Photo of the Month Archives

June 2010

New York, Ontario & Western Railroad, Delaware River Bridge, Hancock, Delaware, NY courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C. 20540 US

May 2010

“NYO+W Milk Car #1034  Middletown NY  15 June ’47 enthusiasts trip”

That is what is written on this outstanding slide that O&WRHS member Paul F. Straney just donated to the O&WRHS.  To say that this was a much appreciated addition to the archives collection would be an understatement. The actual fan trip started at Weehawken and ran on the O&W to Kingston, and then to Port Jervis. You can see some of the video footage of this fan trip on the O&WRHS DVD near the beginning of the tape. For many years this milk car was used to store records behind the Middletown depot.

April 2010

The date and location of this photo are unknown but we felt it needed to be posted as it is a dynamite showing of a Class L Camelback with a unique featherbedder on the tender.

No, it’s not an April Fools joke and it was not Photoshopped! Can anyone name the location?  Jeff Otto Collection.

March 2010

It’s July 27th 1946, Jim Speer is taking photographs along the New York Central’s West Shore Division. At Tappan, NY Jim catches the Tappan Local’s locomotive number 4513 as it is being turned for the return trip to Weehawken, NJ. The locomotive is supplying compressed air to operate the pneumatic motor allowing this 70′ turntable to be turned with ease. The NYC had 20 of these K-11b class 4-6-2 locomotives built by Alco in 1912. This K-11b’s original number was 3113 and became 4513 in 1936. By the time of this photo there were only 15 of this class still in service and their numbers would dwindle with the last engines being scrapped in 1952. Note the garage to the right of the locomotive’s pilot. Beginning in 1959 this was the residence of a very young Allan Seebach who grew up with the New York Central’s West Shore Division as his playground. Caption and photos courtesy of Allan Seebach.

February 2010

This O&W glass plate M34-9, shows Bridge 382 looking south (Foster’s siding, near Cleveland). 6/11/1914. Jeff Otto Collection.

January 2010

O&W Linemen – Date Unknown

When I first started on the line crew there was a man and his nephew, I think it was them 2nd and 3rd from the left.. They were quite old at that time, for I was in my late teens. They had cabin on a mountain near Summitville station. They would not work winters and the both of them would get off at Summitville and go to their cabin. They were heavy drinkers, but put away enough to get them threw the winter. The oldest smoked a pipe and I remember seeing the nephew pass out in the bar next to the Norwich yards, he laid straight across a bar stool. The uncle dragged him back to the camp cars. Next day they were up raring to go. Amazing.

Please note the “climbers” on the nephew. I tried them and they scabbed my legs all up. I was over in Binghamton and went to Buckingham’s factory >and asked if they had pads etc. for their climbers. I ended up with a new set plus a ” floating” belt. After that everyone wanted them. It made the climbing a lot more comfortable. John Lotterer ( the foreman) finally talked the railroad into buying them for their workers. The guy on the left looks like “Benny ” Stevens, maintainer at Norwich.

We all had a set or two of line blocks. We used them to pull the slack out of the lines. Also for dead ending wires to the pole arms. They were used quite a bit, during the many ice storms. The lines would droop with and inch of ice on the. them. Breaking sometimes. One time the ice on the lines was so bad between Cadosia and Norwich, that they moved our camp cars etc. to Cadosia. There we were outfitted into a train, slowly going north hooking the wires back together. We came back latter and pulled up all the slack. You have to remember that the Telegraph was a big thing then. and all the lines had to kept working. I climbed poles with an inch of ice on them. Sometimes it would come lose and slide down the pole..Yes line blocks were very important. They consisted of 3/8 manila rope , probably 24′ in length. Two metal wheel blocks with a rope fastener and a set of grips to grip the wires. Caption by Wm. Phelps. – Photo courtesy of George Shammas.

Yes, I know….Summitville once again, but can you blame me? This unbelievable color shot came my way a few months ago and I have been waiting to share it ever since. The date is July 31, 1953. The passenger stop at Summitville provided a good opportunity to capture the Kingston Branch yard and wye area. Two grampuses are in the foreground (that’s what they were called on the O&W and some other RRs). Just beyond them is the dirt road to the station. Adam’s store and mill are in the background on the left, along with one of the lumber sheds and in the distance is a boxcar and flanger.  With steam gone for five years, the rails over the ash pit have been removed. Two tired looking work coaches sit just beyond…..Jeff Otto Collection

November 2009

Peckville, 1911……….at the Ontario  Breaker. Note the initials on the caboose, “B of RT” 94. (Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen  Lodge 94) Photo courtesy of Mal Houck

October 2009

Got Milk?

This is Parson’s Wagon Factory in Earlville, NY on the O&W with a load of milk wagons ready for shipment. on NYO&W flat cars. Photo courtesy of Walt Kierzkowski

The low down wagon was invented by John Parsons of Earlville, NY about 1887, with production commencing sometime after that at the wagon works about 100 yards east of the depot on the north side of West Main Street in that village.

In 1907 the works was sold to J.D. Mires. It was defunct sometime before the outbreak of WWII. The Quincy Square Museum in Earlville has a booklet on the history of this facility for sale in its gift shop. Those interested can google this society for further details. I wish I had bought a book when last there.

About all that is left of the works now is the foundations, although most of the buildings were standing in various decay into the 1970’s. The photo was taken just south of the depot and looks southeast with the Otto Heuer creamery providing the backdrop. Later this building was part of Conkling-Rogers and served as a coal shed. It stood until CA 1976.

John Parson’s was a well known Earlville businessman who lived until 1950. The fame of his wagon’s was far and wide as the low down step made the delivery man’s job much easier. Watching vintage footage of horse drawn milk delivery is interesting as the “driver” normally only had to step into and out of the wagon with the appropriate dairy order, the horse simply following along pulling the wagon like on automatic pilot without the need for the driver to be in the cab, but able to concentrate on delivery. Doug Ellison

Love your photo of the month!  It may seem an odd connection but the “Low Down Wagons” were made by my (Mires) relatives.  They were called Low Down because the center was undercut and the milk man could walk right through the wagon at street level conserving a ton of energy.  There are two branches of the Myers family with two different spellings.  Both descend from Daniel Myers (Mires) the famous Indian fighter.  Old Daniel lived at Waterloo Mills, NY and his pension record indicates that he was “with Washington when driven from NYC by the British”.  The family divided into an upstate group (Mires) and our group (Myers).  Cousin Maynard Mires grew up in Sherburne and his father was Veterinarian up there.  A personal touch to the photo of the month !!! Dan Myers

September 2009

In August 1939, Bill Lichtenstern, Ed Hermanns and George Votava spent a wonderful Sunday the 13th at Summitville, photographing the activities (Am I envious? Boy Howdy!). During one lull in the action, Bill stood on the mainline and took this shot of the Kingston Branch end of things. Besides showing the two V-class engines laying over for the weekend at the rudimentary engine service facility, it is a great view of the little branch storage yard, lumber storage sheds, the two cabooses assigned to branch service, Adam’s store and mill, and the North leg of the wye. Jack Farrell Collection – Caption by Jeff Otto

August 2009

On January 25, 1941 A.V. Neusser captured NYO&W U class 2-6-0 No 255 leading a 14 car eastbound freight on the Middletown and Unionville Railroad to connect with the New York Susquehanna & Western at to Hanford Jct.   The O&W and the M&U had a long relationship that included the M&U leasing the East Main St. depot along with the track and land from there to milepost 1.1. The NYO&M had built this 1.1 mile of track over the Erie main line to connect the Middletown Unionville and Water Gap, predecessor to the M&U, to the main tracks at Railroad Ave.

After the M&U became an independent railroad on December 1, 1913 they entered into several agreements with the O&W. All M&U locomotives were repaired and overhauled at the AV shops and the O&W would lease a locomotive to the M&U at a reasonable rate. Until June 4, 1883 O&W traffic traveled by the NYS&W over the M&U&WG. After that date the Middletown branch of the West Shore would carry the O&W traffic. The two tracks to the right are the O&W’s south and north bound main tracks of the Middletown Branch.

In the background over the caboose the M&U water tank is visible in the DG yard. The M&U’s locomotive at this time was the last one to be owned by the railroad old 2-8-0 No. 7 purchased from the Bellefonte Central and was in service from June 9, 1940 to April 23, 1944.  From April 24, 1944 until July 16, 1945 the M&U leased O&W steam locomotives. From July 17, 1945 until April 19, 1946 the M&U leased NYS&W decapods. The M&U bought her first diesel engine and it arrived on April 19, 1946 M&U No. 1, a GE 44 tonner. The Middletown & Unionville Railway, including the MU&WG and the M&NJ, will be the theme of next years Middletown Railroad Day. Photo and caption courtesy of Doug Barberio

July 2009

Proving that railroading was indeed a labor intensive industry at one time is this photograph taken at the Earlville borrow pit sometime during the early years of the Twentieth Century. No less than 24 men – and at least 5 shovels – can be seen decorating American type Camelback #12 (Class C), a 4-wheel bobber caboose, and the borrow pit siding. This borrow pit, which was located at milepost 242.4, was one of many parcels of land acquired by the railroad for purposes of removing dirt to be used to fill in nearby trestles – hence the term “borrow” pit. These were the grand years for the O&W; a time when revenue was more abundant then at any other period in the road’s history. It was fortunate that this was so since improving and maintaining the right-of-way helped to keep the railroad a viable concern for many more years to come. That revenue also helped to pay the wages for all the men shown here. Concerning the gentleman standing between the rails with hands on hips, I can just imagine what he yelled as soon as the photographer clicked the shutter: “BACK TO WORK!” This wonderful photograph is from the collection of David Manzer, and was supplied by John Taibi.

June 2009

This shot at Cornwall in 1946 was taken by Fred J. Carpenter. The boy in the sailor hat is his son Dennis Carpenter, a member of the O&WRHS.

Special Thanks to Dennis Carpenter for sharing this great photo with us and Walter Kierzkowski for forwarding to me.

May 2009

Bertha Risely was the teacher in the Summitville school in 1957. As some of you may know this was a two-room schoolhouse but according to Bertha they apparently used only one of the two rooms. Her husband was Charles Risely, an O&W operator. When the last O&W train came through Summitville, she brought her class out to see it go by, and took the photo (I guess she had them turn to face the camera at the last moment — though she doesn’t remember). She’s now 98 (or 99) and living in a nursing home above Monticello. Editor’s Note: According to Jeff some of her students still visit her! The following photo and caption information was sent in by Jeff Otto.

APRIL 2009

Car number 5280 in the background was built in the Middletown shops in 1882 to carry anthracite from Sydney to Oswego as the result of an agreement between the Delaware & Hudson Canal Company and the newly organized New York, Ontario & Western Railway.  Plans for the car were published in the National Car Builder in November 1882 and were reprinted in my book, Hard Coal and Coal Cars.  It had a capacity of 40,000 pounds.  Car number 12802 in the foreground had a capacity of 60,000 pounds.  It was built by the Lafayette Car Works in 1891 to handle the tonnage coming out of the just completed Scranton Extension (as it was called then).  The car cost $440 when new and came equipped with M.C.B.A. Standard automatic couplers.  Cars in the all-wood 5101 to 5400 series served on the road through 1912.  A number of cars in the 10001 to 14120 series were rebuilt with steel underframes from 1903 through 1911 and some remained in service through 1932.  I’m afraid that I can’t date the photo. No earlier than 1903 based upon the arrival of box car 9348 and no later than 1912 based upon the disappearance of 5280.  I would guess that it’s closer to the earlier date, because the coal cars do not appear to have air brakes.  The O&W had pretty much completed the conversion of all cars to air brakes by 1907-1908.

MARCH 2009

Photo taken at Firthcliffe taken on 6-1-09. O&WRHS Glass Plate Negative Collection

February 2009

Sometime during the latter years of World War Two, O&W #42 – an end cab I class Mogul, was photographed from the smokestack of the Bendix-Scintilla plant at Sidney while in the process of switching cars from the military supplier to the railroad’s yard. In its own way, its marching between the two places helped to keep the Army Air Corps planes flying so that both they – and it – could defeat the Hun and Jap.

Just before the war was won, #42 was sold to the Unadilla Valley Railroad where it soldiered back and forth between Edmeston, New Berlin, and New Berlin Junction until a peace treaty was eventually signed on the deck of the battleship Missouri. Collection of the Sidney Historical Association. Caption by John Taibi – For more information read John’s new article entitled Big Bonus in Birds-eye views of Bendix (members’ area).

January 2009

Weehawken Trestle on Approach To Pier #2,  05-03-09

Two of the NYO&W’s 25-ton, hopper-bottom gondolas rest atop the wooden approach to the Weehawken terminal in 1909.  These were the first cars that the O&W purchased to handle the tonnage of its newly opened Scranton Extension.  Fifteen hundred of these cars were built by the Michigan Car Company and Lafayette Car Works in 1890 and 1891.  They came equipped with MCBA standard couplers and were upgraded with air brakes in the late 1890s.  Following the purchase of these cars, the O&W bought another 2,512 slightly larger hopper-bottom gondolas rated at 30 tons capacity.  An excellent resin model of these cars is available from the Old & Weary Car Shop.  Caption Courtesy of Bob Karig – Photo scanned by Ron Vassallo from the O&WRHS Glass Plate Negative Collection.

December 2008

RF tower at Crawford Junction was a nine lever tower used to control the signals and switches shown in this photograph. During the 1880’s until the 1920s, the Erie Railroad ran six passenger trains, a milk train and a local freight on the Pine Bush Branch. In this image, you can see the beginning of the Pine Bush branch curving off to the right. The view along the O&W is north toward Fair Oaks and the Catskills. This photograph is from the O&WRHS Glass Plate Negative Collection. Photoshopped by Ron Vassallo – Caption by Doug Barberio.