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Abandoned Railroads: West Shore, New York State and Other


End of the line for the West Shore
End of the track: West Shore south of Amsterdam, New York

Welcome to our "Abandoned Railroads" WebSite



See Abandonments of New York Central "Hojack" Lines Contributed by Richard Palmer

Just Around the Corner by Bertrande H. Snell

Ogdensburg Station was served by two New York Central branches

Abandoned Railroad Equipment near Albany,NY

Abandoned Connecticut Railroads

Abandoned Railroads from the Surface Transportation Board

Lakeville, Connecticut Railroad Station

Catskill Mountain Line

NY Central Ottawa Division Abandoned
Way back when, Utica had three railroads besides the New York Central. Until 1957 these three railroads ran through, and crossed each other in the South Utica/New Hartford area: Ontario & Western, Delaware, Lackawanna & Western, and West Shore (really a part of New York Central). Even the municipal borders varied. Until 1925, what is now South Utica was a part of the town of New Hartford. See the full story on the three other railroads of Utica, New York

Follow a new railroad into the Adirondack Mountains of New York State.


They run tourist trains, dinner trains, and even a ski train from Saratoga to North Creek. They want to reactivate the railroad to a mine that was closed over 20 years ago. New technology and a new attitude maybe just the right combination.
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Find out about Goals and Fair Promise

There is a lot of old railroad equipment in danger of being cut up. Route 32 in Watervliet, NY (about 12 miles from Albany) passes over the mainline of the Delaware & Hudson Railway, much like the other highway overpasses in the area. The casual observer may miss the Lomographer's treasure trove which lies beneath the bridge, along side the tracks.



On an unused siding parallel to the mainline tracks stands a hodge-podge line up of abandoned, discarded and decaying railroad equipment: locomotives, passenger cars, freight cars, and the one-time hallmark of the American railroad, the caboose. Relegated to rust and decay on an unused track, forgotten and abandoned, this collection of rusting hulks is a sad testament to the once great American rail transportation system. Note: this is NOT the historic equipment that belongs to the Mohawk & Hudson Chapter of the NRHS (no link, it,s dead). THAT STUFF is irrepraceable: S-Motor, T-Motor, etc)

The S-Motor and T-Motor (as well as some other less glamorous equipment) are located on the property of a power generation plant in Glenmont (South of Albany, NY). At one time, the plant used coal and had rail access from two rail lines. Just across the road, the plant connected with the Selkirk to Albany New York Central branch. From the North, the Delaware & Hudson Cabbage Island Branch crossed a now-derilict bridge from the Port of Albany. Originally, the equipment was fairly near the plant, but has now been pushed North into the "wilderness".

By Ken Kinlock at kenkinlock@gmail.com

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Just Around the Corner by Bertrande H. Snell

Bertrande H. Snell, author of the following article, a native of Parish, Oswego County, N.Y., was a telegrapher all his working life. For many years he was employed by the New York Central Railroad, and for 33 years was a telegrapher for Western Union in Syracuse.

Bertrande Snell commenced his writing career with the Syracuse Syracuse Post-Standard in 1945 and continued it until shortly before his death in 1949. His columns were primarily of a reminiscent or historical nature, which included railroad stories.

If you like his column, we have more.
Syracuse Post-Standard, May 9, 1946

Just Around the Corner
By Bertrande Snell



One sultry day in the summer of 1903, No. 11, the Hojack flyer, came surging along at 60 miles an hour, and at a point approximately 300 yards west of Red Mill bridge, she collided head on with a light engine and caboose which was running extra from Richland to Salina.

Fortunately, there was no loss of life and only a few serious injuries, but, as the surrounding terrain cluttered with falling debris; above the hiss of escaping steam and the shrieks of terrified and injured passengers, could be heard the stentorian voice of farmer John Quinn, issuing from his back door as he apostrophized to the world:

"Now ain't that a hell of a way to run a railroad?"

______________



Forty-five years ago the Hojack was manned and operated by as sturdy and salty a bunch of men as could be found anywhere in the states - and in those days, the percentage of "hard" boys among railroaders was high. This don't mean that they were either disreputable, or inefficient; they became tough, originally because they had to be and, finally, because this toughness had become a habit and a joy.

Number 21, the local freight, pulled into Mallory one morning in 1904 and sidetracked to let No. 9 pass. However, the passenger train got orders from Train Dispatcher Nutting to stay at Mallory until No. 9 had passed. As a matter of fact, they remained some three of four hours.

During this interim, Hop Look, the conductor, browsed around in the Watertown way-car and sorted out an "eighth" of beer, which he lugged into the station waiting room, where he and Dick Jones, the flagman, dumped its contents into the tin water cooler, which was an adjunct to every wayside railroad station in those days. this receptacle stood empty - as usual - and Hop's donation filled it to the brim.

Somebody went back to the caboose and got an empty quart fruit jar to serve as a goblet.

At this point Hop announced solemnly and with appropriate adjectives, that any lily-livered so-and-so who couldn't empty the quart jar with on quaff, would not be allowed to do any more quaffing. And he appointed an able and willing committee to enforce this by-law.

This ultimatum automatically eliminated me from any wassail, after the consumption of my first quart. I became almost at once, just an interested spectator. It is possible hat such rigidly enforce abstinence caused me to remember the episode with greater clarity than i could have done, otherwise.

It would have done your heart good - or otherwise, according to your predilections - to have seen that four gallons of brew disappear! I went across the road and got a couple of Mary Jerome Fidler's famous mince pies to add more flourish to the fiesta and more solidity to the menu.

Everybody solemnly asservates that he never told anybody else about this episode, but it wasn't more than four days before every Hojacker from Salina to Watertown knew all about it. inasmuch as every narrator added some touches of his own invention, the story soon got beyond any bounds of reality and was finally relegated to the limbo of railroad fiction - which was probably just as well for the future standings of hop Look, Dick Jones, Denny Haley, Sam Cotter, Barney Fidler and this narrator.

_______

The old-time railroad telegrapher was a romantic soul, although he would have been the first to deny it. You see, there was always something impressive, something vast, something "out of this world," in his ability to sit at a desk in some shabby cabin of a railroad depot and converse with people hundreds of miles away!

And what a great bunch of brass-pounders used to infest the Hojack in the early 1900s! There was Jimmy Duell at Liverpool, Ed Richardson at Woodard, and Charlie Zoller at Clay. At Brewerton you would meet Charlie rogers or his son, Coon, and, faring on to Central Square, you visited with Ed Sprague and Sherm Coville. Hastings depot boasted the presence of Johnny Benedict, while, at Parish you found George Murphy and Frank Hayner, a betted by Louie Church. Union Square and Fernwood were represented by Fred Nicholson and Bert Shear, respectively. Pulaski had a coterie of telegraphers, among whom one recalls H.H. Franklin, Win. Pond and Sam Sweet.

I could tell you a rollicking story about each and every one of the above gents; but lack of space and prudence combine to limit me to an occasional outburst of reminiscence, as we go along from week to week.

_________

Nowadays, they run the trains by telephone instead of Morse code and luck; so the present personnel is naturally of a different timber, but I dare say no less efficient than that of old. (I wouldn't dare say anything else, anyway!)

______

They sent Jim Hustis up to Watertown in 1903, as division superintendent. Jim was from the New York City general offices, with plenty of theoretical knowledge by not little practical experience. Hard-boiled Trainmaster Frank McCormick was the real boss while Hustis was at Watertown. Frank knew all the ropes and when he ran of rope, he would use twine or anything else to keep 'em rollin'.

One day, Jim Hustis was standing in the Syracuse train shed, waiting for No. 3 to take him to Watertown. Juke Bodine, veteran car inspector, was taking a look at the journals with lantern in one hand and dope-pail in the other.

"How long have you worked here?" asked him, more to make conversation from a any real desire to know.

"Forty-six years," replied Juke, "and always on this here one job, by crummy. Considerable of a stretch, ain't it?"

"That's right," agreed Jim, "and just what is it that you're always looking for in those car wheels?"

"Damned if I know," replied Juke, cheerfully, as he reached for his Mail Pouch!
New York Central station in Ogdensburg

New York Central station in Ogdensburg.

Ogdensburg was served by two lines. One came 42 miles from Rivergate, near Watertown. Passenger service discontinued in 1956 and the route was abandoned in 1962.
Read more about the history of the second rail route that went from Ogdensburg to DeKalb Junction.
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Railroad Biographies Rich Neighbor

Abandoned Connecticut Railroads

THE RIDGEFIELD BRANCH

The Ridgefield Branch was constructed in 1869 and 1870 as a westerly spur in Ridgefield off of the Danbury Branch. The line ran for four miles westerly up to Ridgefield Center and was difficult to construct because of the relatively steep topography.

The line made its' connection with the Danbury branch at the Branchville Station, the source of the neighborhood's name, and made three trips a day which took about 15 minutes each way. The Ridgefield Branch was never electrified and finally abandoned in 1964. It is now a walking trail.


THE SHEPAUG LINE

The Shepaug Valley Railroad ran from Bethel through Hawleyville, where it could transfer with the Housatonic, through Washington and Roxbury ending at Litchfield. Blakeslee also refers to it as the Shepaug, Litchfield and Northern, RR or "The Great Northern."

It was constructed in 1872 and was 32 miles long. It hauled ice from Bantam Lake and quarried stone from Roxbury that was used to build the Brooklyn Bridge. It also ran two passenger train a day at the turn of the century but the service was terminated in the 1930's. The travel time for the line from Bethel to Litchfield was about two hours.

The Shepaug Line was leased to the New Haven from 1892 to 1947 when the company petitioned to discontinue service on the line. The New Haven got their wish and the line was abandoned in 1948.


DANBURY-NEW HAVEN & DERBY RAIL LINE HISTORY



Well to the east of Greater Danbury, the railroad from Derby to New Haven was completed in 1871. It was a short line, 13 miles, but proved to be strategically valuable to rail companies such as the Housatonic Railroad. to the west. Simply, with westerly access to New Haven, the Housatonic would be able to parallel the Consolidated's New Haven Line along the Connecticut shore.

The Housatonic Railroad acquired the New Haven & Derby railroad in 1889. The Housatonic Railroad referred to this line as its "New Haven & Derby Division."

Before taking over the New Haven & Derby, the Housatonic Railroad facilitated the merger by building an 9.8 mile (Blakeslee, 1953) extension from Danbury to Botsford and Huntington stations in Newtown. That extension was completed and opened in 1888, which allowed a seamless rail trip from New Haven, CT all the way to Pittsfield, MA.

The New York & New England (NY&NE) also expanded service in the region at this time. Rather than travel along the coast of Connecticut the NY&NE traveled through central Connecticut on to Boston and New York.

On its way through the NY&NE went through Danbury. This route made the NY&NE a natural ally of the Housatonic Railroad since they were both competing for freight and passenger traffic with "The Consolidated" railroad on Connecticut's coast.

But then the Danbury-Derby Line was acquired in 1892 by the New Haven through an acquisition/lease arrangement of all Housatonic Railroad property and assets. From 1895, what became the Maybrook Line was under control of the New Haven and suffered the same series of financial difficulties as the parent railroad until 1968 when the Penn Central acquired the assets of the New Haven.

Penn Central ran freight service on the Maybrook until 1974 when the Poughkeepsie bridge burned. In 1976 the Consolidated Rail Corporation "Conrail" took control of the line from Derby, CT through Beacon, NY. Since 1992, the "new" Housatonic Railroad Company controls the Maybrook from Derby to the New York/Connecticut line.
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Abandoned Rails from the Surface Transportation Board

Here are some great examples

NEW JERSEY - Consolidated Rail Corporation and Norfolk Southern Railway Company - For Conrail to abandon, and for CSXT and NS to discontinue service over, an approximately 1.36-mile portion of a line of railroad known as the Harsimus Branch, between milepost 0.00, CP Waldo, and milepost 1.36, a point east of Washington Street, in Jersey City. Effective on April 17, 2009. (STB Docket No. AB-167 (Sub-No. 1189X and STB Docket No. AB-290 (Sub-No. 306X, decided March 11, served March 18, 2009)

NEW YORK - The New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway Corporation - To abandon a .42-mile segment of its Fay Street Branch rail line between milepost 284.80 at or near Oswego Street in Utica, and milepost 285.22 at or near Warren Street in Utica, in Oneida County, NY. Effective on October 7, 2009. (STB Docket No. AB-286 (Sub-No. 6X, decided August 25, served September 4, 2009)

CONNECTICUT - BOSTON AND MAINE CORPORATION - For B&M to abandon, and for ST to discontinue service over, approximately .73 miles of railroad known as the Canal Branch, extending from milepost 24.00 to milepost 24.73 in Hartford County, CT. Effective on February 26, 2008, (STB Docket No. AB-32 (Sub-No. 101X, STB Docket No. AB-355 (Sub-No. 35X, decided January 18, served January 25, 2008)

INDIANA - NORFOLK SOUTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY - To discontinue service over a 4.40-mile line of railroad between milepost 131.60 and milepost 136.00 in St. Joseph and LaPorte Counties, IN. The line traverses United States Postal Service Zip Code 46574, and includes the station of Kankakee. Effective on July 18, 2008. (STB Docket No. AB-290 (Sub-No. 307X, decided June 6, served June 18, 2008)
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Abandoned Rails is our choice of WebSites about abandoned railroads in the rest of the United States we do not cover.
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Abandonments of New York Central "Hojack" Lines

Contributed by Richard Palmer
List is based on mileage in in employee timetables

Lewiston Branch



Suspension Bridge 0 - Abandoned 1950
Lewiston 5.38*
Lewiston-Lewiston Jct. 3.60- Abandoned 1895
*(former connection with Lewiston & Youngstown Frontier RR)

“Ontario Secondary”



MILEPOSTS FROM BUFFALO
Buffalo NYC Terminal 0
Niagara Falls 25.07
Suspension Bridge 26.90
Model City 34.29
Ransomville 39.95
Elberta 42.54
Wilson 42.65
Slash Road 47.05
Beebe Road 49.04
Burt 51.59
Appleton 54.80
West Somerset 57.13
Barker 59.74
Millers 64.05
Lydonville 68.08
Ashwood 72.04
Waterport 75.17
Carlton 78.10
Brice 80.72
West Kendall 83.82
Kendall 85.74
Morton 88.04
Hamlin 92.16
Walker 95.14
Collamer 97.47
Hilton 98.57
Greece 101.83
Charlotte 108.48
Barnard 111.36
Otis 114.89
Rochester 117.85


MILEPOSTS FROM ROCHESTER TERM.
Windsor Beach 10.59
Sea Breeze 13.36
Forest Lawn 15.49
Webster 19.99
Union Hill 22.86
Fruitland 24.68
Ontario 27.47
Williamson 32.30
East Williamson 34.49
Sodus 38.51
Wallington 41.50
Alton 43.43
North Rose 48.54
Wolcott 53.16
Red Creek 58.92
Sterling 63.63
Crocketts 66.84
Hannibal 69.38
Metcalf 72.06
Furniss 74.95
Oswego 79.47

Oswego to Hannibal abandoned 1978, now hiking trail.

Hannibal to Red Creek (Conrail) 1980 (OMID had been designated operator).

Hannibal to Webster sold to Ontario Midland, Oct. 15, 1979.

Webster to Windsor Beach abandoned 1978 Charlotte to Barker abandoned 1978 Barker to Suspension Bridge 1979

(Portion from Suspension Bridge at Niagara Falls to “Riverview” north of Niagara

University campus dismantled in the late 1960s by Penn-Central.
Had not been used since construction of Niagara Power Project)

Rochester to Windsor Beach abandoned 1978

Through passenger service, Oswego to Rochester and Suspension Bridge, discontinued Feb. 2, 1935

Passenger service discontinued, Oswego to Pulaski, Sept. 25, 1947

Cape Vincent Branch



C. Vincent - now marina 0
Rosiere 4.38
Three Mile Bay 7.72
Chaumont 11.16
Limerick 16.04
Dexter Junction 17.9
Brownville 19.86
Main St., Watertown 23.31 C. V.
C. V. Wye 22.89
Coffeen St. 24.06
Watertown Station 24.68

Limerick to Cape Vincent Abandoned 1952

Watertown to Limerick Abandoned 1976

Passenger service discontinued March 14, 1936

Sackets Harbor Branch



Sackets Harbor 0
Chamberlain’s 2.00
Camp’s Mills 3.39
Alverson’s 5.62
Green’s Corners 6.13
East Hounsfield 7.51
Watertown Junction 11.04

Abandoned 1949.

Passenger service discontinued Sept. 30, 1934.


Utica Branch

Lyons Falls 0
Glenfield 6.65
Martinsburg 10.18
Lowville 13.94

Abandoned 1964

Passenger service, Utica to Massena, discontinued May 21, 1961 (RDC)

Watertown Passenger Train Cutoff



Watertown 0
Pamelia 5.39
Calcium 8.18
Roots 8.68

Abandoned 1963

Carthage Branch


Mileposts from Sackets Harbor

Watertown 12.00
Black River 18.45
Felts Mills 20.66
Great Bend 22.91
Carthage 29.68

Watertown - Great Bend abandoned 1967

Great Bend- Carthage abandoned 1970

Trackage in Watertown, Abandoned 1970

Passenger service, Utica to Watertown, this route, abandoned Nov. 3, 1958 (RDC)

Carthage & Adirondack Branch



Newton Falls - Clifton Mines 10.04 1955

Passenger service, Carthage to Newton Falls, discontinued June 7, 1942

Clayton Branch



Clayton 0
LaFargeville 8.77
Orleans Corners 5.55
Strough’s 12.17
Rivergate 15.88
Shurtleff 17.75
Philadelphia 21.7

Abandoned 1973 Passenger service discontinued April 29, 1951

Ogdensburg Branch



Ogdensburg 0
Shipyard 0.84
Terrace Park 9.52
Morristown 10.67
Brier Hill 16.8
Hammond 21.43
Oakvale 25.49
Redwood 33.19
Theresa 39.32
Rivergate 41.82

Passenger service discontinued Oct. 28, 1956

Abandoned 1962

Ogdensburg Branch (2)



Dekalb Junction 0
Rensselaer Falls 6.73
Heuvelton 11.77
Ogdensburg 18.91

Abandoned 1979

Passenger service discontinued Nov. 9, 1958, Utica to Ogdensburg

Canadian Pacific car and passenger transfer - Ogdensburg to Prescott, Ont., abandoned 1971

Gouverneur & Oswegatchie Branch



Gouverneur Jct. 0
Hailesboro 3.26
York 5.94
Emeryville 7.72
Hyatt 10.37
Talcville 11.32
Edwards 13.82

Abandoned Emeryville - Edwards Jan. 1, 1978

Passenger service discontinued June 26, 1932

Syracuse Northern



Pulaski-Lacona 7.09 miles

Abandoned 1878
Miscellaneous Notes

Antwerp to Jefferson Iron Mine 2 miles Abandoned pre-1900

The Mohawk, Adirondack & Northern operates from Carthage to Lowville (17.2 miles); Carthage to Newton Falls, 45.7 miles (out of service, 1996, up for abandonment); Utica to Lyons Falls, 45 miles; also trackage and rights at Utica and Rome. All remaining portions of the St. Lawrence Division formerly operated by Conrail were transferred to CSX in 1999.
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Victoria Station Victoria Station was a restaurant, not a railroad station.

Other railroad-related restaurants in Connecticut:

Yankee Silversmith Inn / Restaurant has the "Silversmith Parlour Car", an old coach or dining car which serves as part of the dining room. Right on Rt 5 in Wallingford, off the Wilbur Cross Pkwy. The car at the Yankee Silversmith restaurant in Wallingford CT was originally a Philadelphia & Reading coach. It later was purchased by the Belfast & Moosehead Lake, and from there it came to Wallingford I think during the 1960s.

Pizzaworks in Old Saybrook is housed in the former Saybrook freight house (relocated slightly from a different track alignment years ago). They have trains running around and part of the old canopy/platform visible inside. Amtrak station is about 20 feet north of the restaurant and the platforms 20 feet south. Trains go flying by at nearly 100 mph.

In Cromwell CT there is a seasonal ice cream stand in an ex Amtrak, exx PC, exxx PRR steel caboose, no number available.

Find out more on the train stations (and former stations) of Connecticut.
Lakeville, Connecticut Railroad Station Abandoned station in Lakeville, Connecticut on the Abandoned Central New England Railway www.dictionary.ms
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Cedar Hill Yard Driving north from New Haven, Cedar Hill yard cannot be overlooked. Its still used, but not to the extent it was 50 year ago. Imagine, over 9,000 cars handled on one day! Cedar Hill was built between 1910 and 1920. Cedar Hill became in the 1920's the keystone of the whole New Haven Railroad freight operation. It seems to have started out as a more local facility, then grown into that larger role. Or was the idea of making it the center part of the original intention?
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).

B&M diesels headed to Troy

Catskill Mountain Line

Abandoned New York Central Catskill Mountain Branch. Some of it has returned as tourist railroads.

Track 61
Here is a picture of Track 61. See what is so mysterious about Track 61 at Grand Central Terminal.. Also find out about a railroad that did NOT make it to Conrail: The New York & Harlem. Find out about Metro-North.
New York Central Branch from DeKalk Junction to Ogdensburg, In 1861, the Potsdam & Watertown line merged into the Watertown&Rome, the name of the new railroad was changed to Rome, Watertown&Ogdensburg, and a 19-mile line built from DeKalb Junction to Ogdensburg. It lasted until the 1980's. Read the whole story.
On June 13, 1845 the Troy & Greenbush Railroad opened between Troy and Greenbush, NY. It is the last link in an all-rail line between Boston and Buffalo. See more random dates in railroad history.
Isn't it amazing how much we all remember (and have forgotten about the NY Central)? 40 plus years? OMG, we rode parlors to Chatham and sleepers to the Adirondacks. Geez, we remember a lot. Why is all this stuff gone? Why did we have a PC and a Conrail.
Connecticut Freight Railroads
There is no "brrreeeport" in Connecticut, but there are plenty of towns that are served by freight railroads.
Search them out!
Canal Line today through New Haven

Canal Line today through New Haven

REA Express


In 1966 REA Express was operating a system primarily engaged in the expeditious transportation of express packages, less-than-carlot, and carlot shipments requiring special handling. REA Express also provided a world-wide shipping service through contracts with air carriers, acted as an ocean freight forwarder to many countries of the world, and provided local truck express service in some large cities of the United States. A subsidiary company of REA Express leased truck trailers to railroads, forwarders, and shippers for the use in trailer-on-flat car service. Such miscellaneous services as pick-up-and-delivery services for railroads, custom brokerage on import traffic, sale of traveler's checks and money orders, and collection of C. O. D. charges were also performed. REA Express conducted its business through 8,200 offices and used in its operations 137,000 miles of railroad, 132,000 miles of air lines, 79,000 miles of motor carrier lines, and 6,600 of water lines. The company employed 30,000 persons and operated a fleet of 12,000 trucks. The company handled some 66,000,000 shipment annually. (Association of American Railroads)

-with all those assets and experience, even though rail shipping was in decline, REA dominated the private package business. It was already into trucks, had name recognition, a customer base etc. -why did it finally fail? Why didn't it follow the trends and morph into something successful like UPS and FED EX?

We have a lot of information on the Railway Express Agency, later known as REA Express and also have significant background information available that will help you understand why REA Express failed.

By Ken Kinlock at kenkinlock@gmail.com
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.
See KC Jones BLOG about Railroad History
KC Jones
Contact us at kinlock@hotmail.com Links to railroad Sites

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