Delaware and Hudson Railway


Delaware and Hudson Railway
Delaware and Hudson Railway
Logo
Reporting mark DH
Locale New York and Pennsylvania
Dates of operation 1829–
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) (standard gauge)

The Delaware and Hudson Railway (reporting mark DH) is a railroad that operates in the northeastern United States. Since 1991 it has been a subsidiary of the Canadian Pacific Railway, although CPR has assumed all operations and the D&H does not maintain any locomotives or rolling stock.

It was formerly an important bridge line, connecting New York with Montreal, Quebec. The company started out as the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company, which built a canal running from Kingston, New York on the Hudson River southwest to Port Jervis, New York on the Delaware River and beyond to the anthracite coal fields at Carbondale, Pennsylvania. The canal company later built a railroad, one of the first railroads in the United States, known as the Delaware and Hudson Company and subsequently the Delaware and Hudson Railroad until 1968.

The D&H has called itself "America's oldest continually operated transportation company".

Contents

Delaware and Hudson Canal Company

1886 map

In the early 1820s, Philadelphia merchant William Wurts, who had explored the sparsely settled regions of Northeastern Pennsylvania, realized the value of the extensive anthracite deposits. He interested his brothers in the idea of building a canal to make it easier to transport it to New York City, which was feeling the effect of import restrictions on British bituminous coal which it had been relying on.

The Delaware and Hudson Canal Company was chartered by separate laws in the states of New York and Pennsylvania in 1823, allowing William Wurts and his brother Maurice to construct the Delaware and Hudson Canal. In January 1825, its public stock offering following a demonstration of anthracite heating in a Wall Street coffeehouse raised a million dollars.

Ground was broken on July 13, 1825, and the canal was opened to navigation in October 1828. It began at Rondout Creek at the location known as Creeklocks, between Kingston (where the creek fed into the Hudson River) and Rosendale. From there it proceeded southwest alongside Rondout Creek to Ellenville, continuing through the valley of the Sandburg Creek, Homowack Kill, Basher Kill and Neversink River to Port Jervis on the Delaware River. From there the canal ran northwest on the New York side of the Delaware River, crossing into Pennsylvania on Roebling's Delaware Aqueduct at Lackawaxen and running on the north bank of the Lackawaxen River to Honesdale.

To get the anthracite from the Wurts' mine in the Moosic Mountains near Carbondale to the canal at Honesdale, the canal company built the Delaware and Hudson Gravity Railroad. The state of Pennsylvania authorized its construction on April 8, 1826. On August 8, 1829, the D&H's first locomotive, the Stourbridge Lion, made history as the first locomotive to run on rails in the United States. Westward extensions of the railroad opened to new mines at Archbald in 1843, Valley Junction in 1858, Providence in 1860 and Scranton in 1863. Passenger service began west of Carbondale in 1860.

The canal was a successful enterprise for many of its early years, but the company's management realized that railroads were the future of transportation, and began investing in stock and trackage. In 1898 the canal carried its last loads of coal and was drained and sold. The next year the company dropped the "Canal" from its name. The remaining fragments of the canal were designated a National Historic Landmark in 1968.

Delaware and Hudson Company

As railroads grew in popularity, the canal company recognized the importance of replacing the canal with a railroad. The first step of this was the Jefferson Railroad, a line from Carbondale north into New York, chartered in 1864, leased by the Erie Railway in 1869 and opened in 1872. This was a branch of the Erie Railway, running south from the main line at Lanesboro to Carbondale. Also built as part of this line was a continuation from the other side of the D&H's gravity railroad at Honesdale southeast to the Erie's Pennsylvania Coal Company railroad at Hawley. The Jefferson Railroad (and through it the Erie) obtained trackage rights over the D&H between its two sections, and the D&H obtained trackage rights to Lanesboro.

The other part of the main line was the Albany and Susquehanna Railroad, which the D&H leased on February 24, 1870, and the connecting Lackawanna and Susquehanna Railroad, chartered in 1867 and opened in 1872. The Albany and Susquehanna provided a line from Albany southwest to Binghamton, while the Lackawanna and Susquehanna split from that line at Nineveh, running south to the Jefferson Railroad at Lanesboro. Also leased in 1870 was the Schenectady and Susquehanna Railroad, connecting the Albany and Susquehanna at Duanesburg to Schenectady, opened in 1872[citation needed] (reorganized as the Schenectady and Duanesburgh Railroad in 1873).

On March 1, 1871 the D&H leased the Rensselaer and Saratoga Railroad Company, which, along with its leased lines, provided a network stretching north from Albany and Schenectady to Saratoga Springs, and continuing northeast to Rutland, Vermont, as well as an eastern route to Rutland via trackage rights over the Troy and Boston Railroad west of Eagle Bridge. The D&H also obtained a 1/4 interest in the Troy Union Railroad from this lease.

On March 1, 1873 the D&H got the New York and Canada Railroad chartered as a merger of the Whitehall and Plattsburgh Railroad and Montreal and Plattsburg Railroad, which had been owned by the Rutland Railroad. This provided an extension north from Whitehall to the border with Quebec, completed in 1875; a branch opened in 1876 to Rouses Point. Lines of the Grand Trunk Railway continued each of the two branches north to Montreal.

The D&H obtained trackage rights over the Lehigh and Susquehanna Railroad in 1886, extending the main line southwest from Scranton to Wilkes-Barre.

On July 11, 1889 the D&H bought the Adirondack Railway, a long branch line heading north from Saratoga Springs along the Hudson River.

The canal was last used on November 5, 1891, and the gravity railroad closed January 3, 1899. On April 28, 1899 the name was changed to the Delaware and Hudson Company to reflect the lack of a canal, which was sold in June of that year. Between Port Jackson and Ellenville, the right-of-way for the canal was used by the Ellenville and Kingston Railroad, a branch of the New York, Ontario and Western Railway, chartered in 1901 and opened in 1902.

In 1903 the D&H organized the Chateaugay and Lake Placid Railway as a consolidation of the Chateaugay Railroad, Chateaugay Railway and Saranac and Lake Placid Railway. In conjunction with the Plattsburgh and Dannemora Railroad, which had been leased by the Chateaugay Railroad, this formed a long branch from Plattsburgh west and south to Lake Placid.

In 1906 the D&H bought the Quebec Southern Railway and South Shore Railway, merging them into the Quebec, Montreal and Southern Railway. This line ran from St. Lambert, a suburb of Montreal, northeast to Fortierville, most of the way to Quebec City. The D&H sold that line to the Canadian National Railway in 1929.

The D&H incorporated the Napierville Junction Railway in 1906 to continue the line north from Rouses Point to St. Constant Junction near Montreal, Quebec, from which the D&H obtained trackage rights over the Grand Trunk Railway to Montreal. This line opened in 1907, forming part of the shortest route between New York City and Montreal.

In 1912 the D&H and the Pennsylvania Railroad incorporated the Wilkes-Barre Connecting Railroad, creating an interchange between the two lines at Hanover Township, PA, thus avoiding going through downtown Wilkes-Barre. Opened in 1915, it runs north 6.65 miles to the D&H mainline at Hudson crossing the Susquehanna River twice.

On April 1, 1930 the property of the Delaware and Hudson Company was transferred to the Delaware and Hudson Railroad, incorporated December 1, 1928.

In 1938 the D&H started to act as a bridge line, carrying large amounts of freight between other connecting lines.

Delaware and Hudson Railway

In 1968 the company was reorganized as the Delaware and Hudson Railway, and was bought by Dereco, a holding company owned by Norfolk and Western Railway that also owned the Erie Lackawanna Railroad. Following the bankruptcy of numerous northeastern U.S. railroads in the 1970s, including D&H and E-L, N&W lost control of Dereco stock. E-L was placed in the federal government's nascent Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail), while D&H was again made an independent railroad. In 1980 Conrail sold the former DL&W Mainline from Binghamton to Scranton to the D&H; this allowed the D&H to abandon their famed Penn Division between Carbondale, PA and the connection with the ex Erie/EL at Jefferson Junction. The reason the D&H was left out of Conrail was to maintain a semblance of competition in the northeast. While the success of this move has often been discredited since the D&H was simply too small to ever compete with all of the markets served by Conrail the railroad was able to double in size by being granted trackage rights over Conrail reaching Binghamton, Newark, Philadelphia, Buffalo, and Washington, D.C.[citation needed] The remainder of the Penn Division from Lanesboro to Nineveh, NY was later abandoned after the Belden Hill tunnel was enlarged in 1986.

In 1984, Guilford Rail System purchased the D&H as part of a plan to operate a larger regional railroad from Maine and New Brunswick in the east, to New York and the Midwest in the west, Montreal in the north, and the Philadelphia/Washington DC area in the south. For only $500,000, Guilford purchased the entire railroad, lock, stock and barrel. The price tag reflected the horrid financial shape and the condition of the physical plant. At the time of the purchase, the D&H had little freight traffic, relying on Federal and State money to keep operating. Plans for expanded service did not come to fruition, and Guilford declared the D&H bankrupt in 1988, abandoning its operation. Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, purchased the line south of Carbondale to Scranton and serves a growing number of industries in the valley under the auspices of designated-operator Delaware-Lackawanna Railroad.

With the D&H in limbo, the federal government appointed the New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway to operate the D&H under subsidy until such time as a buyer could be found. Guilford claimed that the D&H had assets of $70M at the time of the bankruptcy. In 1991, the Canadian Pacific Railway purchased the D&H for $25M to give the transcontinental system a connection between Montreal and the New York City metropolitan area.

Under CPR, the condition of the D&H trackage was upgraded significantly (much excess track was removed), although for a time the D&H was again in limbo as CPR placed it and other money-losing trackage in the eastern U.S. and Canada into a separate operating company named St. Lawrence and Hudson Railway, between 1996 and 2000. The D&H is, and has been, a difficult money-making venture for some time. Constructed as a coal hauling route, when that business declined it proved difficult to turn a profit. It operates in some of the most rural areas of New York State, and very few industrial customers between Binghamton and Rouses Point remain. The railroad's current prognosis is arguably better than it has been in a long time. Along with the NYC connection, haulage agreements with other railroads are greatly increasing traffic. Recently, CP has started using their new high power AC traction locomotives on the line, instead of their aging SD40-2 models. This is an indication of the increasing importance of reliable service. There are also major signal and track projects underway to modernize the D&H.

Nicknamed "The Bridge Line to New England," or just "The Bridge Line," the D&H has several unique spots in North American railroading history.

Branches

  • Baltimore Coal and Union Railroad
  • Northern Coal and Iron Company
  • Plymouth and Wilkes-Barre Railroad and Bridge
  • Oak Point Link

Company officers

The presidents of the railway were as follows:

  • Philip Hone - 1825-1826
  • John Bolton - 1826-1831
  • John Wurtz - 1831-1854
  • George Talbot Olyphant - 1858-1869
  • Thomas Dickson - 1869-1884
  • Robert M. Olyphant - 1884-1903
  • David Wilcox - 1903-1907
  • Leonor F. Loree - 1907-1938
  • Joseph H. Nuelle - 1941-1954
  • William White - 1954-1967
  • John P. Hiltz, Jr. - 1967
  • Frederick C. Dumaine, Jr. - 1967-1968
  • Frank Wells McCabe - 1969
  • John P. Fishwick - 1968-1970
  • Gregory W. Maxwell - 1963-1972
  • Carl B. Sterzing, Jr. - 1972-1977
  • Selig Altschul - 1977
  • Charles E. Bertrand - 1974-1978
  • Kent Shoemaker - 1978-1982
  • David Fink - 1984-1991

See also

Portal icon Trains portal
Portal icon Hudson Valley portal
  • 1834 New York & Erie RR map - Includes a good route-map of the canal
  • Delaware & Hudson Rail-Trail
  • Lacolle railway station

External links

References


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