Unfinished Railroads of New York State

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Unfinished Railroads of New York State

Postby RussNelson » Tue Jan 23, 2007 1:52 am

I'm going to start keeping a list of unfinished railroads of New York State.
http://russnelson.com/unfinished-railroads.html

All suggestions cheerfully entertained.
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Postby nydepot » Tue Jan 23, 2007 7:44 am

On the RN&P: Only one section was constructed - Rosses to Sonyea. The section that became the PS&N (Swain south) was only graded. Predecessors of the PS&N did the actual construction and by then it had been sold off at the RN&P auction.

The sections north of Cuylerville were graded along with some masonry work.

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Postby Otto Vondrak » Tue Jan 23, 2007 11:00 am

Russ- can you be more specific? Are you only looking for railroads that actually began tangible construction?

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Postby calorosome » Tue Jan 23, 2007 11:45 am

The O&W book To the Mountains by Rail talks of an urban trolley line that never went beyond grading, but I'm not sure that was located in NYS.

Would this include surveyed routes that were never built? DL&W surveyed a route from Clarks Summit to Nichols, they built the cutoff instead. The book covering Ithaca RRs (I forget the title) covers some lines that never saw completion.
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Postby pablo » Tue Jan 23, 2007 12:06 pm

i don't know if we're doing just railroads and not trolley lines, but the Panama Traction Company was graded and rails never laid, even though they were in stacks for decades in the woods.

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Postby RussNelson » Tue Jan 23, 2007 1:21 pm

Otto Vondrak wrote:Russ- can you be more specific? Are you only looking for railroads that actually began tangible construction?


Yes. There's paper railroads at one end of the spectrum, and there are railroads that actually had ties, rails, and ran trains over them. I'm fascinated by the ones where they invested money in construction, but never got to the operational stage.

Thanks for the suggestions so far. My goal is to include every graded bit in my database at http://russnelson.com/nyrr/ .
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Postby FarmallBob » Tue Jan 23, 2007 1:29 pm

nydepot wrote:On the RN&P: Only one section was constructed - Rosses to Sonyea.


Charles - Did the northern section of the RN&P (Nunda thru Tuscarora to Sonyea) follow the route of the abandoned canal, and later become a section of the Genesee Valley Canal RR? Or did it take a different route down the Keshequa Creek valley?

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Postby scottychaos » Tue Jan 23, 2007 1:31 pm

When the Erie was building west through Waverly, NY in the 1850's they started grading straight for the Chemung River on the west side of Waverly..they then abandoned that grading and instead built the current route staying on the north side of the chemung river.

No trace of that Erie grading today..Route 17 scraped the area clean.but I know it was built.
probably only a mile or so..I dont think they crossed the river, and I dont think rails were ever laid on the grading.

The DL&W then ended up using the short bit of Erie grading (or very close to it) decades later,
and then did cross the Chemung river near where the Erie once originally intended to.

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Postby nydepot » Tue Jan 23, 2007 2:56 pm

Here's a clue: The RN&P was built in 1872. The canal closed at the end of the 1878 season.

The RN&P follows and veers away from the canal from Nunda to Sonyea. The RN&P route became the GVCRR route.

So while nothing more than construction trains and local dignitary trains ran on the RN&P, they could have watched the packet boats pass by, especially in the more confined areas north of Tuscarora.

Charles

FarmallBob wrote:
nydepot wrote:On the RN&P: Only one section was constructed - Rosses to Sonyea.


Charles - Did the northern section of the RN&P (Nunda thru Tuscarora to Sonyea) follow the route of the abandoned canal, and later become a section of the Genesee Valley Canal RR? Or did it take a different route down the Keshequa Creek valley?

...Bob
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MY GOD ARE YOU CALLING FOR A LARGE ORDER

Postby henry6 » Tue Jan 23, 2007 3:30 pm

My God are you calling for a large order! Where and when do you want to begin and end? The Erie and Central NY was built from Cinncinnatus to Cortland with much bigger intentions but ended up in the DL&W portfolio. There are probably near a thousand stories like that! Plus, there were thousand of charters granted and never worked and more that were but have gone and more that...it is a mind boggling exercise. Do check the History of Railroads of Tompkins County for a glimpse of what I am talking about. Then, read every history of every railroad of the state and of neighboring states. Then hit the State Legislative Records, etc. for what has been missed there; stop by every county court house, too, for what's not in Albany. Then check deeds in every town for what were big dreams in a long ago time. One could spend to eternity and never track them all down and make sense of them all, too!
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Re: MY GOD ARE YOU CALLING FOR A LARGE ORDER

Postby RussNelson » Tue Jan 23, 2007 3:44 pm

henry6 wrote:My God are you calling for a large order! Where and when do you want to begin and end?


Begin where there are any physical remains, and end where rails were laid. In other words, I want to make a record of everything with ruins to view.
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Re: MY GOD ARE YOU CALLING FOR A LARGE ORDER

Postby nydepot » Tue Jan 23, 2007 3:45 pm

Russ kind of answered this a few posts above by saying RRs that got some grading or basic physical work done but never went further than that. No trains ever ran. There are still lots of RRs that got graded and never turned a wheel.

Looking into what paper RRs would take a lifetime!

Charles



henry6 wrote:My God are you calling for a large order! Where and when do you want to begin and end? The Erie and Central NY was built from Cinncinnatus to Cortland with much bigger intentions but ended up in the DL&W portfolio. There are probably near a thousand stories like that! Plus, there were thousand of charters granted and never worked and more that were but have gone and more that...it is a mind boggling exercise. Do check the History of Railroads of Tompkins County for a glimpse of what I am talking about. Then, read every history of every railroad of the state and of neighboring states. Then hit the State Legislative Records, etc. for what has been missed there; stop by every county court house, too, for what's not in Albany. Then check deeds in every town for what were big dreams in a long ago time. One could spend to eternity and never track them all down and make sense of them all, too!
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BUT BY LOOKING INTO

Postby henry6 » Tue Jan 23, 2007 4:45 pm

But by looking into charters never built will lead you to many ruins which are unidentified otherwise. Nearby, in Warren Center, PA, there is roadbed and tiles for the chartered Pittsburgh, Bingahmton and Eastern (or a remnant thereofe) which you would not know if you did'nt know the charter existed; a farmer there thought that if he built up the roadbed the railroad would come! Another road built up from Camptown, PA to Vestal, NY. You would only know to look for something if you knew the charter existed. That's why the Tompkins County book is an important first step. There were a lot of farmers who voluntarily graded for a railroad that never got chartered or not started. Some of these roadbeds and tiles are less than a hundred years old!

And on a similar note, how about the Midland route up from Freeville to Auburn? That was built, was run, was abandoned, was partially used again, and abandoned again.

A friend of mine showed me the deed to his property that stated that the P.B.&E had an easement at one time through part of what is now his property. But look at the property. You'll find an airport, a golf course, a sewage treatment plant, a landfill, a road, and a railroad. I bet a look more closely at vintage maps and walking the area may...or may not...explain something.

This is not a slam at Russ's project at all, but rather a challange to anyone who wants to take it up. Happy hunting and enjoy another part of this hobby we call "railfanning"!
Last edited by henry6 on Wed Jan 24, 2007 11:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: BUT BY LOOKING INTO

Postby RussNelson » Tue Jan 23, 2007 6:13 pm

henry6 wrote:But by looking into charters never built will lead you to many ruins which are unidentified otherwise. .... And on a similar note, how about the Midland route up from Freeville to Auburn? That was built, was run, was abandoned, was partially used again, and abandoned again.


Good point about the charters. I agree with you that it's practically impossible to catch every railroad that even had a little built. I just want to get together a list of known unfinished railroads.

Do you know anything more about that Vestal route? From the terrain, it looks like it had to have gone up the Choconut Creek valley.

No, the Midland doesn't count! It had rails and trains. Nothing wrong with them, of course, but that disqualifies it from being unfinished.
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A CORRECTION FIRST

Postby henry6 » Wed Jan 24, 2007 11:12 am

Correction: I meant WARREN CENTER, PA rather than Warren.

The lines were either coming from Camptown to Lawton to St. Joseph's to Vestal along the Choconut Valley then east to Binghamton. OR over the hills through Warren Center to Little Meadows and north along Apalachin Creek then east along the Susquehanna. Up until the time I saw my friends deed from Endicott, I always believed these projects were to go along the south bank of the Susquehanna, possibly using the never used Chenango Canal Extension bed, to Binghamton then crossing the river there. But my friends deed with the easment would put the railroad accross the river from the Ross Corners section of Vestal in the far western part of the Town of Union.

And don't forget the Northern Electric, the trolley line out of Scranton via Montrose, who's roadbed was shown on topo maps of Broome County through the '70's...the 1970's.
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