New York Central's Catskill Mountain Branch (originally the Ulster & Delaware, bought by NYC in 1932) ran from Rondout (Kingston Waterfront) to Oneonta, with a branch from Phoenicia over Stony Clove Notch to Hunter and Kaaterskill.
The Hunter and Kaaterskill branches were abandoned by NYC in 1940.
The main line was cut back to Bloomville by NYC in 1965.
It lasted through Penn Central, and operated for about 6 months under Conrail, then was entirely abandoned in 1976.
Ulster County bought the portion from the West Shore main to the Delaware County border (Highmount/Grand Hotel); the City of Kingston bought the portion from the West Shore down to Rondout; and the 7 towns through which it ran in Delaware County bought the portion from Highmount to Bloomville.
The Trolley Museum operates the Rondout portion; track and possible bridge issues have prevented regular operation up the grade west of their main building. They are attempting to address the problems, but it ain't cheap or easy.
There is rail in place on virtually the entire right of way through Ulster County, but there are plenty of washouts, and no tie replacements for 30 years means almost everything has to be completely rebuilt before any operation. Catskill Mountain RR has a lease on this whole portion. They have operated for many years from Mt. Pleasant to just west of Phoenicia; after years of trying, they have finally got permission to cross Rt 28 at Mt Pleasant, and hope to operate an additional 4 or so miles this summer to Cold Brook, near Boiceville, where a bridge problem will stop them for now.
West of Phoenicia, the Woodland Valley Creek bridge was indeed washed out several years ago, and subsequently removed by the Ulster County Highway Dept, who feared it would get carried into one of their road bridges by the next flood.
Delaware & Ulster Rail Ride operates from their Arkville base both east to Highmount, and west to Roxbury. Rails between Roxbury and Grand Gorge were indeed removed last year for sewer and water mains, but this has a major silver lining: The right-of-way deal required the town to regrade afterwards in a way suitable for tracklaying, and restoration of this stretch definitely remains on the DURR agenda. Biggest problem is engineering a new highway crossing just west of Roxbury, where the old highway overpass was removed and the highway laid on the old right-of-way -- tricky, but probably possible. That, and money.
Grand Gorge west to Bloomville is a rail trail maintained by DURR's parent organization.
A few miles from Oneonta east was operated as a tourist line by the Delaware & Otsego in the late 1960's, until condemned by the building of I-88 - this is where Walter Rich got his start in railroading. It's probably forever gone because of the Interstate, and restoring a through route to Oneonta would be extremely difficult.
A few of us real dreamers would like to restore the whole thing from Kingston as far as West Davenport, and connect there with the old Cooperstown & Charlotte Valley (most of the grade still extant), to the modern day CACV tourist line, for through service from Kingston to Cooperstown. (There's a highway underpass under I-88 in almost the right place, that would have room to sneak a railroad through.) THERE would be a tourist line! Only $80 - $100 million, a drop in the bucket if we can get some unified support together behind it -- Ulster County is spending that much just on a new jail!
If you want to explore all remaining operating parts of the U&D/CMB, come join the Ulster & Delaware Railroad Historical Society on our July 10 excursion, with trains over all operating portions and bus connections between, plus many other special stops. Schedule and order form available on our website at http://www.udrrhs.org/html/events.htm
Or for another view, join us on June 12 for a bike tour jointly sponsored with the Appalachian Mountain Club, Stamford to Bloomville; possibly a little extra mileage depending on weather and abilities and inclinations of those attending.