Narrow Gauge Railroad

Looking across the South Columbia yard April, 2014.
New rail on the Lackawanna Railroad- Work crew installing the first sections of rail in the South Columbia yard.
Ties in place in the yard ready for rail to be placed.
Starting on the center line- Ties being installed in South Columbia in August of 2013. The center line survey stake is from 1916 when the Railroad was surveyed for the government valuation map project. Railroads across the country were surveyed and mapped and the stakes they used can still be found along the way.
Here is a truckload of 240 railroad ties being unloaded at South Columbia yard in June of 2013. The ties came from Pennsylvania and are 7″x 9″x 8’6″ and will be cut in half for our purposes. The new service entrance wires and hydrant will allow us to have power and water in the Yard area.
This cabinet will be the new control point junction for the yard area. Control wiring has been installed underground connecting the creamery building to the yard. A low voltage power supply in the cabinet will be used to power the signal system.
Shipment of rail arrives in South Columbia- First shipment of rail for the narrow gauge railway arrives on March 22, 2012. The rail is intended to be used for a test track to preview the railway and perform running tests on the Frontier Town locomotive.
Unloading Signal Equipment- On March 27, 2012 a collection of signal equipment arrived in South Columbia. This relay cabinet was last used by the Union Pacific Railroad.
A truckload of rail- A closer look at the rail now located in South Columbia. The rail is 30lb in weight which means that each yard of rail weighs 30 pounds. This is much lighter that the rail used American railroads today, their rail, is generally over 100lb or greater. The Lackawanna used 80lb rail on the Richfield Springs Branch.
This Track chart was prepared just after the merger of the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad with the Erie Railroad. The Railroad used cinder ballast on the Branch and 80Lb. rail. One would doubt very much if the ballast cleaner or Speno rail grinder ever made it down the line in the difficult years ahead the combined Railroad would face in the 1960’s.
A long stretch of grade separted road bed with a .10% grade between South Columbia at MP 291.37 and McKoons Crossing at MP 288.85. The area is quite scenic with varied terrain.
On the Lackawanna- The Lackawanna took control of the UC&SV Railroad in 1870 to compliment it’s growing network of rural branch lines in New York and gain access to Utica, New York. The Richfield Branch was operated as a Utica to Richfield Springs branch line for both freight and passenger operations. The Map here shows an eight mile segment between East Winfield and South Columbia where we have our creamery station and the “Frontier Town” train stored in our South Columbia yard.
Classic Lackawanna poured concrete construction- This “Cattle pass and Waterway” are looked at MP285.36 on the Richfield Hill grade east of Cedarville Station.
“Pulling the Grade”- A railroaders term for the special work of man and machine needed for the process of climbing an incline for an extended period. In the steam era engineers and crew would need to calculate their needs especially for water. In this view looking north through the cedar swamps to the next station a mile or so ahead at Cedarville along the Richfield Hill grade.
The Railroad grade ahead would require water for the steam engines to climb the 5 mile 1.39% eastbound grade ahead. The climb begins at the Route 20 crossing with the summit at Young’s Crossing in the Town of Columbia. The 12,000 gallon water once stood in East Winfield along with the Standard Dairy Co. Creamery and the the “Stock Yard”.
This eastbound train is just arriving into Millers Mills station. Richfield Springs was quite the destination in the summer months with the tourist trade in the Village of Richfield Springs at the end of the line. Lackawanna Passenger service on the line ran from 1870 to 1937, freight service lasted until 1992 to serve a customer in East Winfield, the last freight train departed Richfield Springs around 1987.
The LLC owned Creamery at South Columbia- built by the Newark Milk and Cream Company of Newark New Jersey in 1930. The 6,000 square foot building is adjacent to the UC&SV Route at South Columbia.
The rear of the creamery as it faces the railroad. The second story cupola was first built because the large tanks in the processing room of the creamery extended into the area. Later renovations made the area into an office. The boarded over car loading door to the right is where passengers would board trains through the Creamery building.