• Passenger Main North of Ithaca

  • Discussion related to the Lehigh Valley Railroad and predecessors for the period 1846-1976. Originally incorporated as the Delaware, Lehigh, Schuylkill and Susquehanna Railroad Company.
Discussion related to the Lehigh Valley Railroad and predecessors for the period 1846-1976. Originally incorporated as the Delaware, Lehigh, Schuylkill and Susquehanna Railroad Company.

Moderator: scottychaos

  by NYSW3614
Lately I've been travelling up the west side of Cayuga lake often and had some questions. When was the line pulled up? The most recent bridge/road work there had erased the ROW between the station and the still intact ROW behind the park. Anyone know exactly where it crossed the river and the road? There's a fair amount of bridges left, including a rather substantial one near T'burg, which I didn't know about until a few weeks ago. Haven't been north of Interlaken, is it fairly easy to see the ROW north of there?


  by Lehighrrgreg
I go that way frequently when I am heading back to school outside of Geneva and its very tough to follow north of Interlaken. I have never gotten out and actually walking most of it, but do a lot of visual following....much to the chagrin of oncoming motorists. The road that goes by the Seneca Army Depot crosses over an interesting spur of some kind. Just 100 or so feet north of the entrance to the Sampson state park..on the right side of the road-perpendicular to the road is a totally intact track spur that goes for an undetermined length back into the brush. You have to go slow and look carefully to see it. I got out and walked it this Sunday for about 100 yards and it showed no signs of ending. It is of very simple construction, no tieplates and only one spike on either side of the rail. The ties are in great shape though. It is very possible it may have accomodated traffic as recently as 5-10 years ago. However on the other side of the road the tracks that must go into the Sampson base are all gone. North of this location, a lot of ex LV ROW is operated by the Fingerlakes Ry. There is a bridge that goes over 5&20 in Geneva leading out of the yard that heads south to the Iron bridge that goes over the inlet canal, but when (96 I think the Rt. # is called) meets up with 5&20, directly infront of your stopped position at the light is a huge bank that geographically and topographically indicate that it was a slope off from an old bridge that would have passed over head. There is a "No Trespassing" sign on the face of the bank. It is very hard to explain but seems clear once the road is driven on. It is a very interesting drive.

  by Coalshovel
If you're talking about the intersection of 5&20 and 96A it used to be a cloverleaf off 96a over 5&20. I seem to remember long ago that there was a grade crossing from the Ithaca line across 96a just north of the canal.

  by bwparker1
Very Close to the intersection of 5 & 20 and 96A exists a steel girder deck type bridge where the Passenger Main from Ithaca rejoined the Freight Main in Geneva. The alignment would indicate that the connection was a grade crossing. You have to lool carefully or you will miss it. Joshua, I don' t know when that lined was pulle dup but Passenger service ended in 1961.

  by fglk
Last edited by fglk on Thu Aug 19, 2004 7:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by OvidPete
The LV passenger main crossed Cayuga inlet south of State St. The present day inlet was built by the Army Corp? thirty years ago. The line between Ithaca and Trumansburg was abandoned and removed shortly after passenger service ended. The line from Geneva to T-burg remained open for occasional freight service until 1969. The line was abandoned and removed at that time. I have done some hiking along the line over the years. Some interesting places to investigate: 1) just west of the Glenwood pines restaurant - the fill and culverts that carried the line over this creek have been washed away revealing the remains of the original wood trestle over the creek. 2) the steel bridge over willow creek. 3) the line just south of Taugannock Falls. There is a short spur that curved off to the west that ran on a raised grade that still exists. 4) the bridges over Taugannock falls and Trumansburg creek.

I will post more on this line if anyone is interested

  by bwparker1
Ovid Pete,

I am very interested! I will actually be in Trumansburg this weekend for the grassroots festival this weekend, and I am interested in checking out the LVRR remains in the area. I know that as of 2000, there was a trestle that still existed to the east of T-burg, I stumbled acorss it while doing Human Subject research my senior year at Cornell. We corresponded a while back of the old RR.net. Please post more info if you have any.

Last edited by bwparker1 on Wed Jul 21, 2004 12:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by OvidPete
I assume the trestle you are refering to is the one over T-burg creek. It is still there. Hope you enjoy the Grassroots. Have not been there in a few years. Here are a couple of places to check out. Just south of the fair grounds there is a bridge abutment on one side of Taugannock creek. It was built by the Pennsylvania and Sodus Point RR. This line was graded but no track was ever laid. I looked for this bridge work once but did not find it. Another place is at the site of the old T-burg station. Several structures including a ruined grain elevator and a coal shed still stand. The roof of the coal shed has been lowered since the end of freight service to this facility but it is still recognizable as a coal shed. There is an aerial newspaper photo of the LV at T-burg in the office attached to the coal shed. Hopefully they will let you examine it. It is from the Ithaca Journal.

If you want to check out another interesting site of the never built Penn & Sodus Point RR I can direct you there (about 10 miles north of T-burg)


  by chnaus
Pete, I have an eval map that shows a LV lease for a waterline
from Sheldrake Springs to a reservoir in the southeast quardrant
of Wycoff and Townline roads on Sheldrake Creek.
The profile shows the P&SB r-o-w.

Looking for features on the topos I find another pipeline in this
area,running north to south.
Is it possible that this pipe was located on the old P&SB grade ??

How far did the P&BS grade run ??
Where was it to end and start ??

  by OvidPete
Karl Schmidt of Rock River Hobby told me about a small dam on Sheldrake creek that was used to store water for the LV. A couple of years ago I hiked up Sheldrake creek from Hall Rd (Bassett Rd, Tunnison Rd) to the dam. It was only a few feet high but just before it was an impressive stone abutment for the old P&SP. This line was graded but no track was ever laid. It was to run from the LV in Newfield to (Sodus Point?). You can consult the Dewit Historical Society publication "A History of Railroads in Tomkins County" by Hardy Campbell Lee. This has a map showing all the old grades in Tomkins county and the present condition of these grades. For Seneca Co I suggest "Between the Lakes" by Maurice L Patterson. A copy should be in many of the local Libraries. These two publications have maps showing the location of the old grade for the P&SP.

Does your map show the location of the water tank/stand pipe at Sheldrake Springs station?

The pipeline you refer to follows the LV grade? NYGE owns the land and has posted the bridges.

Hope this helps

  by OvidPete
That definatly is not the old LV line. Unfortunatly I did not make a note of where the old P & SP line came through but if I were to guess it would be at the next contour line to the east of the pipe line. If you traveled east on Wycoff Rd from Rock River Rd you will see a line of trees that runs S by SE to N by NW off to the right. It is before you get to the left curve on Wycoff Rd. Follow the line of trees to the right untill you get to Sheldrake creek. This is the old P & SP line. The dam is just west of the stone abutments. I saw no sign of a pipe line but have never looked for it either. I have a photo of the dam and the abutments (taken in summer when the creek water is warm but the grades obscure) If somebody can tell me how to put photos on this site I will.

  by choess
Most of the roadbed of the P&SB is visible on aerial photographs, given a certain amount of imagination and knowledge of the intended route. It comes up through West Danby on the west side of the valley, just where the gorge becomes really steep on that side, and curves across Gulf Road around the 1100 foot contour. North of Vanbuskirk Gulf, it's pretty clear on aerial photos, running at about the 1120-1130 foot contour. It cuts across Adams Rd. and seems to run roughly parallel to Shaffer Rd. as it approaches Newfield. The route through Newfield seems to have been obliterated by development, but you can start to pick it up on photos again skirting the east edge of the swamp at the source of Fish Kill, to the west of Protts Hill. It crosses Horton Rd., and cut-and-fill is visible on topo maps on both sides of Millard Hill Rd. (I think someone's picture of the cut to the south is online.) It looks as if it runs northeast from there, then swings northwest on the west side of Stonehouse Road, going up to 327 just below Bostwick Corners. There's what looks like a bit of fill just below 327 there, and the curve of 327 is probably built on the roadbed, as it matches up with extensive filling to the north of Bostwick Corners, as well. It runs north parallel to 327 through Enfield and Millers Corners, swinging a little wide to cross Fivemile Creek, then parallels the upper reaches of Enfield Creek and crosses the divide into the Taughannock watershed. It follows that (nameless?) stream for a while and then swings away eastward at about the junction of Van Liew and Podunk Rds., running NNE to cross Cold Spring Rd. where it makes its curve. You can see a bit of filling there, also the oddly-shaped boundary of Taughannock State Park where it includes the ROW. On the north side of Trumansburg Creek, you can see a bit of fill forming the 910 ft. contour line. It seems to be running at about 920 ft. when it appears again as a treeline south of Covert, paralleling the LV. Beyond this, it's pretty hard to pick up on aerial photographs, but it's visible again just south of Starrett Corners running northwest and crossing Sheldrake Creek where Pete said. The pipeline seems to have been located consistently to the west of the grade, and not on it, wherever it is visible.

  by sodusbay
For the P&SB (Sodus Bay, not Point!) in Tompkins County see some info at


this includes air and ground photos of a short section where it crosses Millard Hill Rd. in the town of Newfield.

The book "A History of Railroads in Tompkins County", by Hardy Campbell Lee, revised and enlarged by Winton Rossiter, published by the DeWitt Historical Society in 1977 and available in local bookstores (or via the re-named DeWiit, now History in Tompkins County or some other such awful name) has a fold-out map with the entire P&SB route and some sites from 1976 (this was a bicentennial project). The only inaccuracy for the P&SB is the section S of Newfield HS where the grade is further up the hill than shown by the map.

As for Sheldrake Creek, you can find the P&SB abutment much further down the hill (closer to NY96) than the pipeline shown on the topo. Since the terrain is so flat here, nothing remains in the fields.

There's a lot to find in Tompkins CO. if you know where to look. Go when there is a dusting of snow on a nice cold day. Uphill from W Danby and at Piper Rd. are good spots. Remember, work stopped in the summer of 1873 because they couldn't pay the workers, and no rail was ever laid. So after 131 years it becomes hard to follow...

  by sodusbay
I forgot to say that 327 curve is not on the grade; the grade crosses the base of Trumbull Cor. Rd. just a few m south of the 327 intersection (it is the farm road coming out of the woods from the SE) and then crossed the creek on its own bridge (not sure if it was ever built) SW of the curve. You can easily pick up the grade as it climbs onto an embankment heading N to Enfield. It is indeed to the W of the N-S part of 327 all the way through Enfield, in fact you can find it behind the Enfield elementary school, then it crossed NY79 heading about NE.