Home Open Account Help 225 users online

Eastern Railroad Discussion > Southern NY state rails in the 70's question


Date: 08/11/12 22:29
Southern NY state rails in the 70's question
Author: NYC_L4a

This pops in my head from time to time from a memory and now I've resolved to finally find out:

In the early 70's, from 1971 at the earliest to no later than 1973 we used to go fishing with a neighbor at his summer place in the Catskills. We'd travel from our home in Rockland county and pick up route 17 from the Palisades parkway and take it northwest to the Catskills. This part of route 17 as I remember was just like the interstate ( they called it "the quickway" ) and what was striking to me even as a youngster was that there was a railroad crossing....at grade...of this highway. It had lights but I don't remember if it had gates. Never heard of such a setup before or even since. I've tried to square the RR and the location between a RR-only map of the area from 1946 and a Delorme NYS map, but it lacks sufficient details of abandoned lines. I'm guessing it was either the NYO&W or L&NE? The L&HR was too "major" to have had such a setup I imagine. I do remember on one trip as we crossed the RR at that point and he said once before he had to stop for a train and that it scared the life out of him since he had to come to a sudden standstill and yet the traffic behind came barrelling over the hill.

Just wondering if anyone can weigh in on what this RR was.



Date: 08/11/12 23:50
Re: Southern NY state rails in the 70's question
Author: aussiehinz

Interesting. I cannot help you with an accurate identification of the line you seek, but I can offer some similar parallel situations in Michigan during the 1960's that a few may remember. On Interstate 94, grade crossings with the NYC Ypsilanti Branch, southeast of Ann Arbor, and the NYC Springport Branch, north of Albion, existed in the intervening years from the time the freeway was completed until abandonment of the lines in the Penn Central era. Likewise, US 23 (also built to interstate standards in Michigan, south of Bay City) crossed both the same NYC Ypsilanti Branch north of the I-94/US 23 interchange southeast of Ann Arbor; and also the NYC Ida Branch south of Dundee. I remember the crossings well, and always thought they were unusual. The lines were already down to weekly or as needed service frequencies. They were also most likely either known candidates for abandonment, or even actively under abandonment proceedings during the construction of the highways, and thus grade separations were deemed unnecessary. The crossings did not have gates, but were protected by standard cantilever flashers, and additional highway style traffic signals over the roadway. The signals displayed green continuously, except of course when a train was approaching. Then the signals went through a regular yellow then red cycle as the flashers activated. Having never actually seen one of the infrequent train movements cross the freeway at these locations, I can't verify whether crews also stopped and physically flagged these freeway crossings too, but it would not surprised me if they did. Special instructions in the employee timetable would also offer insight. There may well have been other locations in Michigan where this phenomenon existed as well, but these are the ones I distinctly recall.



Date: 08/12/12 00:26
Re: Southern NY state rails in the 70's question
Author: PittsburghMike

aussiehinz Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Interesting. I cannot help you with an accurate
> identification of the line you seek, but I can
> offer some similar parallel situations in Michigan
> during the 1960's that a few may remember. On
> Interstate 94, grade crossings with the NYC
> Ypsilanti Branch, southeast of Ann Arbor, and the
> NYC Springport Branch, north of Albion, existed in
> the intervening years from the time the freeway
> was completed until abandonment of the lines in
> the Penn Central era. Likewise, US 23 (also built
> to interstate standards in Michigan, south of Bay
> City) crossed both the same NYC Ypsilanti Branch
> north of the I-94/US 23 interchange southeast of
> Ann Arbor; and also the NYC Ida Branch south of
> Dundee. I remember the crossings well, and always
> thought they were unusual. The lines were already
> down to weekly or as needed service frequencies.
> They were also most likely either known candidates
> for abandonment, or even actively under
> abandonment proceedings during the construction of
> the highways, and thus grade separations were
> deemed unnecessary. The crossings did not have
> gates, but were protected by standard cantilever
> flashers, and additional highway style traffic
> signals over the roadway. The signals displayed
> green continuously, except of course when a train
> was approaching. Then the signals went through a
> regular yellow then red cycle as the flashers
> activated. Having never actually seen one of the
> infrequent train movements cross the freeway at
> these locations, I can't verify whether crews also
> stopped and physically flagged these freeway
> crossings too, but it would not surprised me if
> they did. Special instructions in the employee
> timetable would also offer insight. There may well
> have been other locations in Michigan where this
> phenomenon existed as well, but these are the ones
> I distinctly recall.

Aussie, when I lived in Michigan in the 90's, this situation existed on the TSBY's (former GTW) Middleton Branch where it crossed US 27 between Middleton and Ashley. US27 was/is semi divided highway moving at high rates of speed and seems to gradually see more improvements as the years go by. I wonder if this has been addressed yet, or if for that matter the TSBY/GLC still goes to Middleton. The track was always in decrepit shape when I lived there yet the TSBY kept hauling grain from the elevator...



Date: 08/12/12 01:46
Re: Southern NY state rails in the 70's question
Author: NYC_L4a

Aussiehinz you made a great point that's probably the key: At the times I saw it it would have to be a railroad to be deemed "not long for this world" by those in charge when the highway was made, and so either it was: 1) Existing but with _very_ light rail traffic or 2) Abandoned but with the tracks still in place. Question is: What fits the bill in the early 70's?



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 08/12/12 01:52 by NYC_L4a.



Date: 08/12/12 03:31
Re: Southern NY state rails in the 70's question
Author: pal77

I know exactly where you are talking about, you actully took Palisades to route 6 and thru Harriman State park to what is now called Woodbury Commons. This is where you picked Rt 17 aka quick way. The crossing was just west/north of Middletown NY and was a remanant of NYOW. The crossing apparatus was still there in the 90's but tracks were long paved over by that point. As for who was operating in the 70's either EL or Middletown and NJ, I can only speculate that it was the EL. Ironincally this is not the only crossing at grade of Rt17 down in Lodi NJ the NYSW Lodi branch still crosses 17 3 very busy lanes in each direction and they still wonder up that was from time to time.



Date: 08/12/12 04:33
Re: Southern NY state rails in the 70's question
Author: JPB

My guess is that the track that crossed rte 17 Quickway at grade was Erie's Pine Bush Branch (originally the Middletown and Crawford branch?).

http://docs.unh.edu/NY/elln06se.jpg

http://docs.unh.edu/NY/gshn08nw.jpg

On a related note, I have vague recollections from the '60s of seeing from rte 17 an Erie PA hustling commuter train westward toward Middletown/PJ.



Date: 08/12/12 06:39
Re: Southern NY state rails in the 70's question
Author: rfprr

JPB Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> My guess is that the track that crossed rte 17
> Quickway at grade was Erie's Pine Bush Branch
> (originally the Middletown and Crawford branch?).

I would have to concur: Erie's Pine Bush branch.

rfprr



Date: 08/12/12 08:26
Re: Southern NY state rails in the 70's question
Author: pal77

Yes I stand corrected after looking at the bing maps you can follow the row right to Pine bush and the juction from the NYOW row is very clear in what appears to be now wet lands. I had forgotten about Pine Bush and just from memory thought it the NYOW. Thank you for correction.



Date: 08/12/12 10:33
Other examples
Author: toledopatch

PittsburghMike Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

>
> Aussie, when I lived in Michigan in the 90's, this
> situation existed on the TSBY's (former GTW)
> Middleton Branch where it crossed US 27 between
> Middleton and Ashley. US27 was/is semi divided
> highway moving at high rates of speed and seems to
> gradually see more improvements as the years go
> by. I wonder if this has been addressed yet, or if
> for that matter the TSBY/GLC still goes to
> Middleton. The track was always in decrepit shape
> when I lived there yet the TSBY kept hauling grain
> from the elevator...

I believe the track and crossing you describe still exist, only the names have changed: the highway has been renumbered to US-127, and the railroad is now the Great Lakes Central. It was certainly still active the last time I was there, which was during the Train Festival in Owosso three years ago. The crossing is protected by a traffic signal with advance warning flasher on the highway.

A similar crossing exists on US-24 just east of Napoleon, Ohio, with flashers but no gates. It belongs to the Maumee & Western and in recent years the track has been used only for car storage, since they stopped going to a customer at the end of track in Liberty Center. It's marked as an EXEMPT crossing so buses and hazmat trucks no longer have to stop and look. Before Ohio allowed exempted crossings, there were several rear-end accidents involving stop-and-look vehicles there.

For a long time there was another crossing like this on four-lane US-30 near Wooster, Ohio, too. I'm not sure if it's still there.

Another one I can think of is a Juniata Valley spur that crosses four-lane US-322 at grade on the east side of Lewistown, Pennsylvania. I don't know how often the Juniata Valley uses it.



Date: 08/12/12 11:08
Re: Southern NY state rails in the 70's question
Author: NYC_L4a

Thank you all for helping me solve the riddle. So it's the Erie Pine Bush branch. From that I found some more info on that crossing:

http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=85&t=46258&start=0



Date: 08/31/12 19:16
Re: Southern NY state rails in the 70's question
Author: RodneyZona

Aussie, The crossing flashers at the crossings on US 23 and I-94 expressways in the 1960's was manually operating with a key used by the operating crew that worked the local freight trains when stops at the expressways so a crew member drop off the train to walk to the signal control box to activate the flashers with the key.



[ Share Thread on Facebook ] [ Search ] [ Start a New Thread ] [ Back to Thread List ] [ <Newer ] [ Older> ] 
Page created in 0.1257 seconds