• Railfanning in Salisbury Mills (near Beaverdamn Lake)

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New York State.
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New York State.

Moderator: Otto Vondrak

Hey Guys,

Spring is almost here if you don't count the snow on the ground...lol!! Which also means time to find new hot spots to film. I have officially filmed to death the Riverline at Bear Mountain and would love to try out the above location. From what Mapquest shows the line running around the lake is the Former Conrail Line..now is CSX or NS running on this line? Also is the Rail Traffic constant there like it is on the Riverline...and is there 1 or more tracks to film? Sorry for all the questions just trying to get a feel for the area...Thanks in advance for any info anyone may have!!!

Thank You again,

  by cranky2073
NS runs that now, and not too much at that. Best bet for any action is to consult the NJ Transit or Metro North schedules.

There's a little more action about 10 miles west at Campbell Hall, but I'm not familiar with the activity over there.

If you wait a couple of weeks you can grab the PM commuter rush in daylight. I think they're adding a train at the next sched change.

  by onder
Look at the metro scheds and you can see what is running when.
There are freights but I couldnt tell you when anymore.
But it is scenic enough, you have the viaduct and a few other
bridges..Twin Arch Rd of Rt 208 for example.
I would stay off the viaduct however...the old days of doing as
you please are over. I doubt you will be hassled walking the
ROW esp on a week day.
Why not ride the line...?
  by jmp883
Please forgive me for being long-winded on this post, but hopefully you'll find it interesting.

Salisbury Mills station is a great place to railfan. The view eastbound from the platform looks downgrade across the Moodna Viaduct. You can also work in an automatic block signal in that angle. Looking westbound you can shoot eastbound commuters slowing for the station. In regard to train activity, and this is based on my 2002 employee timetable when I worked on the on the NJT Mainline/Bergen County/PVL/Port Jervis dispatch desk, NJT/MN obviously runs the most trains. The morning rush is all eastbound commuters from Port Jervis, Trains 48-58 (even-numbered). The first westbound is 51, departing Hoboken around 9am. The next scheduled eastbound is Train 60, departing Port Jervis around 1230pm. The afternoon rush started with the departure of Train 53 from Hoboken.

Freight-wise, the only train that ran on a daily basis west of Suffern while I was there was HO-8 (eastbound) and HO-9 (westbound), which ran out of Campbell Hall. They normally came out of Hall mid-morning and went west to either Port Jervis or 4 Story Jct. After they finished working Port or 4 Story Jct they would then proceed east, either back to Campbell Hall or on to Napera Chemical at Harriman. On most days that they went to Napera they would be ready to head west about the same time that Train 53 was approaching Harriman. We would usually hold the freight until 53 passed. HO-8/HO-9 were (still are?) rather small trains. A locomotive on each end and usually no more than 8-10 cars.

NYS&W would run SU-100 east from Port Jervis to Hudson Jct 3 to 4 times a week while westbound SU-99 usually ran on the days opposite of SU-100. SU-100/SU-99 usually showed up late on the 2nd trick or on the overnight 3rd trick. NS would run 42A west from Croxton to Port Jervis and points west, doing local switching all along the way. 43A would be the eastbound train, both always ran on the 3rd trick due to the amount of switching they did, often times leaving their train on the main while they did their work. Neither 42A or 43A had a regular schedule to them, although they usually ran 3-4 days a week. Note how NS reversed the time-honored tradition of numbering eastbound trains with even numbers and westbounds with odd numbers. Only the NS. For the rail history buffs, 42A/43A were the former OIBU/BUOI.

Anywhere along the Southern Tier between Port Jervis and Suffern is good for railfanning. Granted, the majority of trains are NJT/MN commuters but a train is a train is a train. If your primary interest is in freight ops, stay east of Suffern. H55/H56 comes out of Suffern mid-mornings and works the Bergen County, Mainline, and Paterson Yard 5-6 days a week. H80/H81 works the PVL 5-6 days a week and also goes to Croxton to swap the cars they switch off the PVL. Keep in mind that this information is from 2 years ago so I can't say for sure how accurate it still is.
Again, sorry for being so long-winded, I do hope you found it interesting, and of course if anyone can update me, please do so, I'd appreciate it.

Joe P :D

  by nysw3636
Unfortunately, the only freights you might see at Salisbury Mills in daylight would be Norfolk Southern trains HO8 and HO9. NS HO7 runs at night. Best bet would be to go east of Suffern or west to Campbell Hall. At Campbell Hall, there is a chance of catching a daylight SU100 or SU99, as those trains can show up at any given time(though mostly nocturnal). I assume you have a scanner, so the frequency is 160.800. Another frequency to have on would be 160.485. This is for NYS&W and SU100 reports at Port Jervis and Campbell Hall (HJ) to the NYSW Cooperstown Dispatcher, and for a Form D to get on NYS&W Southern Division at Warwick(Pelton Road). Hope this helps......


Hey Guys..Thanks for all your help will let you once the weather breaks how I made out...and for the record no bit of advice could ever be long winded!!!! :D Thanks again for everything

  by jmp883
Some more info for you: In addition to the 2 radio frequencies already listed, punch this one in as well: 161.400 MHz. That is NJT and is used east of Suffern. As ALL westbound trains pass through Suffern Yard they will switch from the NJT frequency to the NS frequency of 160.800 MHz. Obviously, going eastbound they will switch the other way. The NJT Hoboken Mainline Dispatcher monitors both frequencies and controls ALL trains on the mainline between Suffern and Port Jervis.

Some more tidbits for you, again based on what we did back in 2002, and from what I still hear on the radio. If SU-100 is sitting at Port Jervis the NJT dispatcher will usually NOT let them out until they acquire their Form D from the NS dispatcher for the Hudson Secondary. In order for a Form D to be issued, the track in question must be clear of all trains and MOW equipment. The train entering that track named on the Form D must not enter that track until that Form D has been given a time effective by the dispatcher. There are several passing sidings between Port Jervis and the Hudson Secondary that we could put SU-100 on, but it was always easier to let SU-100 sit at Port Jervis until he got his 'D'. Once he had his 'D' we'd give him a straight shot from Port right onto the Hudson Secondary. The few times we had to deal with an SU-99 it was pretty easy. They wouldn't call us on the radio until after they'd already received their 'D' to run west of Port Jervis. Once they called we'd either let them run or hold them at Hudson Jct. for the next available window.

The 4 Story Jct. mentioned in my previous post is between Campbell Hall and Port Jervis and is the former NYO&W connection into Middletown. NS now connects with the M&NJ on that same trackage.

HO-7/8/9, when not out on the main running between Port and Harriman could usually be found switching Campbell Hall, both during daylight and evening hours.

Well, this post probably sounded more like a history lesson, but if you don't know what came before, it may be hard to appreciate what you are seeing/hearing now.

I hope it helps.....stay safe and enjoy :D

  by nysw3636
jmp883 wrote "The few times we had to deal with an SU-99 it was pretty easy. They wouldn't call us on the radio until after they'd already received their 'D' to run west of Port Jervis. Once they called we'd either let them run or hold them at Hudson Jct. for the next available window. "

Why would SU-99 need a Form D to run west of Port Jervis? The line is signaled. BTW, NS ran an eastbound detour train this past weekend, and it went through Salisbury Mills around 6:25am(sorta daylight). 24K was the symbol.

  by jmp883
Thanks NYS&W 3636.

He's right, no Form D is required west of Port Jervis, only on the Hudson Secondary due to the fact that the secondary is unsignalled.

I appreciate the correction, must be old age creeping in (after all, 40 is just around the corner!)

Joe P
Railfan (Long Live EL)
Emergency Services Dispatcher

  by nysw3636
your welcome.