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

Moderator: MEC407

  by staustell92
Over the years, while driving on I-88 past Sanitaria Springs (south side of Belden Hill), I have noticed what looks like a large stone base for a water tank/tower on the east side of the D&H right-of-way (ROW). It is located perhaps 1/4-1/2 mile toward Binghamton from the Depot Rd. crossing in Sanitaria Springs, and is obviously a remnant of steam era infrastructure. It is also visible from I-88, but on the side of the D&H ROW away from I-88.

The structure is visible in satellite images on Google Maps..... if you look very carefully.

On the face of it, this seems like an odd location for watering locomotives, as it was not at an engine facility or a passenger station of any size.

I have only one explanation (but possibly two) for the location of a watering facility at Sanitaria Springs:

It was used by pusher locomotives returning down Belden Hill after they had pushed a train up the south side of the grade (toward Oneonta). The steam locomotives undoubtedly used a great deal of water pushing up the Belden Hill grade, so they most likely needed to be watered between each pushing assignment.

I'm not sure where the pushers actually began their assignments, whether it was at Bevier St. Yard or if they began pushing at Sanitaria Springs. Even if they began pushing at Bevier St., watering on their way back down the grade would make sense in terms of operations at Bevier St., as it was a relatively small yard and watering at another location would have simplified operations and reduced congestion at the yard.

The other possibility is that the water at Sanitaria Springs was of a higher quality than that at Bevier St., thus reducing the necessity for boiler maintenance.

Any thoughts on these two ideas would be welcome.
  by Engineer Spike
The pushers would have started right out of Bevier St., as it is a good grade right out of the yard. The grade is fairly flat along the shelf above I88, and through Sanataria Springs. North of there the steepness resumes. I’d presume that the engineer would be trying to get a good run for the rest of the hill.

I would also think that helper watering facilities would be near Ninevah Jct. About a mile south of the junction was a wye, and it was called Grover’s Whe, and that was where helpers turned. It would make sense to take on water at the same time as the power was turning. The road power would also likely want to top off before tackling the hill.

Before the sale of the line to NS, I held a few jobs down there. There is a siding between Arron, and Ninevah Jct. We didn’t pull to the junction because there was an irate farmer, and he was rumored to have pulled a gun on one of the conductors. The timetable instructed us to hold down by Grover’s Wye. One day we had a long wait for a meet, and I walked it.