End Of The Line For The Southern New York

Growing up in a little village 20 mi. from Oneonta, I would ride with my parents to go shopping there all the time. Our route would take us on a country road to West Oneonta, then turning right onto NY Rt.7 and on into Oneonta. We would always cross the Southern New York track near the depot in West Oneonta, and many times I was lucky enough to see a little orange and cream centercab loco with a car or two in tow crossing in front of us. I was fascinated with this mysterious operation, that was not the D&H. When I was around 12 or 13 I would stop and talk with Ray Calman, the manager of the line, at his office. I learned that it was supposedly the shortest railroad in the U.S., at about 2.2 mi. It was the last remnant of a long trolley line. He once showed me an old horizontal format book on the trolley line with faded photos, which must not have been David Nestle's Leatherstocking Route, being smaller and horizontal. I never have been able to find any info on that book. Once I took an artists pad and hiked the line, tracing out the curves, etc., to use for modeling the SNY in HO scale, which I never ended up doing.

    As an adult I remember seeing the old Climax steamer sitting loaded in a gon at the west end yard, awaiting shipment to PA. Wish I'd caught her in active service!  In 1971 I sadly witnessed the scrapping of the Southern New York, and got a few shots of the remains before it was all obliterated. I know nostalgia doesn't pay the bills of a working freight line, but it's too bad we had to lose the last little vestige of a once extensive city trolley and long interurban system. 

All Photos And Captions By Chris Lord…

The Southern New York Ry. yard in west end, Oneonta. Engine house in left center; grade to coal trestle on right.

Looking across Chestnut St. at SNY yard, west end, Oneonta. Engine house in center distance. Railroad office building in center. Coal silos to right.

Derelict gang car, SNY yard. Lynncoach factory in background.

Coal trestle and coal silos at SNY yard, west end, Oneonta.

Pulling up and loading rail near D&H interchange and Lutz Feed, Oneonta. Richards crossing bridge, now long gone, in the background.

Coal trestle, in yard, west end, Oneonta.

Switch above yard at west end, Oneonta. Curve to left goes to the D&H interchange. To the right, with some rail still in place, is the main line to West Oneonta.