Somerset Railroad (New York)

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Somerset Railroad
Somerset.png
Reporting mark SOM
Locale New York
Dates of operation 1983–
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Somerset Railroad
MP (Milepost)
Lake Ontario
0.0 Kintigh Generating Station
NY 18 (Lake Road)
Fish Creek
Fish Creek
Appleton
7.3 Corwin
13.4 Mill Street Junction
Mill Street Industrial Track
NY 78 (Lockport–Olcott Road)
Eighteen Mile Creek
NY 104 (Ridge Road)
15.3 Gulf Line Junction
Gulf Line Industrial Track
0.5 Lockport Subdivision
International Railway Co.

The Somerset Railroad (reporting mark SOM) is a railroad that operates in Niagara County, New York. However, this railroad isn't part of its own company with its own motive power. The railroad is sometimes mistaken as being classified as a Shortline, however it is not a shortline. It is currently operated by CSX Transportation. The railroad was built with the primary objective of providing coal to the Kintigh Generating Station, also known as the Somerset Power Plant, a 675 megawatt coal-fired power plant located in Somerset, New York. The railroad was built in 1983 by the New York State Electric and Gas Co. using new and old rights of way. From Lockport, New York, it runs on the defunct International Railway Co. (IRC) interurban line opened in 1900 under the name Buffalo, Lockport & Olcott Beach (BL&OB) which became part of the IRC in 1902. From Newfane, New York, the SOM sweeps off the IRC (abandoned in 1937) to the Hojack Line in Appleton, New York (Township of Newfane, Niagara County, NY), to West Somerset in the Town of Somerset. It then swings off on new trackage to a series of spurs and a loop at the Kintigh Generating Station.

Although the Somerset Railroad owns 428 rotary-dump gondola cars, CSX provides their motive power and operates the railroad. Prior to the acquisition of Conrail by Norfolk Southern and CSX in 1998, Conrail provided motive power. The Somerset Railroad right of way includes 15.59 miles (25 km) of trackage, known as the Somerset Secondary. Unit coal trains leaving from Youngstown, Ohio, run to Erie, Pennsylvania, followed by Buffalo, then north to the Niagara Branch, where they swing off onto the Lockport Subdivision, and finally in Lockport onto the Somerset Secondary. Even though the Somerset Power Plant owns its own gondolas, CSXT Hoppers are a regular sight at the plant.

The coal cars are unloaded using a rotary car dumper at the power plant. Also on the line in Lockport is a chemical plant, Vanchlor, which receives anhydrous ammonia via the railroad. The first train on the line ran in November 1983. Power was provided by four Conrail GE B23-7s, with 1926 as the lead unit.

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