Category Archives: Railroad

Alan Chartock’s The Capitol Connection: The Chutzpah Kid rides again

Yes, that’s right, it’s time for another chapter about the unbelievable gall of a politician riding across the plains of New York. Not unlike the red headed cowboy, Donald Trump and his brand of making stuff up, we now have our own trusty companion in the form of Andrew Cuomo who, the press reports, has decided to frontally attack other state Democrats. Like any hero of the old West, he is taking on a crowd of made up desperadoes.

Let’s see. There is his old enemy Big Bill de Blasio who, for some unfathomable reason he seems to hate with a passion that might better be channeled to his love life. Then there is the matter of mayoral control of the schools. He says he’s for it but apparently only for a year or two which is just silly. And with Cuomo, one never knows what game he’s playing. This is classic Cuomo, say one thing and do another. So who does that remind you of? YES, the red headed cowboy. Go right to the head of the class.

But it doesn’t stop there. Now he pulls the old switcheroo and tries to blame de Blasio for his troubles on the MTA. Like the old song about another politician, Cuomo simply can’t get off of that blame train. Governors are often immune to trouble because way too few people know anything about state government. It’s just too remote. Mayors, on the other hand, are held responsible for more immediate problems like failure to clear up the snow or collect the garbage. But this time Chutzpah Andrew has literally touched the third rail. People are sweating in the subways. The trains are breaking down. They are sweltering infernos and Andrew, the Chutzpah Kid, is getting blamed for the mess.

This is the way it works. Andrew basically owns the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. He gets to name the most people on that board and he has always tried to take the credit for anything good that happens on the subways. One case in point is the mule-like braying and credit claiming he did over the opening of the Second Avenue Subway. You would think that he laid every brick on the line himself. But now, the Chutzpah Kid is ringing his hands suggesting that he doesn’t have ENOUGH power. Whoever is giving out breaks might think about giving me one of them.

Then there are his inexplicable attacks on Comptroller Tom DiNapoli. DiNapoli is one great politician. He is SO good that he may actually be giving politicians a good name. From day one, the Chutzpah Kid has been trying to deprecate DiNapoli. DiNapoli took a damaged Comptroller’s office and set things right. Now it is back to doing its job. That has apparently made the Chutzpah Kid even crazier. As occasionally happens, there was a jerk who did some corrupt things working in the office of the Comptroller. DiNapoli fixed it but that didn’t stop Andrew from suggesting that this was the worst thing to have ever happened. This is where the chutzpah thing really showed itself. Remember, this is the same Andrew whose best pals are now on trial for corruption schemes that would and should make any politician blush. In Andrew’s case we are not talking about some schlemiel way down in his administration. We are talking about his best friends. Who the hell is Cuomo to be casting aspersions on Tom DiNapoli, one of the most honest, decent men in politics? Not only that, Cuomo worked out a deal with the morally corrupt legislative leaders to take away some of DiNapoli’s pre-audit functions that might have stopped the Cuomo cronies from their schemes. Instead of giving DiNapoli back his powers, the Chutzpah Kid said that he would appoint people like the ones now on trial to oversee his agencies. Are you kidding?

So the Chutzpah Kid rides off into the sunset, ready for his next adventure.

Alan Chartock is professor emeritus at the State University of New York, publisher of the Legislative Gazette and president and CEO of the WAMC Northeast Public Radio Network. Readers can email him at alan@wamc.org.

Reblogged from Troy Record

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Amtrak maintenance backlog tops $38 billion on northeast route

Crains New York Business via California Rail News

The busiest U.S. passenger rail route needs $38 billion to stay in good working order, a 36% jump over the estimate just a year ago, according to a group that oversees the Northeast Corridor.
Though Amtrak and the regional railroads that use its tracks have pledged $3.3 billion for infrastructure over five years, that won’t go toward the backlog of projects needed to refurbish signals and power systems, replace bridges and build a new Hudson River tunnel connecting New York and New Jersey, according to a five-year capital-investment  plan released Thursday by the Northeast Corridor Commission.
All told, 820,000 daily riders—two-thirds of them commuters using New Jersey Transit, Metro-North and the Long Island Rail Road—are at risk of increased service interruptions or even failure of the entire 457-mile Boston-to-Washington route. Last fiscal year, 11% of trains using the line were late or canceled.
The Gateway Project which includes a new Hudson River rail tunnel to relieve commuter rail congestion is $25 Billion of this $38 Billion backlog.

The D&H in Oneonta

During the steam days and for some time afterards, Oneonta was a busy yard for trains both out of Binghamton and Wilkes Barre. It was also an engine change point and crew change point and had a huge roundhouse. The roundhouse fell into disuse after the Alco RS-3’s took over. Eventually, traffic patterns changed and the yard at Oneonta was more or less replaced by a rebuilt facility at Binghamton and the crews were run through between Binghamton and Saratoga or maybe Mohawk Yard in Schenectady and Binghamton. The last major activity in Oneonta was probably the car shop which after the CP takeover was shut down and replaced by facilities elsewhere.

Find out more on railroads in CentralNew York

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My Stock in the Warwick Valley Railroad

Recently a good friend of mine found a stock certificate for the Warwick Valley Rail Road Company. I knew a little bit about it and decided to investigate even further. The Lehigh & Hudson River began as a small line, the Warwick Valley Railroad that connected the town of Warwick, NY with the Erie Railroad at Greycourt, NY. The line expanded south into New Jersey, and in 1882 the Warwick Valley and its affiliates merged to become the L&HR. The line extended from Belvidere, NJ to Maybrook, NY where the New Haven Railroad provided a gateway to New England. The L&HR built a bridge between Phillipsburg, NJ and Easton, PA and ran via trackage rights on the Pennsylvania RR and the Jersey Central Railroad to Allentown, PA. The L&HR handled zinc traffic from the area around Franklin, NJ but mostly it was a bridge line carrying overhead freight. The mergers and abandonments of the 1960 did the L&HR harm, but the New York Central – PRR merger in 1968 caused much traffic to be diverted. The line went bankrupt in 1972 and inclusion in Conrail spelled the end in 1976. The line north of Sparta Jct. became part of the New York, Susquehanna & Western main line in 1982 and the line south of that point was abandoned by Conrail in 1986.

 

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Cooperstown, New York

 

Cooperstown Train Station……Now a private residence

Cooperstown is noted for baseball, of course. There is a great golf course with a hotel too. Find out more about vacationing in Cooperstown.

Not much railroad activity in Cooperstown, but the New York, Susquehanna & Western has offices and dispatcher there. I believe a visit or tour can be arranged if you call them. Closest railroad activity is Oneonta (D&H).

Cooperstown is no longer really on an active rail line although the Leatherstocking Line runs between Cooperstown and Milford with tourist trains. Their stopping point is south of the village on NY 28 south of the former crossings at Chestnut and Walnut Streets.

The NYS&W headquarters is in the old freight station in Cooperstown which lies between Main Street and Glen Avenue (NY 28) on Railroad Avenue and this structure has been altered a number of times to make it more suitable for the NYS&W offices. At one time, there was also a trolley/interurban line into Cooperstown from Index which is south of Cooperstown on route 28. This line was a branch off the line which ran between Oneonta and Mohawk and the line into Cooperstown lasted until the very early 1940’s as a freight railroad. The Delaware & Hudson used to serve Cooperstown from Oneonta every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. They had a water tower with a standpipe, a decent electric turntable and a very nice passenger station which had been converted to a residence. For a long time, the local freight train came in with a combo (coach and baggage car) rather than a caboose. I think this was because they still carried Railway Express shipments to the station at Cooperstown and the job probably had an express messenger on it too. They still did a reasonable amount of freight business in Cooperstown with lumber, coal, grain and feed being the big items but local LCL stuff too. Both Milford and Cooperstown at the time still had full time agents too. This was in the late 1940’s. Shortly after the arrival of the diesels, the turntable and water plug came out but Cooperstown still had three day a week service for a long time after that.

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