Driving toward the Hudson Highlands on Route 17 in Harriman, NY, I spotted a straight-line structure going up a hill that I had never seen before. (First time I'd driven this way in the winter.) I found it shown on the USGS topo as "old railroad grade". map A little research reveals that it was built about 1885 to carry building materials to the hilltop for construction of the Harriman family estate, Arden House. Ardenhouse
Amazing that it's still visible after all these years. I'll try to include it on one of my hikes this summer and see what's actually there.
Another old mountain railroad was on Beacon Mountain (Beacon, NY) adjacent to the abandoned Dutchess ski area. map Its history is available here: beacon There is no indication that skiers ever rode the RR, although it operated until 1978. Both the RR and the ski trails are easily visible from I-84.
Probably the most famous abandoned mountain railroad in the East is the Otis Elevated Railroad near Palenville, NY. It climbed 1500 feet up the Escarpment to bring guests to the Catskill Mountain House, from 1892 until 1918 when it went bankrupt. map I think it is visible from I-87.
Anybody know of any such relics in New England? Was there one on Mount Holyoke?
edited by: mapnut, Jan 22, 2003 - 08:07 PM[addsig]
Check out Fish Creek Ponds area http://www.topozone.com/map.asp?lat=44.30218284846358&lon=-74.43481392347529&s=25&size=l&symshow=n
Map lists it as Abandoned. Friends and I have ported our canoes over the RR to get to Rock Pond. (A great canoe trip!) I was surprised at how well the tracks have held up over the years.
To maintain a ski theme , with a grade* that allows a train to climb a mountain these abandoned mountain RR tracks might be good for X-Country or Alpine Touring? Maybe even lead one to spots for some Back Country skiing.
* I'm guessing the track route would not be greater than a 10 degree pitch at most. Anyone know what the maximum is?
Sounds like you have great candidates for Rails to Trails. If I were you, I would contact the local Rail Trail organization. I happen to be interested in old rail beds. I have been living in Lafayette, CO (10 miles east of Boulder) for 3 years now and the area has several rail beds here in the flatter areas. At the turn of the century, there were many coal mines in operation with the rail lines serving the mines. Most of the railroads no longer exist on Topo maps as I think they stopped operating before the area was mapped by USGS. The Moffat Road was a rail line that went from Rollinsville (a mountain town, 25-30 miles due west of Lafayette) to what is now Winter Park. That line still exists mostly in National Forest land and you can basically drive over Rollins pass from Winter Park. You can't do it from the east, from Rollinsville as there are a few tunnels that have collapsed. Also, there is the Switzerland Trail just west of Boulder. It was a narrow guage rail line and 30 miles of it still exist and is used for mountain biking, 4-wheeling (not difficult as it is fairly flat), hiking, and cross-country skiing in the winter.[addsig]
Please! No more rails-to-trails! Let's not put more property in the hands of quasi-governmental agencies. How about rails-back-to-rails instead, or even better, trails-to-ski areas! Hey, AMC, put that in your pipe and smoke it. [addsig]
Posted: Jan 23, 2003 - 1:03 AM GMT
Edited: Jun 21, 2012 - 7:43 PM GMT
I'm not so much calling attention to railroads IN the mountains as railroads GOING UP the mountains, i.e funiculars, jig-backs, cog railroads etc.[addsig]
Here's an article provided by Tigerskier in 2012! Thanks!
[URL=http://www.catskillarchive.com/rrextra/GRORANG.Html]West Orange, NJ LMRR[/URL]
I cant beleive it but I agree with king karl. I am NOt a big supporter of RAILS TO TRAILS. Instead I think many 'abandoned" raillines should be brought back on line for a variety of environmental reasons[addsig]
I have no problem with someone wanting to run a ski train, but if its by the government for enviornmental reasons....well, there couldn't be a worse reason.
Even back in the 1950's when the Milwaukee Road stopped running the ski train to the Milwaukee Ski Bowl they were not seeing it as being profitable. People back then found it more practical to drive and today it is even cheaper to drive yourself then it would be to have a train deliver you. The only way I could see a ski train being worth while is if it would take you to a resort that had no car access.
Ski Trains were cool in their day, but ski trains in general just are not cost effective to run anymore. [addsig]