Saturday, April 30, 2011

US Railways: Adirondack Railway

In 1972, a storm damaged the Lake Placid Line of Penn Central - formerly New York Central's Adirondack Division, north of Remsen, NY.

The line had been built by William Seward Webb, son-in-law of William H. Vanderbilt. Webb had taken over the Herkimer, Newport & Poland, a narrow guage line which went through those towns. He standard gauged the line, and extended it north as the Adirondack & St. Lawrence- later the Mohawk & Malone.

This, and its Montreal extension, the St. Lawrence & Adirondack, became part of the New York Central in the early 1900s.

NYC had a short branch from Lake Clear Junction to Saranac Lake; from there to Lake Placid its trains ran on Delaware & Hudson rails, the tail end of a former narrow gauge line from Plattsburg, Nebraska.

By the time Penn Central (PC) began operation, the Lake Clear Junction-Malone line had been abandoned; a line from Tupper Lake Junction to Ottawa had been taken up many years before.

The New York State Department of Transportation purchased Penn Central's right of way and track in 1975. The Adirondack Railway was incorporated in 1976 to rehabilitate the line and restore service, in order to be able to use it during the 1980 Winter Games at Lake Placid. The Adirondack Railway inaugerated regularly scheduled passenger service between Utica and Lake Placid on October 9, 1979, using Conrail track between Utica and REmsen.

Despite extensive and expensive track rehabilitation, derailments occurred frequently. The state shut the railroad down after its seventh derailment, on August 6, 1990.

Service was resumed between Tupper Lake Junction and Lake Placid the next month, but the state revoked the operating contract in February, 1981. The rolling stock and other equipment were sold at auction in April 1982.

Location of headquarters: Old Forge, New York
Miles of railroad operated: 118
Number of locomotives: 4
Number of passenger cars: 21

The Historical Guide to North American Railroads, Railroad Reference Series #3, George H. Drury, Kalmbach Books, 1994

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