Ulster and Delaware Railroad
|Ulster and Delaware Railroad|
U&D system map
|Locale||Catskill Mountains, New York|
|Dates of operation||1875–19323|
|Successor||New York Central Railroad|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) (standard gauge)|
|Length||129 miles (208 kilometres)|
|Headquarters||Kingston, New York|
The Ulster and Delaware Railroad (U&D) was a Class I railroad located in New York State and headquartered in Kingston, New York. It was often advertised as "The Only All-Rail Route To the Catskill Mountains." At its greatest extent, the U&D ran from Kingston Point, on the Hudson River, through the Catskill Mountains to its western terminus at Oneonta, passing through the counties of Ulster, Delaware, Schoharie and Otsego.
In 1866, the Rondout & Oswego Railroad was chartered to build west from Rondout, New York, now part of the city of Kingston. At that time, Rondout was a separate town and, more important, the east terminal and headquarters of the Delaware and Hudson Canal. The railroad's goal was not Oswego, on Lake Ontario, but a connection with the Albany & Susquehanna Railroad (later Delaware and Hudson Railroad [D&H]) near Oneonta. Construction began in 1866. By late 1870, 32 miles of line were in service.
The rails continued to push westward — over the Catskills and into the valley of the East Branch of the Delaware River, then up and over into the valley of the West Branch at Stamford, reached on December 12, 1872. That same year, the company was reorganized as the New York, Kingston & Syracuse Railroad, and in 1875 it was sold and reorganized again as the Ulster & Delaware Railroad (U&D).
The Catskill Mountains were rapidly developing into a summer resort area. The Stony Clove & Catskill Mountain Railroad (SC&CM) was organized in 1881 by U&D management to build a 3-foot narrow gauge line from Phoenicia on the U&D to Hunter, with a branch, the Kaaterskill Railroad, to serve the Hotel Kaaterskill and the Catskill Mountain House. Service on the SC&CM began in mid-1882, and the Kaaterskill line opened in June 1883. That same month the West Shore Railroad opened between Jersey City and Kingston, giving the U&D a direct rail connection to New York.
In the mid-1880s work resumed to extend the U&D over another divide and into the valley of the Susquehanna River. While that was in progress, the U&D merged its two narrow-gauge subsidiaries in 1893, and standard-gauged them in 1899. On July 16, 1900, the U&D finally arrived in Oneonta, where it connected with the D&H. The Delaware and Hudson Canal had ceased operation only two years before, and the U&D acquired some of its coal traffic. Coal traffic soon came to provide the bulk of U&D freight revenue.
U&D's peak passenger year was 1913. Paved highways began to penetrate the Catskills, and the huge mountain hotels closed one by one as tastes in vacationing changed. U&D management approached the New York Central Railroad (NYC), asking if they would like to buy a railroad through the Catskills; NYC replied they would not. Then the Interstate Commerce Commission added NYC takeover of the U&D (which entered receivership in 1931) to the conditions under which it would approve absorption of the Michigan Central Railroad and Big Four (the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railway) by NYC. On February 1, 1932, the U&D became the Catskill Mountain Branch of the NYC.
In 1940, the Hunter and Kaaterskill branches, the former narrow gauge lines, were abandoned. Passenger service was discontinued on March 31, 1954. Coal traffic from the D&H disappeared, and in 1965 the NYC cut back the west end of the line from Oneonta to Bloomville, removing the rails in 1966. Conrail completed abandonment of the line in September 1976, with the final train operating between Kingston and Stamford on September 28, 1976; all remaining rolling stock returned to Kingston on October 2, 1976. Three short portions survive as heritage railways:
- Kingston-Kingston Point: Trolley Museum of New York
- Phoenicia-Mount Pleasant: Catskill Mountain Railroad
- Kelly's Corner-Arkville-Highmount: Delaware and Ulster Railroad
The lines remained out of service until transportation lawyer native Donald L. Pevsner campaigned to preserve the railroad. He enlisted the help of author William F. Buckley, Jr., who toured the line in 1977 and helped draw publicity to the tug-of-war between the communities and Conrail over the sale price. Residents along the line succeeded in convincing local governments to purchase the line. Ulster County bought the 38.6-mile segment from Kingston to the Delaware County line at Highmount (Belleayre Mountain Ski Area, still being successfully operated by NYSDEC and the destination of the first New York Central ski trains in the mid-1930s) for $1.5MM in 1979, and leased it to the Catskill Mountain Railroad in 1983.
Seven towns in Delaware County purchased the railroad from the Delaware County line to the end-of-track in Bloomville for $770,000, in 1980, which would become the Delaware and Ulster Rail Ride. Over $15 million has been invested in the DURR since then.
Present condition 
Ulster County 
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (September 2011)|
Starting at Kingston Point, Milepost 0, the Trolley Museum of New York operates the remaining trackage in Kingston east of the CSX River Line, up to about Milepost 2.4. The line in this section is owned by the City of Kingston and leased to the Trolley Museum. The Trolley Museum is focused on the preservation of the use of trolleys and restoration of the old U&D Rondout Yard. It built a new engine house and shop in 1987, and the idea of rebuilding the utility building and the station has been suggested. The Museum currently operates from MP 0, Kingston Point, to MP 1, Rondout Yard, with a branch along the Strand. The track from MP 2.4 to 2.8 has been removed and the right-of-way sold to private parties.
The line from Kingston to the Delaware County line is owned by Ulster County, which bought it from the Penn Central in 1979. The Catskill Mountain Railroad leases this portion from Ulster County for tourist operations between Phoenicia and Cold Brook Station. The tracks between Kingston and Cold Brook have been cleared for track car use, and are being upgraded for full train service from Kingston west towards Phoenicia, and are currently usable by trains east of MP 5.0 (Bridge C9), and from MP 21.3 (Bridge C30) to 27.9. The Catskill Mountain Railroad commenced operations in Kingston in December 2008. Two bridges in need of repair separate the two ends of the railroad, one at MP 5 (Bridge C9) and the other at MP 21.3 (Bridge C30). On August 28, 2011, Bridge C30 was washed away due to catastrophic flooding from Hurricane Irene, severing the Phoenicia operation from the Kingston operation for the time being.
The line between Phoenicia and Highmount, also leased by the Catskill Mountain Railroad, is isolated by six large washouts west of Phoenicia, and has not seen a train since regular service ended in September 1976. However, a 2-mile (4.0 km) section of the line, between Giggle Hollow and Highmount, home to the scenic double horseshoe curve, was cleared for track car use in 2006 by the 1⁄2Trolley Museum of New York, Catskill Mountain Railroad and Ulster & Delaware Railroad Historical Society. Another section from Big Indian to Shandaken was cleared in 2009. The abandoned roadbed from the Hunter and Kaaterskill branches in Ulster County are walkable, despite all but one of the bridges being removed (there is only one surviving bridge on the branches, near the Ulster County-Greene County border line, which is privately owned).
Delaware County 
The Delaware and Ulster Railroad (DURR), based in Arkville, MP 48.1, currently runs tourist trains from Highmount to Roxbury, MP 59.1. Currently the DURR's operations are limited to the portion between Arkville and Roxbury, as the line to Highmount is out of service due to a weak bridge abutment east of Arkville.
In Roxbury, the Roxbury Station is being restored by the Ulster & Delaware Railroad Historical Society. The museum is open, showcasing many artifacts and displays from the railroads mentioned above. (Roxbury is the birthplace of the famed 19th-century railroad "robber baron", Jay Gould, of Erie Railroad-pillaging infamy, and he is entombed in a large mausoleum in the local cemetery.)
The Ulster & Delaware Railroad Historical Society owns former NYO&W "Bobber" Caboose #8206, built at the NYO&W Middletown Shops in 1906, and former BEDT 14, an H. K. Porter, Inc Locomotive Works 0-6-0T steam locomotive, built in August 1920 at their facility in Pittsburgh, PA. Both are presently being restored by the Society.
The Delaware County railbed from Highmount to Bloomville is owned by the Catskill Revitalization Corporation. The track ends at Hubbell Corners, where it becomes the Catskill Scenic Trail.
In Delaware County, the Halcottville Station, MP 53.0, was cut in half, with the passenger side moved a few hundred feet, where it serves as a shed on private property, and the freight side moved to Arkville, where it is now a tool shed for the Delaware and Ulster Railroad. Both the Arkville and Fleischmanns stations are gone, but the freight houses have survived. The DURR uses the Arkville freight house as its passenger station. The Kelly's Corners station was acquired by NYSDOT in 1964 and bulldozed during the reconstruction of State Route 30. The station at Stamford has been restored, is owned by the CRC, owners of DURR, and used for offices. The stations at South Kortright, MP 81.5, East Meredith, MP 97.9, and Davenport Center, MP 103.2, are currently private dwellings, with the railbed in front of them also being privately owned.
Interstate 88 was planned in the 1970s to go from Schenectady, New York to Binghamton, New York, although the original plans suggested that it go to New England and near the Atlantic Coast. The portion that was constructed covers a portion of the U&D's railbed in the township of Oneonta, where it connects with New York State Route 28.
Schoharie County 
The South Gilboa Station, MP 70.6, is the only station on the remainder of the U&D, and it is in poor condition. It is still in its original spot, between the Delaware County stations of Grand Gorge and Stamford. The old right-of-way in front of it is part of the Catskill Scenic Trail. It is also one of two other U&D railroad stations that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Town of Gilboa Historical Society has proposed that the South Gilboa station should have a full cosmetic restoration. However, this is only a proposal, and it is unclear whether or not it will take place.
Otsego County 
The final station at Oneonta, MP 106.9, was part of a tourist line called the "Delaware and Otsego Railroad" that was created shortly after that portion was abandoned, in the late 1960s. It ran trains from Oneonta station to a bridge that crossed Charlotte Creek a little way from the old site of the West Davenport Station. It is currently a pub/restaurant called "The Depot". The line from Bloomville, MP 86.2, to Oneonta, MP 107, was abandoned in 1965, with rails removed in 1967, and is currently in the hands of private owners (mostly abutting landowners). 
Greene County 
The Greene County portion of the branches, which were torn up in 1940, along with the smaller portion of the branches in Ulster County, remain as overgrown paths and bridge abutments, with an occasional road covering the ROW. New York State Route 214 overlaps the former alignment at Stony Clove Notch. However, a 2-mile (3.2 km) section of the line from Bloomer Road to Clum Hill Road in Tannersville has been converted into a rail trail, known locally as the "Huckleberry Trail". There are also a few bridge piers, such as one on the southern side of the Esopus Creek in Phoenicia, one in Chichester (both in Ulster County), and two in Edgewood.
There are only two surviving stations on what used to be the branches. The Hunter Station, branch MP 2.5, is now a private dwelling. The Haines Falls Station, branch MP 18.5, is currently the headquarters of the Mountain Top Historical Society.
Narrow Gauge Rolling Stock 
SC&CM Locomotives 
|SC&CM Number||Name||Builder||Type||Date||Works Number||Remarks|
|1st #1 (1882–1886)
2nd #2 (1886–1894)
|Stony Clove||Dickson Manufacturing Co.||2-6-0||July 1882||358||Purchased new. Redesignated U.&D. R.R. # 2 in 1894. Sold to the Chateaugay Railroad in August 1899 (Chateaugay RR 2nd #8). Scrapped in December 1903.|
|2nd #1||Hunter||Dickson Manufacturing Co.||2-6-0||May 1886||530||Purchased new. Redesignated U&D #4 in 1894. Sold to the Chateaugay Railroad in August 1899 (Chateaugay RR 2nd #2). Scrapped in December 1903.|
|1st #2||Gretchen||Dickson Manufacturing Co.||2-6-0||Dec. 1878||226||Ex-Plattsburgh & Dannemora #2, Louis D. Pilsbury (1878–1879). Ex-Chateaugay Railroad 1st #2, Louis D. Pilsbury (1879–1881). Purchased in April 1881. Sold in November 1885 to Dexter Hunter, Sr., who was president of the Western Ry. of Florida. Leased to the Western Ry. from 1885 to 1892 (#2, Dexter Hunter, Jr.). Western Railway went bankrupt and was reorganized as the South-Western Railroad in 1892. Loco leased to S-W. R.R. from 1892 to 1894.|
Kaaterskill Railroad Locomotives 
|KRR Number||Name||Builder||Type||Date||Works Number||Remarks|
|#1||Rip Van Winkle||Dickson Manufacturing Co.||2-6-0||May 1883||423||Purchased new. Redesignated U&D # 1 in 1894. Sold to Empire Steel & Iron Co. in August 1899. Resold to Birmingham Rail & Locomotive Co. in April 1905. Resold to Crystal River Lumber Co., Florida in May 1905.|
|#2||Derrick Van Brummel||Brooks Locomotive Works||2-6-0||June 1883||936||Purchased new. Redesignated U&D # 5 in 1894. Sold to F. M. Hicks & Co. between August 1899 & June 1900.|
|#3||Thomas Cornell||Dickson Manufacturing Co.||2-6-0||February 1883||411||Originally Chateaugay Ore & Iron Co. #8 (Dannemora). Purchased by the Kaaterskill R.R. from New York Equipment Co. in July 1893. Redesignated U&D # 3 in 1894. Sold to F. M. Hicks & Co. in August 1899. Resold later in August 1899 to the Otis Engineering & Construction Co. for use on the Catskill & Tannersville Ry. (1st #2). C.&T. Ry. 1st #2 became stationary boiler at Otis Summit, New York between July 1, 1901 and June 30, 1902.|
Narrow Gauge Coaches 
The coaches that ran on the Narrow Gauge Division had been built by Jackson & Sharp Co. in 1881 and 1883. Between August 1899 & June 1900, they were sold to F. M. Hicks & Co. of Chicago, Illinois. In May 1901, Hicks resold four of the coaches to the White Pass and Yukon Route (WP&YR ##218, 220, 222, and 224). Under White Pass ownership, these cars have been rebuilt several times. Before Rebuilding. They remain in operation. After all of the rebuildings under White Pass ownership, about all that remains of the original cars are the architecture and the superstructure frames.
Brown's Station, one of six demolished for the Ashokan Reservoir
See also 
- List of defunct New York railroads
- List of Ulster and Delaware Railroad Stations
- List of New York Central Railroad precursors
- Drury, George H. (1994). The Historical Guide to North American Railroads: Histories, Figures, and Features of more than 160 Railroads Abandoned or Merged since 1930. Waukesha, Wisconsin: Kalmbach Publishing. pp. 331–332. ISBN 0-89024-072-8.
- John M. Ham, Robert K. Bucenec (2002), Light Rail and Short Ties Through the Notch: The Stony Clove & Catskill Mountain Railroad and Her Steam Legacy, Stony Clove & Catskill Mountain Press. ISBN 978-0-9720709-0-4.
- John M. Ham, Robert K. Bucenec (2003), The Old "Up and Down" Catskill Mountain Branch of the New York Central, Stony Clove & Catskill Mountain Press
- “Gretchen” was the name of Rip Van Winkle's wife in then-contemporary stage plays and operettas.
- Shaughnessy, Jim (1967). Delaware & Hudson. Howell-North Books. LCCN 67-31427.
- Donald R. Hensley, Jr., The Lake Santa Fe Route (2009), at http://www.taplines.net/MELROSE/MELROSE.html (October 31, 2011).
- PASSIM, Stony Clove & Catskill Mountain R.R. Miscellaneous Companies & Persons Subledger (Volume 208, unpublished), S.C.&C.M. R.R. Construction & Equipment Subledger (Volume 209, unpublished), Penn Central Transportation Co. Records, Manuscripts and Archives Division, New York Public Library. (Note: the N.Y.P.L. erroneously lists the S.C.&C.M. R.R. subledgers as “Boxes” 208 and 209; they should be listed as “Volumes” 208 and 209.)
- PASSIM, Best, Gerald M. (1966). Locomotives of the Dickson Manufacturing Company. Golden West Books. LCCN 66-25059.
- This possible disposition is based on the appearance of the locomotive acting as a stationary boiler, which appears on a postcard published about 1910. his postcard shows C&T Ry. Loco 2nd #2 and one passenger car waiting to leave the station at Otis Summit. The stationary boiler locomotive appears to the left of the passenger car. The appearance of the stationary boiler locomotive resembles the Thomas Cornell. Coincidentally, the sale of the Thomas Cornell occurred in the same month as the appearance of C.&T. Ry. 1st #2.
- PASSIM, Kaaterskill R.R. Construction & Equipment Subledger (unpublished), New York Central R.R. Co. Records, Special Collections, Syracuse University Library.
- John M. Ham, Robert K. Bucenec (2005), The Grand Old Stations and Steam Locomotives of the Ulster & Delaware, Stony Clove & Catskill Mountain Press
- Special Report: White Pass & Yukon Route 1901 (unpublished), and Record of Vouchers (unpublished, 1900–1901), Yukon Archives, Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada
- Roberts, Earl W. and David P. Stremes (editors) (2008). Canadian Trackside Guide 2008. Bytown Railway Society. ISSN 0829-3023.
- Best, Gerald M. (1972). The Ulster And Delaware: Railroad Through The Catskills. San Marino, CA: Golden West Books. ISBN 978-0-87095-041-4.
- Ulster & Delaware Railroad Historical Society
- Ulster & Delaware Railroad
- Railroads of the Catskill Mountains
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