Utica Branch Discussion Thread

Discussion related to New York, Susquehanna & Western operations past and present. Also includes some discussion related to Deleware Otsego owned and operated shortlines. Official web site can be found here: NYSW.COM.

Moderators: GOLDEN-ARM, NJ Vike

cjvrr
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Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2004 11:47 pm
Location: Morris County, NJ

Post by cjvrr »

Got some info through a friend who works for the NYS&W. Line has 26 separate washouts / washovers. No time frame yet for repairs, but no talk of abandonment.

Again my guess is they are waiting for insurance money, FEMA money, or a combination of the two.
CV the Civil E

RichM
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Post by RichM »

I'm pretty sure they're self-insured up to a certain dollar figure, and I'm also pretty sure Mr. Rich and the boys can shake the tree in Albany to cover what FEMA won't. Just a matter of the counties making some sort of economic necessity or revitalization claims... it wasn't named Delaware Otsego just because those were pleasant sounding names...

ANDY117
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Location: Forgotten in a siding

Post by ANDY117 »

Flash Flood warning today for Chenango county.

JoeCollege
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Location: Put in the corner by Otto.

Post by JoeCollege »

RichM wrote:.. it wasn't named Delaware Otsego just because those were pleasant sounding names...
It also wasn't named that because it traverses those counties. The line in question traverses Oneida, Madison, Chenango, and Broome counties. Saw plenty of wash outs in the Brisben area today.

RichM
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Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 8:04 am

Post by RichM »

Thanks for the geography lesson.

Point is, Joe, that Mr. Rich is tight with the county folks and the respective political machines in several New York counties, as well as New Jersey... so money tends to appear when the railroad makes the case for it.

JoeCollege
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Post by JoeCollege »

RichM, I wasn't trying to be condescending. Forgive the tone of the post if it sounded so.

I would agree about Mr. Rich, but would add a point- he is much more politically connected at the state and federal levels. Being involved as I am in municpal government (elected position) in one of the counties I listed I can assure you Mr. Rich has few fans in the region. He and NYSW are seen as arrogant and quite pushy. I understand he has a business to run but his methods are maddening at times for those in the region.

Bottom line, I'd like the line restored, customers recruited, and the power line project killed.

RichM
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Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 8:04 am

Post by RichM »

OK, all is forgiven, you had no way of knowing how much or little I know of the area. And I'm sorry if I snapped back.

I appreciate your insight from another viewpoint as well. Interesting in that I would have expected the Cooperstown folks to work with the communities in attracting or retaining businesses. Maybe this explains the lack of meaningful effort to get repairs underway quickly, with the promise of reimbursement in the future.

Don't want to add salt to the wound, I saw a petition in Bainbridge to stop the power line... what's the beef, and could the railroad and the powerline co-exist?

cjvrr
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Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2004 11:47 pm
Location: Morris County, NJ

Post by cjvrr »

A couple days later and now more bad news from my source after speaking with an offical at the railroad.

The line below Sherburne is closed. The NYS&W is NOT planning to reopen the line. They are looking to sell the remaining portion of the line to another shortline operator.

The Volunteer Railroaders Association had been set to run a two day NARCOA motorcar trip over the entire line, but due to the damage we needed to know if we could run at all. Looks like at this time we may reduce the trip to a one day affair running from Sherburne north to Utica and back. This may very well be the last chance to ride a motorcar over the line.

Chris
CV the Civil E

RichM
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Post by RichM »

Well, it's not like this has never happened in the history of this railroad. But if it means a better allocation of resources available to maintain Syracuse to Binghamton, and Binghamton to Port Jervis...and it does appear that the railroad is spending money on locomotive rebuilds, so let's get philosophical and say at least there will be something left running for us to speculate upon.

Unless you folks want to form a business along the line somewhere than can generate or require in a couple of hundred carloads a year...

JoeCollege
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Location: Put in the corner by Otto.

NYSW

Post by JoeCollege »

NYSW does not own the line below Sherburne. The Chenango County Industrial Development Association, or maybe the Chenango County Area Corporation, own the line. The NYSW had a 99 year lease. I will try to find out more about the lines future.

Noel Weaver
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Location: Pompano Beach, Florida

Post by Noel Weaver »

JoeCollege wrote:RichM, I wasn't trying to be condescending. Forgive the tone of the post if it sounded so.

I would agree about Mr. Rich, but would add a point- he is much more politically connected at the state and federal levels. Being involved as I am in municpal government (elected position) in one of the counties I listed I can assure you Mr. Rich has few fans in the region. He and NYSW are seen as arrogant and quite pushy. I understand he has a business to run but his methods are maddening at times for those in the region.

Bottom line, I'd like the line restored, customers recruited, and the power line project killed.
Mr. Rich at least in my time around the area was certainally not considered as "arrogant and pushy".
I have known Mr. Rich since the early 1970's when the Delaware Otsego
took over the Cooperstown Branch. I worked with him and his people to
help get the excursion train started up between Cooperstown and Milford.
We all need to realize that what started with little or nothing, a two mile
spur in Oneonta to a multi state system today was not accomplished by
being arrogant and pushy but by a lot of brains, brawn and just plain good
old hard work. The Utica Branch, the Syracuse Branch, the Susquehanna,
the Cooperstown Branch, the Richfield Springs Branch. All of these lines
eventually would have been torn up had Delaware Otsego not come on
the scene.
Often local political figures have no conception just what it takes to run a
railroad, they only see it withing the borders of their village, town or
maybe county.
Before you knock him, you should spend a little bit of time in "his shoes".
Noel Weaver

JoeCollege
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Location: Put in the corner by Otto.

Well

Post by JoeCollege »

Mr. Weaver, I am aware that WR has been a rags-to-riches success story. Several local businessmen were in essence saved when he took over the railroad. Del Button was a stockholder and I believe it was John Mitchell of IL Richer wrote a glowing letter to the editor around the time of the takeover.

Since that time, the Utica side has become the unwanted stepchild of the NYSW. While there is a desire for more industry locally, no one held the railroad accountable. But NYSW and messers Rich and Fenno have been difficult to deal with. There has actually been a decline of shippers in Chenango County. And the railroad, which pays no taxes to the poor municipalities (this is an impoverished area) it passes through, has been difficult to deal with at best. This combined with WR's attachment to a political fundraising investigation has tarnished his reputation. I am sure he could care less.

I won't go any more into this topic other than to say that while I admire Mr. Rich and his success, I am among those in the area less than enamored with his methods.

Sir Ray
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Location: The Industrial Northeast

Post by Sir Ray »

cjvrr wrote:The line below Sherburne is closed. The NYS&W is NOT planning to reopen the line. They are looking to sell the remaining portion of the line to another shortline operator.
Just to be clear, does this mean:
The NYS&W will place the line south of Sherburne OOS? And that there are no on-line customers on this portion. And this section is in reality owned by the County (or muncipal industrial authority)?
And the section from Sherburne and north (which has on-line customers) will be contracted/sold off to another operator (is this section owned by NYS&W anyway)?

cjvrr
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Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2004 11:47 pm
Location: Morris County, NJ

Post by cjvrr »

I just relayed the message as it was submitted to me. I won't say whom at the NYS&W it came from other than management itself.

Not sure about the ownership issue. It had always been my assumption that the local Counties' owned the entire line. Perhaps it is giving the NYS&W their "out" from the current lease. Or it could just be leverage to get money to repair the line.

AFAIK there are no customers south of Norwich, which has a team track but no regular customers that I saw on my visit to the line in early June. Below Norwich there isn't much of anything along the line except farms and houses. Understandably that means there is 30-40 miles of line without customers, but the line between Port Jervis and Binghamton has similar distances without customers. Although it does host considerable bridge traffic.
CV the Civil E

O-6-O
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Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 10:50 pm
Location: Whitesboro,NY

Post by O-6-O »

Currently CSX drops NYS&W traffic in the MA&N yard on the north side of the main off track 1. The MA&N transfers it to the NYS&W using the
trackage rights they have to ROME. (cp 235 to cp248). The CSX connector
at the east end of the NYS&W complex is still intact and about the only
traffic I've seen on it recently is power going to Selkirk for work. Also
the yard around the shop is thinning out along with much of the junk
(rail wise) is gone. Is a sale imminent? Things are changing.
One way or the other we're gonna fix this railroad.

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