• Operations/switching question Chenango Branch

  • 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 RussNelson
I'm looking at this spur: https://www.openstreetmap.org/way/71334078" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; . It's off the New York Central's Chenango Branch. It went to an electrical substation. I assume it was used to bring in transformers & such. It is about 6/10ths of a mile long, and connected directly to the main line (as far as I can see).

Now look at this aerial photo: http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=43.04896,-76.04157&z=19&t=H" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
See where the cross is? That looks like it was possibly an extension of the spur, going straight up to the service road.

So my question is: with a spur this long, would they have two ends of the spur, so they could go in to one end (in this case, the curved one that goes into the substation), pick up the empties, pull forward, back them into the second end (the one that I'm hypothesizing went straight), spot them there, pull forward with the full flats or boxes or whatever, spot them where they belong, then pull forward and back into the second end to pick up the empties.

Is that standard operations? If they didn't have two ends, they would have to switch the plant twice: once to pick up the empties and bring them back to the yard, or a siding, then again with the full cars.
  by BR&P
Russ, the best option would be to go there and see whether there are signs of a track. The geometry sure LOOKS like there was, but the greenery could be along a fence line or ditch. Or maybe someone has an old NYC DICCS map which would show the layout from the mid 1960's.

Next, terminology. "Ends" is confusing. Various terms were used, but the whole thing could be called a spur, maybe just a track, or the name of the customer - "set the car in on Niagara Mohawk". And at the substation, each of the two tracks would be known as a track - perhaps geographically like "North Track" and "South Track". or by some feature - the "Dock Track" and the "stub" - there were countless ways things were named. And that's talking about the crew. The clerks probably knew the crew's names for tracks, but also had an alphanumeric designation such as D37-2 or such. And the track department may have had even another name, altho that far from the main it may well have been the industry's ownership and maybe maintenance responsibility.

Lastly - about WHY that was there (assuming it WAS another track). Speaking in generalities, it's unlikely they would pay for the cost of a turnout and a second track just to save the crew a few minutes time, especially if the track was built to serve the power substation with a car every few years. And it's even less likely that transformers would come in several cars at a time requiring extra switching. My guess is either A) there was some specific need or reason why the second track was needed, or B) the substation was built on the grounds of some previous facility - a factory, quarry, lumber plant - and since the switch was already there, it made sense to leave it in place just in case.

Obviously anything I say about this specific location is guesswork and I may be totally out to lunch. Let us know if you find the answers - now you've got ME curious.

(BTW - the FIRST time I clicked on that link, it came up with a map of the Gambee Road area on FGLK in Geneva, showing the International Paper and Seneca Foods sidings. When I exited and clicked again, it showed the track we're talking about. HUH? Image)