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Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg Railroad Company


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Rome Watertown and Ogdensburg Ogdensburg Ferry
A car float ran at Ogdensburg between the New York Central terminal at Ogdensburg N.Y., and the Canadian Pacific terminal at Prescott, Ont.
Then there was a branch line to DeKalb Junction.

Welcome to our "Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg" WebSite

Here's a preview of some of the exciting projects we have put together for you:

Our feature article is "The Rome Watertown and Ogdensburgh" .

We have other articles on Ogdensburg and the North Country and the history of the Hojack Line .

We have a special feature by Richard Palmer on Where Did the Term "Hojack" Originate?

Find out about the important branch between Ogdensburg and DeKalb Junction.

See our reference section and our Lake Ontario Shore section .

You will enjoy the Timeline of Railroads in the Adirondacks , Bike Trails Along Railroads , and the The Rutland Connection .

Follow the Hojack Line on Google Earth .

See our New York Central Railroad pictures , find out about the Ogdensburg Bridge , the Ogdensburg car ferry , Massena Terminal Railroad .

See a Chronicle of the Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg Compiled by Richard Palmer

See maps Around Watertown and Oswego , as well as Watertown history .

See another History of the Rome Watertown and Ogdensburg Railroad .

See more Hojack Stories from the Collection of Richard Palmer . Included are: why the R.W.& O. adopted the Four Leaf Clover Trade Mark ; Newspaper abstracts concerning the RW&O Shops in Rome, N.Y. ; and the Ballad of the Hojack .
New York Central station in Ogdensburg New York Central station in Ogdensburg

Take a look at my blog about railroads in Ogdensburg, New York.

Freight House Restaurant Freight House Restaurant Freight House Restaurant

The Freight House, Family Style Restaurant

20 Market St, Ogdensburg, NY 13669, Cross Streets: Between Jackson St and Brown St

If you are looking for a nice sit down meal, this is a nice place. They have train sets running and it has a nice, quiet atmosphere. Food was good. Everything from steak to seafood to Italian
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Rome Watertown and Ogdensburgh

In New York State, a significant portion of the trackage north of the New York Central main line was once part of the Rome Watertown & Ogdensburgh. At one point it had 643 route miles. The Watertown & Rome was chartered in 1832 to connect northern New York with the Erie Canal, but it took 17 years before ground was broken near Rome. The territory between Rome & Watertown was and is sparsely populated and difficult to build a rail line through. However, upon approaching Watertown the territory changes. It is somewhat more populated and easier to penetrate. Furthermore, it is close to the busy St. Lawrence River.

After reaching Watertown, the new railroad was immediately extended to Cape Vincent which had its ferry to Canada. In 1857, the Potsdam & Watertown was built to join what later became the Rutland's line to Ogdensburg. As well as serving as a connector, it served the agricultural towns of Potsdam, Canton and Gouverneur. In 1861, this line merged into the W&R, the name of the new railroad was changed to RW&O and a line built from DeKalb Junction to Ogdensburg.

The next step was a branch from Richland, located between Rome and Watertown, to Oswego. Around 1875 the Syracuse Northern was built to Pulaski and Lacona. The RW&O leased it shortly thereafter. It was able to use both routes effectively by channeling traffic from the west through Syracuse and from the east through Rome.

In the early 1870's, the Lake Ontario Shore Railroad had been built from Oswego all the way along the shore of Lake Ontario to the Niagara River (Suspension Bridge). It bypassed Rochester, had no manufacturing industries and was too close to the New York Central.

The Lake Ontario Shore wasn't able to make the grade and was sold to the RW&O in 1875 at a court sale for a bargain basement price. By building a short connection at Oswego, the RW&O now had a through route from Suspension Bridge to Norwood where connections were available to the Atlantic Ocean.

Unfortunately the traffic was not there to maintain this huge line and the once prosperous RW&O ran into financial difficulties. Samuel Sloan of the Lackawanna picked up the property quite cheaply. His first move was to convert the locomotive fleet to hard coal. Other than that, he ran the RW&O very poorly.

Charles Parsons wrested control from Sloan. He was a New Englander with a lot of good business sense. Assisted by Henry M. Britton, he solved many of the problems of the RW&O. They extended the road a few miles from Norwood to Massena in order to connect to the Grand Trunk leading into Montreal. Another addition was a direct line from Syracuse to Oswego. As well as improving the roadbed and bridges, they put an extension into Rochester.

At the same time the RW&O was expanding, another railroad was built from Utica to the North Country. The Utica & Black River proceeded from Utica to Boonville, Lowville and Carthage. Although incorporated in 1852 by Uticans upset with Rome being the gateway to the St. Lawrence, it only reached Boonville (35 miles) by the Civil War. Lowville was reached in 1868 and Carthage four years later. From Carthage, it went to Clayton then Ogdensburg in one direction and to Sacketts Harbor and Watertown in the other direction (by leasing the Carthage, Watertown & Sacketts Harbor). The U&BR was merged into the RW&O in 1886.

Faced with the prospect of the Fitchburg Railroad connecting with the RW&O; the New York Central organized the Mohawk & St. Lawrence to build to Watertown. A connection of only about 70 miles would have been required to connect the Boston, Hoosac Tunnel & Western with either Utica or Rome. This would have given a Boston-based company access to Lake Erie. This, of course, upset the New York Central very much. Fearful of another West Shore fiasco, banking interests got Parsons talking to the Vanderbilts. Rather than compete, a deal was made in 1891 whereby the RW&O was leased to the Central.

The New York Central paid a high price for the RW&O but got a well-built railroad in a fairly populous and non-competitive area. Watertown citizens were not terribly pleased with loosing "their" railroad. Mr. Vanderbilt and Chauncey Depew expended a great deal of public relations effort, including a trip to Watertown, to assure the citizens of Watertown that all changes were for the better. The division headquarters was established in Watertown and the RW&O name was incorporated in timetables. Service improved, especially because of sleeping cars running to the Thousand Islands. George H. Daniels, the NY Central General Passenger Agent, turned his advertising magic on and built the Thousand Islands up as a premier resort area.

Watertown almost got another railroad in the 1890's. The Elmira, Cortland & Northern (later part of the Lehigh Valley) had extended from Canastota to Camden in 1887. Camden was on the Rome to Watertown section of the RW&O. With aid from some Watertown businessmen, Austin Corbin of the EC&N chartered the Camden, Watertown & Northern. Although some construction was started, it never really had a chance and just died. Later on, the Canastota to Camden line was abandoned. The Elmira to Canastota line lasted until just a few years ago.

The spelling of Ogdensburgh versus Ogdensburg is confusing. Obviously, the "h" is missing in today's spelling but it was in the name of the railroad. Therefore I drop the "h" in spelling the town and leave it when spelling the railroad.

As late as the mid-1950's, most of the RW&O was still in service. Everything east of Oswego was part of the St. Lawrence Division. By 1961, the St. Lawrence Division had merged into the Mohawk Division. The old Lake Ontario Shore Railroad was part of the Syracuse Division.

In 1956, the former RW&O lines (682 miles) were:

· Rome (Signal Station 34) to Richland (45 miles). This was cut back to Camden by 1961. Camden to Rome survived until CONRAIL. A Utica to Massena passenger ran over this route in 1956.

· Watertown to Newton Falls (64 miles). Carthage to Newton Falls was freight only while Carthage to Watertown carried passenger runs from Utica to Watertown, Ogdensburg and Massena.

· DeKalb Junction to Ogdensburg. (19 miles). This route carried a single passenger run each way.

· Massena to Syracuse (Signal Station JG) (159 miles. This is the major "survivor" in the CONRAIL era because of the Montreal connection. It was double track between Pulaski and Richland as well as between Adams Center and Watertown. There were two daily runs between Syracuse and Massena as well as a Utica to Massena passenger that joined this line at Watertown. The Utica to Ogdensburg train ran on this line from Watertown to Philadelphia. By 1961, the only surviving passenger run was a Syracuse to Massena "Beeliner". It was gone by 1965.

· Ogdensburg to Utica (134 miles). This line was freight only from Carthage to Utica as all passenger runs went through Watertown. As well as Utica to Massena, Utica to Ogdensburg and Utica to Watertown (Beeliner), two Adirondack Division trains ran over this route from Remsen to Utica. Philadelphia to Ogdensburg was cut by 1965 as well as Lowville to Lyons Falls.

· Syracuse to Oswego (34 miles). This freight-only line ran from N.Y.C. Junction to Oswego via the NYO&W.

· Edwards to G&O Junction (Gouverneur) (13 miles) (freight only).

· West Yard (Oswego) to Pulaski (25 miles) (freight only). This line was cut from Mexico to Oswego by 1961.

· Rivergate (Philadelphia) to Clayton (16 miles) (freight only).Main Street (Watertown) to Roots (5 miles) (freight only).Watertown to Limerick and Dexter (8 miles) (freight only).Ontario Branch (150 miles) (freight only).Rochester to Charlotte (10 miles) (freight only).

By Ken Kinlock at

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Interested in Penn Central? New York Central? Pennsylvania Railroad? New Haven Railroad? or in the smaller Eastern US railroads? Then you will be interested in "What if the Penn Central Merger Did Not Happen". You will also enjoy "Could George Alpert have saved the New Haven?" as well as "What if the New Haven never merged with Penn Central?"

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Once upon a time, milk trains were important

New York Central Milk Business
Creamery in South Columbia, New York
There were two basic types of milk trains – the very slow all-stops local that picked up milk cans from rural platforms and delivered them to a local creamery, and those that moved consolidated carloads from these creameries to big city bottling plants. Individual cars sometimes moved on lesser trains. These were dedicated trains of purpose-built cars carrying milk. Early on, all milk was shipped in cans, which lead to specialized "can cars" with larger side doors to facilitate loading and unloading (some roads just used baggage cars). In later years, bulk carriers with glass-lined tanks were used. Speed was the key to preventing spoilage, so milk cars were set up for high speed service, featuring the same types of trucks, brakes, communication & steam lines as found on passenger cars.
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The Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority owns two shortline railroads that are operated by a private contractor d/b/a the New York and Ogdensburg Railway Company. This railroad serves the Port of Ogdensburg and connects with CSX, thus providing total intermodal service for industries of Northern and Central New York, as well as Eastern Ontario, Canada
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Hojack Swing Bridge at Charlotte on the Genesee River from a postcard found in St Joseph, Michigan)
Special Research Section on the Lake Ontario Shore Railroad.
This section contains information that is unpublished elsewhere!
In the early 1870's, the Lake Ontario Shore Railroad had been built from Oswego along the shore of Lake Ontario to the Niagara River (Suspension Bridge). It bypassed Rochester, had no manufacturing industries and first became part of the Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburgh which was acquired by the New York Central.
Webb's Wilderness Railroad, New York Central Adirondack Division

Ogdensburg and the North Country

All about railroads North of the New York Central mainline. Mostly New York Central, a lot of Ogdensburg, some Rutland, and even the Massena Terminal.

Utica to Ogdensburg (via Philadelphia) (134.4 mile)

The Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg (RW&O) never ran to Utica, except via trackage rights over the NYC from Rome. The line ran from Utica to Ogdensburg via Remsen, Carthage, Philadelphia and Rivergate was originally the Utica and Black River. There was still daily passenger service in 1956 but gone by 1961 (except Watertown using the Massena-Syracuse line). Cut north of Lyons Falls (44 miles from Utica) and south of Lowville (29 miles from Philadelphia) by 1965. Philadelphia to Ogdensburg was gone by then too.

Syracuse to Massena (164.3 miles)

The rail line through Canton is the CSX Montreal Secondary running from Syracuse to Montreal (Fort Covington, NY). They run 6 trains or so a day. There is plenty of CN run-through power on the line, as well as the usual unique CSX lash-ups. It used to be known as the St. Lawrence Division of New York Central System. There was steam power until diesels started showing up around 1949. There were three passenger trains daily in each direction between GCT and Massena. Two (one morning and one evening departure from each end) went via Watertown and Utica, and one, in the afternoon via Syracuse. The evening trains ran overnight and carried Pullman sleepers in both directions between Massena-GCT, Massena-Pittsburgh(via Buffalo), Ogdensburg-GCT, Watertown-GCT. The Ogdensburg sleeper was coupled/set off at DeKalb Jct. The only food service was a coach was set up as a grill arrangement so you could get some breakfast, because stops like Governeur, Canton and Potsdam were not until about 9 a.m. give or take. These trains usually had a combo baggage/RPO car at the head end. Railway Express was also carried. Anthracite coal was of course still the principal fuel to heat homes and so quite a few hoppers came into the area.
These trains usually had a combo baggage/RPO car at the head end. Railway Express was also carried. Anthracite coal was of course still the principal fuel to heat homes and so quite a few hoppers came into the area. The long freights were 80 to 100 cars typically, and pulled by one huge single steam engine. There was not(and probably still isn't) an auto block system on most of this line of 150 or more miles, so everything depended on TO supported by use of semaphores on the more important stations with telegraph facilities. I understand that most of the line is welded rail and maintained in excellent operating condition. The line is in great shape. Nicely groomed ballast and certainly plenty of welded rail. I paced a train from Potsdam into Canton last summer, and it was really moving along quite fast. The other nice thing about the line is very diverse power. Anything from BN SD40-2's, to CN SD70's and CSX B36-7's! Paper companies in the North Country change hands every two or three years, or so it seems, so I'm not sure who operates it now but it is still active. It is served by a spur off the CSX Montreal Secondary just north of Potsdam. The spur curves away from the secondary to the northwest then turns about 120 degrees to the right and enters the plant running east. A CSX local out of Massena does the switching for about 10 cars a week.

DeKalb Junction to Ogdensburg. (18.9 miles)

The Ogdensburg-Dekalb Junction branch of the former New York Central was abandoned in 1987. After Penn Central and the start of Conrail the branch went through several short line operators. They were Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority, St. Lawrence RR, and North Country RR. The only customer was a paper mill in Ogdensburg, and when that closed that was the end of the operation. The removal of the line was rather unique--local Amish people were contracted and pulled up the rails using their horses and buggys!

Not sure about OBPA and St. Law. RR on the branch in question - DeKalb Jct. to Ogdensburg, via Rensselaer Falls and Heuvelton, about 19 miles? Both did in fact at various times own or operate the line to Ogdensburg over the former Rutland RR from Norwood, about 30 miles.

Final operator of the line was Ontario Eastern RR, affiliated with Ontario Midland RR & Ontario Central RR. They used an ex-D&H RS-3, #4085. There were a couple other VERY small shippers, but the paper mill was the life (and death) of the line. The 1916 ETT shows six (6) trains daily in each direction between DeKalb Jct. and Ogdensburg. They were spaced out from about 6 or 7 a.m. to about 6 or 7 p.m., with a typical elapsed time of 40 minutes, including the two intermediate station stops of Heuvelton and Rensselaer Falls. I would imagine that one trainset consisting of an engine and one or two coaches plus a combo mail/baggage car could have handled the entire operation. Pullman sleeper cars were likely attached to early morning northbounds, and to early evening southbounds. By 1956, there was only one passenger run a day left. It was gone by 1961.

Ogdensburg - DeKalb Junction
Apr. 1, 1976
Conrail is created and operations of the Ogdensburg Secondary is signed over to Ogdensburg & Norwood Railway.

Apr. 1, 1977
O&NR became St. Lawrence Railroad.

SLRR returned the Ogdensburg Secondary to Conrail.

Mar. 1980
Conrail signs operations of the Ogdensburg Secondary to North County Railroad.

The Ontario Eastern Railroad ran out of DeKalb Jct. and was operated by the same group that ran ONCT and OMID. The Ontario Eastern Railroad Corp.(ONER) was incorporated in 1981 to take over as designated operator of the Ogdensburg-DeKalb Jct. line. It served a rail-dependent paper mill at Ogdensburg owned by Sonoco Products. (The mill was formerly owned by Diamond National). ONER had one unit of motive power, an ex-D&H RS3. The General Manager, Jim Colpoys, also came from the D&H. The company was an affiliate of Rail Services Associates of Syracuse. RSA also managed the Ontario Midland and the Ontario Central Railroads. ONER even had its own subsidiary, the Jersey Southern R.R., which operated a 4.3 mile branch in South Deerfield Twp., N.J., serving the Seabrook Farms frozen food plant.

The paper mill at Ogdensburg struggled on until about 1985, when it closed for good. The road shut down operations, since there was no other business. After about a year, the track was removed. March 1987 seems about right as the date of abandonment.

An interesting note is that the contractor who removed the ONER rails was Amish - even in the mid-1980's, the rails went down the same way they went down, with men and horses instead of machines. Before 1920, was probably the peak of passenger traffic, shows about six (6) trains daily in each direction between DeKalb Jct. and Ogdensburg. They were spaced out from about 6 or 7 a.m. to about 6 or 7 p.m., with a typical elapsed time of 40 minutes, including the two intermediate station stops of Heuvelton and Rensselaer Falls. I would imagine that one trainset consisting of an engine and one or two coaches plus a combo mail/baggage car could have handled the entire operation. Also Pullman sleeper cars were likely attached to early morning northbounds, and to early evening southbounds. In 1947 to 1950, they ran a Gas-Electric,steam and early diesel.

Edwards to G&O Junction (Gouverneur) (13.8 miles)

Rome (SS34) to Camden (to Richland) (22 miles)

Utica to Richland was about 58 miles but the actual trackage ran from Signal Station 34 near Rome. In 1956 there was a single passenger train each way. 22 miles from Richland to Camden was abandoned in 1957. Camden to Rome was abandoned in stages from 1977 to 1983.

Watertown to Newton Falls (75.6 miles)

The portion of this line between Carthage and Watertown was removed in the 60's. (It was part of the old RW&O main from Utica). I saw in 1965 Benson Mines a Pittsburgh ore train which usually ran via Philadelphia but was detoured that day. The detour was preferred because it kept the train out of downtown Watertown and most of the street crossings. The line was a segment of the Carthage and Adirondack RR, not the RW&O. The C&A ran from Sacketts Harbor via Watertown and Carthage to Newton Falls.

I believe the line that ends at Benson Mine is now GVT owned Mohawk Adirondack & Northern. But the paper mill at the end of this line in Newton Falls closed and for now, there isn't much in the way of traffic there. The mill is being looked at by an investment group, so there's still hope that the line will be operational again in the future. The fate of the 46-mile Carthage-Newton Falls line is very much up in the air. As a previous poster has noted, this former NYC branch's last significant customer, the Appleton Papers mill at Newton Falls, is now closed. The only other traffic consists of plastic pellets destined for Tupper Lake, via a transload. Several years ago, this line was sold by Conrail to the Mohawk, Adirondack & Northern, a subsidiary of GVT Rail, of Batavia, N.Y. The MA&N has not asked for abandonment, but that could happen if the mill stays shut. Benson Mines is located 3 miles from Newton Falls. In the 1960's it originated a daily train of iron ore for Pittsburgh, but the open pit mine has been closed for years and won't reopen.

Penney Vanderbilt has some great pictures of ore trains at Benson Mines and a great article on "Adirondack Ore Run on the New York Central Called For High Class Railroading".

Watertown to Limerick (8.7 miles)

Actually ran from Main Street (Watertown Junction)

Main Street to Roots (5.1 miles)

(Roots is 5.5 miles Northeast of Watertown on the line to Massena)

Rivergate to Clayton (15.8 miles)

(Rivergate is 5.4 miles from Philadelphia on the Utica to Ogdensburg line)

Utica to Adirondack Junction (232 miles)

Was intact until the late 1950's. The former Conrail line to Montreal was the New York Central Adirondack Division. The track between Malone Jct. NY and Beauharnois, Que. and between Vallyfield, Que. and Adirondack Jct., Que., was owned by the St. Lawrence and Adirondack Ry, a NYC subsidiary, and leased to the NYC. Track between Beauharnois and Valleyfield was leased from CN. NYC passenger trains to Montreal operated from Utica via Malone to Adirondack Jct on NYC, then into Windsor Street Station on CP. Freight trains ran into St. Luc Yard on CP. NYC ran a through freight train via Utica and Montreal, UM-1 and MU-2, which among other traffic handled bananas from Weehawken set off by WB-3 at Utica. That train and most other freight traffic was later rerouted via Watertown and Norwood, then via trackage rights on the Rutland to Malone Jct, then north on the NYC to Adirondack Jct. When the Rutland went out on strike in 1961 that train returned to the Adirondack for a short while, then began operating as DM-11 and MD-12 (Dewitt - Montreal) via new trackage rights on CN from Massena to Huntingdon, then via the original route to Adirondack Jct. After Conrail was created, CN sold that piece of the Massena Subdivision west of Huntingdon to Conrail.

Lake Clear Junction (Saranac Lake) to Lake Placid (16 miles)

Already the subject of many articles, not covered here.

Massena Terminal

The Massena Terminal still exists. It is owned by Alcoa and serves the Alcoa plant from the CSX yard at Massena Springs. It has two EMD switchers painted red and white. They are hard to photograph since most of their time is spent inside the plant.

Rutland (and successors)

The St. Lawrence Railroad went out of existence several years ago. At the time, the tracks from Norfolk to Waddington had been mostly removed but the company operated the segment to Norwood and the track from Norwood to Ogdensburg which is owned by the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority. A successor company calling itself the St. Lawrence and Raquette River Railroad operated the Norwood-Ogdensburg trackage and it's own few miles Norwood to Norfolk until the late 1990's when it came under new ownership as the New York and Ogdensburg Railroad (NY&O). The NY&O has two EMD switchers and a GE 70-tonner. The two EMDs are still in St. Lawrence "baby blue" paint. They bore white "St. Lawrence" lettering until the NY&O took over and painted the lettering over with the "baby blue." The entire NY&O is FRA excepted track. It exchanges cars with CSX in Norwood. It makes the all-day trip to Ogdensburg usually once per week. In addition to the port, it serves a company in Ogdensburg that makes magnets for tiny electric motors and there is an outdoor transfer facility for a few cars on the spur that once was used for coal deliveries to the Ogdensburg Psychiatric Center. It also serves a paper mill next door to it's engine house in Norfolk. Ogdensburg tries hard to find some traffic for the NY&O. One plan was to haul salt from Retsof, NY to the port for loading into vessels. Before the deal was finalized, the mine had some sort of accident and was flooded. A new mine is under construction in Hampton Corners, NY. The NY&O is far from dead. Recently they bulldozed the former Rutland yard at the Port of Ogdensburg and installed a new CSX Transflo Facility. The facility consists of the two tracks with 100 lb rail with wide areas between the tracks for trucks to off load or on load materials to the cars. The facility is supposed to be paved with ample lighting and environmentally safe drainage systems. The tracks and crushed stone are in-place. It appears as the paving and lighting will be completed in the Spring Of 2000. There is a new plywood manufacturing plant going in the industrial park. It is to be located next to the main line near where the old hospital siding was. They expect to generate 10 - 15 cars per week. Acco is also expected to build an additional warehouse in the same industrial park. It is suppose to have rail access too. Now they have cars brought down to the port and materials stored in one of the cold storage buildings. As for the motive power, they are still using the EMD switchers. The GE is out of service. My understanding is the cylinder walls are too thin. I also understand the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port plans on rebuilding the line with 100 lbs. rail all the way to Norwood. They expect to do the Ogdensburg to Lisbon section this year. With the anticipated traffic, they need it! They are also looking for bigger power. Lastly, they plan on building an engine house in Norwood to cut the trip time down. Most of the traffic goes between the CSX interchange in Norwood and Ogdensburg. The northern part of the Rutland from Burlington to Ogdensburg NY was torn up in 1964, including the long causeway over the Lake Champlain islands (recently converted into a bicycle trail, with ferry). The trackage between Ogdensburg and Norwood (ex-Rutland), along with a branch to Norfolk (a short segment of the former Norwood & St. Lawrence RR) is operated by the New York and Ogdensburg RR. The property is owned by the Ogdensburg Bridge & Port Authorty (OBPA). Over the years, OBPA has designated a series of operators on this marginal line. The first was Ogdensburg & Norwood RR. Others include the St. Lawrence Railroad (a subsidiary of the car-leasing company, National Railway Utilization Corporation). During the time NRUC leased the line there were hundreds of boxcars in service with the SLAW (St. Lawrence RR) reporting marks. Later, line was leased to the New York & Lake Erie in western NY and other shortlines in Pennsylvania and Canada.

By Ken Kinlock at

History of the Rome Watertown and Ogdensburg Railroad

The Watertown and Rome Railroad Company was incorporated under an act of the legislature of the State of New York, passed April 17, 1832, chapter 173 of the laws of 1832, and its road opened September 18, 1851. On April 11, 1860, an act entitled "An Act to amend the charter of the Watertown and Rome Railroad Company," being chapter 273 of the laws of 1860, was passed by the Legislature of the State of New York, authorizing the Watertown and Rome Railroad Company to purchase, to hold, operate and own and annex to its own road all the railroad, property and franchises of the Potsdam and Watertown Railroad Company, which had been incorporated February 15, 1852, and its road opened June, 1857. The purchase was made, in accordance with the terms of the act, on July 25, 1860, and subsequently, under authority of the same act, the Watertown and Rome Railroad Company, by a resolution of its board of directors, on July 10, 1861, changed its corporate title to Rome Watertown and Ogdensburgh Railroad Company, effective as of August 23, 1861.

By an agreement of consolidation, dated October 22, 1874, between the Rome Watertown and Ogdensburgh Railroad Company and the Lake Ontario Railroad Company, which had been incorporated as the Lake Ontario Shore Railroad Company on March 27, 1868, road opened to Oswego in 1873, sold under foreclosure proceedings September 22, 1874, and reorganized September 29, 1874, as the Lake Ontario Railroad Company, the second company bearing the name of the Rome Watertown and Ogdensburgh Railroad Company was incorporated. This agreement was filed and recorded in the office of the Secretary of State of the State of New York on January 14, 1875, under authority of chapter 917 of the laws of 1869, passed May 20, 1869, and acts amendatory thereof or supplemental thereto.

A third corporation bearing the same name was formed by an agreement of consolidation dated October 19, 1875, with The Syracuse and Northern Railroad Company, which had been incorporated February 25, 1868, under the name of the Syracuse Northern Railroad Company, its road opened in 1872, sold under foreclosure proceedings July 31, 1875, and reorganized September 22, 1875. This consolidation was under authority of chapter 917 of the laws of 1869, passed May 20, 1869, and acts amendatory thereof or supplemental thereto, and was filed in the office of the Secretary of State of the State of New York, December 23, 1875.

The final company was formed by an agreement of consolidation dated March 14, 1885, with the Oswego Railroad Bridge Company, a corporation chartered April 22, 1872, and filed and recorded in the office of the Secretary of State of the State of New York on April 20, 1885, under authority of chapter 917 of the laws of 1869, passed May 20, 1869, and acts amendatory thereof or supplemental thereto.

This company added to itself by merger, under authority of the laws of the State of New York, the property and franchises of the following companies:

On August 7, 1889, the Norwood and Montreal Railroad Company, incorporated March, 1884, and its road opened September, 1886. On the same date, the Syracuse Phoenix and Oswego Railway Company, incorporated February 16, 1885. This company was formed on April 22, 1886, by consolidation of The Syracuse Phoenix and Oswego Railway Company (incorporated February 16, 1885, as a reorganization of The Syracuse Phoenix and Oswego Railroad Company, incorporated June 10, 1875, by consolidation of The Syracuse North Western Railroad Company, incorporated September 19, 1874, and Syracuse Phoenix and Oswego Railroad Company, incorporated November 29, 1871, sold January 31, 1885) and Fulton and Oswego Railroad Company (incorporated December 18, 1885). On April 28, 1890, the Rome Watertown and Ogdensburg Terminal Railroad Company, incorporated June 22, 1886, and opened in 1887. This company was formed by merger on February 21, 1888, of the Windsor Beach and Ontario Railroad Company (incorporated November 30, 1887) and the Rochester and Lake Beach Railroad Company (incorporated February 1, 1888) the latter company having, on August 5, 1887, purchased the Rochester and Ontario Belt Railway Company, which was incorporated January 31, 1882.

The railroads and property of the following named companies were leased by the Rome Watertown and Ogdensburg Railroad Company:

Carthage Watertown and Sackets Harbor Railroad Company,
The Niagara Falls Branch Railroad Company,
Oswego and Rome Railroad Company,
The Utica and Black River Railroad Company.

The Rome Watertown and Ogdensburg Railroad was leased for the term of the corporate existence of the lessor company to The New York Central and Hudson River Railroad Company March 14, 1891, the consideration being an annual cash rental of $15,000, to be reduced after April 1, 1901, to $7,000; a guaranteed dividend of five per cent per annum on the capital stock; and all interest on outstanding mortgage bonds. The lessee company assumed all leases held by the lessor company. Consolidated into The New York Central and Hudson River Railroad Company April 16, 1913.

By Ken Kinlock at
"Rome Watertown and Ogdensburgh" was published July 1988
in the CALLBOARD of the Mohawk and Hudson Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society.
"History of the Rome Watertown and Ogdensburg" is based on notes taken from several documents at Sterling Memorial Library of Yale University. "Ogdensburg and the North Country" is previously unpublished.
Charlotte Bridge on Hojack Line Fallen Flags Photos


List of New York Railroads
Snow fighting equipment
in the Mohawk, Adirondack & Northern's yard in Utica
Rome, Watertown and Ogdensburg Railroad
Carthage Watertown & Sackets Harbor Railroad
North Country Railroads, Stages and Waterways
The Mohawk, Adirondack & Northern today
Rochester Area in the 1960's
Tahawus: Railroad to a Mine, Does it have a Future?
Brief history of a railroad to a mine in the middle of New York State's Adirondack Park. Part of the railroad (Saratoga Springs to North Creek) is a tourist line with dinner trains and ski trains.
Will the last section to the mine come back to life?
Rails into Racquetteville

We are working on our list of Golf Hotels and Resorts

Some of these are well known because of PGA Tour events held there. Pinehurst; The Greenbrier; and Pebble Beach certainly belong in this catagory. Others are located in towns with even more than golf as an attraction. In this Category is The Otesaga in Cooperstown, New York; Basin Harbor Club on Lake Champlain.

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affiliate_link Rich Neighbor The Forum for Supply Chain Integration

ec-bp was established in 2005 as the advocate for lowering the barriers to the adoption of EDI, and our email newsletter has been published every month since that time. Our focus has expanded beyond EDI to encompas the full gamut of supply chain practices and technologies. In addition, our readership has grown to become the largest of any similarly focused publication, and has expanded to include more than 90,000 professionals involved in nearly every aspect of the supply chain.
Today’s supply chain is more than simple transport of EDI documents. The complexity of maintaining compliance with trading partners, managing the ever increasing amount of data, and analyzing that data to drive constant improvement in processes and service take supply chain professionals far beyond the basics of mapping EDI documents.
BLOGS on EC-BP.COM Rails Around New York State

A trip around New York State with stories about the railroads encountered.

Albany to Utica was an important piece of the original New York Central and is now just as important to CONRAIL and to AMTRAK.
The Schenectady to Saratoga railroad reached the small town of Ballston Spa in 1832. Soon the Rensselaer & Saratoga would also pull in. Eventually, these would fall under the Delaware & Hudson. Several street car lines also ran into the spa too.
Mechanicville: Rail Town.
Railroad Biographies The Massena Terminal was built in the early part of the 20th Century, same time as the ALCOA plant. It is basically a intra-plant switching road for ALCOA and interchanged with the NYC and CNR at the Massena yard. The yard ownership was split among the NYC, CNR and Massena Terminal. NYC brought in all the Alumina used at ALCOA. The Massena Terminal is currently operated by Genesee & Wyoming. Looking for old maps that show abandoned rail lines?

Watertown was the hub of several branches (now abandoned) to Clayton, Carthage and Cape Vincent.

Oswego was interesting because of the Lackawanna and Ontario&Western meeting the NY Central there.

The Rutland Connection

Ogdensburg had a big connection with the Rutland Railroad.

A railroad was constructed from Ogdensburg to Rouses Point and was opened in 1850. It was originally called the Ogdensburg and Lake Champlain line of the Northern Railroad.

The Rutland Railroad leased the Ogdensburg and Lake Champlain line in 1901 to connect the port of Boston with Ogdensburg. From there, its Rutland Transit Company fleet could connect to the numerous Great Lakes ports and thus the Midwest. That plan was short-lived, as the U.S. government prohibited ownership of both shipping and rail interests by one company through passage of the Panama Canal Act of 1915.

Pictures of the former Elm Street Station in Malone are replaced with images of the structure today, now housing town offices and a bank.

One of the most interesting remnants of the railroad is the Chateaugay embankment and tunnel. It is sometimes visible looking south from the Route 11 bridge over the Chateaugay River. A 300-foot long tunnel, 25 feet wide and 22 feet high, was used to divert the river in order to protect the earth embankment used to bridge the river. It took two years to build, at a cost of $130,000. Water still runs through the tunnel, which was completed in 1848.

The end of the line came after a final strike by railroad workers in 1961. In December of that year, the Rutland Railroad applied to the Interstate Commerce Commission for total abandonment of the line, which was approved in September 1962 and took place the following year.

Did you know that both the New York Central and the New Haven railroads had a financial interest in the Rutland at various times?

The Rutland even ran from Bennington, Vermont to Chatham, New York. Once this branch was gone, they delivered the milk via the Boston & Maine through Troy.

Find out more about the Rutland from the Rutland Railroad Historical Society and the Rutland Railway Association.

There was no connection between the NY Central and the Rutland in Ogdensburg. The Oswegatchie River split the town down the middle. The Rutland came into Ogdensburg from the East and had a terminal right by the present hospital there.

The NYC had a yard with a station on the west bank of the river. There were two routes from the West into Ogdensburg. One route was the line from Dekalb Jct., on the NYC's -Syracuse - Massena route. The other was from Morristown, down through Redwood, to Theresa. There the line connected with the Clayton branch and headed south through Ft. Drum, down through Carthage and on to Utica.
Railroad Station at Troy, New York

Railroad Station at Troy, New York

The station in Troy was owned by the Troy Union Rail Road. The TURR lasted from the mid 19th Century till the mid 20th Century. It was owned by the New York Central, Delaware & Hudson and Boston & Maine. Access from the South was from Rensselaer; from the West, via the Green Island Bridge; from the North was street running almost the entire length of Troy. See Penney's blog for more information (and a great movie from the 1950's).

Rutland freight passing thru Troy Union Station

Find out about Children, Teens and Parents and Fair Promise

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Several years ago I wrote a story on the major railroads of 1950 and what happened to them.

Now I am following up with a closer examination of the New York Central Railroad. This railroad only lasted until 1968 when it merged into Penn Central.

But, what was the NY Central Railroad like in 1950?

You will also be interested in "What if the Penn Central Merger Did Not Happen"
Rutland Railroad affiliate_link
Watertown was once the headquarters of the Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg Railroad. Watertown is also the "Capital of the North Country. When I was in Canton, WWNY-TV was about the only U.S. station we got.

In addition, St Lawrence County Historical Society has put together a great history site that includes a lot of material on the railroads in the area.

Required Attire for a Remote Workforce

Ever wonder how your telecommuting colleagues really live? Turns out, many of them actually do work in their pajamas. They also tend to love their work-life balance – to the point where they’d take a pay cut to maintain the status quo. This is a “must read” for both remote workers and for their office-bound managers.
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See KC Jones BLOG about Railroad History We cover New York Central, New Haven Railroad and other Eastern Railroads. Penney Vanderbilt and KC Jones See Penney Vanderbilt BLOG about Golf and Vacations, especially on the French Riviera We have a lot about Nice, France. Not only do we cover golf on the French Riviera, but also Northwest France, Quebec, Golf Hotels and THE US Open
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