• New York Central Penn Yan Branch

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New York State.
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New York State.

Moderator: Otto Vondrak

  by TB Diamond
This post is in reference to a query about the Penn Yan Branch that was posted in the PRR forum: The NYC Penn Yan Branch, Dresden-Penn Yan, NY was constructed in the bed of the old Crooked Lake Canal which paralleled Keuka Lake Outlet, the canal having been abandoned in 1877. The branch left the Fall Brook line just south of the Dresden station. The terminus of the branch was at the steam boat dock on the south bank of Keuka Lake Outlet where the outlet left the lake. The NYC Penn Yan station was compass east of the boat dock, across the street from Birkett Mills. The PRR Elmira branch crossed over the branch and Keuka Lake Outlet on a open deck steel girder bridge several hundred feet south of the PRR station. The first train operated over the branch on August 3, 1884. Passenger service was dropped in 1953. The branch was abandoned, I believe, in the 1960s. The tracks were still extant as late as 1969.l

  by BR&P
I thought I read it was hurricane Agnes in 1972 that killed this branch off. There was a thread on this line quite some time ago, but I think it got wiped out when the web site was re-configured. And more recently there was some discussion on whether or not there was a physical connection between the NYC and PRR in Penn Yan. That thread should still be up but I can't recall if it was in New York State, the NYC, or the PRR forum.
  by TB Diamond
Agnes could well have knocked the branch out. Recall when I walked the tracks near Dresden that they were well rusted, but not to say abandoned by any means. There was no physical connection between the PRR and NYC in Penn Yan.
  by ChiefTroll
I remember the earlier thread on the Penn Yan Branch, and I don't recall a statement of an exact date of abandonment. I have a Penn Central Employes Timetable No. 4, May 1, 1970, and there is no mention of the line between Dresden and Penn Yan. The Corning Branch, as it was known at that time, still served Dresden, and the Sodus Bay Secondary Track still served Penn Yan, but no connecting line is shown.

PRR and PC had a way of hiding Running Tracks and Industrial Tracks without listing them as such in the Timetable station pages, but they usually appeared somewhere in the Engine and Special Load Restrictions or some other obscure location. The Penn Yan Branch just isn't in there anywhere, so it looks like it was abandoned early in Penn Central days, before 1970 and well before Hurricane Agnes of 1972.

Gordon Davids
  by CPSD40-2
Check this out:

http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewtopi ... ht=dresden

Its said here by a former employe that indeed the 2 lines DID interchange there in Penn Yan. I would have thought it to be impossible too, given the apparent elevation difference, but there surely was some serious trackage there at one time.

That whole area is fascinating really, with the amount of railroading that was going on there at one time.
  by TB Diamond
The Penn Yan, Keuka Park and Branchport Railway considered building a spur to the NYC station in Penn Yan, but decided against it. This would have served as a connection, allbeit an offbeat one. As it has been established that there was a connection between the NYC and PRR in Penn Yan, one must wonder where it was as certain topo maps do not show it. Am sure that the answer will be forthcoming from some quarter.
  by lbagg91833
The two RRs connected via BIRKETT [SP] MILLING trackage--within the industry property. CHIEF TROLL asked earlier re switching arrangements and I recall that CLs were exchanged between the PRR and NYC, but don't think it was done on a 'formal' basis. BOB FOSTER would maybe recall...EARL CRANDALL the TM would be of assistance.....LA BAGGERLY
  by TB Diamond
Birkett Mills was located on Main Street along the Keuka Lake Outlet. It is very puzzling as to how the PRR got down there to exchange cars with the NYC. Seems that an exploration of the area is in order barring maps or photographs that show the connection.
  by Lehighrrgreg
Just going through other forums and found this one. I was talking about this little railway the other day to the last NYC employee in our terminal. Hes getting ready to retire and I had some questions for him before he did, but he hired out in the mid sixties and remembers going down there to switch Birkett Mills and I asked him what did the line in and he said it was the 72 flood.
  by RussNelson
TB Diamond wrote:Birkett Mills was located on Main Street along the Keuka Lake Outlet. It is very puzzling as to how the PRR got down there to exchange cars with the NYC. Seems that an exploration of the area is in order barring maps or photographs that show the connection.
Looking at the USGS aerial phots, you can see the faintest hint of a line going up the hill. Look at the red dot in thiis image: http://mapper.acme.com/?lat=42.661136&l ... =3&dot=Yes
It's sheer speculation, but it matches all the details anyone has been able to glean.
  by Matt Langworthy
For the longest time, I thought a connection was impossible because PRR and NYC at distinctly different elevations. After a number rereads and "double checks", I found a picture on pg 230 of Keuka Lake Memories that show a spur curving away from the NYC line to Birkett Mills. It appears to be a gentle uphill grade, so this could be the connection to the PRR Elmira Branch...
  by TB Diamond
Good detective work, guys. Saw the photo in Keuka Lake Memories and you may be correct, Matt. The info that Russ provides seems solid enough. Next time I get "home" I'll have to do some exploration. Never noticed any connection on a few cab rides thru PY on EC-15 or during several chases of the job, but wasn't really looking, either.

  by BR&P
According to Larry's post on the other thread linked above, NYC-PRR still connected in 1965-68 time frame. Yes, that's getting to be a long time ago, but unless there has been construction or some drastic erosion, there should still be enough traces left to confirm that this was the location. And early spring is the best time to check old ROWs before brush grows up and covers things for the summer.
  by Matt Langworthy
This may require a stop in PY the next time I go thru PY to visit my family in the Southern Tier. The former NYC ROW is now a paved trail so it should be easy to walk and find where the spur diverged to the mill.

  by bwparker1

On the old Dresden branch, as it enters Penn Yan, it occupies the south side of the Keuka outlet; this is the side where the current paved rail trail begins. If you head East towards Seneca, the rail trail takes you over an old post and Beam bridge onto the north side of the outlet, on which it stays the entire length of the branch. However, if you turn around and head west towards Kueka Lake, there is another post and beam bridge with the rails still intact that would have carried the line back to the North side of the outlet. However, there is still a rail on the South side of the outlet, leading into the current Carey's Rental Outlet facility that deals in large aggregate.

See here: http://tinyurl.com/kkt5u

You may have to manually zoom out a bit to see the bridges in question.

So does this mean then that at the terminus of the NYC Dresden branch in Penn Yan, that there were tracks on either side of the outlet? This is what I have always taken it to mean but it would be great for some confirmation from lbagg.

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