Ontario Midland Railroad
|Ontario Midland Railroad|
|Dates of operation||1979–|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
|Headquarters||Sodus, New York|
It was founded on 5 October 1979 and was created to save the entire Rome, Watertown and Ogdensburg Railroad (Hojack) line from Oswego's West Yard to Suspension Bridge in Niagara Falls. However, the railroad managed to buy only from Hannibal in Oswego County to Webster in Monroe County. The railroad also operates a line formerly operated by Conrail, Penn Central, Pennsylvania Railroad from Wallington, where it meets the Hojack, to Newark to interchange with CSX's ex-Conrail Chicago Line.
The track connection from Newark, NY to Geneva, NY was abandoned and scrapped before OMID could voice objection. Having access to Geneva would have given the railroad a valuable additional connection to the south. Early operations included runs to Sodus Point, where Genesee Beer & Ale maintained a malt house operation.
During the late 1970s, a dinner train operation was operated out of Webster using privately owned equipment and OMID crews. For a number of years until 2004, the OMID ran fall foliage excursions in conjunction with the Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum, formerly Rochester NRHS chapter, which owns the former New York Central "Empire State Express" coach cars used for the trips.
In 1993, Ontario Midland severed its corporate partnership with the Ontario Central Railroad (ONCT). Known as the "Ontario Lines," this partnership also operated the short-lived Ontario Eastern (ONER) until 1986.
Operations on the Ontario Midland use VHF radio communications at a frequency of 161.370MHz. The OMID carries food products, lumber, fertilizer, pulpboard, and chemicals. The OMID moves about 850 cars a year and operates 56 miles of track. It operates Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (8:00-16:00).
The railroad's all time locomotive roster is, with the exception of #5, all Alco:
- #3 is an Alco S4 built in 1953 & formerly of the Genesee & Wyoming & New York Central (NYC).
- #5 was a GE 45-Tonner formerly of the US Army (USATC).
- #35 is an Alco S4 built in 1959 formerly of the Genesee & Wyoming (GNWR).
- #36 is an Alco RS-11 built on 1957 formerly of the Norfolk & Western (N&W).
- #40, now #408, is an Alco RS-36 built in 1962 formerly of the Norfolk & Western.
- #106 was an Alco S-2 built in 1948 & formerly of the Baltimore & Ohio (B&O).
- #107 was an Alco S4 formerly of the N&W. Today it is at Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum in Rush, New York. It has been re-painted into the Paint scheme of its original owner: the New York, Chicago & St.Louis (Nickel Plate Road (NKP)). The N&W absorbed the NKP in 1965 & sold #107 to OMID. 107 was never owned by the Ontario Midland. It was owned by RSA Leasing of Sodus, NY (a lineside community. From 1982 to 1985 it was leased to Pennsylvania's Allegheny Southern Railroad. It was returned to Sodus in 1985. While in Pennsylvania it wore the number 17.
- #4056 was an Alco RS-3 built for the Spokane, Portland & Seattle (SP&S). It was sold by SP&S successor Burlington Northern (BN).
- #4085 was also an Alco RS-3 but ex-Delaware & Hudson (D&H).