Monday, February 18, 2013

Sanbank Yard Memories

Sandbank Yard was located under Sunnyside Road in Glenville.  It was an interchange point with The Delaware And Hudson's Mohawk Yard.  The connection track crossed Freeman's Bridge Road next to a greenhouse and a feed dealer whose barn is still on the side of the road.....

All Photos By Steve Myers

Track Schematic For Sandbank Yard

Our Photographer, Steve Myers.  Steve, who now work for CSX in Buffalo, grew up in Scotia, NY, not far from Sandbank Yard.  He is also the author of Buffalo Railroads, available from Arcadia Books.  Steve spent his youth exploring the yard and learning the history of the railroad and the people who worked there.

An empty Sanbank Yard Looking East

Sandbank Yard, Scotia, NY in the snow looking east toward Schenectady, NY. A typical day that Steve thought would go on forever in his youth. Note all of the fallen flag railroad names on the equipment that are now cascaded into the history books, just like Sandbank yard.  The interchange track with the D&H's Mohawk Yard is on the left.

Pete DePaula climbs on board CR 2644. His brother owned the DePaula Chevrolet dealership in Albany.

Sandbank Yard office, built in 1945. On the right is the large window that was the clerk's office and carknockers desk behind them.  The  center window is the crew room, and the window to left was the track gangs office, and further left was a bathroom and locker room. 

Here is Mr. Patsy Delory, Chief Clerk, Sandbank Yard, Scotia, NY. 46 Years of faithful service, NYC, PC, CR. A fine man and a dear friend to Steve. He showed kindness and tried to teach a boy who had no dad.  Patsy passed away on March 5th, 2002...

Joe Alix, extra board clerk, Sandbank Yard, Scotia, NY.

Harold Goodrow, car knocker, Sandbank Yard, Scotia, NY. Another WWII vet bombardier who fought over the skies of Germany.

Blizzard of '77 Buffalo snow in gons & hoppers stored in Scotia on the old Chicago Line @ Sandbank Yard. The B&M bridge is above.

Sandbank Yard, Scotia, New York. Job TS-1 would work out of Sandbank on days Monday through Friday.

John Bogdon, "Bugadoon" or the ghost. Former POW from WWII and lost a leg at Sandbank. 3/1977

Tank cars for Schenectady Varnish (Schenectady Chemical) were always seen at Sandbank Yard, since they and GE were the largest customers.

Fawthrop's was the sand company at Sanbank Yard, Scotia, New York. They loaded covered hoppers with sand mostly for General Electric to use in the foundry for castings. Fawthrop also cleaned out railcars at Sandbank.

A full Sanbank Yard looking West.

Leroy Brown from the track department at the MoW office in Sandbank yard.

Patsy Delory at his desk in Sandbank Yard, Scotia, New York.

August 1978 Sandbank Yard closed due to a fire on the Mohawk River Bridge. Despite the fire I was sure that her days were numbered.  In the background is the steeple for St. John The Evangelist Church.

Working to lay new bridge timbers over the Mohawk River at Scotia, NY

With Sandbank Yard abandoned, the only movement through the area is Amtrak several times a day.

Thanks to Steve Myers for opening his photo album to our Rail-Blog....

Friday, February 15, 2013

First Freight On The Saratoga And North Creek Railroad

This week was a momentous occasion on the Saratoga And North Creek Railroad.  For the first time since 1989, revenue freight made it's was from the line North to Saratoga Springs!  Let's have Brad Peterson give us the details....

They ran the boxcar north on Wednesday (Feb 6th) and spotted it up near Bartons until loading day.  It was planned for a Saturday (Feb 9th) loading, but with the storm coming they pushed it back to Sunday the 10th.  Loading went off well and they brought the train back to North Creek in the afternoon (a bit before we departed with #190).  Monday the 11th we had the deadhead equipment move from Saratoga and the plan was to meet the freight at Thurman.  This we did with a little delay...we swapped power for some publicity photos.  The 52 was on the freight long hood first and the 8524 was long hood first on the passenger...this was not acceptable!  As we were swapping power, it was suggested that the crew out of North Creek take the passenger cars back north and the crew from Saratoga take the freight car and go back to Saratoga.  This is how we ended up running.  We had some pics taken right there at Thurman and then we both departed Thurman.  I came up with a (brilliant) idea...we stopped at Stony Creek bridge for another little photo op.  We got to Saratoga and delivered the car to the D&H on track 7, ran around the caboose then ran back to the station and tied it down on the house track.

Here the 52 is seen leaving Ordway's, between North River and North Creek. She is fully loaded with garnet from the Bartons Hudson River Plant.   TBOX 666669 is on her way to Louisiana  
(PHOTO: John Sesonske)

Southbound at North River. (PHOTO: John Sesonske)

Again at North River. (PHOTO: John Sesonske)

Here's the historic meet on February 11th, 2013 at Thurman between the 8524 and the 52. (PHOTO: John Sesonske)

(PHOTO: John Sesonske)

(PHOTO: John Sesonske)

 The first freight to cross The Sacandaga River At Hadley in 24 years. 
(PHOTO: John Sesonske)

Publicity shot from Stoney Creek, NY. (PHOTO: Brad Peterson)

Another shot from Stoney Creek. (PHOTO: Brad Peterson)

The 8524 with loaded boxcar passes CPC-37 in Saratoga Springs, New York.  
(PHOTO: Gary Schermerhorn)

The 8524 and caboose tie-down on The House-Track at the Saratoga Springs Amtrak Station. 
(PHOTO: Brad Peterson)

(PHOTO: Brad Petterson)

A very special thanks to Bradley Peterson, John Sesonske and Gary Schermerhorn for sharing their great photos of this happening!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Yesterday And Today....Number 3

The Village Of Richfield Springs...Yesterday And Today

Roger Ciazza Collection
The Village of Richfield Springs was served by two railroads.  The most famous being The Delaware Lackawanna And Western's Richfield Branch, but also The Oneonta Cooperstown And Richfield Springs.  Yes, an electric railroad.  Built as a connection between the Mohawk Valley and Oneonta, The OCRS carried passengers between Herkimer and Oneonta until the 1930's.  Later becoming The Southern New York Railway in which part of the line remained open between Jordanville, NY and Oneonta until 1941.  A small part of the line converted to steam and diesel and ran between The Delaware And Hudson's Oneonta Yard and East Oneonta until 1971.

Seen above is SNY's Steeple Cab Number 90.  This engine was acquired from The Albany Southern Railroad in 1931.  The SNY also purchased a Box Motor from the Albany Southern and numbered her 80.  In the above shot, Number 90 is seen crossing Main Street in Richfield Springs in June of 1940...One year before this main stretch of electrified railroad was abandoned.

Photo: Google Street View

Fast forward...This block on Main Street (NYS Route 20) hasn't changed in 100 years and is the same view as up above.  The SNY was part owner in a Quarry in Jordanville, NY, just North of Richfield  that they used for their road-ballast.  The also shipped elsewhere using the SNY's freight service.  Just a couple blocks away frpm this location was the end-of-the-line for the Richfield Springs Branch of the DL&W, later Erie Lackawanna, Central New York Railroad and finally the NYS&W's Richfield Branch...

Map Courtesy Of

Here's a map showing how the Southern New York entered Richfield Springs (Blue Shaded Area) on her way to Cooperstown and Oneonta to the South.  The dotted-line in the middle of the photo shows the end-of-track of the DL&W.

Visit and to learn more about the Southern New York Railway and The Oneonta Cooperstown and Richfield Springs...

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The 4088

The 'pretty' long life of the 4088

Built by ALCO/Schenectady in 1952, D&H 4088 sure got around the North East!

Here's a shot of the 4088 at Naporano's in Newark, NJ in May of 1973.  She probably went down there to meet the torch, but she was scooped up by Walter Rich and his new Delaware Otsego System...
(PHOTO: Bill Wickes Collection)

First up, a new paint-job and a re-numbering.  Here the 'former' 4088 helps with the tourist operation on The Cooperstown & Charlotte Valley Railroad in Milford, New York.  With the DOSystem just getting started, their second diesel purchase was numbered 101, right after the Cooperstown And Charlotte Valley's 100.  Also, a former D&H ALCO.  The 101 was getting ready for the start-up of DO's next shortline...The Central New York Railroad.  The CNYK was a play on the words, New York Central.  This shortline ran on the former DL&W's Richfield Springs Branch...
(PHOTO: Michael Bates)

As soon as the DO's next acquisition  The Fonda Johnstown & Gloversville Railroad was purchased, the CNYK needed help with a big lumber shipment.  FJ&G S-2 #20 was sent to Utica and over to the CNYK.  Here she's seen with the 101 at Richfield Junction, near Cassville, New York.
(PHOTO: Al Gorney, Andy Fusco Collection)

On his way to do a little railfanning on April 22, 1975, a shutterbug made a stop in Richfield Springs just in time to find the 101 getting ready for the day's switching...
(PHOTO: W. Allen) 

Another shot of the 101 on April 22nd, 1975...(PHOTO: W. Allen) 

The 101 gets ready for a little switching in Richfield Springs.  Along the way, the 101 would travel through Cedarville, Millers Mills, West Winfield and Bridgewater...(Author's Collection)

Trying to add some zip into the Delaware Otsego's Paint Scheme, the 101 was re-painted from basic blue, to Burgundy and Gold! Here she is peeking out of the engine shed at Richfield Springs on April 30th, 1982.  
(PHOTO: W. Allen)

On a visit down to Little Ferry (Real close to where she almost met the torch), the 101 got ANOTHER new paint job.  This time around was for the acquisition of the New York Susquehanna and Northern Railroad by The Delaware Otsego System.  From this time on, the 101 wouldn't return to the CNYK and other NYSW Power was used.  The 101 spent the rest of her NYSW-Life working around Utica, Binghamton and Honesdale, PA.  (PHOTO: John Mech)

Speaking of Honesdale, PA, here is the 101 doing the tourist duty again, but this time on The Lackawaxen and Stourbridge Railroad of Northern Pennsylvania.  The LASB was the next acquisition by the DO after the FJ&G in April of 1974.  The LASB was created on April 1st, 1976, which also was the birthday of CONRAIL...(Author's Collection)

More tourist duty in August of 1983.  Honesdale was the terminal of the LASB, also the birthplace of The Delaware And Hudson Canal Company...(Author's Collection)

Again, Honesdale is where we find the 101.  Lot's of switching for her to do down there, not just the tourist runs...(Author's Collection)

One thing the 101 got  used to was the brutal Northeast Winters.  This shot was taken in the NYSW Yards in Binghamton.  Not long before she would leave the Delaware Otsego's property...
 (Author's Collection)

In exchange for some work on NYSW Engines, the DO gave the Rome Locomotive Works the 101 for switching around their yard.  On the RLW, the 101 would re-gain her Delaware And Hudson original numbering of 4088.  (Author's Collection)

For her final job and destination, the 4088 was sold to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad of Ohio.  She's shown here in Peninsula, OH on March 29th of 1994.  Behind her is sister engine, NYSW 104 who also was a former D&H ALCO created from D&H 4117 and D&H 4097.  Stay tuned for a history of this great ALCO!  Both the former 101/4088 and the 104 were scrapped out in Ohio in 1996.  Thus ending the great lives of two Delaware Otsego ALCOs...(Author's Collection)

Here's someone who shared a close connection to the 101 and the rest of her Delaware Otsego brethren.  Mark Wilber grew up in Cooperstown, New York and has worked for The Fonda Johnstown And Gloversville, The Cooperstown And Charlotte Valley, The Central New York and currently The New York Susquehanna and Western.  He also owns the distinction of having worked The FJ&G, CNYK, CACV and the Lackawaxen and Stourbridge IN A 24 HOUR PERIOD!!!!!  That's a lot of railroading for a modest guy.  He also made the last trip on The Fonda Johnstown And Gloversville Railroad in November of 1984 and was featured in the August 1979 issue of Model Railroader.  You wont find anyone nicer than Mark Wilber!  Good luck when retirement comes in November Mark...After 37 years in Delaware Otsego service, YOU deserve it!  (PHOTO: Matthew Gibbons)

Special Thanks to W. Allen, Bob Wickes, Mike Bates, Andy Fusco, Al Gorney and Matt Gibbons