• 2017 O&WRHS Calendar

  • Discussion of the NYO&W Railway and predecessor New York and Oswego Midland Railroad (NY&OM) for the period 1866 to its abandonment in 1957. Visit the historical site here: O&WRHS.
Discussion of the NYO&W Railway and predecessor New York and Oswego Midland Railroad (NY&OM) for the period 1866 to its abandonment in 1957. Visit the historical site here: O&WRHS.

Moderators: CAR_FLOATER, David

  by Cactus Jack
As a member of the Ontario & Western Railway Historical Society, I just received my 2017 Calendar.

It sure is a beauty ! It’s primarily a collection of high quality black & white images, very nicely reproduced, of scenes from the last 20 years of the life of the railroad (late 30’s – 1957). While I was not yet born to witness the action, some of these images are the next best thing !! By the way, it’s printed on high quality glossy stock so not only do the images really bounce out, but it’s a keeper to hold on to and enjoy long past New Year’s Eve 2017.

Take the cover for instance showing Y-2 #458 on a Mayfield – Maybrook time freight coming through Summitville, NY. Could it be LB-4 ? The caption doesn’t say, but it’s beautiful ! You are standing there with the photographer watching the whole scene unfold in this very high quality well composed image. There is a box car and a block of coal hoppers that most likely Mayfield stuck in front of the reefer blocks. The engineer is leaning out of the cab obviously having spotted the photographer (with us standing along side !) with the long line of reefers strung back through the yard past the depot and over the highway overpass. We can contemplate that he has been timing off his brake pipe leakage as he has brought the tonnage down Red Hill grade and figuring the point of release in order to pour on the power to High View tunnel while keeping the boys back in the caboose happy with a smooth ride.

Inside the front cover is a glorious shot of the Otto Kuhler Streamstyled “Mountaineer” #405 at Cadosia in a view I’ve never seen before. An obviously proud engineer posing in the cab for the picture takers and the bell on front polished so we can almost see ourselves in it.

The month of March has an interesting set of photos showing both A-B-B-A F3’s and FT’s coming off Ferndale Trestle south of Liberty. July is a pre-war shot of W Class 303 climbing the grade to Youngs Gap. This may be a John P. Ahrens shot, or one of his buddies, as I’ve seen what is likely the same train’s pushers in another photo somewhere. A wonderfully nostalgic composition.

The calendar includes steam in many forms from V class camel backs to the big Y-2 Mountains and L class switchers and a sampling for the diesel buffs of 44 tonner, FT, F3 and NW-2 power all doing what they do best in a variety of locations including Middletown, Summitville, Liberty, Cadosia, Lyon Brook Bridge, Norwich, Fulton and a pusher on a train coming out of Mayfield. Images sure to make dreamers of us all of an earlier time and age now long past. The layout of each page also shows various collectable O&W memorabilia incorporated in color contrasting with the B&W photos.

I do have a few comments and corrections:

February shows an NW-2 working the Middletown yard and is tagged as taken March 23, 1957, six days before the end. What catches the eye is that the vegetation gives away the fact it is not March, even a mild March. A little sleuthing in Ed Crist and John Krause’s fine book “The Final Years” notes the image was taken in May 1950 by Hal Carstens for anyone interested.

August shows F3 #501 on the passenger train at Roscoe identified as Train #1. As the train has been turned and is facing south it’s actually Train #2 getting ready to return to Weehawken.

October shows a 44 tonner in the original maroon and black scheme as delivered but these units came to the O&W in 1941 – 1942 not 1940 and lasted more than five full years as the 105 was recorded as being sold to the Salt Lake, Garfield & Western in 1951 at age nine. Several years ago I donated the first O&W inspection paperwork on at least the 104 to the O&WRHS and that was dated January 7, 1942.

The back cover is a beautiful winter scene of the north portal of Highview Tunnel and WX tower. While the caption states the steam and smoke are announcing the arrival of a train about to pop out of the bore, it is obviously a photo taken from the rear of a northbound train looking back at the tunnel still clearing itself from the train’s most recent passage. Indeed the photo was lensed by A.V. Neusser and appears in the Krause & Crist “Final Years” book. The photo though, as many great photos of the past do, opens up some questions and speculation. It is noted the blades on the semaphore are in the clear position. Is this a home signal governing block occupancy or an order board ? To me it looks more like an order board. The towers guarding each end of the tunnel, WX shown here, and counterpart BX were apparently closed in 1939 and remotely controlled by the operator in Summitville. Much later this segment was controlled by the “CTC” or “Middletown Machine” It would be interesting if anyone can shed more light on the towers and later Summitville control of the single track through the tunnel. The whole O&W “CTC” is also a good subject for future study as it wasn’t quite what most think it was. Anyway, this was a fine and appropriate image for the rear cover and it is about inconceivable for anyone who has stood at this very spot in recent years to imagine this scene.

For those interested in the O&W or the calendar, more info can be found on the O&WRHS website at http://nyow.org/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
The calendar and several quality publications come with your membership which is highly recommended.
Doug Ellison
  by Aji-tater
Cliff notes for those without a lot of time:
O&W Historical Society has a calendar out with great pictures.
One third of the months have errors in the captions.
Order it from their web site.