Bath & Hammondsport Railroad
The B &H RR was chartered by New York State on January 17, 1872 as a three-foot gauge railroad using 30 and 40-pound rail. It ran from Hammondsport, NY, at the foot of Keuka Lake to Bath, NY, about nine miles. The line opened June 30, 1875.
The railroad was narrow gauge from its inception to 1888. During these narrow gauge years, the B & H roster included the following steam locomotives: 2-6-0, 4-4-0, 0-4-4T, and a 2-4-4T.
The heyday years of the B & H were 1889 to 1907. On August 17, 1889, the road changed to standard gauge. Passenger and freight traffic flourished. Some Sundays as many as seven trains ran from Bath to Hammondsport and back. Steamboats were common on Keuka Lake.
In 1908, the Erie RR took control of the B & H and operated the road until 1936. Engine #11, a 2-8-0, was used during this time and can be seen in many B & H photos.
In the later years, 1937 to 1993, the road used GE 44 ton diesel engines and Alco S1 locos. The only remaining buildings (2007) are the passenger depot and the engine house. The engine house is expected to be torn down. The road is not operated today (2011) and the track is overgrown with trees and brush.
See Photo Gallery for images of the B & H engine house and the B & H at Hammondsport, NY on Keuka Lake. The image (upper right) shows the B & H RR passenger depot in the red paint scheme. Other images of the depot can be viewed in the June 2005 issue of the RMR (go to Home and then to Back Issues) and on the cover of the January 2006 issue. The images at the right show part of the Hammondsport area on the B & H RR model railroad of Dick Senges.
1831 - 2008
1831 Act for Bath & Crooked Lake RR.
1833 Crooked Lake Canal completed.
1835 Steamboat Keuka (the first) launched.
Steamboat Steuben (the first) launched.
Steamboat Keuka (the second) launched, went to Ogdenburg 1875.
B & H RR chartered by NYS January 17, 1872, 3 foot gauge,
Grading began summer.
Steamboat Yates launched (burned 1883).
Grading complete on the B & H RR.
Steamboat Keuka II lengthened to 75 feet.
1874 Track laying with 40 pound rail.
Engine # 1, narrow gauge, 2-6-0, “C. D. Champlin” (sold in 1876).
Line opened June 30, 1875.
Sold Engine # 1 to Iowa RR.
Scene – Engine Allen Wood, 4-4-0, at Pleasant Valley depot.
1877 Roster: 2 locos, 1 passenger car, 1 combine, & 4 freight cars.
Allen Wood became manager in 1878.
Engine, 4-4-0 bore his name.
Erie converted from 6 foot gauge to standard gauge (4’ 8 ½”).
Engine #4, 0-4-4T, narrow gauge, “Frank”, 15 ton , (Page 84, Gordon).
Scene – Jonathan Robie Engine #2, 2-6-0, with boat “Lulu”
Steamboat Urbana launched.
Steam Yacht Julia launched
Engine # 5, 2-4-4T, narrow gauge, “C. W. Nichols”.
Sold Engine # 2.
New engine house built in Hammondsport.
Passengers carried: 173,931.
Steam Yacht Rob Roy launched.
By 1883, Engines #1, # 2 & #3 were sold, and replaced by two tank
Employees including a track walker – 8. Used flags and lanterns.
Steamboat Farley Homes launched. Became second Yates 1904.
Steamboat West Branch launched. Scrapped 1902.
1884 Ties were oak wood. New sidings of 250 feet.
1886 Allen Wood’s lease was sold to Henry Stebbins.
Steamboat William L Halsey launched. Became 3rd Steuben in 1904. Scrapped 1917.
The Heyday of the B & H RR - 1889 - 1907
RR changed to standard gauge, 4 feet 8 ½”, August 17, 1889.
Engine # 6, 4-4-0, standard gauge.
Henry Stebbins sold lease back to the B & H RR.
Note: The Sanborn Fire Insurance maps of the early 1890s show no turntable in Hammondsport Yards as there
was previous to this time. Some speculate the turntable was omited when switching to Standard Gauge.
Scene – Engine #6 near Hammondsport
Depot. Depot without tower
Keuka College founded.
B & H RR Roster:
Penn Yan Electric Light Company organized.
Engine # 8, 4-4-0, acquired
in 1892, built in 1889.
Scene – Engine #8, Lyon Brother Grape Warehouse – on trestle
Engine # 9, 4-4-2T, acquired circa 1892 – 1916 ?
Consolidation of the Crooked Lake Navigation Company
Steamboat Crickett launched.
Small Power House (200' west of the Engine House) built by Harry Champlin.
New station at Rheims, NY.
Steamboat Lulu dismantled.
Scene - Steam Barge Springstead at Branchport (Page 179, Gordon).
Penn Yan Keuka Park and Branchport Railway Company organized.
List of RR Buildings – Hammondsport, NY – north to south – Source: Sanborn Fire Insurance Map
Cattle guards on crossings.
Rail now 60 pound. Connected by angle plates with 4 bolts.
No fixed signals. Highway crossings are well planked. No mile or whistle posts.
Rails and frogs for passing sidings.
Switch lamps for all main track switches.
Hammondsport depot installed electric lights.
Engines fired by coal.
President – Charles W. Drake (Name on Engine #8).
Two engines on line.
Erie and D L & W railroads fed Bath, NY. & met with the B & H RR.
Engine #1 from the Kanona & Pratsburg Railroad sometimes helped out
Early 1900’s – extra coach returned from bath ahead of
Steamboat Yates named (second Yates) (was the Farley Holmes).
Erie RR Company purchases Lake Keuka Navigation Company.
Steamboat Mary Belle re-named the Penn Yan.
1907 Frederick D. Underwood President.
1908 Erie RR took control by stock in 1908 – operated road until 1936.
1909 Steamboat Cricket burned in Hammondsport at dock.
List of RR Buildings – Hammondsport - North to South - Source: Sanborn Fire Insurance Map
Engine # 11, a 2-8-0.
Steamboat Yates (the second) scrapped.
Steamboat Halsey made last trip.
Engine # 10, 2-8-0, acquired 1916, (built in 1881).
3rd Steuben scrapped.
Steamboat Halsey sunk.
B & H RR discontinued passenger service?
USAR takes over Common Carrier operation.
First #11 went to the Rochester Roundhouse of the Erie on Sept. 20, 1919
Autos packed snow between rails in Hammondsport - train derails.
Steamboat Mary Belle (Penn Yan) last run.
1923 Engine # 11 (2nd), 2-6-0.
Engine # 12, 2-8-0, acquired 1924, built 1885.
Roster & Stats:
Train never runs at night.
Advent of the automobile silences the paddle wheels on the lake.
Heyday of RR appears to be over per info above.
Engine #13, 2-8-0, acquired 1926, built 1883.
1926/1927 (or after)
Engine #302, 4-4-0, Ex. Erie 1902.
1931 Steamboat Mary Belle (Penn Yan) scrapped.
July – large flood. Operations cease. The Erie RR leases truck line
1935-36 Line purchased by private business group.
Engine # 860, 4-6-0, Camelback, acquired 1936, built 1891.
Scene – Engine # 860 (Pages 93, 99, Gordon).
End of the Erie years.
Line reopens July 4, 1936.
The Later Years – 1937 – 2007
Scene – Ford Business car on rails
(Page 104, Gordon).
1937 B & H RR now owned independent of Erie RR.
#11 mogul acquired from Naragansett Pier RR.
Famous “Jupiter” #60 Civil War 4-4-0 engine stored in Hammondsport,NY
1945 Scene – Engine #11 – at Fish Hatchery (Page 100, Gordon).
1947 Scene – Engine # 11 – Hammondsport (Pages 95, 99, 102, 103, Gordon).
Scene – Caboose #1, B & H R R, The Champagne Route (Pages 87, 104, Gordon).
Scene – Engine # 11 at Rheims (Page 104, Gordon).
Engine # D-1, GE diesel, built 1949, 44 ton (Pages 92, 96, 97, Gordon).
Fan trip – Engine Second #11 (Page 88, Gordon).
Scene – Engine #11, at Fish Hatchery (Page 101, Gordon).
1953 #11 sold to Rail City Museum (operated there several years).
1955 Scene – D-1 at Bath (Page 106, Gordon).
1957 Scene - Engine # D-1 (Page 105, Gordon).
Engine # D-2, Plymouth diesel, built 1959, 25 ton.
Scene – D-2 (Page 105, Gordon).
1963 Engine # D-3, built 1950, 44 ton, acquired from L & N RR. D-2 sold.
1970 D-3 sold. D-5 (Alco S1) acquired from New York City.
1971 D-1 sold. D-4 (Alco S1) acquired from N & W RR.
1976 B & H RR takes over E L Bath – Wayland route.
1979 B & H leased boxcars (~50) in B & H livery.
1993 March - Operations ceased as independent RR.
2014 Track overgrown and non-operational. Engine House to be torn down. Power House deteriorating.
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