PORT ANN MARIE & DANASBURG RAILROAD

ALBANY, N.Y., Dec.31, 1952 (UPI) 

Officials of the PORT ANN MARIE & DANASBURG RAILROAD (PA&DB RR) have declared bankruptcy and abandonment of this New York Central Railroad subdivision. Statements released indicate that a decline in passenger and freight revenue due to post WWII automobile use and competitive freight trucking have led to this decision. Operations will to be transferred to the newly constructed Selkirk yard scheduled for operation in 1954.

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Ghent Area (click map)
 

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Welcome to the Port Ann Marie & Danasburg Railroad.  Reporting marks: PA&DB. A Class 1 subdivision of the Boston & Albany Railroad owned by the New York Central.

Set in the lower Adirondack foothills of the Taconic Mountains, southeast of Albany, NY circa October 1956 this line provides an important northeast/southwest link, the Ghent Cutoff. (See map below).

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The 6.5 mile Ghent Cutoff, links the waterlevel Hudson Division of the NYC (at Stockport) with Chatham on the Boston & Albany leading east towards Pittsfield, MA.

Providing a way to bypass the Selkirk/Albany area, the PA&DB handles bridge traffic of southbound lumber, brewery products, finished steel parts, textiles, and daily hotshot milk trains. Northbound unit trains of coal, Pacemakers, finished goods, steel, and fuel oil abound.

Chatham sees passenger locals from Stockport, with through trains between Albany and Boston, MA.

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Icing crews begin loading ice into refers at the Rothaug Freight Yard icing facility located outside the town of Port Ann Marie.

 

 

Daves Railroad 002.jpg (45385 bytes) A hopper sits ready to dump its load of coal at the Byrne Coal Yard.  The fall days will bring many more loads in as the trucks take load after load of coal to the local residents’ homes and businesses.  Byrne management has already seen that the future of coal and wood as a source of heat days are numbered and have invested in new oil trucks and a storage tank for home heating oil.
Daves Railroad 003.jpg (54461 bytes) The unofficial photographer and railroad historian, Steve Rothaug, has decided to take advantage of a beautiful October Saturday to document steam in what may be its last year on the PA&DB.  The weather is perfect and the trees are almost at peak colors.  Steve catches engine 2357 one of the New York Central’s H10B class 2-8-2 Mikado’s as it rolls past the passenger station at Port Ann Marie, NY.  
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Steve Rothaug barely had time to grab this photo of PA&DB Train 36 as it approaches the passenger station at Port Ann Marie.  The engineer, Steve “Ace” Lynch taps the whistle of the aged Pacific K14f (4390) at two trackside railfans.  Train #36 originated at Chatham , NY at 1:00 PM where it met the southbound Rutland Milk train from Lake Champlain .  "Ace" coupled the six milk cars then picked up the crew who were waiting in the ex-B&A caboose.  

This caboose was modified with passenger trucks to allow for the higher speed passenger schedule.  After leaving Chatham the train works its way to Ghent where two additional cars are added to the consist.  Ace then finds two more cars loaded and ready at the Widows Creek Creamery.  This will be the last stop for the trip and once clear of the station.  Ace will open up the throttle and head up the 1.4% grade and after cresting the hill it will be smooth sailing to the New York Central main line to New York City .   Train 36 will then join with combined Train 184 out of Renselear at 5:30 PM.  The train will then continue to Harmon, where it will be turned over to an electric locomotive.  It will then drop cars at Spuyten Duyvil and  the 130th Street Milk Yard before reaching its final destination at the 60th Street Milk Yard.

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The Russom Dairy Farm rises above the Rothaug Freight Yard  and borders the PA&DB main line.  It is unusual to catch the entire family in the same spot, but today we have.  Mark is tending his draft horses , while Tom hauls a wagon load of pumpkins in from the fields.  Kathleen is calling everyone in for dinner.  

 

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Daves Railroad 022.jpg (51596 bytes) Fahrer’s Lumber Yard is getting ready to close as it finishes up with the few remaining customers.  Located in Port Ann Marie, it is the only lumber yard and building supplies company in the area and does a thriving business. On the road outside a county highway crew finishes some highway repairs before the winter freeze sets in.
Daves Railroad 023.jpg (49761 bytes) The tugboat Lizzie B, out of New York City , has docked along the Sea Catch Seafood Co. The model was scratch built using clear pieces of pine 2X4 cut on a band saw for her hull and cabin.
Daves Railroad 024.jpg (51705 bytes) Steve obtained permission from the captain of the Lizzie B to take some photos.  Here is a view of Fahrer’s Lumber Yard from the upper deck of the tugboat Lizzie B as well as a portion of the Sea Catch’s Pier.
Daves Railroad 025.jpg (41384 bytes) Steve once again gets snapshot of the huge Mikado from the alley behind The Sunshine Bakery.
Daves Railroad 026.jpg (52827 bytes) Railroad maintenance workers go about their daily tasks at the Danasburg Engine Facility as Steve records this image from the other side of Widow’s Creek as bonus he also gets a glimpse of an unidentified New York Central engine on James L. Kelly bridge.
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Daves Railroad 030.jpg (60153 bytes) An aerial view of the town of  Port Ann Marie and the Rothaug Yard
Daves Railroad 031.jpg (53935 bytes) A photo from the  Republic Steel Warehouse’s  parking lot outside Port Ann Marie.
Daves Railroad 032.jpg (42292 bytes) The newly weds Ann Marie and Rich are just finished posing for pictures as Father Duff and others in the bridal party get ready to leave St. Boniface’s Church in Port Ann Marie for their reception at The Watermill Catering Hall.
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Daves Railroad 034.jpg (42733 bytes) Two railfans catch a shot of a rusty faced 0-8-0, switching engine U3a number 7744, as it backs down the rails a gondola load of pipes to a trackside customer.
Daves Railroad 035.jpg (60163 bytes) The couple in the back seat of this convertible seem too preoccupied to notice engine 7744 as it backs down the track to the Danasburg engine facility.
Daves Railroad 036.jpg (52247 bytes) Steve once again caught up with 7744, just a little too late to get a better view  of the engine and its tender.        The engineer passes the abandoned remains of an old tank truck as it sits rusting away not far from the PA&DB main.
Daves Railroad 037.jpg (48487 bytes) Another view of the loading dock at the Widow’s Creek Dairy, with a pile of milk cans that have been weighed and are being loaded into an awaiting milk car, that will soon be racing down to New York City
Daves Railroad 038.jpg (51396 bytes) Fahrer’s Lumber Yard
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Two locals discuss the repair work being done by the county on the road outside Fahrer’s Lumber Yard.

 

 

Daves Railroad 042.jpg (50737 bytes) An E8 New York Central diesel 4076 races The New Englander past Byrne Coal’s dumping ramp.
Daves Railroad 043.jpg (56276 bytes) These are the storage racks that allow new trains access and trains that are leaving the layout  really leave the layout.  Pins that are secured to the bench work  allow entire trains to be lifted off the table and either stored or rotated via electrical connectors located at each end of the “bridge.”
Daves Railroad 044.jpg (48736 bytes) Steve catches an un-named passenger train on the curve outside of Port Ann Marie.  In the background is Condor Electric.
Daves Railroad 045.jpg (30992 bytes) A freight pulled by a New York Central FA unit passes the New Englander downgrade after crossing the James L. Kelly Bridge
Daves Railroad 047.jpg (50563 bytes) A kit bashed model of  a NYC 19000 class caboose.
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Daves Railroad 053.jpg (55436 bytes) Another view looking down Park Ave.   That 1953 Buick Roadmaster’s driver is enjoying the weather and has the top down, for what possibly could be the last time before the cold weather begins.  To the right in the picture is Veteran’s Memorial Park that dates back to 1866 and its monument remembers all the towns veterans from the Civil War up to the Korean War.
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Two neighborhood women peek over the back fence to get a look at the newlyweds as they stand on the steps of St. Boniface’s Church.  The backyards of  Park Avenue abut the front of the church, allowing these ladies the opportunity to see all the church activities.  

 
Daves Railroad 058.jpg (39335 bytes) Here we have a view of Park Ave, in Port Ann Marie.  It looks like the local teens are taking advantage of the mild Saturday weather to polish Bob’s old Ford, as their mother, Mrs, Strauss and her daughter perform the Saturday ritual of washing the stoop and side walk of their apartment building.
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Daves Railroad 061.jpg (24779 bytes) One of two International Truck sit ready to unload their charges.  The drivers have stepped into the yard masters office to complete their paperwork, grab a hot cup of coffee and hear the local scuttlebutt, while they await permission to move to the team track.
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Daves Railroad 064.jpg (55890 bytes) We catch a glimpse of New York Central H10b (2357) as it effortlessly glides downgrade after crossing Widow’s  Creek and the James L. Kelly Bridge on its way to Springfield, Massachusetts.  The building in the background is the Moeller Brewery, which is the largest customer on the PA&DB RR

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NORTH BRIDGE - Finally, the first of the leased 2-8-0 ex-NYC Consolidations are heading south to the New York & Western. Here's road #1147 running light and "airing it out" over North Bridge just prior to leaving the PA&DB.

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WESTBOUND HOTSHOT MILK TRAIN - Hot stuff! Is that a feedwater heater I see on the fast freight coming into Port Anne past Dave's scratchbuilt Creamery Plant? There's the brewery in the background and a transition era diesel lashup (with lightning stripe scheme) holed up in the siding (right side) waiting for the daily "Hotshot" Milk Train to pass. The dispatcher must be annoyed holding a fast freight westbound while the milk run exercises its class right of way coming into town. I would gather it's October 1953+, the trees have turned. Is that a railfan shooting the event by the blue '49 Chevy, or...?