Batten Kill Railroad
Northbound at Old State Rd near Eagle Bridge, NY
|Dates of operation||1982–|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)|
|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 late part of the 19th century, and built a rail line between Greenwich and Johnsonville, NY. Most of the alignment of the former G&J is Washington County Route 74. Around 1900, G&J became a subsidiary of the Delaware and Hudson Railway (D&H). The D&H built a branch from Greenwich to Greenwich Junction where it connected to the D&H's Washington Branch built circa 1860. 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 excursions were started, but were terminated by late 2003 due to declining ridership. In November 2008, William (Bill) Taber purchased the Batten Kill from Mohawk Transportation and the estate of the late Ron Crowd. Taber 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 component of the line is paralleled by NY Route 22. The other route from the junction continues west to the village of Greenwich, paralleled 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.
- "New railroad begins operation", Gannett Westchester Newspapers, October 23, 1982, accessed July 15, 2011.
- Nestle, David F., "Rails Along the Battenskill: A History of the Greenwich & Johnsonville Railway" (1983).
- "Ronald Edward Crowd", "Post-Star", April 1, 2008; accessed July 14, 2011.
- Youker, Daniel "Rail owner: 'My goal is survival'", "Post-Star", August 16, 2002, accessed July 14, 2011.