Delaware Otsego System


General Notes


Compiled by Mark J. Jacob



Delaware Otsego ('DO' Line):


Acquired 2.6 miles of former Ulster & Delaware mainline from New York Central for tourist excursion service in 1966. Line was abandoned in 1970 when I-88 was laid out over part of the line.


Cooperstown & Charlotte Valley:


DO acquired D&H Cooperstown branch from Cooperstown to Cooperstown Jct. 9/70. Built new engine house at Milford. DO headquarters established in Cooperstown station where the NYS&W is still headquatered. Steam excursions ended in 1974. Some diesel excursions were run through the 70s. Freight traffic dropped off by early 80s to perhaps a few cars a week. Excursions were run on Saturdays for a few years in mid 1980s. Line was used in the 1980s to store large numbers of idle St. Lawrence RR boxcars. Last freight run 12/87. Occasional equipment moves made thereafter. Line taken over by Leatherstocking Chapter, NRHS ca. 1996.
Leatherstocking Railroad Historical Society


Central New York:


DO acquired former DL&W/EL Richfield Springs branch from Richfield Jct. To Richfield Springs, 22 miles, in 1973. Engine house  was at Richfield Springs. Became part of NYS&W northern division after NYS&W bought Syracuse & Utica branches in 4/82. Traffic on line gradually dropped off. Line east from Bridgewater abandoned in 1990 and track removed 1995, westerly 2-3 miles left in place for stone trains.  


Fonda Johnstown & Gloversville:

DO acquired the 20 mile FJ&G in 1974. Shops were at Gloversville, also had an engine house at Fonda and engines were sometimes kept at Coleco plant near Broadalbin Jct. Traffic dropped off severely in early 1980s. Last train ran 11/84. In 1988, the line was officially abandoned. A trackmobile was used to move remaining DO cars off line, and tracks were removed in September of 1990.
Gino's Railpage, Home of the FJ&GRR


Lackawaxen & Stourbridge:


Erie Lackawanna's Honesdale Branch (created from the Erie's Honesdale Branch from Hawley to Honesdale, Wyoming Division from Lackawaxen to Hawley, and some D&H trackage in Honesdale dating to the original D&H Canal Co. Gravity RR) was considered a marginal line and therefore not included in Conrail. The State of Pennsylvania acquired the 25 mile line and DO was contracted to operate it as Designated Operator starting 4/1/76. 

In September 1979, the railroad hosted George Hart's former CP 4-6-0 doubleheaded on excursions with DO diesels to celebrate the sesquicentennial of the first run of the D&H Canal Co.'s   Stourbridge Lion's in Honesdale in 1829. The first successful run of a steam locomotive on a commercial railroad in Pennsylvania.   A replica of the Lion, built by the D&H for the Lion's centennial in 1929, was also present. It remains in Honesdale today, inside the Wayne County Historical Society museum along with a D&H gravity RR passenger car. Another gravity RR coach is on display along the tracks in Hawley, this one a very simple car from the Pennsylvania Coal Co. gravity RR, predecessor of the Erie's Wyoming Division which struck off over the hills from Hawley to access the coal mines of the Lackawanna Valley.   Excursion service was operated in conjunction with the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce starting in the early 1980s. In 1986, the county acquired their own passenger cars and locomotive (ex BAR BL-2 54) for the excursion service, now called the 'Stourbridge Line'.


Freight trains were run to Lackawaxen 3 days a week for most of the span of Do's operation of the line, typically Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Sometimes switching in Honesdale was provided on the weekdays that the train did not run to Lackawaxen, mostly for Moore Business Forms, the line's largest shipper. The locomotive(s) assigned to the line were kept in East Honesdale, where a former creamery building served as a one stall engine house and the line's office was located in the old freight shed. Interchange was made with Conrail's former Erie Southern Tier mainline at Lackawaxen, where trains OIBU (Oak Island, NJ-Buffalo,NY) and BUOI set out and picked up cars. After Do's NYS&W acquired haulage rights and began to run their own trains on the Southern Tier line to connect their New Jersey operations with the NYS&W Northern Division at Binghamton, NYS&W could deliver and pick up cars at Lackawaxen in addition to Conrail.


DO lost the operating contract on the line in June, 1989, when the Stourbridge Railroad (affiliated with North Shore RR) took over freight operations.


Copyright © 2002 Mark J. Jacob