Noel Weaver wrote:Dewitt made lots of sense back in the 1920's before the big improvements in the Albany area. I think a better question would bey why did Dewitt stay open as a hump yard for so long? Railroading thrives on moving freight and not having cars classified every 150 to 300 miles. Selkirk was and still is a top location for classifying cars. They come in from the west and south and get switched to trains going beyond in all directions as well as interchange to the Delaware and Hudson/CP/NS. Dewitt was not really downgraded until Conrail. It is a good location for an IM terminal which today is its most important function.
Penn Central probably kept Dewitt open to try and keep Selkirk fluid. During its first few years of operations, Selkirk was a real operational headache for Penn Central and it probably made sense to keep Dewitt open if it meant preventing an operational snarl in Albany.
Noel Weaver wrote:We also have to remember that way back when the New York Central was building yards there was much more local and close by business to Dewitt as well as the other points along the mainline.
Noel Weaver wrote:Rochester does not justify and probably never did justify any sort of a major terminal, there is some local business but even back in the 1950's interchange freight could be better handled elsewhere, with the exception of the New York Central everything else in and close to Rochester was branch lines with limited facilities and limited service.
While I fully agree with you about Rochester's location not being ideal for a major yard (as BR&P said, it's too close to Buffalo and too far from Albany), I'm going to have to disagree with you on there being more local business in Syracuse than in Rochester. Back in its heyday, Rochester had a significantly larger industrial base than Syracuse (enclosed is a map from the Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States
, which was published circa. 1933). Rochester was home to five railroads, while Syracuse was only home to two. In both cities, however, the Central was the dominant carrier and the only one not to serve via. a branchline.
Noel Weaver wrote:Mr. Crane was absolutely on the mark when he said we want cars moving on the mainline and not sitting around in a yard.
Those Southern boys were pretty good when it came to building hump yards. See Sheffield, Brosnan, DeButts, Norris, Spencer, etc.