Friday, December 29, 2017

The Marion River Carry Railroad

The Marion River Carry Railroad

The Marion River Carry Railroad was created around 1900 by William West Durant to shuttle steamboat passengers between rapids in the Marion River.  A steamboat from Raquette Lake would sail to the mouth of the Marion River, where passengers would exit the boat, take a train ride less than a mile and then board another boat that continued through Utowanna, Eagle and eventually Blue Mountain Lakes.   Freight was also shuttled between points and made this an interesting little operation.  To gain the larger history of this rail-line, please visit S. Berliner, III's Marion River Carry webpageThere you will find a history by Richard Sanders Allen titled "The Carry Railroad."
(MAP: S. Berliner, III)

Here is a wonderful map re-created by S. Berliner, III and can be found on his great Marion River Carry Webpage.  This gentleman visited the area when he was a youngster in the 1940's and discovered the abandoned train in it's former engine shed. On his website you will find photos, history, a valuation map by Verplank Colvin  and many other  materials connected to the Marion River Carry.

Here is the area covered by the above map.
 (MAP: USGS Historic Topos)

Here is Engine Number 2 built by The HK Porter Co. crossing the one trestle on the Line.  This was the final piece of motive-power used on the line and lasted until abandonment in 1929.
Visit and join the Raquette Lake Railroad Yahoo Group to learn about the railroad operations between Raquette and Blue Mountain Lakes.  There are powerpoint history lessons and you can discuss Adirondack Railroads with other interested parties.

A postcard view of the re-purposed, Brooklyn Rapid Transit coaches on the railroad.  Although she was one of the shortest railroads in the US at 7/8 ths of a mile, she was standard-gauge to accommodate the freight cars being moved from Raquette to Blue Mountain Lakes.

The dock  for The Lower Carry's loading and unloading. Photo is from 1911.
(Postcard: Raquette Lake Railroad Yahoo Group)

More Images from the Lower Carry.  Notice the flat car on the left and the cars on the dock.  One of them is an open-car that we see in most photos, but the other appears to be a closed car NOT like we are used to seeing.

These two photos are from page 232 of "Annual report of the Forest, Fish and Game Commission of the State of New York" (Courtesy of The  Smithsonian Library)

From page 232 of "Annual report of the Forest, Fish and Game Commission of the State of New York" (1900) Smithsonian Library.

A hopper of coal being moved on a barge on Raquette Lake on her way to Blue Mountain Lake.  Legend has it that a freight car rolled off a barge and rests at the bottom of Blue Mountain Lake.

Great shot of Porter Number 2 sporting a smokestack extender.  This was used to provide more power for the locomotive.  (Photo:  Richard Palmer Collection)

A great postcard showing a full Three-car-train on the railroad.  Parts of all three of these cars were used to construct the car on display at the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake.

An excellent photo of our train in action.  At first a canal was discussed for moving boats between the points on the Carry.  A short-railroad was the most economical.

One of the steamers at the transfer dock at The Lower Carry.  You can see the engineer waiting in the saddle-tank engine for patrons to exit the steam-boat and climb about his train.

The caption reads: The Rickety Rackety Rail Road. Raquette Lake Carry.  After a year of operation, the Raquette Lake Transportation Company took over the operations of the Carry Railroad.

A canoe trail occupies the former right-of-way.  Much like the issue facing travelers 100 years ago, modern-day canoeists and kayakers carry their mode of transportation between the un-navigable section of the Marion River.(Photo: Doug Ellison)

Another view of the former-line today with The Marion River paralleling.
(PHOTO: Doug Ellison)

A tie from the Carry-railroad sits in the former road-bed.  (PHOTO: Doug Ellison)

Remains of either a barge from the operation, or of the dock at the Utowanna Lake connection.
(PHOTO: Doug Ellison)

Here is a photo of S. Berliner. III's family posing at the abandoned engine shed.  This building could hold the Porter locomotive and her three passenger cars.  Calling it an 'engine' shed was short-sighted!  This building was located on the Raquette Lake end of the line. (PHOTO: S. Berliner, III)

A postcard showing restored Number 2 at the Blue Mountain Lake Museum.  The engine and her passenger cars sat in it's former Engine (train) house on the Marion River for several decades before moving to the Adirondack Museum at Blue Mountain Lake.

Please visit S. Berliner, III's great Marion Carry Railroad Web-Site.

Appendix Q Report of Supervisor of Equipment 


To the Public Service Commission Second District Gentlemen In accordance with your instructions of July 12, 1909 I have made an inspection of the Marion River Carry railway which makes the connection between Raquette and Blue Mountain lakes. 

This inspection was made in accordance with request made by the Forest Fish and Game Commission July 9, 1909 The following is a description of the railroad and other essential details. 

The inspection was made August 6, 1909 The owner and operating company is the Raquette Lake Transportation Company with offices at Raquette Lake, NY. The gauge is 4 ft 8 1/2 in and road is seven eighths mile long Connection is made between two points on the Marion river through which navigation is impossible By this method transportation is possible between Raquette lake and Blue Mountain lake A private right of way 200 ft in width is used and is laid with steel rails weighing 60 lbs per yard Ties are spaced about 24 in and roadbed is well ballasted with gravel The Blue Mountain terminal is 25 ft higher than the Raquette Lake terminal The railroad is nearly a continuous curve with three or four short tangents No highway grade or private crossings exist There is 1 timber trestle about 10 ft in length located about one fourth mile from the Raquette Lake terminal Rails ties roadbed and bridge are in good condition for the light equipment and speed of trains 5 minutes being used in running the seven eighths mile. 

The equipment consists of 1 Porter tank locomotive and 3 light open street cars for passenger traffic The locomotive is of the tank type and anthracite coal is used was built in 1001 by HK Porter & Co weighs 15 tons all on drivers no trucks or tender boiler steam pressure 140 lbs per sq in cylinders 1 1 in diameter by 16 in stroke air and steam brakes on all wheels link and pin coupler is used the condition is good throughout except spark arrester which is in exceptionally bad condition. 

Light open cars formerly used as street horse cars are used for passenger traffic and are numbered 1 2 and 3 Nos. 1 and 2 have 10 horizontal reversible seats with a seating capacity of about 40 persons No 3 is equipped with camp stools a number of which are in poor condition and generally unsafe two pairs of wheels to each car Nos. 1 and 2 have journal box pedestals attached to side sills of car No 3 has a metal truck frame cars are equipped with hand brakes and metal brake beams of the usual type used in street car service link and pin couplers are used bell signals on each car cars are protected with side rails which are placed in position by train crew before train is in motion all trips are made in daylight and no lighting equipment is furnished Cars are freshly painted and clean and while the equipment is old it is safe for the operating conditions with the exception of camp stools in car No 3 and these in my opinion should be removed and the type of seat used in cars Nos 1 and 2 substituted. 

The season usually opens May 5th and is closed November 10th. Passenger traffic  consists largely of excursionists from Raquette lake to Blue Mountain lake. Freight traffic consists largely of parcel freight A freight float is in operation on Raquette lake and Blue Mountain lake and by this method loaded cars are received from the Raquette Lake railroad and transported by means of freight floats and the Marion River Carry railway to all lake points lumber coal and other bulk freight is handled in this manner. Each year between 50 and 60 cars of freight are handled. This railroad passes in close proximity to heavy forest lands There are no repair facilities close at hand and gross carelessness and ignorance were manifested in the maintenance of spark arrester of locomotive. There was no indication of any fires having occurred along the right of way I believe that this railroad should be included in the order for use of oil for steam generation in its locomotive. 

Link and pin couplers are used throughout. On the passenger cars there does not seem to be any particular danger to employees as cars remain coupled and cars are so light they can be pushed against locomotive by one man to make coupling. On the locomotive the condition is different locomotive being backed on to lake floats to handle heavily loaded freight cars the liability of injury to employees is considerable and I believe the locomotive should be equipped with automatic couplers. Recommendations That camp stools in passenger car No 3 be removed and replaced with stationary seats that locomotive be equipped with automatic couplers that spark arresters in locomotive be put in good condition at once and so maintained. 

Respectfully submitted A Buchanan Jr. Supervisor of Equipment 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Schenectady Railway Waiting Room

The Schenectady Railway's former Art-Deco waiting room on State Street Hill in Schenectady has been restored...

The new waiting room opened in 1914.  From this location, cars would leave for Troy and Albany.  Also, FJ&G Electric Cars left from this location to return to Gloversville.

Here is work being done on the Foster block of State Street.  A business from Troy called 'Sliding Dirty' has moved into the former Railway building. (PHOTO: Lori Van Buren Times Union)

The new location of Sliding Dirty restaurant has opened in the former Railway location.  The owners took the time to remove the old facade that was covering the old station since the late 1940's.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Please support the S&NC decision to store rail cars

The Saratoga & North Creek Railroad is looking to store rail cars in the yard at Sanford Lake.  These cars are NOT dangerous to the environment and will only be on the line for a short time.  They are clean and empty.  It is a normal situation for Rail Lines to make money on temporary car storage.  The yard at Sanford Lake is very isolated and will not spoil anyone's view of the beautiful Adirondacks.  Please show your support by attending the County Meeting this Friday at 10 Am at the Warren County Municipal Center in Lake George, NY.  Here is the press release from Steve Torrico of the Saratoga And North Creek Railroad...

National Lead Yard at Sanford Lake.  No public access.  (Photo: Gino DiCarlo)

From The Saratoga And North Creek's Management...

Greetings All,

We would like to extend and open invitation to one and all to attend the County meeting this Friday at 10:00AM
We need all the positive support that we can get for our plan to store empty, non-haz mat cars on the privately owned Sanford Lake Branch.
As you all may know, these cars will be stored at the National Lead yard, at the northern end of the branch.
If the SNC ever needed your support… is the time.
These storage cars are a substantial source of revenue the SNC needs in order to help maintain the railroad.

Warren County Municipal Center
1340 State Rd. 9
Lake George, NY 12845

Steven Torrico
Manager Onboard Services
Saratoga & North Creek Rwy.

Monday, October 9, 2017

NEW For The Saratoga And North Creek Railroad

Exciting News For The Saratoga And North Creek Railroad...


Aboard the Saratoga & North Creek Railway

New departure location at Stony Creek Ranch!

All aboard for Christmas Town!

This holiday season we are excited to roll out to your area the international tour of The Train to Christmas Town!  This ride, based upon an original Christmas book, is sure to delight the young and the young at heart. 

As we listen to the story, all riders will be served delicious cookies and hot chocolate by our holly jolly elves and enjoy Christmas songs while we travel. When we arrive at Christmas Town, Santa will board the train to meet each child and hand out a special gift to each girl and boy.

We are excited to partner with Stony Creek Ranch this year for additional holiday features for families including a Christmas Village, the festival of trees, an ice skating rink, sleigh/hay wagon rides, live reindeer and much more! We will have greater details in upcoming emails soon! 
Buy tickets now for the Train to Christmas Town!

"I'm taking the train, whoo-whoo,
the Train to Christmas Town"

The festive atmosphere at the station and on the train includes original holiday music from the Grammy-nominated band “Trout Fishing in America” including:
  • "The Train to Christmas Town"
  • "Chocolate Christmas"
  • "Sometimes Santa Takes the Train"
Get a FREE download of the Train to Christmas Town theme song to get your family excited about their upcoming ride! #WhooWhoo 

Seating options

We offer different classes of service aboard the Train to Christmas Town. All classes of seating enjoy cookies and hot chocolate service on board and all children receive a special gift from Santa!

Diamond Class service is the premier experience for those looking for extra touches of railroad magic and thrill throughout their journey in our elevated dome cars. Diamond Class offers a truly magical experience with the best views of the outdoor production, truly exceptional vintage rail equipment and our special Train to Christmas Town gift bag of surprises including the annual edition mug.

Our First Class passengers are treated to cheery service in traditional railroad fashion while enjoying spacious seating in very special vintage railroad equipment. Get extraordinary views of the approaching Christmas Town as Santa and his elves greet the train and all the passengers on board. An exclusive souvenir mug and Train to Christmas Town bag with special surprises complete first class service.

Just like the scenes in old time movies, our Standard Class cars are set up in traditional railroad style – paired seating on either side of a center aisle. Our comfortable coach cars are an affordable way to gather up the family and ride to Christmas Town! Each passenger in Standard Class receives our Train To Christmas Town activity book with sections for coloring, cast autographs and song lyrics for the sing-a-longs. 
Buy tickets now for the Train to Christmas Town!

See the story come to life! 

The Train to Christmas Town features an engaging cast of storybook characters including Wabash the squirrel,Zephyr the cat, and Bumblebee the huggable bear, all going to Christmas Town on the train.

The book was written by Peggy Ellis, a lifelong educator, and was illustrated by Jeffrey Lee, who is best known as the graphic artist behind the 1980’s arcade game Q*bert. See their bios here
Share your ride! #TraintoChristmasTown 
#TakingtheTrain #WhooWhoo  

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Fall 2017 On The Saratoga And North Creek

Nothing like a Fall (Late Summer) run on The Saratoga And North Creek Railroad...

(All Photos Greg Klingler 2017)

Our beautiful BL-2 leaving North Creek

Thurman Crossing 

I've tried to photograph engineers in the cab before (Not SNC) and have had them shut the window.  Not this guy. This guy is cool having his photo taken which is great!

Riverside Station (Riparius)

I love this little depot at Thurman (Warrensburg)

As always....thanks for sharing Greg!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Railroad proposes storage of hundreds of train cars on local line

Saratoga North Creek Railway
Saratoga North Creek Railway plans to store hundreds of rail cars on a line it owns north of North Creek.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Riding The Sanford Lake Branch

NARCOA's run to Tahawus

North American Railcar Operators Association

It's my second trip in a rail-speeder and this time we head north on the Sanford Lake Branch of The Saratoga & North Creek Railroad.

The one and only Bill 'Madog' Kozel

Madog's sweet former CN-Speeder

The leaves are starting to change in Adirondack Park

Beautiful late Summer skies and red, orange and green...

Entering the yard at Tahawus.  Hopefully hoppers will sit here ready to transport tailings to market

A former D&H snowplow sits exposed on the wye track at Tahawus.  A shop building used to protect it, but for some reason it was dismantled.

Here is the Wye track that the plow sits on

End of track heading north.  Walk further on private property and see the Adirondack High-Peaks

The Saratoga And North Creek Railroad let it be known that where the tracks end, their property ends.  The former operation site is still owned by National Lead and trespassing is forbidden.

The great members of NARCOA take a break to eat lunch and enjoy the spectacular scenery

A hotel should be built here only accessed by The SNCRR.  It would be a 4-star resort with the best view in the Adirondacks

Pure wilderness is what I saw out the cab of Madog's Speeder!

Some passenger cars sit deep in the North Country, not bothering anyone at all. You may remember a few years ago that protesters of the idea of storing tankers on the branch caused a stir when they said these cars were polluting the forest!

You'll cross the headwaters of the Hudson River twice when you ride the Branch

The best way for all to enjoy these views is a scenic train ride to Tahawus!

Hudson River Rapids

Hopper cars stored near the Barton Mine property.  Hopefully the Railroad will start shipping garnett for this company!

Stored just above North Creek are some classic-EMDs.  Hopefully these museum-pieces will roll through the Adirondack again!

The #56, ex-BAR BL-unit waits in the wings for future runs.

Special thanks to Madog Bill for inviting me along.  It's a dream come true to ride the rails in a vintage speeder!  Thank you to The Saratoga And North Creek Railroad for welcoming NARCOA to ride their rails.  Justin Gonyo escorts us up and down the line which is a privilege having the Super with us!

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