Discussion relating to the D&H. For more information, please visit the Bridge Line Historical Society.

Moderator: MEC407

  by staustell92
As I recall, ca. 1967 there were two southbound trains each week of newsprint from Canada, and they were referred to as the "paper trains".

Does anyone recall the symbols for these two trains? They were probably "RW" with a number after them.
  by charlie6017
RW-6 was one of the symbols. This link below has a neat article from Karl R. Zimmermann
about the D&H and has some other great info on their symbol trains.

http://ctr.trains.com/~/media/Files/PDF ... e%20DH.pdf

  by ChiefTroll
In 1967, two freight trains ran south from Rouses Point (RO) each day. RW-6 was the "Paper Train," which handled mostly newsprint from both CN (CN train 432) and CP (NJ train 102). The Rouses Point yard engine made up RW-6 in the evening, so it would be ready to depart as soon as WR-1 (the train of empty paper cars) arrived and the power was serviced. Newsprint cars were normally loaded with two stacks of rolls on end, and any impact would make the rolls go out of round and become useless. The Rouses Point Yard Crew had six trainmen so they could ride every cut to an easy coupling.

RW-6 was a "per diem job" in the days when car hire (per diem) was charged to the railroad that had the car at midnight. If he got away from RO in good time, like 10:30 p,m., he could usually arrive at Wilkes-Barre for interchange to CNJ before midnight.

WR-1 was also a hot "per diem job," with the objective of getting the MT's off line by midnight, both to CN at RO and CP at Delson via NJ 105. If there was no chance of getting the headlight of 105 past the home signal at Delson by 11:59 p.m., NJ 105 would often be annulled.

The other southward train from RO was SC-20, a "local" to Whitehall that handled almost everything else between RO and Port Henry. That job departed RO in the morning, after daylignt. He usually picked up at Plattsburgh, including Lyon Mountain iron ore, worked at Willsboro and picked up iron ore at Port Henry. He did not handle Ticonderoga paper, because that local ran to and from Whitehall and brought in his own cars. He handled any "short" paper cars from RO and southbound paper and empties from Plattsburgh. When ore was running, up to the closure of Lyon Mountain mines in July 1967, SC-20 could run with 120 cars. It was a fairly long "local."

A lot of the outbound specialty paper from Plattsburgh went north to RO and west via CP to midwest US destination. We didn't really like that, but CP published a low rate and that's how the game was played.

SC-20 turned into RO-2 (Rouses Point - Oneonta) at Whitehall, and handled most of the ordinary traffic south of Whitehall to Oneonta, where it was placed into other Binghamton and Wilkes-Barre trains.

The northward counterparts were WR-1, mentioned above, and WR-3. WR-3 became SC-19 at Whitehall and handled most of the ordinary traffic between Port Henry and Rouses Point, including MT hoppers for iron ore.

RW-6 had a Saratoga-Champlain Division (R&S) crew headquarted at RO, and they laid over at Whitehall. The R&S crew for SC-19/SC-20 was headquartered at Whitehall, and they laid over at RO.

Between Whitehall and Oneonta all four trains were operated by either R&S or Susquehanna Division (A&S) crews on a mileage equalization agreeement. I don't recall which side normally owned which job. Same between Oneonta and Wilkes-Barre, between A&S and Penn Division crews.

- Gordon Davids
  by Engineer Spike
I have been told that the paper train made a non-stop crew change at Whitehall. Certain sides of the job between Whitehall and Oneonta were A&S, while others were R&S. Everyone says that the paper trains were not to be delayed! It was the hottest train on the whole railroad. If I remember correctly, this train was extended to Pot Yard, after the Conrail forced expansion.
  by ChiefTroll
WR-1 and RW-6 were especially "hot" in the time when per diem was charged at midnight. It's possible that one or the other might have been recrewed on the fly at Whitehall, but that does not correspond with my understanding of the operation at the time. First, each crew had an assigned caboose. While I was at Oneonta, I recall that the Rouses Point caboose commonly stayed with RW-6 to Oneonta, with the Whitehall caboose behind it carrying the crew. A Whitehall yard engine attached the second caboose.

WR-1 carried two cabooses from Oneonta. He cut off the Whitehall caboose on one main track at Whitehall because no yard engine was on duty that time. The Rouses Point crew boarded their caboose after taking rest at Whitehall, and returned to their home terminal. It's possible that the move with WR-1 could have been accomplished on the fly, maybe as a trial. All I can say for certain is that I never heard of it, and that I wasn't at Whitehall at the time.

I don't recall whether the Oneonta-Whitehall side of the job belonged to the R&S or A&S side, or if it was split half and half or so depending on the mileage equalization. WR-3 and RO-2 (the south continuation of SC-19 and SC-20) also worked under that mileage equalization arrangement.
  by staustell92
Approximately how many cars were usually on RW-6? 80? More?
  by charlie6017
staustell92 wrote:Approximately how many cars were usually on RW-6? 80? More?
I'm guessing these trains were substantial, especially since they were hot trains when per diems were
involved, as Gordon mentioned in a previous post. Railroads back then didn't want to be charged another
day's car-rate. That said, I don't have any specific car counts.

  by Engineer Spike
Since only 4 axle power was allowed on the Champlain Div., did they swap power for the hills on the A&S, or did they over power it right out of RP?
  by ChiefTroll
In my time as Track Supervisor at Plattsburgh and Oneonta (1966-1972) there was no formal restriction on six-axle power on the Champlain Subdivision. It was only general practice to keep the 600's and 700's south of Whitehall. The crew-change points in those times were Whitehall and Oneonta. It was not common to change power on RW-6 and WR-1 at Whitehall. It was occasionally done at Oneonta. Power changes with air tests took time, and time was per diem in those days.

IIRC, they generally had enough power from Rouses Point to make Richmondville. It was not uncommon to set off some Binghamtons at Oneonta, or to take a pusher at Lanesboro. WR-1 was mostly empties, so his power was mostly determined by what RW-6 would need on the return trip.

I remember the 800's (SD-45's) when they first arrived in 1967. I rode their first trip from Whitehall to Rouses Point on WR-1. Their ride quality was impressive compared to the 600's (C-628's) which were absolute dogs in my track-oriented mind. I can tell the difference between a locomotive that is fighting with the track compared with one that plays nicely. The 600's did not play nicely. I can explain why, but I don't have the time or inclination to lose sleep over it tonight. I lost enough sleep with the #!&%?!!! 604 to last me a lifetime.

Hurricane Agnes in 1972 brought many 6-axle units (EL, LV and D&H) to the Champlain Subdivision on detour movements via Canada. The track began to show signs of gauge and other sorts of degradation, partly from the power and probably even more so from the sudden heavy traffic rate over several months.

- Gordon Davids
  by johnpbarlow
Slightly OT question re: max speeds of C628 pulled trains on the A&S in the '60s: as a teenager, I think I recall driving on rte 7 (50mph?) and being overtaken by C628-led trains. Would that be correct? Or am I making this up? Thanks.
  by ChiefTroll
John -

You are not making it up.

From about 1961 up to about 1966, the zone speed for freight trains on the A&S was 60 m.p.h. with several local restrictions. The 600's had no special restrictions.

When John Hiltz was President and General Manager, he wanted to see long trains running fast. He even raised the speed on the Rutland Branch to 40 m.p.h.

In 1966 and early 1967, two serious derailments led to speed reductions. The notorious derailment at Bainbridge in 1966 was caused by an improperly secured crawler tractor on a flat-bed trailer on a piggy-back flat, despite any official reports to the contrary. High center-of-gravity rock-off at high speed.

Another derailment was a long B&M detour train at Fairhaven early in 1967. The B&M was detouring via Rutland because they had a derailment in Hoosac Tunnel with a car of propane on fire. That was the end of 40 m.p.h on the Rutland Branch.

And yes, the maximum speed for law-abiding drivers on NY 7 and everywhere else off an Interstate was 50 m.p.h. until about 1971, when the state maximum was raised to 55. That was a mixed blessing, because they recalculated the passing zones and added miles and miles of double yellow lines. NY 23 between Stamford and Oneonta had only about three passing zones in 26 miles. The higher speed limit actually added about five or ten minutes to the trip if you got stuck behind a slow-poke.

- Gordon Davids
  by Mdudek
On the topic of D&H power, was there any specific power assigned by division? I lived along the Colonie Main in Cohoes in the early 80s and don't recall seeing much 6 axle power, and never saw the C424's. Granted, it's been a long time but other than moves in and out of Colonie I don't recall seeing much other than the GP 38/ 39's, RS 11/36's, and the last of the RS-3's.
  by ChiefTroll
The last division organization on the D&H ended ca. 1957. After that, the former divisions were all termed as subdivisions, and the entire railroad was operated as one system.

Even before that time, there was little or any specific assignment of power by division. Individual locomotives were sent to engine terminals as needed, and were returned to Colonie according to shop schedules for maintenance. Six-axle units were not common north of Whitehall, not because of particular restrictions but because the added tractive effort was not needed on the Saratoga and Champlain Subdivisions.

Six-axle power was used on through assignments between Oneonta and Whitehall in many instances because it eliminated delays to change power enroute, and the four-axle power from Rouses Point was available for the trip north on the Champlain Subdivision.

- Gordon Davids