Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Take A Ride Up The Sanford Lake Branch

 Take A Ride To Sanford Lake!

    Earlier this year I posted some photos of a trip I took on the Saratoga & North Creek Railroad on May 24th, 2014.  We traveled from North Creek to Saratoga Springs and back via a track speeder. It was part of a run sponsored by the NARCOA track-car group. What an awesome ride that was.  Here's a link if you haven't seen it!     What I wasn't lucky enough to be a part of was the trip they took the next day to Sanford Lake.  Someone fortunate enough to was Russ Nelson, a fellow Railroad-Archeologist.  Russ loves crawling through the woods in search of lost railroads and signs of railroads that were never even finished.  He was nice enough to share his photos from that trip.  I used his captions whenever possible!  My reason for sharing these photos is for those fans who are interested in seeing where the stone-trains will operate on The Saratoga And North Creek Railroad.  Enjoy!

All Photos 2014 Russ Nelson

Just North of the Yard at North Creek is the first milepost for the Sanford Lake Branch (Tahawus).

 Crossing Bridge Over Thirteenth Brook

Milepost SL 24/NC 5 (SL= North to Sanford Lake, NC= South to North Creek)

Crossing the Upper Hudson River

Stillwater Siding.   
Russ: They put a passing siding on the top of the hill so they could cut a train in two to get it up the hill, and then reassemble it.

 A long string of railcars!

 Preparing to cross NY-28

 Russ: Second crossing of Tahawus Road, heading north. This is the only "virgin" crossing I was able to photograph, which still has all the sand in the flangeways.

 Russ: The southern end of the Tahawaus yard. There is a four-track yard here. Only the two right-most tracks have been cleared out by the Saratoga and North Creek Railroad. The other two tracks look perfectly fine. They're just clogged with brush.

Russ: The southern end of the Tahawus yard. They had us split out into two groups. Motorcars without a turntable underneath them were on the leftmost track (the main line). Motorcars with a turntable were sent to the second track. Clearly, nobody was going on the third or fourth tracks (where I'm standing).

 Sunken track at Sanford Lake

Russ: The wye track on the right is still brushed over. There's also a washout closer to the tail switch. Not a problem for our motorcars, but they couldn't run a full-size locomotive over it. More to the point, though, is the snowplow fouling the other leg of the wye, making the whole wye unusable.

Russ: The northern end of the Tahawus yard, at the switch for tracks three and four. Still needs a bit of work before it can be used.

Russ: This switch point is bolted shut, and for good reason -- the tracks on the other side of the frog have been pulled. Used to go further into the mine, serving a building there that doesn't exist anymore.

Russ: The tracks that the flatcar is on stop between me and it. I think this used to be the main line into the mine. At least it looks that way from the configuration of the switch. The other tracks that I'm standing in the gauge of, continue for another few hundred feet.

Russ: Two things. First, you can see where the tracks went through the grass by the discolored grass, stressed by the lack of organic matter in the railbed beneath it. Second, in the soil pulled up by the fallen tree, you can see a rail clip.

RUSS: The tracks used to go this way. In the brush, you can see a flanger sign. That was a warning to snowplows that the flangeways were obstructed ahead, probably by a crossing, and they had to raise their equipment.

Russ: The Saratoga and North Creek's motorcar, pulling up the rear of the consist, switching back on to the main line.

Russ: Justin Gonyo, general manager of the Saratoga and North Creek Railroad, rode with us in their own motorcar. He's waiting for us and one other car to clear the switch so he can realign it to the siding where their motorcar is sitting. 

First crossing of Tahawus Road, looking south.

First crossing of Tahawus Road, looking north.

Russ: Stillwater siding, with a self-guarding frog. This is a problem for a speeder, because it could pick the point, go to the right, and dump us on the ground. Not a big deal for our little speeder, which we could simply pick up and put back on the tracks. A more serious problem for the motorcars that you can only turn with a turntable.

Russ: Here's where the rockslide was in earlier years that kept speeders from traversing the whole line. Fixed now, of course, along with a washout further to the south. Apart from brush, these were the only two impairments to the Sanford Lake Branch!

Passing Milepost SL19/NC10

Bridge over Racquette Brook, not far from Barton Mine's plant.

Just North of North Creek along the Hudson River.

A BIG thanks to Russ Nelson for allowing me to share his photos on my blog!