• Syracuse / NYC History

  • 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 urrengr2003
The NYC had three lines thru Syracuse:
1) The original down Water St, then Washington St thru downtown to the 1st station located on West Fayette St.
2) The "Lake Line" that left the main at Clark St in East Syracuse to pass through the northern industrial areas of Syracuse proper, and rejoined the main line again on the west side of town at Syracuse Jct.
3) The elevated psgr line from Midler Ave to Syracuse Jct.

What is the time frame on line #2 & #3? Did freight trains ever operate on line #1 to what was called Geddes St Yard and was this the first NYC freight yard in Syracuse before DeWitt? Never see photos of freight trains anyplace on line #1, although have seen a picture of steam with a caboose running lite past the Smith-Carona plant (later to become Mid-Town Plaza and Northeast Region HQ) on Water St. The fact one can't find pictures of freight trains down Water St. must mean the "Lake Line" was always available for freight trains. This being the case, Geddes St. wasn't the original freight yard before DeWitt as Syracuse Jct. is west of Geddes St. The east end of Geddes St yard stops exactly where the west end of the original psgr station was, leading one to believe freight trains did at one time operate thru Clinton Square in Downtown Syracuse.

Appreciate any comments as to the train operations thru Syracuse during the time line #1 was in service.
  by Clif
1. the lake line The Syracuse Junction Railroad, established in 1873 and opened in 1874, was built by the New York Central and Hudson Railroad to route two freight tracks of a four-track system around the city of Syracuse, New York.

Syracuse Junction Railroad was established on June 9, 1873, by the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad Company in order to route two freight tracks of its four-track system around the city of Syracuse. The line opened for business on November 16, 1874. It was leased back to the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad Company on April 10, 1875, as a legal formality and was absorbed under authority of law on April 10, 1875, and changed to New York Central Railroad in 1914.

2. The elevated line ran on the road bed of the west shore. It was built in the 1935-36 time period.
  by The RR Authority
Freight trains never operated on Washington St. except to service the Continental Can Company which was located to the East of Midtown Plaza. The West St. freight yard was built to interchange cars with the D.L.& W. R.R. and to be able to service some businesses on Tracy St. Back in time, I believe there were team tracks to unload freight there to so that the in City customers would not have to go all the way to DeWitt. The lake line---or Syracuse Junction Railroad-- was built for freight traffic to bypass the City, it was enough of a hassle to have passenger trains running at all hours down Washington St. without adding freight trains to the mess.
  by urrengr2003
There indeed were team tracks at West St Yard. A large freight house for LCL/Pacemaker fronted on West St with the platforms behind it extending westward toward Geddes St. The north side of the building had the platform & doors for motor carrier access. This platform was set back from Erie Blvd a sufficient distance to allow trucks to maneuver and back up to the freight doors. The east end of the building was freight agency offices, the platforms behind it started about opposite the Dietz Lantern Co building on the north side of Erie Blvd. One track at grade level went alongside the freight platforms on the north side but was always blocked with truck trailers. At the west end of this track a switch allowed a spur to curve toward the north, cross the Blvd, and serve Dietz. The Team Tracks were west of this switch paved with blocks at the same grade as the street. Don't know how many team tracks but more than two, also recall small electric hoist here that I believe to be from the era of steel LCL boxes on flatcars.

Only saw the track at grade along north side of freight house platform used once. This was in 1948 when the company ran a psgr extra for the Syracuse Traffic Club that originated here. Train consist was three or four heavyweight coaches and as many gondolas with bench seats and walkways between them with a DES at each end. Train toured all the on-line industries in Syracuse by going west to Belle Isle, then east on lake line stopping at individual shippers side tracks. Train went east to Minoa pausing for observation of both humps in operation at Dewitt. Return was down psgr line to Syracuse Jct and then back into Geddes St to detrain. Distinctly recall standing on south side of open gon going west across North Salina St overpass when east bound #50 came around curve behind steam.

As an aside: my Dad a grad student at Syracuse University went to the freight house with a buddy of his to apply for summer work in the middle 30's. The buddy was John Nash who got the stevedore job, my Dad didn't and the rest was history for JF Nash with the NYC.