CatskillI started off at Catskill Landing - the section of the Town of Catskill that juts out into the Hudson River. This is where the steamboats used to dock to disembark passengers destined for the big hotels up in the mountains.
It's a beautiful spot ...
|Looking north towards the bridge|
|That's the former West Shore Railroad bridge in the distance (now CSX)|
Next stop was the remnants of the second bridge...
Otis Incline Railroad
I was anxious to see what the bottom of the incline railway might look like and on the way to that off-the-beaten path site, I saw this hilarious sign...
I then drove up Route 23 to Haines Falls. Its a magnificent ascent and--due to the steep grade--understandable why the incline railroad was built.
Haines Falls and the Kaatterskill Rail Trail
Locals have preserved the Haines Falls train station (I believe it is used for occasional lectures) - its at the start of the Kaaterskill Rail Trail.
The first stretch is deceiving - I thought I should have biked it as it was smooth gravel...
Once at the end (truthfully 1.5 miles of boredom!), I descended to the creek and snapped a bunch of photos of the two competing railroad's bridge/trestle abutments. It was amazing!
Tannersville and West
I drove south briefly at Tannersville to check out the Huckleberry Rail Trail but it was already mid afternoon and I wouldn't have time to ride it and get to Phoenicia, etc. to continue my intended documentation. (Plus it was hotter than hell and a heat advisory!)
|Huckleberry Rail Trail - looking west|
Stony Clove Descent
Next was the long descent on Route 214. I knew the railroad had paralleled the road but a good distance east.
Luckily at Notch Mountain Road (a side road heading east) an abutment existed!
Hard to see in this photo but there is a bridge abutment visible from the Phoenicia bridge.
I knew in advance this was a picturesque spot!
Last photo of the day was the bridge abutments on Bessemer Road east of Ashokan Reservoir,
As you drive north on Bessemer Road you first encounter the former U&D ROW (photo above) then you drive under the current U&D railroad. It was re-routed when the reservoir was filled.
About the Railway(s)
Completed in 1882, the Catskill Mountain Railway (CMRy) was a 3 ft narrow gauge railroad, 15.73 miles (25.31 km) long, running from Catskill to Palenville in Greene County, New York. Unlike most railroads, the CMRR was built primarily for the purpose of transporting passengers and intended to operate seasonally. Most people using the line were summer tourists who travelled by steamboat from points along the Hudson River. Their final destinations were Hotels and boarding houses located high in the Catskill Mountains.
Competition soon arose, in the form of the Stony Clove & Catskill Mountain and the Kaaterskill railroad companies, both controlled by the Ulster and Delaware Railroad. These narrow gauge railroads brought passengers much closer to their final destinations, saving them the difficult stage trip CMRR patrons had.
To counter the competition, the Otis Elevating Railway was formed. This railroad was completed in 1892. 7,000 feet (2,100 m) in length, it raised passengers 1,600 feet (490 m) in 10 minutes - saving a one-hour stage ride. At the summit, 1-mile of track was laid to connect with the terminus of the Kaaterskill Railroad. Source: WikiPedia
-Click to View Enlarged View-
Catskill Mountain Railway
Otis Elevating Railway
Catskill and Tannersville Railway
The “Rip Van Winkle Railroads”
Catskill Mountain Railway - TrainWeb.org