• West Shore between Rotterdam Jct. and Utica

  • 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 N_DL640A
Thanks to all for the in-depth info... gives a really good sense of the slow decline of the West Shore. I just wish I was there to see it in operation!
  by N_DL640A
Well in keeping with the original title of this thread "west shore questions", I'll try to take this in another dirction. What kind of terminals (yards, port facilities) did the original West Shore build? Did they have their own, or mainly just use those of neighoring railroads?
  by lvrr325
Remember the Pennsy built the West Shore as an independent RR to try to take business from the NYC, so the NYC started to build the South Penn to do the same to them. The WS was finished and in operation for a few years before the two roads swapped their subsidaries, the PRR getting the unfinished South Penn and the NYC getting the West Shore. So it had yards all along the system.

Frontier Yard in Buffalo was built by combining a smaller NYC yard with the parallell WS yard. Other yards were below Rochester, just west of Syracuse (behind the State Fair grounds), at Geddes St. in Syracuse, in Frankfort, in Selkirk, and in Kingston. I probably missed a few, too. I'm not up on the New York City end of the line but I'm sure there were yards there as well. Some lasted into the Conrail era or became more important as the NYC used the WS to rationalize routes, others became unimportant early on.
  by erie2521
Weehawken was a biggie. There are lots of pictures of this one. The one south of Rochester was an interchange with the B.R.&P., later B&O. I believe this was used primarily for the interchange of coal traffic from Pennsylvania.
  by mbutte
I attended Kemble School in South Utica through the 8th grade in 1972. The WS grade crossing of Kemble Street, a mere 1/2 block away from the school, was one of the many unprotected crossings across this part of the city. This section of the line was abandoned in late 1971 as was already noted.

During the warm weather months when the school windows would be open, the passage of the WS local would cause great consternation among the teachers, as you could hear the whistle from several grade crossings away in either direction and it would only get louder the closer to the school the train got. Then, if luck held, the train on the westbound trip would have to switch a coal car or two out of and/or into the Cutter Coal Company siding/trestle at Kemble Street (yes, they still received coal for distribution as household heating into the late '60's), which added several more opportunities for VERY loud whistle blowing at Kemble Street. On the return eastbound trip later in the day, the train then might also have to switch cars at the Phillip Thomas Lumber Company siding, so the whole loud process would be repeated again. There were some days when education would be greatly limited, much to my delight. Needless to say, I always made sure I had a desk as close to the windows facing the crossing as possible!

Also interesting to note that west of the Genesee Street Crossing, where the Utica to Syracuse third rail powered interurban line used the WS line up through the '20's, you could still find many third rail support length ties up until the line was removed after the 1971 abandonment.
  by N_DL640A
OK, one stupid (?) question I've always wondered about, how did they deal with grade crossings with the WS 3rd rail electrification?
  by Noel Weaver
N_DL640A wrote:OK, one stupid (?) question I've always wondered about, how did they deal with grade crossings with the WS 3rd rail electrification?
The same way they deal with crossings on the electrified portions of the Long Island and Metro-North, gaps across crossings
and the trains simply drift or coast in these areas. With the MU trains of today, this is not a problem. Even with electric
motors they would continue with momentum to coast for a considerable distance without a problem.
Noel Weaver
  by DonPevsner
Does anyone remember a fan trip operated by the Mohawk & Hudson Chapter, NRHS, about 1961, from Schenectady to Utica on the West Shore and back on the Mohawk Division? I rode the train, which as I recall was powered by two RS-3's. The track was in poor shape, with lots of rotted ties. When we got off the train for a photo runby, I saw several spikes bounce right out of such ties. The return trip, on the still-four-track mainline, was a fast one.
  by weehawken1883
Don and Group,

Your fantrip question sent me digging and I found a flyer and trip description from an October 10, 1965 WS trip sponsored by the Capital District RR Club. It left Albany, went west on the Mohawk Division to South Schenectady, where it reversed onto the West Shore, passing through Fullers, Guilderland Center, Voorheesville, etc. and Selkirk Yard, then onto the River Division, down to West Point, then back up to Albany. There was a two-hour layover at WP. I recall riding part of the trip in an open NYC gondola. The fare was $8.00!!! There was a snack car AND a NYC dining car.

While I'm at it, I have papers from three other WS fantrips that I was fortunate enough to ride:

November 17,1962, GCT-over the A.E. Smith Bridge-Selkirk Yard- Weehawken (Guess who was selling the tickets for that one?)

September 22, 1963, Hoboken-Newburgh on the WS, then the E-L Newburgh Branch, then back to Hoboken via the Erie's Northern Branch!!! My recollection is that trip used E-L through train equipment.

Summer 1988- Trip to Selkirk via the WS as part of the NRHS convention.

If anyone's interested, I can post more details.

(Don, you and I corresponded about the WS in the 1960's and 1970's. Hope you are well. Write off-line if you want.)

Kevin Cunningham
Canton, MA 02021
  by Engineer Spike
Besides the emptys and the locals, did the NYC route any other through freights this way? One would think that this would free up congestion across the river.
  by Noel Weaver
Up until the time that the second track was pulled up sometime in the late 40's, the West Shore was probably a reasonable
detour if there was major trouble on the main line. One problem with the West Shore was a huge number of grade crossings
that had to be protected and it was and is not practical to stop long freight trains all over the place to protect crossings.
Another thing is that this line is not a particularly high speed line either. I would have to dig out some old employee
timetables to find out more but that is not going to happen right now, too many other things to do.
The last scheduled trains over much of this line were milk trains making a lot of stops but not carrying revenue passengers.
I can remember as a youngster going up along the tracks of the Mohawk occasionally with my father and seeing a constant
parade of passenger and freight trains on the beautiful four track main line. During the entire day we might see one train in
each direction on the West Shore. The West Shore was still double track at the time along the Mohawk.
Noel Weaver
  by Engineer Spike
Since the line from Hoffman's to Selkirk is West Shore, what was the reason for one track going over the other, on top of Rte. 20? What about the 2 styles of bridges over the gorge near Guilderland?
  by R Paul Carey
The "Fullers Jumpover" was created in the 1920's as part of the Selkirk Yard improvements (a huge program of President Al Smith which included the Castleton cut-off - all for the purpose of removing freight traffic from Albany and its grades and movable bridges).

The purpose of the Fullers Jumpover was to "twist" the current of traffic (right-handed double track operation East of Fullers) to the left-hand current of traffic West of Fullers and over the freight mains between Hoffman's (later CP 169) and Buffalo.

This was necessary to provide for the separation of passenger from freight operations (freight traffic was handled on the two north main tracks, passenger traffic over the two south main tracks). It also provided a degree of safety by aligning the current of traffic on the adjacent freight and passenger tracks to flow in the same direction.
  by BobLI
Great set of pics on the blog. I pass under those bridges on the way to Albany.