1->3/3->4/1->2 Remain unchanged, beginning of Buffalo Terminal Sub.
Only one change above, the lead in Rochester at CPs 32/33 (station?) was made between 1975 and 1978, all others occurred between 1978 and 1999. I could look at other TCs within this gap to find out more details, but that's a lot of large documents to load and browse through.

It is also, I feel, important to note that all sidings I listed as Controlled Sidings (CS) were shown with signals in both the PC 1975 and CR 1978 TCs. Another major change between 78 and 99 was that CR converted all these to non-controlled sidings (which I believe would have meant verbal permission from the DS to both occupy and leave the sidings). In addition to listing all as "NCS" instead of the previous "CS" both they and PC had used in previous TCs, the signals are visibly removed from them and in some cases other signals at the CPs were reconfigured (one strong example is CP 402 where the signals governing the Batavia Siding and the DLWR/Caledonia leads are removed entirely). Visual recon and indications from CSX documents indicate that they have returned basically all of these sidings (except where still noted as NCS above) back to controlled status originally via a large number of dwarf signals but notw even more obviously in that they now have replaced those dwarfs with full-height Vader signals.

1975 PC Buffalo TC
1978 CR Buffalo TC
1999 CR Albany TC
2004 CSX Albany ETT

Conrail TC List in case you wanted to explore more to determine more about when some of the changes were made, but you'll have to browse through the large documents, either Buffalo or Albany depending on the year, to find it, as well as learn how to read them (took me some time to fully figure out a few years back)
  by Jack Shufelt
Thanks for the effort in putting this together CT. Jack
  by wdburt1
The following information regarding completion of conversion to double track TCS is from NYC annual reports and issues of the Headlight:

Buffalo-Cleveland completed in 1956.
27 miles of the Syracuse Division completed in 1957.
Toledo-Elkhart completed late 1958-early 1959.
Remaining 137 miles between Syracuse and Buffalo completed in 1960.

Underway at end of 1960:

Subsequent CTC extensions:

269 unspecified "miles of track" in 1961. Total 1,767 "CTC miles" in service.
411 unspecified "track miles" in 1962. Total 2,593 "miles" in service.
129 unspecified "miles of line" in 1963. Total is now 1,653 "miles." (Route-miles?)
Nothing said in 1964 annual report.
127 miles of the River Division between Little Ferry and Selkirk and 57 miles between Stanley Yard and Dunkirk, OH in 1965.
Conversion to CTC completed between Albany and Chicago in 1966. Hudson Division expected to be completed in 1967.
  by ctclark1
Thank you for that, it definitely helps me come up with a timeline for trying to find any kind of track chart that would show the crossover/siding layout in the 4-tracked days which is something I've been searching for for some time, but have never found anything more detailed than the 1930's era mileage maps that float around but don't have much more than the 4 track layouts and interchanges with other branches. Now I know it definitely needs to be pre-1960.