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Ulster and Delaware Railroad
Logo
System map
Locale Kingston Point, NY to Oneonta, NY, Hunter, NY & Kaaterskill, NY
Dates of operation 1875–passenger service: 1954; freight service: 1976
Track gauge 4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) (standard gauge)
Headquarters Rondout, NY

The Ulster and Delaware Railroad Company (U&D) was a Class I railroad located in New York State, headquartered in Rondout and founded in 1866. It was often advertised as "The Only All-Rail Route To the Catskill Mountains." At its greatest extent, the U&D ran from Kingston Point, on the Hudson River, through the heart of the Catskill Mountains to its western terminus at Oneonta, passing through four counties (Ulster, Delaware, Schoharie and Otsego), with branches to Kaaterskill and Hunter in Greene County. The U&D connected with five other railroads: the West Shore Railroad; Wallkill Valley Railroad; and New York, Ontario & Western in Kingston, the Delaware & Northern in Arkville, the Cooperstown & Charlotte Valley in West Davenport, and the Delaware & Hudson Railroad in Oneonta.

Although a small railroad, it was big in stature, as it went through many favored tourist hot-spots. Many elegant hotels kept business going, some of which were sponsored or built by the railroad. Besides the passenger business, there were also plenty of farms and creameries (most of them in Delaware County) as well as businesses shipping coal, stone, ice and various wood products.

One of the few downfalls were the many grades, some as steep as 4.4%. A train took almost four hours to get from Kingston Point to Oneonta, running at an average speed of only 30–40 miles per hour (48–64 km/h), although some sections permitted running at 60 miles per hour (97 km/h) or more. When roads improved and automobiles became more widely available, the advantages of train travel were nil.

Contents

History

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Rondout and Oswego Railroad

In the early 1800s waterways formed the principal transportation network in New York. An important point on this network was Rondout. Located at the confluence of the Rondout Creek and the Hudson River, in 1828 it became the eastern terminus of the Delaware and Hudson Canal. Here cargo and passengers were transferred from canal boats to the larger vessels navigating the Hudson.

By the end of the Civil War, it was clear that railroads were pre-empting waterways as the preferred method of transportation. Thomas C. Cornell, founder of the Cornell Steamboat Company and a resident of Rondout was among those who took notice. Although Cornell made plenty of money from shipping, he envisioned a railroad that would bring supplies from ports in central or western New York to his port in Rondout. So Cornell chartered the Rondout and Oswego on April 3, 1866[1], with himself as the first president.

The railroad yard at Rondout.

With the work of surveying and acquiring rights of way completed, construction started in 1868[2]. Cornell decided to construct this new railroad of 62- and 70-pound rail. It would go from Rondout to the busy city of Oneonta, and then on to Oswego on the shore of Lake Ontario. The R&O at 12 miles long reached the summer vacation hot-spot of Olive Branch, near the Town of Shokan on September 30, 1869 [3]. By the next year, the first train was run and the railroad was finally operational.

The railroad was extended to Phoenicia later in 1870 where the railroad built a stucco station across the Esopus Creek from the village.[4] The same year, ownership of the railroad was handed over to John C. Brodhead [5] and the line reached the small town of Big Indian. By 1871 construction reached Dean's Corners (now Arkville) (where it would eventually join the Delaware and Northern). However, the R&O folded upon completing construction to Roxbury, and the task of constructing the remainder of the route was left to its newly organized successor, the New York, Kingston & Syracuse (NYK&S).

Rondout and Oswego #7.

It was a very successful railroad, with plenty of passengers coming up from surrounding towns and bigger cities. Steamboat passengers could dock at Rondout and transfer to the railroad. Later, passengers could also transfer at Kingston, first via the Wallkill Valley Railroad (1872), then via the West Shore Railroad (1881), and much later via the New York, Ontario and Western Railway (1902). From the boats, it was a short walk to the R&O station to transfer to the train. Freight was also very well-handled. A lot of the freight income was made off coal shipped along the D&H Canal from the Moosic Mountains near Carbondale, Pennsylvania to the port at Rondout. There were also plenty of vegetables, fruit, and milk from the farms in the Catskills.

While steadily grading to Moresville (present-day Grand Gorge), the high number of curves and grades created a big problem, as more digging, ties and rails meant higher costs to complete the rest of the railroad. The railroad couldn't make enough money to pay off the debt and continue building the railroad, so, in 1872, Cornell appointed John A. Greene to be president pro tempore for a period of 10 years. Greene was expected to have the railroad finished to the town of Oneonta by 1874, pay all of the debts, and withstand future debts of up to $700,000. However, the railroad was slowly losing money and eventually had to cut service before going bankrupt in 1872. Later that year, it was re-organized as the New York, Kingston and Syracuse Railroad to continue with the project.[4]

New York, Kingston and Syracuse Railroad

After the Rondout and Oswego went bankrupt in 1872, it was quickly re-organized as the New York, Kingston and Syracuse Railroad (NYK&S), under the leadership of George Sharpe. The plan of going to Oswego was now gone, and the new plan was to go to Oneonta and make a sharp turn north to Earlville, New York, where it would make a connection with the recently constructed Syracuse and Chenango Valley Railroad. Construction of the railroad had immediately begun, and the railroad was extending very fast. Within the year of 1872, it had already reached the townships of Roxbury, Gilboa and Stamford, with the first train arriving in the village of Stamford late that year.

This increased service provided the first real rail route into the Catskills, benefiting both passenger and freight customers. The railroad was further benefited by the many connections to other railroads, enabling passengers from as far away as New York City to visit the Catskills (via the newly constructed Wallkill Valley Railroad and its connection to the Erie Railroad). Another boon to business was a ferry that ran across the Hudson to Rondout from Rhinebeck with a Rhinebeck and Connecticut Railroad and New York Central and Hudson River Railroad station (the current Amtrak station) connecting the cities of Hartford, Connecticut, Providence, Rhode Island and Boston, Massachusetts to the region.

The town (and later city) of Kingston, New York was extremely profitable to the railroad, due to the large number of industries, including cement, concrete, bricks and bluestone. Additionally, Kingston was also a popular passenger stop, as people would rely on the railroad to take them around the Catskills to jobs at mills and small factories.

Although this prosperity seemed good on the surface, there was bad news as well. The NYK&S still wasn’t profitable enough to steer clear of bankruptcy. So in 1873, the NYK&S designated the Farmers Loan and Trust Company as trustee for the first-mortgage bondholders of the railroad. While this helped for a short time, it was only another two years until even the trustee finally couldn't handle the railroad’s problems. So the railroad eventually went bankrupt in 1875 and was sold under foreclosure to the bank. It was re-organized as the Ulster and Delaware Railroad later that year. [4]

Ulster and Delaware Railroad

Stony Clove and Catskill Mountain Railroad

The railroad station at Lanesville, New York.

Cornell got the idea for another railroad that would start at the U&D junction in Phoenicia and go up along the Stony Clove Valley to the bustling village of Hunter, New York. He decided to call it the Stony Clove and Catskill Mountain Railroad. Unlike the U & D, it would utilize a 3 ft  (914 mm) narrow gauge which ostensibly would be cheaper to build and operate. Construction started on the railroad in 1881, with Cornell's son-in-law, Samuel Decker Coykendall, supervising construction. Originally planned as a summer-only operation serving the Ulster County communities of Phoenicia and Chichester, and the Greene County villages of Lanesville, Edgewood, and Hunter, the service was expanded to year-round operation. In addition to the major stations, there was a flagstop at Stony Clove Notch and also a station between the Notch and Hunter called Kaaterskill Junction Station (originally Tannersville Junction Station), at the junction of the Kaaterskill Railway.

The difference in gauge between the U&D and SC&CM caused difficulties in transferring rolling stock from the mainline. So, in 1882, the two companies installed a Ramsey Car Transfer Apparatus in the yard at Phoenicia. This device allowed the standard-gauge equipment to be run on the narrow-gauge line. With the apparatus, the transfer only took about eight minutes, saving the railroads lots of time and money.

Industries on this line included the William O. Schwartzwalder Furniture Factory, in the company-owned town of Chichester. Other big companies included the Fenwick Lumber Company in Edgewood and the Horatio Lockwood & Company Furniture Factory in Hunter. The railroad was taken over by the U&D in 1892, and these industries now had a new railroad to transport their products.[6]

Stony Clove & Catskill Mountain R.R. Narrow Gauge Locomotives

SC&CM Number Name Builder Type Date Works Number Remarks
See, Remarks Rhode Island Locomotive Works 4-4-0 June 1878 709 Not mentioned in S.C.&C.M. R.R. or U.&D. R.R. property & equipment subledgers.[7] If it existed, it may have been purchased in May 1881 by the construction contractors, Francis Curnan & Ernest Hochstadter of Poughkeepsie, New York. Believed to have been ex-Worcester & Shrewsbury R.R. 1st #4.[8][9] In any event, gone by September 1882.
1st #1 (1882-1886)

2nd #2 (1886-1894)

Stony Clove Dickson Manufacturing Co. 2-6-0 July 1882 358 Purchased new. Redesignated U.&D. R.R. # 2 in 1894. Sold to Chateaugay R.R. in August 1899 (Chateaugay R.R. 2nd #8). Scrapped in December 1903.
2nd #1 Hunter Dickson Manufacturing Co. 2-6-0 May 1886 530 Purchased new. Redesignated U.&D. R.R. # 1 in 1894. Sold to Chateaugay R.R. in August 1899 (Chateaugay R.R. 2nd #2). Scrapped in December 1903.
1st #2 Gretchen[10] Dickson Manufacturing Co. 2-6-0 Dec. 1878 226 Ex-Plattsburgh & Dannemora #2 (1878–1879). Ex-Chateaugay R.R. 1st #2 (1879–1881).[11] Purchased in July 1881. Sold to Dexter Hunter, a lumber merchant from Albany, New York in November 1885.

[12][13]

Kaaterskill Railroad

This was the Kaaterskill Railroad's station at Haines Corners (Haines Falls at present).

This was another three-foot gauge railroad that went from the SC&CM's Kaaterskill Junction Station, crossed the immense Light Dam Bridge (named after the electric company using the dam), and went to the bustling town of Tannersville, where over half of the freight on the Kaaterskill Railroad was handled. After this, it crossed a six-span bridge, the biggest on the line, before reaching Haines Falls. There, it reached a pathway up to the elegant Laurel House, where there was another station, and a view of Kaaterskill Falls. Finally, it reached Kaaterskill, where the competing Catskill & Tannersville paralleled the line. The C&T also served as a 0.93-mile extension to the Otis Summit Station. This station was at the western end of the Otis Elevating Railway, which went up the Catskill Escarpment to the famous Catskill Mountain House.

The KRR was taken over by the U&D in 1892. A year later, in 1893, the Catskill and Tannersville Railway obtained trackage rights to the KRR. It also leased the entire line, including the rest of its own right-of-way (ROW), to the Catskill Mountain House. The C&T used the KRR's locomotives and equipment, allowing passengers a direct ride to the Mountain House.[6]

Kaaterskill R.R. Narrow Gauge Locomotives

KRR Number Name Builder Type Date Works Number Remarks
#1 Rip Van Winkle Dickson Manufacturing Co. 2-6-0 May 1883 423 Purchased new. Redesignated U.&D. R.R. # 3 in 1894. Sold to F. M. Hicks & Co. in June 1900. Resold to Birmingham Rail & Locomotive Co. in April 1905. Resold to Crystal River Lumber Co., Florida in May 1905.
#2 Derrick Van Brummel Brooks Locomotive Works 2-6-0 June 1883 936 Purchased new. Redesignated U.&D. R.R. # 5 in 1894. Sold to F. M. Hicks & Co. in June 1900.
#3 Thomas Cornell Dickson Manufacturing Co. 2-6-0 Feb. 1883 411 Originally Chateaugay Ore & Iron Co. #8 (Dannemora). Purchased by the Kaaterskill R.R. from New York Equipment Co. in July 1893. Redesignated U.&D. R.R. # 4 in 1894. Sold to Empire Steel & Iron Co. in August 1899. Resold later in August 1899 to the Otis Engineering & Construction Co. for use on the Catskill & Tannersville Ry. (1st #2).[14] C.&T. Ry. 1st #2 became stationary boiler at Otis Summit, New York between July 1, 1901 and June 30, 1902.

[13][15]

Ulster and Delaware Railroad

U&D #20 at Rondout. It was an inspection engine, and also had a distinctive whistle that signaled paydays.

The Ulster and Delaware wasn't at the peak of Cornell's interests. He had completed the Rhinebeck and Connecticut Railroad in 1870, along with chartering the Kaaterskill Railroad in 1884. He was also the president of the Wallkill Valley Railroad. Because he was preoccupied with these other railroads, he ordered other railroads to be chartered to go to Oneonta. His first attempt was the Hobart Branch Railroad, which would start at Stamford and then go to Oneonta. However, it only made it to Hobart in 1884 before it was incorporated into the U&D later that year. His next attempt was the Delaware and Otsego Railroad, which was also incorporated into the U&D by 1887. Since neither of these attempts worked, Cornell refocused his attention on the Ulster and Delaware. He continued with its construction until his death in 1890.

The next year (1891), Edwin Young took the presidency. He kept the railroad from being sold to a bigger railroad until he died in 1893. After Young, the railroad would go through presidents Horace Greeley Young and Robert C. Pruyn, each having a one-year term, until it got a new president in 1895:[5] Cornell's stepson, Samuel Decker Coykendall. In 1895, the eastern terminus was extended from Rondout to Kingston Point, where steamboats could dock and directly transfer passengers: another town eventually incorporated into Kingston. However, it took five more years before the railroad finally got to Oneonta, in 1900.[4]

The U&D took over the Stony Clove and Catskill Mountain Railroad and the Kaaterskill Railroad in 1892, and ran them as the Narrow Gauge Division. However, between 1898 and 1899, the Narrow Gauge Division was converted to standard gauge and fully incorporated into the U&D in 1903. After the Stony Clove and Catskill Mountain Railroad and the Kaaterskill Railway became part of the Ulster & Delaware, they quickly became the busiest parts of the line. The Stony Clove and Kaaterskill Branch was the combination of the portion of the SC&CM up to Kaaterskill Junction Station, and the Kaaterskill Railroad. This branch was 19 miles (30.5 km) long, and had ten stations. The Hunter Branch, the shortest branch on the line at only 2.66 miles (4.3 km), was the part of the SC&CM that went from Kaaterskill Junction Station to Hunter. It only had two stations, but was quite steep, with the entire branch having a 4.4% incline.[6]

The station at Brown's Station, New York, was one of six stations that gave way for the Ashokan Reservoir.

In 1908, the City of New York purchased 12 miles of the Esopus Valley, a valley that had been gouged-out by Esopus Creek. The area of land that New York City purchased only stretched from Boiceville, New York to West Hurley, New York. This would be used to create the Ashokan Reservoir: a reservoir that would be used to supply New York City with drinking water. However, the mainline of the U&D ran right through the middle of the valley, with six stations. Ironically, the U&D carried supplies from different points to Brown's Station, which would be used to help make the Olivebridge Dam at Olivebridge, New York. When the project was finished, and the reservoir was about to be flooded, the railroad received $1,500,000 and relocated 12.45 miles (20 km) of track, while replacing the previously-existing 64- and 70-pound (35- and 38.5.-kg) rails with 90-pound (49.5 kg) rails from Kingston to Grand Gorge.[4]

A year after the Olivebridge Dam was completed in 1912, railroad president Samuel Coykendall died and the railroad was handed-down to Samuel's son, Thomas C. Coykendall. The new president, however, retired from office the same year, and ownership of the railroad was given to one of his relatives, Edward Coykendall, who would eventually sell the railroad to the New York Central on February 1, 1932.[5] The stations at Kelly's Corners and West Davenport were abandoned by the railroad in 1923, as they never generated much business, and the Kingston Point Station was abandoned in 1924, when steamships stopped toting passengers up and down the Hudson River. Cars and trucks starting growing in popularity over the next decade, sapping the railroad of more revenue. Finally, the Great Depression struck in 1929, and many people didn't have enough money to buy a train ticket or to pay to keep their products in one of the freight houses. As a result, the railroad lost a considerable amount of money, finally going bankrupt in 1932.[4]

New York Central Railroad

Steam era

The NYC wanted to incorporate three midwestern railroads into its system; the Michigan Central, the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railway, and the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern. They were already leased by the NYC, but not fully absorbed into the system because the Interstate Commerce Commission prohibited it. Eventually, the ICC hinted that, if the NYC bought and ran the U&D, they might let it buy the other railroads. The NYC scoffed at the idea, as the U&D wasn't important enough for it, but wanted to buy the other railroads. Thus, it finally purchased the U&D in late 1931 for a price of $2,500,000, and incorporated it into the NYC on February 1, 1932.

The New York Central renamed the U&D the Catskill Mountain Branch; the Stony Clove and Kaaterskill Branch was shortened to the Kaaterskill Branch; and the Hunter Branch kept its name. The roundhouse at Rondout was destroyed, with a sewer plant taking its place; the station, however, was still in use. They also slowed-down trains to 35 miles per hour (56 km/h) on the main line, and to 25 miles per hour (40 km/h) on the branches. The stations at Chichester, Lanesville and Edgewood were shut down; the Stony Clove Notch flagstop was entirely destroyed, and the siding taken out; and the stations at Kaaterskill Junction, Haines Falls, Kaaterskill and the Laurel House became summer-only stations. While the main line still had year-round stations, only the stations of Tannersville and Hunter on the branches were. This excluded the West Davenport Station, which had already been closed down in 1923 and eventually burned down ten years later, in 1933. The station at Kelly's Corners was also abandoned in the 1920s, and was eventually demolished upon the widening of State Route 30 in the early 1960s.[6][16]

As for locomotives, Ulster and Delaware #2, 8, 12-14, 16-18, 20, 24 and 29 were deemed worthless, and were scrapped by the New York Central during the takeover in 1932. The other U&D locomotives had been either scrapped or sold off in the earlier years. However, they kept locomotives #19, 21-23, 25-28 and 30-41, and renumbered them #800-818 in 1936, as the turntables in front of the stations were too small for the regular NYC locomotives and the ex-U&D engines were the only ones with mountain-gear brakes that were specially-designed for the steep grades in the Catskill Mountains. These locomotives were assigned as "class Fx" and "class Fx light". Locomotive #31, however, was deemed unreliable by the Central, which sent it to West Albany in 1933 to be scrapped, becoming the first of the heavier U&D locomotives to go. It also introduced two new locomotives to the branch: NYC Moguls #1013 and 1076. They were the only NYC engines run on the CMB and the smaller branches until diesels took over.

Two "Fx light" locomotives (NYC #800 & 805, former U&D #19 & 26) working a freight train on the Wallkill Valley Branch near Gardiner, New York.

The NYC's "Fx light" class locomotives (#800-807, ex-U&D #19, 21-23 & 25-28), were assigned to work on the Wallkill Valley Branch of the New York Central, which used to be the Wallkill Valley Railroad, as well as working on the CMB. These engines were light, yet powerful, which was what the branch needed; the high and frail Rosendale Bridge in Rosendale, New York had always been plagued with weight restrictions, as the material used to build it in the 1870s, and then to rebuild it in 1895, was not strong enough to hold a modern locomotive. The locomotives the NYC had been using on the WVB were "Class C" 4-4-0s, and were not as powerful as the U&D's 4-6-0s. They tried using the Fx-light locomotives on the Wallkill Valley Branch, with great success. Two Fx-lights could easily haul a 40-car train on the branch safely across the bridge. They were a lifesaver, and were extensively used until the Central tried out light diesel locomotives on it, and replaced the Fx-light locomotives as the main source of power on the WVB.[4]

NYC #815 (former U&D #38) at Kaaterskill Junction Station a few months before abandonment of the branches.

Between the complaints from passengers of the seemingly-endless trip from Phoenicia to Kaaterskill or Hunter (as the speed limit on the branches was 25 miles per hour (40 km/h)), and the cost of the operation, the railroad applied for and got permission from the ICC to abandon the Kaaterskill and Hunter branches in 1939. The New York Central finally scrapped the branches in 1940. The branches were but a memory, the bridges were gone and the stations now nothing but abandoned rubbish. Only two of them survive to this day: the Hunter Station, now a house, and the Haines Falls Station, now a museum.[6]

Diesel era

Steam locomotives were used exclusively on the CMB and the WVB since 1932, and were used for 17 years after that. However, the Central tried diesel locomotives on the Wallkill Valley and the Catskill Mountain Branches in 1948, and found that they performed better due to not having to make water stops. NYC #809 was scrapped in 1945, locomotives #800 & 807 were scrapped in 1946, locomotives #802, 804 & 811 were sent to West Albany in 1948, leaving only locomotives #801, 803, 805-806, 808, 810 & 812-818, which were then renamed NYC #1218, 1220-1223 & 1225-1231, with #801 keeping its number. The engines that had been scrapped in 1948 were supposed to be renamed as NYC #1217, 1219 & 1224, but weren't reassigned before being scrapped. The last steam engine to run over the CMB was NYC #1226 (ex-NYC #813, and ex-U&D #36). Soon after, all of the remaining U&D steam locomotives were sent to Ashtabula, Ohio to be scrapped, in 1949.[16] After that, the branch lines were diesel-only, not seeing another steam engine until a three-mile tourist line from Oneonta to a bridge near West Davenport opened in the 1960s.

The line was entirely dieselized by 1949, and passenger service soon ended on March 31, 1954, relegating the CMB to freight service-only. The Arkville station was nearly destroyed by a runaway milk truck in the 1960s, and the NYC tore the remains of the station down. Kingston Union Station was abandoned after the end of West Shore passenger service, in 1959.[16] The NYC then got permission from the ICC to abandon the portion from Bloomville to Oneonta in 1965, and scrapped the abandoned portion in 1966.

Penn Central Transportation

After the abandonment, there were heated rumors that the branch was now going to be sold to the Pennsylvania Railroad, the NYC's fierce competitor. However, the PRR ended up merging with the NYC in 1968, forming the Penn Central Transportation Company. The branch's western terminus was now at Bloomville, and the route from Kingston to Rondout was in great disrepair, with only three customers keeping the line open.

The Penn Central regularly ran trains, but with diminishing frequency. Eventually, there was only one train a week each way. Generally, trains ran to Stamford or Hobart and tied up. On the following day, they would return to Kingston. However, there were frequent derailments on the branch, and the train would have to go so slow, to prevent derailments, that it would sometimes take days for a single train to travel over the line. PC replaced some ties to help with the derailment problems, but that only helped a little bit. The rails were also a problem, as they were so old and deteriorated that they were at risk of collapse. After many problems with running the branch, the PC filed a petition with the ICC to abandon the branch. Fortunately, the branch was never abandoned. The ICC permitted PC to discontinue service in September,1976[4], but the tracks were sold to Ulster County and the Towns in Schoharie and Delaware Counties (the latter via the A. Lindsay and Olive B. O'Connor Foundation, of Delhi, New York) without ever being abandoned.

Conrail

Also that year, a portion of the branch from Rondout to Kingston was operated by Conrail. The remainder was in extremely poor condition, and was under state ownership. Conrail's portion was used to transport goods from the remaining customers of the branch to the junction at Kingston. From there, the goods would be transferred to the River Division (former West Shore) for shipment to either Selkirk or New Jersey. Conrail operated this small portion until 1979, when it decided it was no longer profitable.[4]

Kingston Terminal Railroad

In 1980, the Kingston Terminal Railroad was organized by the Delaware Otsego Corporation to operate the approximately 5 miles of track between what is now the CSX River Division and Hudson Cement in East Kingston. However, Hudson Cement closed in 1980 and the Kingston Terminal Railroad was dissolved, having never operated a single train.

Present condition

Ulster County

Starting at Kingston Point, Milepost 0, the Trolley Museum of New York operates the remaining trackage in Kingston east of the CSX River Line, up to about Milepost 2.4. The line in this section is owned by the City of Kingston and leased to the Trolley Museum. The Trolley Museum is focused on the preservation of the use of trolleys and restoration of the old U&D Rondout Yard. It rebuilt the engine house in 1987, and the idea of rebuilding the utility building and the station has been suggested. The Museum currently operates from MP 0, Kingston Point, to MP 1, Rondout Yard, with a branch along the Strand. The track from MP 2.4 to 2.8 has been removed and the right-of-way sold to private parties.

The next segment of the line, from MP 2.8 in Kingston to MP 41.4 at the Delaware County line, is owned by Ulster County, which bought it from the Penn Central in 1979. The Catskill Mountain Railroad leases this portion of the line from Ulster County, and operates a tourist train from Phoenicia, MP 27.5, to Cold Brook Station, MP 22.1. The tracks between Kingston and Cold Brook have been cleared for track car use, and are being upgraded for full train service from Kingston west towards Phoenicia, and are currently usable by trains east of MP 5.0 (Bridge C9), and from MP 21.3 (Bridge C30) to 27.9. The Catskill Mountain Railroad commenced operations in Kingston in December 2008. Two bridges in need of repair separate the two ends of the railroad, one at MP 5 and the other at MP 21.3. Funds are being sought to repair these bridges and continue track upgrades so the line can be fully restored from Kingston to Phoenicia.

The CMRR is also restoring a steam engine, former LS&I 23, owned by the Empire State Railway Museum, to eventually run the line from Kingston to Phoenicia.

The portion of the line between Phoenicia, MP 27.9, and Highmount, MP 41.4, also leased by the Catskill Mountain Railroad, is isolated by six large washouts west of Phoenicia, and has not seen a train since regular service ended in October, 1976. However, a 2.5-mile section of the line, between Giggle Hollow (MP 38.9) and Highmount, home to the scenic "double horseshoe curve", was cleared for track car use in 2006 by a joint team of members from the Trolley Museum of New York, Catskill Mountain Railroad and Ulster & Delaware Railroad Historical Society. Another section from just east of Big Indian (MP 35.83) to Shandaken (MP 33.51) was cleared in 2009. More of this section will be cleared for track car use as time permits.

The abandoned right-of-way from the Hunter and Kaaterskill branches in Ulster County can still be walked, despite all but one of the bridges being removed (there is only one surviving bridge on the branches, near the Ulster County-Greene County border line, which is privately owned). There is also a washout along the old right-of-way in Chichester that has exposed the soft, delicate clay underneath, and is very difficult to walk on.

Delaware County

The Delaware and Ulster Railroad (DURR), based in Arkville, MP 48.1, currently runs tourist trains from Highmount to Roxbury, MP 59.1. Currently the DURR's operations are limited to the portion between Arkville and Roxbury, as the line to Highmount is out of service due to a weak bridge abutment east of Arkville.

The pride of the DURR is the "Rip Van Winkle Flyer": a five-car Budd streamlined train used for charters.

The regular train is powered by former D&H 5017, an Alco RS-36, and consists of two flatcars and three former PRR MP-54 coaches (441, 444, and 447) lettered for the New York Central.

Other engines at the DURR consist of Alco S-4s 1012 and 5106 and GE 44-tonner No. 76. Currently under restoration is the "Red Heifer" a Model 250 Brill Gas-Electric, formerly NYC M-405.

In Roxbury, the Roxbury Station is being restored by the Ulster & Delaware Railroad Historical Society. The museum is open, showcasing many artifacts and displays from the railroads mentioned above.

The Ulster & Delaware Railroad Historical Society owns former NYO&W "Bobber" Caboose #8206, built at the NYO&W Middletown Shops in 1906, and former BEDT 14, an H. K. Porter, Inc Locomotive Works 0-6-0T steam locomotive, built in August 1920 at their facility in Pittsburgh, PA. Both are presently being restored by the Society.

The Delaware County ROW from Highmount to Bloomville is owned by the Catskill Revitalization Corporation.

The track ends at Hubbell Corners, MP 60.2, where the ROW becomes a rail trail that extends to Bloomville, MP 86.2, called the Catskill Scenic Trail.

As for the stations in Delaware County, the Halcottville Station, MP 53.0, was cut in half, with the passenger side moved a few hundred feet, where it serves as a shed on private property, and the freight side moved to Arkville, where it is now a tool shed for the Delaware and Ulster Railroad. Both the Arkville and Fleischmanns stations are gone, but the freight houses have survived. The DURR uses the Arkville freight house as its passenger station. The Kelly's Corners station was acquired by NYSDOT in 1964 and bulldozed during the reconstruction of State Route 30. The station at Stamford has been restored, is owned by the CRC, owners of DURR, and used for offices. The stations at South Kortright, MP 81.5, East Meredith, MP 97.9, and Davenport Center, MP 103.2, are currently private dwellings, with the railbed in front of them also being privately owned.

Interstate 88 was planned in the 1970s to go from Schenectady, New York to Binghamton, New York, although the original plans suggested that it go to New England and near the Atlantic Coast. The portion that was constructed covers a portion of the U&D's right-of-way in the township of Oneonta, where it connects with New York State Route 28.

Schoharie County

The South Gilboa Station, MP 70.6, is the only station on the remainder of the U&D, and it is in poor condition. It is still in its original spot, between the Delaware County stations of Grand Gorge and Stamford. The old right-of-way in front of it is part of the Catskill Scenic Trail. It is also one of two other U&D railroad stations that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Town of Gilboa Historical Society has proposed that the South Gilboa station should have a full cosmetic restoration. However, this is only a proposal, and it is unclear whether or not it will take place.

Otsego County

The final station at Oneonta, MP 106.9, was part of a tourist line called the "Delaware and Otsego Railroad" that was created shortly after that portion was abandoned, in the late 1960s. It ran trains from Oneonta station to a bridge that crossed Charlotte Creek a little way from the old site of the West Davenport Station. It is currently a pub/restaurant called "The Depot". The line from Bloomville, MP 86.2, to Oneonta, MP 106.9, which was abandoned in 1965, with rails being removed shortly thereafter, is currently in the hands of private owners.[4]

Greene County

The Greene County portion of the branches, which were torn up in 1940, along with the smaller portion of the branches in Ulster County, remain as overgrown paths and bridge abutments, with an occasional road covering the ROW. New York State Route 214 overlaps the former alignment at Stony Clove Notch. However, a two-mile section of the line from Bloomer Road to Clum Hill Road in Tannersville has been converted into a rail trail, known locally as the "Huckleberry Trail". There are also a few bridge piers, such as one on the southern side of the Esopus Creek in Phoenicia, one in Chichester (both in Ulster County), and two in Edgewood.

There are only two surviving stations on what used to be the branches. The Hunter Station, branch MP 2.5, is now a private dwelling. The Haines Falls Station, branch MP 18.5, is currently the headquarters of the Mountain Top Historical Society.

For more information about the disposition of the rest of the stations on the line, see the List of Ulster and Delaware Railroad Stations.

Narrow Gauge Coaches

The coaches that ran on the Narrow Gauge Division had been built by Jackson & Sharp Co. in 1881 and 1883. In June 1900, they were sold to F. M. Hicks & Co. of Chicago, Illinois.[12][15] In May 1901, Hicks resold four of the coaches to the White Pass and Yukon Route (WP&YR ##218, 220, 222, and 224).[17] Under White Pass ownership, these cars have been rebuilt several times. Before Rebuilding. They remain in operation.[18]

See also

References

  1. ^ Best, Gerald M. (1972). THE ULSTER AND DELAWARE: Railroad Through The Catskills.. San Marino, California: Golden West Books. pp. 19. ISBN 87095-041-X. 
  2. ^ Best, Gerald M. (1972). THE ULSTER AND DELAWARE: Railroad Through The Catskills.. San Marino, California: Golden West Books. pp. 21. ISBN 87095-041-X. 
  3. ^ Best, Gerald M. (1972). THE ULSTER AND DELAWARE: Railroad Through The Catskills.. San Marino, California: Golden West Books. pp. 22. ISBN 87095-041-X. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j John M. Ham, Robert K. Bucenec (2003), The Old "Up and Down" Catskill Mountain Branch of the New York Central, Stony Clove & Catskill Mountain Press
  5. ^ a b c Delaware, Ulster & Greene County NY Railroad Information (website), courtesy of Phillip M. Goldstein
  6. ^ a b c d e John M. Ham, Robert K. Bucenec (2002), Light Rail and Short Ties Through the Notch: The Stony Clove & Catskill Mountain Railroad and Her Steam Legacy, Stony Clove & Catskill Mountain Press. ISBN 0-9720709-0-7.
  7. ^ Ulster & Delaware R.R. property & equipment subledgers (unpublished), New York Central R.R. Co. Records, Special Collections, Syracuse University Library.
  8. ^ Best, Gerald M. (1972). The Ulster and Delaware: Railroad Through the Catskills. Golden West Books. ISBN 87095-041-X. 
  9. ^ The Worcester & Shrewsbury R.R. reported four locomotives to Poor’s Manual on September 30, 1879, and reported three locomotives to Poor’s on September 30, 1881.
  10. ^ “Gretchen” was the name of Rip Van Winkle's wife in then-contemporary stage plays and operettas.
  11. ^ Shaughnessy, Jim (1967). Delaware & Hudson. Howell-North Books. LCCN 67-31427. 
  12. ^ a b PASSIM, Stony Clove & Catskill Mountain R.R. Miscellaneous Companies & Persons Subledger (Volume 208, unpublished), S.C.&C.M. R.R. Construction & Equipment Subledger (Volume 209, unpublished), Penn Central Transportation Co. Records, Manuscripts and Archives Division, New York Public Library. (Note: the N.Y.P.L. erroneously lists the S.C.&C.M. R.R. subledgers as “Boxes” 208 and 209; they should be listed as “Volumes” 208 and 209.)
  13. ^ a b PASSIM, Best, Gerald M. (1966). Locomotives of the Dickson Manufacturing Company. Golden West Books. LCCN 66-25059. 
  14. ^ This possible disposition is based on the appearance of the locomotive acting as a stationary boiler, which appears on a postcard published about 1910. This postcard shows C.&T. Ry. Loco 2nd #2 and one passenger car waiting to leave the station at Otis Summit. The stationary boiler locomotive appears to the left of the passenger car. The appearance of the stationary boiler locomotive resembles the Thomas Cornell. Coincidentally, the sale of the Thomas Cornell occurred in the same month as the appearance of C.&T. Ry. 1st #2.
  15. ^ a b PASSIM, Kaaterskill R.R. Construction & Equipment Subledger (unpublished), New York Central R.R. Co. Records, Special Collections, Syracuse University Library.
  16. ^ a b c John M. Ham, Robert K. Bucenec (2005), The Grand Old Stations and Steam Locomotives of the Ulster & Delaware, Stony Clove & Catskill Mountain Press
  17. ^ Special Report: White Pass & Yukon Route 1901 (unpublished), and Record of Vouchers (unpublished, 1900–1901), Yukon Archives, Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada
  18. ^ Roberts, Earl W. and David P. Stremes (editors) (2008). Canadian Trackside Guide 2008. Bytown Railway Society. ISSN 0829-3023. 

More Reading

THE ULSTER AND DELAWARE: Railroad Through The Catskills. Gerald M. Best. 1972; Golden West Books; San Marino, California; 210 Pages w/Index. ISBN 87095-041-X.

External links


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