Batten Kill Railroad
|Batten Kill Railroad|
|Dates of operation||1982–Present|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) (standard gauge)|
|Headquarters||Greenwich, New York|
The Batten Kill Railroad (reporting mark BKRR) is a class III railroad operating in New York. The BKRR was formed in 1982 beginning operations on October 22 of a pair of abandoned Delaware and Hudson Railway branch lines, totaling about 30 miles of track.
The Greenwich and Johnsonville Railway (G&J) was incorporated in the early part of the 20th century, and became a subsidiary of the Delaware and Hudson Railway (D&H). It connected to the D&H's Washington Branch at Greenwich Junction. Following the 1980 closure of the Georgia Pacific pulp and paper mill in Thomson, New York, the D&H planned to abandon the G&J along with the adjoining Washington Branch, which ran from Eagle Bridge, New York to Castleton, Vermont. In 1982, Mohawk-Hudson Transportation, owned by Ron Crowd, purchased the railroad from the D&H, forming the Batten Kill Railroad. Crowd had the distinction of being the first African-American to own and operate a railroad in the United States.
While initially financially successful, a series of national railroad strikes in the mid 1980s left the railroad in a less profitable state. In 1994, the railroad was turned over to NE New York Rail, a non-profit, and the BKRR remained the operator. Passenger excurisions were started, but were terminated by 2004 due to declining ridership. In November 2008, William Taber purchased the Batten Kill from Mohawk Transportation and the estate of the late Ron Crowd. Tabor is the current President and CEO of the railroad.
The Batten Kill's sole interchange location is in Eagle Bridge, NY where it connects to the main line of Pan Am Railways (formerly Guilford Transportation and the Boston & Maine). However the Batten Kill actually interchanges with the Delaware and Hudson (D&H), now Canadian Pacific, which has trackage rights on Pan Am. The line runs north from Eagle Bridge, through the villages of Cambridge, New York and Shushan, New York, to Greenwich Junction. From there, a short remnant of the D&H Washington Branch continues north into the village of Salem, New York. This north-south compoenet of the line is paralleled by NY Route 22. The other route from the junction continues west to the village of Greenwich, parralled by NY Route 29. The line running west from Greenwich to Thomson, NY is out of service. In Greenwich, the railroad maintains a small engine house and the former G&J depot as an office.