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NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/3/21 7:16 p.m.

Went out hiking in Rome today and my father and I are pretty sure we found the old roadbed of the Rome & Osceola Railroad Company.

The Rome & Osceola was a stillborn line, intended to haul down timber from Osceola, on the Tug Hill Plateau, to a tie plant on the Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg (later became the New York Centrals Saint Lawrence Division) in West Rome. Rather than grade the roadbed and lay rails at the same time, they decided to grade the entire roadbed first, then lay the rails. Since they couldn't take on customers as they completed sections to help with construction costs, they built the entire roadbed and then went bankrupt before they laid a single rail. No one else ever picked up the project.

We were on the Pitch Pine Bog Trail and came across a raised segment through the bog in a dead straight line, 6' to 8' wide with ditches on both sides. It definitely looked like a railroad roadbed and was in the correct location, headed towards where the tie plant was (I know where that was and I've explored what little remains of the dismantled RW&O/NYC yard and the found the creosote retorts)

Side note, I'd love to see photos of that tie plant. It existed from around 1910 to 1955, but no one seems to have any photos. Likewise, my father has said he hasn't seen any pictures of it, and the Rome Historical Society doesn't have any (or if they do, they don't display them).

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/5/21 1:19 p.m.

Speaking of the Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg, someone on a Facebook group posted a photos of Conrail's operations on the old Hojack Line (for reasons lost to time, the RW&O was called that), which had become the New York Central's St. Lawrence Division. Operations north of Camden, NY to Richland Junction (23 miles) had been abandoned in '57 and tore up in '60, and then in 1977 Penn Central had cut further back (4.5 miles) to McConnellsville. Operations to McConnellsville were a one or two car biweekly train to a sand pit in McConnellsville, with the occasional boxcar drop off at the old McConnellsville freight house for customers. In '82, everything past Rome was abandoned and the Rome segment today is lightly used by MA&N.

These photos were from 1980 and have an ex-PC GP38 on the point (this unit actually still exists to date on BNSF). The boxcar is probably customer freight. One person was recounting that in '80 or '81, they ordered a TV and it was dropped off at the McConnellsville freight house for pickup, which is so weird to think about in this day and age of going to Wal-Mart or Best Buy to pick up a TV. 

I'm pretty sure that those first four photos were taken at Humaston Road crossing here in Rome, which is a mile or two from where I lived. There was a pretty sizable sand mining operation there, although it was abandoned by this point. My father talks about when his family moved to Rome when he was a kid, they would hear the train blowing its horn in Rome where it crossed Route 49, and since this was the Penn Central era, the tracks were in such poor shape that he and his friends would hop on their bikes and beat it down to the Humaston Road crossing and watch it go by. One summer they thought a deer had been hit by a car, the smell was so bad, and continued to get worse to the point where they stopped going down there. Someone finally got the police to investigate and back in the Rome Sand Plains they found a dead human floating in one of the many ponds with a bullet hole in the forehead and a New York City license. His car was found abandoned in a hotel parking lot in Utica, NY. At the time, the New York City mob had connections in Utica (they practically ran Utica at the time), and would send people who had displeased them north to the Rome/Utica/Oneida area to be rubbed out. This is not the only story I've heard of people finding someone back in the Rome Sand Plains who had been executed witha  gunshot to the head. After that, my father and his friends weren't allowed to bike down to the crossing anymore. 

The McConnellsville freight depot is actually still there at that site, although it is grown in around it and it looks worse for the wear. The New York Central passenger station that was at McConnellsville was moved in 1974 to the now-defunct Erie Canal Village Museum here in Rome, NY (which also had a little live steam 2' gauge railroad, the equipment of which I have not been able to track down), where it sits in terrible condition. The Lehigh Valley also had a small station in McConnellsville (they abandoned a lot of their line to Camden in '38) and that was moved to private property and is also in rough shape.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/6/21 6:10 p.m.

I just discovered an interesting bit of family history. I'd known that my great grandfather worked for the C&EI as a signal maintainer, where he retired from. But he apparently worked for the Great Northern at some point before that.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/7/21 3:55 p.m.

Great Northern Y-1 #5011 at Wenatchee. One of the Big G's boxcab electrics, the #5011 was involved in a bad crash and so was rebuilt with EMD F-unit style noses on both ends. The Y-1s were later sold to the PRR in '56, after GN de-electrified Cascade Tunnel. While the other Y-1s became PRR FF2s, the #5011 was broken up for spare parts, including having one of it's noses transplanted back onto a wrecked EMD. PRR was never pleased with the Y-1/FF2s and they were short-lived. The main issue was that they had standard friction bearings, since they operated at low speeds in curvy mountain territory. When the PRR tried running them like their GG1s and P5as, they found that the bearings frequently overheated at sustained operation above 30mph.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/8/21 3:14 p.m.

A Wabash crew enjoys a sunny day aboard their F-M Trainmaster as they roll past a section house. Check out how the building is paint-matched to the locomotives. That's class

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/8/21 3:50 p.m.

Wabash streamlined 4-6-4 #702 at Chicago with the Banner Blue

In reply to NickD :

Here's the Wabash Cannonball at Danville, IL.


 

I vaguely remember that depot. I'll have to check, but I believe it was on the west side of the tracks, which would have made this train northbound. 

The former Wabash, by then NS line, was part of a major railroad-relocation project through Lafayette, IN during the 1990's.

Part of that project included moving the former Wabash depot & raising it, so it could be put back into use for Amtrak's Cardinal train between Chicago & Indy, as well as for party/banquet rentals & community events. 
 

914Driver
914Driver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/9/21 7:22 a.m.

914Driver
914Driver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/9/21 7:23 a.m.

914Driver
914Driver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/9/21 7:24 a.m.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/9/21 9:48 a.m.
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to NickD :

Here's the Wabash Cannonball at Danville, IL.


 

I vaguely remember that depot. I'll have to check, but I believe it was on the west side of the tracks, which would have made this train northbound. 

That's gotta be late in Wabash's life because it has the simplified paint scheme. A lot of the railroads, as things got worse, introduced simpler (and cheaper) paint schemes.

New York Central dumped the "lightning stripes" for cigar bands.

PRR went from 5 gold pinstripes to a single yellow stripe.

B&O ditched the blue, gray, gold and black for uniform dark blue with a yellow X on the front 

Chesapeake & Ohio dumped the flamboyant yellow, dark blue and gray for just dark blue and gray with a yellow logo.

Kansas City Southern traded out the Southern Belle for the "Red Dip" treatment. There was original a yellow highlight around the windshield and roof but even that was gotten rid of in short order.

Frisco's E8s were delivered in a stunning red and gold wings with silver outlining. Then the silver outlining was omitted. Then the gold became yellow. And then the front end treatment was simplified.

In reply to NickD :

I'm sure you're correct, that whole scene just reeks of impending gloom. 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/9/21 1:21 p.m.

In reply to Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) :

You can usually tell if it's a '60s passenger train. Tired-looking locomotives in simplified livery that is in need of a repaint, about 6 or 7 mail cars at the head end and then 2 or 3 mismatched passenger cars.

There were some exceptions. A lot of the southwest lines (SP, ATSF, and UP) kept their passenger trains in pretty good shape. Kansas City Southern gave the Southern Belle a nice makeover in the mid-'60s with the last new intercity passenger cars built by Pullman. Delaware & Hudson upgraded the Laurentian with the last remaining Alco PAs and some used D&RGW lightweight coaches.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/9/21 3:32 p.m.

During the era leading up to Amtrak, Union Pacific kept condensing all their City Of long-distance West Coast-to-Chicago streamliners. City of Denver, City of Kansas, City of Los Angeles, City of Portland and City Of San Francisco were all merged into one massive train which still used the City Of Lost Angeles name but was jokingly nicknamed City Of Everywhere by the public. Cars from Chicago and St Louis were merged together in Cheyenne and then they were split off in Green River Wyoming into different trains for Los Angeles, San Francisco and Portland. It typically departed Chicago with anywhere from 3 to 6 E-units on the front, a boatload of headend cars and even included leased sleepers from the PRR and dome cars from the Milwaukee Road to match capacity.

For the final run of the City Of Everywhere before Amtrak took over, Uncle Pete even put FEF-3 #844 (numbered #8444 at the time due to a GP30 wearing #844 at the time) on the head of the train.

Amtrak did not take up the City Of Los Angeles, although part of the route was used for the Los Angeles-Las Vegas Las Vegas Limited from '72-'76, and the Los Angeles-to-Salt Lake City Desert Wind from '79-97.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/12/21 8:48 a.m.

Ugh, the Iowa Pacific Holdings bankruptcy deal continues to get uglier. The poor United Railroad Historical Society of New Jersey says that they leased a bunch of equipment to Iowa Pacific Holdings, including a pair of ex-C&NW F7s painted in Lehigh Valley colors and some ex-Erie-Lackawanna Comet I cars. Iowa Pacific ran the equipment into the ground, scattered it to the winds and then basically abandoned it. The F7s were supposed to be returned in operating condition but were instead left on a siding in Mississippi where they have been heavily vandalized. The windshields have been smashed, the horns and number boards stolen and gauges ripped out of the cab. The three Erie Lackawanna “Comet I” coaches were in Indiana after Iowa Pacific subleased the cars, which was in violation of the lease agreement. Iowa Pacific had originally promised to restore the cars and remove graffiti but instead covered it with blank white vinyl. Later on, when the cars were tagged again, Iowa Pacific simply painted over the vinyl, damaging the cars’ original brushed aluminum finish. Three former-Great Northern coaches were left in Mississippi. A former Pennsylvania Railroad coach was abandoned in Texas.

The lease began in 2015, and that was the only year that IPH paid. Court documents say that URHS NJ Is owed $14,156 but the URHS says that Iowa Pacific actually owes them more than $635,000. The court appointee in charge of IPH's bankrupcty proceedings says he feels bad and would like to make it right, but if there was the money to do that, then IPH wouldn't be in the situation it was in. And now URHS is having to spend tens of thousands of dollars to repair equipment that was abandoned and bring it home, while also trying to sell other pieces, including a pair of F7 locomotives. To raise the money to bring some of the equipment home, URHS was forced to sell the three ex-GN cars and is trying to find new owners for the F7s. The proceeds from that sale will go toward moving the ex-EL “Comet I” cars and the ex-PRR coach back to New Jersey.

I feel bad for the URHS NJ. They've been trying for decades to find a home to build a museum in NJ. Guys talk about riding excursions on NJT in '88, with the proceeds to go towards a museum. They have a really cool collection, including the last GE U34CH, a couple of E8s in Erie colors, a B&O Baldwin VO-1000, CNJ GP7s, and a pair of GG1s, but they have nowhere to display it and at every turn they get shafted. Right now everything is stored in NJT's Boonton yard, so it's not accessible to viewing by the public. The IPH lease on paper was great, because they didn't have to store the stuff and it would be generating revenue that could be put towards finding a home for the collection. And now its all trashed and they're having to sell it off. Trying to run a railroad museum or historical society is a luckless, thankless, friendless job. It's the equivalent of wearing a neon "berkeley me over" sign taped to your back and everyone is allowed to participate.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/12/21 1:58 p.m.

Some other incidences that come to mind:

  • Utica & Mohawk Valley NRHS chapter donating their equipment to the Utica Children's Museum and then the museum first trying to charge them retroactive storage fees over a decade later, then evicting them and resulting in a mad scramble to find new homes for the RSC-2, dining car and caboose.
  • A kid releasing the brakes on a parked car, causing it to roll downhill and collide with U&MV NRHS' ex-New York Central 0-6-0 and severely damaging it. The kid wasn't held responsible, despite the fact that people very nearly were killed, and so the U&MV didn't receive any money to repair the engine, and had to scrounge up money to fix it up.
  • Adirondack Scenic Railroad being told by the state that they had to rip up the 34 miles into Lake Placid, after years of legal battles.
  • The Golden Spike Chapter of the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society fixing up DS&RGW #223, a narrow-gauge 2-8-0 that is one of only two surviving locomotives from Grant Locomotive Works, spending over a decade working on the locomotive and acquiring tools and a site to work on it, only for the City of Ogden to lock them out of the site and basically hold the locomotive hostage. They GSC has since given up on restoring the engine and sold off all the tools they purchased, while #223 sits dismantled outside gathering rust.
  • Dick Jensen was evicted from the Chicago & Western Indiana's 47th Street roundhouse in 1969 and C&WI was supposed to move his equipment out of the roundhouse so that it could be moved to a new site. The engines he had stored there, CB&Q #5632 and CB&Q #4963, along with his supply of spare parts and all the machinery from the CB&Q's steam shops, were instead sent to a scrapyard by the C&WI. By the time he found out what was happening, #5632 had been cut up for scrap after it derailed entering the scrapyard. He filed a lawsuit and won, but that didn't bring back the #5632, and it stayed so wrapped up in courts that Jensen never saw a dime of the settlement money until after his death. Something similar happened with his GTW 4-6-2, although that one was so legally murky I'm not sure who was in the wrong there. Jensen also got screwed over by two local railroad clubs getting into price wars that drove the ticket prices so low that his chartered trips lost money even when run at max capacity, and Rock Island and Penn Central frequently bailed out of agreements to lend passenger cars.
  • Indiana Transportation Museum's eviction from Noblesville. Now, devil's advocate, they kind of had it coming. The "museum" was a collection of largely inoperative, rusted-out hulks, and so they were branded an eyesore. I seem to recall that it really came to a head due to the discovery that an electric locomotive that was leaking some really nasty chemicals into the ground. Once it got that far, they couldn't defend themselves. But the eviction was still pretty rough. I don't think anyone fully knows what escaped, what went where, and what was cut up on the spot. And some of the stuff that was saved was damaged in the scramble to get it out of there (The very first diesel on the Monon comes to mind)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/12/21 6:01 p.m.

In reply to NickD :

We were driving through the country Saturday & crossed an abandoned RR - trees growing up between the rails. I turned to my wife & told her I wanted to try & buy it. She just ignored me completely. 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/12/21 9:33 p.m.

In reply to Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) :

I mean, it wasn't a no.

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
4/13/21 12:12 a.m.

Sunday at the Illinois Railway Museum. 

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
4/13/21 12:17 a.m.

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
4/13/21 12:19 a.m.

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
4/13/21 12:25 a.m.

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/13/21 3:25 a.m.

In reply to Appleseed :

Great pics!

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