• Passenger train- castleton bridge

  • 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 BobLI
Did any passenger trains run across the bridge or was it freight only?
  by TrainDetainer
Always freight only (except occasional OCS traffic) for regular service AFAIK. Bridge opened 1928 - NYWS&B was long gone then and B&A passenger traffic all went through Rens/Alb. Oldest B&A pass. TT I've seen is 1931 and there's no indication of any jct/split at Post Road. I seem to recall reading about day excursions (two or three?) that ran up one side of the river and back down the other side in Central days.
  by R Paul Carey
When the Boston section (#448/449) of the Lake Shore Limited had been first established in the 1980s, the Post Road branch between Rensselaer and the Post Road connection with the B&A at Niverville had been long retired, as Amtrak agreed in the early 1970s to permit PC's removal of rail, at the time urgently needed for relay elsewhere on PC.

Until Amtrak relaid its rail on the Post Road Branch, #448 took tail room on the Castleton Bridge, after backing off the connection from the Hudson Line. Similarly, #449 took head room on the bridge to back down the connection to the Hudson Line.

The Post Road Branch, when rebuilt by Amtrak, was remarkable for its use of reclaimed 152/155# jointed rail from its Harrisburg Line (IIRC), refastened with Huck bolts, effectively creating rigid (non-expanding) joints. The apparent intent was to replicate the benefits of CWR.

This rail had the stiffest "girder strength" of any rail ever used in main track, and produced a very solid "hard" ride.

This was, nonetheless, an ingenious example of a creative adaptation at a time of scarce resources.
  by Wayside
I was all set to mention 448/449 using the east end of the bridge but Mr. Carey provided a lot more pertinent information than I ever could have.
  by BR&P
Paul, how did those Huck bolts work in THAT application? NY State mandated those in some rehab work (on 80DY rail) in the late 1970's, and in little time under light traffic the....whatever takes the place of a nut is called....wore so much that the joints were in violation of track safety standards as insecure joints. The only way to solve the problem was to torch off the Hucks and put in regular track bolts - which is what they should have done in the first place.
  by R Paul Carey
Any use of Huck bolts on 80# Dudley rail - even if back in the 1970s - is surprising to me, for a few reasons.

First, 80# rail has very little girder strength compared to the rail Amtrak relaid on the Post Road Branch. With 80#D there would be, I believe, a high risk for broken rail outside the joint bars, even if the joints were effectively "frozen", especially in case of any irregular surface, profile, or deteriorated ties under or adjacent to the joints.

Second, it seems likely there would have been some degree of wear in the 80# joint bars that were re-used, making the "frozen joint" impossible to maintain, even under light traffic. In such a case, the different facts could clearly warrant replacement of the Huck fasteners with conventional track bolts.

I have not seen or ridden over the Post Road branch since the early 1990s, but can say the Huck fasteners were still there as of that time, IIRC.
  by BR&P
In the application I mentioned - Ontario Midland RR former NYC "Hojack" line - we had no broken rails outside the bars that I can recall, but we sure got nailed on the loose bars. The securing device or "nut" showed wear and deformation as I recall. I left OMID in 1994 and we had replaced a ton of them on the west end while I was still there - so they lasted less than 15 years under pretty light traffic volume. I believe, but not sure, OMID either is or has just finished a bolt program on the east end for that same issue.

A side note was the difficulty I had in obtaining proper bolts to install. They were relatively small diameter, but those 80DY bars had square holes, not oval. Square shoulder bolts of that size were almost non-existent. We bought and used some, and as I recall also bought quite a few kegs of bolts with a normal shoulder. We had a man standing at a bench grinder, taking some of the oval off the shoulder to allow the bolt to tighten up into the square holes. Actual installation sometimes required a couple sharp blows with a maul or sledge on the head to force the shoulder tight - a definite "no-no" as far as proper practice goes, but it got the job done Whether any of those hammered bolts ever failed, i don't know but none in my time there.
  by R Paul Carey
Yours is a fine story of an improvisation, from a time and of a generation of experienced railroaders for whom suspension of service - at any time - was NOT an option. Track bolts and joint bars for unusual (rare) light rail sections were simply unavailable in the needed quantities, for various reasons.

For those who were fortunate, cannibalism could yield materials for "temporary" repairs of indefinite duration, often as not measured in years. For a Class 1 road this was a common practice. Short Lines had more limited options. Your OMID was a mid-1970s startup that opened for business on a neglected physical plant that was simply "Excepted Track" from end to end.

Few realize how tough it was for our beloved NYC (and other Eastern roads) in the 1950's and 60's, operating on the very edge of insolvency. It was the creative efforts of those managers and others (at all levels) who believed in the future of the railroad and who held it all together through the darkest years, until Federal and State resources would become available to address the most urgent needs.
  by mackdave
I agree, the times were tough in the 50's - 70's. I don't think those who didn't have to make things run realized the challenges. This story reminds me of a comment about the Adirondack Division that was just ripped up. A fellow I know remarked that they finally got rid of the bad rail "up there". When I asked what he meant, he replied that the Adirondack Division was the source for Dudley 105 rail. When there was a need on the "main", the replacements came from the Adirondack, and the bad rail was put back in its place. Also all the line removals in the 60's had the rails sent to Selkirk to reconstruct that yard. Tough times, resourceful folks.

  by R Paul Carey
I have one correction to my earlier posts on this thread; as my memory had time-shifted about 5 years, more or less...

The Lake Shore Limited was re-incarnated in 1975, requiring the initial use of the Castleton connection until 1979, when the Post Road Branch was restored to service by Amtrak.

Mea Culpa.