• Who runs the ex-NYC Catskill Mtn Branch and where?

  • 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

  by JoeG
The NYC Catskill line, originally the Ulster and Delaware, extended to Oneonta. It interchanged with the D&H, but they had separate passenger stations. I don't know if the NYC and D&H ever ran through service on these lines.

  by Urban D Kaye
xXwelderXx wrote:From Phoenicia to Fleischmans how much of the ROW is still there? Is there rail between the Phoenicia and Fleischmans?
Yes. My wife and I last year hiked an area around Belleayre Mtn that included a portion of the ROW between Pine Hill and Fleischmanns. Tho some of the trackage was paved over at a driveway, and a bridge was in rickety shape, the rail for the most part was intact (see attached image).


  by Otto Vondrak
I think we had an extensive discussion about this before, but please remind me... why doesn't TMofNY operate on the tracks above the Rondout yard?

Nice picture of the right of way above... the embankments along the river are really deteriorated... they will have to drop a lot of trap rock to shore up some areas if trains are going to run again on a regular basis.

  by ewh
I was up in the Catskills last June and the rails west of Roxbury have been torn up and it looks like a railtrail was being created (at least there was a lot more clearing and shoring up than what is needed for simply picking up the rails.) These rails were in place in 2002. So it would seem that the rails of the U & D are no longer in place on the western half of the line. Forget even creating a longer tourist line, there is nothing left to protect on the western end.

  by Otto Vondrak
So west of Roxbury rails are gone... How far east does U&D own/operate? What is the limits of the CMRR lease? I have seen the CMRR RS-1s stored at end of track just west of the West Shore in downtown Kingston. What are the limits of TMNY's ownership?

Last edited by Otto Vondrak on Tue Apr 13, 2004 2:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

  by thebigham
The old Railroad.Net had an extensive thread about this line.

The rails north of Roxbury were taken up due to a new sewer line. The track may be relaid one day?

The rails north of Phoenicia will probably not be returned to service. Many washouts exist and a bridge has been removed. Maybe the rails south of Highmount will be returned to service? The famous horseshoe curve at Pine Hill is on this part of the line.

Topo map of the horseshoe curve:

http://www.topozone.com/map.asp?lat=42. ... ayer=DRG25

  by n2xjk
Otto Vondrak wrote:What are the limits of TMNY's ownership?

TMNY leases the U&D main between MP0 up to end-of-track behind Burger King (approx. mile marker 2.5). Usable track ends at Murray Street crossing (approx. mile marker 1.7). In revenue use is MP0 to MP1 switching to Ferry Street in-street track from the Kingston Consolidated Railroad--one way distance is just under 1.5 miles.

  by oibu
CMRR lease with Ulster County is for the entire 28 miles from the former Conrail connection (switch removed) at Kingston to the west side of Phoenicia.

As per above comment regarding a "removed" bridge, I assume this in in reference to the Woodland Creek bridge a few miles west of Phoenicia which was actually washed out ca. 1987 or so, not removed (unless of course someone has removed it after one end of the bridge had already been knocked off its abutment by the flooding).

  by Otto Vondrak
If CMRR leases from Kington to Phonecia, does U&D lease from Phonecia to Roxbury?

  by Steve Delibert
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.

Steve Delibert

  by thebigham
Thanks, Steve!

Chris Bigham