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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.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Chronology of the B & H  RR

1831 - 2008

 

 1831     Act for Bath & Crooked Lake RR. 

 1833     Crooked Lake Canal completed.

 1835     Steamboat Keuka (the first) launched.

 1845     Steamboat Steuben (the first) launched.

 1864     Steamboat George R. Youngs (second Steuben in 1873) launched.

 1867     Steamboat Keuka (the second) launched, went to Ogdenburg 1875.
                    Steam Yacht Henrietta launched.


 



               The Narrow Gauge Years  –  1872 - 1888

 1872

B & H RR chartered by NYS January 17, 1872, 3 foot gauge,
9.8 miles sidings .5 miles, rail 30 and 40 pound.

Grading began summer.

Steamboat Yates launched (burned 1883).

 

1873

Grading complete on the B & H RR.

Steamboat Steuben (the second) launched.

Steamboat Keuka II lengthened to 75 feet.

 

1874     Track laying with 40 pound rail.

 

1875  

Engine # 1, narrow gauge, 2-6-0, “C. D. Champlin” (sold in 1876).
Engine # 2, 2-6-0, narrow gauge, “Jonathan Robie” .
Engine #3, narrow gauge, 2-6-0,“Pioneer”.

Line opened June 30, 1875.

Roster:
                two 2-6-0s, one passenger car, one combination baggage and express car, & four freight cars.

 

1876 

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.

 

1878    

Allen Wood became manager in 1878. Engine, 4-4-0 bore his name.
Which engine? When?

Steamboat Lulu launched.

1879

Stats:

Length of road – 9.05 miles
Weight of rail – 40 pounds
Gauge – 3 foot
Number of engines – 2 (# 2 and #3)
Passenger cars – 3
Baggage, mail, and express cars – 1
Freight cars 6
Service cars – 4
Number of passengers carried – 14,266
Number of tons of freight carried – 4,900
Rate of speed – 15 mph
Bridges
Passenger and freight stations
Snow plows
Engine house
Machine shops

1880

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”
(Page 83, Gordon) .

Steamboat Urbana launched.

Steam Yacht Julia launched

 

1881

Engine # 5, 2-4-4T, narrow gauge, “C. W. Nichols”.

Sold Engine # 2.

 

1882

New engine house built in Hammondsport.

Passengers carried: 173,931.

Steam Yacht Rob Roy launched.

 

1883

By 1883, Engines #1, # 2 & #3 were sold, and replaced by two tank
engines - # 4 and #5.

Employees including a track walker – 8.  Used flags and lanterns.

Steamboat Farley Homes launched. Became second Yates 1904.
Scrapped 1915.

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.



1887     B & H RR Turntable in Hammondsport, NY - shows on the Sanborn Fire Insurance maps 

                  Steamboat William L Halsey launched.   Became 3rd Steuben in 1904. Scrapped 1917.

 


           The Heyday of the B & H RR  -  1889 - 1907



1889

RR changed to standard gauge, 4 feet 8 ½”, August 17, 1889.

Engine # 6, 4-4-0, standard gauge.

Engine # 7 ?

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. 

 

1890

Scene – Engine #6 near Hammondsport Depot. Depot without tower
(Page 84, Gordon).

Keuka College founded.

B & H RR Roster:

Engines - 2
Passenger – 2
Combines – 2
Boxcars – 3
Coal – 1
Flats - 5

Penn Yan Electric Light Company organized.


1892

Engine # 8, 4-4-0, acquired in 1892, built in 1889.

Scene – Engine #8, Hammondsport (Page 93, Gordon).

Scene – Engine #8, Lyon Brother Grape Warehouse – on trestle
(page 85, Gordon) Steamboat Mary Belle launched. Scrapped 1931.


1893

Engine # 9, 4-4-2T, acquired circa 1892 – 1916 ?

Consolidation of the Crooked Lake Navigation Company
and the Lake Keuka Navigation Company.

1894

Steamboat Crickett launched.

Small Power House (200' west of the Engine House) built by Harry Champlin. 

 

1896

New station at Rheims, NY.

Roster:

Engines # 6
Engine # 8
Passenger cars – 2
Combine – 1
Gondola – 1
Flat - 1

Steamboat Lulu dismantled.

1897

Scene - Steam Barge Springstead at Branchport (Page 179, Gordon).

Penn Yan Keuka Park and Branchport Railway Company organized.

1898

List of RR Buildings – Hammondsport, NY – north to south – Source: Sanborn Fire Insurance Map

Hammondsport Bottling Works
Fruit House
Lyon Brothers Grape Packing House
Shed
Railroad Station (Ed. - Passenger and Freight Depot) 
Steam Boat Freight House
Warf Shed
Band Stand
Ware Room
Hardware
Tin shop
Coal Shed
Shed
Machine shop
B & H RR Repair Shop
(Note: Must also have been an engine house since it was built in 1882.)

Cattle guards on crossings.

 

1900

Rail now 60 pound. Connected by angle plates with 4 bolts.
Ties 6” x 8” x 8 feet and laid 2,640 to the mile.  Ties are oak wood.  No tie plates.

No fixed signals.  Highway crossings are well planked.  No mile or whistle posts.

Roster:

Locomotives – 2 small
Coaches - 2
Combination cars – 2
Box cars – 3
Gondola – 1
Flat – 1
Wood bridges – 12
Automatic couplers – Gould
Air brakes – Westinghouse

 

1901

 Roster:

Same rolling stock and power as in 1900 above.
(gondola listed as “coal car”).

 

1902

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
Sundays. Coupled onto Erie coaches with link and pin couplers.

Steamboat West Branch scrapped.



1903

Early 1900’s – extra coach returned from bath ahead of
regular train as “gravity train” – handbrakes only!

1904

Steamboat Yates named (second Yates) (was the Farley Holmes).
Steamboat William L Halsey became 3rd Steuben. Scrapped 1917.

Steamboat Urbana dismantled.

 

1905

Erie RR Company purchases Lake Keuka Navigation Company.

Steamboat Mary Belle re-named the Penn Yan.

 

 

1907     Frederick D. Underwood President.

 


The Erie Years  –  1908 – 1936

1908     Erie RR took control by stock in 1908 – operated road until 1936.

1909     Steamboat Cricket burned in Hammondsport at dock.


1913

List of RR Buildings – Hammondsport - North to South - Source: Sanborn Fire Insurance Map

Ice House
Erie RR Depot – passenger station
Erie RR Depot – freight house
Covered Wharf
Freight House
Wharf
Office – O. Brundage (handled coal shipments)
O. Brundage – Hardware, Paints and Oils
Tank – 100 gallon – buried – gasoline
Shed
Erie RR Freight House
Wharf
Coal
Dean & Co. Hay & Grain – office
Dean & Co. Hay & Grain – main building
RR Machine shop
Boat Houses – 6 - small
Boat House – 1 – large
Wood shed
Engine House
Storage – 2
Section House

No turntable shown in the Hammondsport RR yards. 

Engine # 11, a 2-8-0.

Roster:

Locomotive – 3
Passenger cars – 2
Combine cars – 1



 

1915

Steamboat Yates (the second) scrapped.

Steamboat Halsey made last trip.

Lake Keuka Ice Company – 15,000 tons to fill their two ice houses.

 

1916

Engine # 10, 2-8-0, acquired 1916, (built in 1881).


Sometimes B & H RR engines went to the Avon shops for repairs.


An Erie engine was borrowed waiting for the repair.

 

1917

3rd Steuben scrapped.

Steamboat Halsey sunk.

B & H RR discontinued passenger service?

 

1918

USAR takes over Common Carrier operation.

 

1919

First #11 went to the Rochester Roundhouse of the Erie on Sept. 20, 1919
for overhaul. It had an oil headlight. (Page 88, Gordon)



1922

Autos packed snow between rails in Hammondsport - train derails.

Steamboat Mary Belle (Penn Yan) last run.

 

1923     Engine # 11 (2nd), 2-6-0.

 

1924

Engine # 12, 2-8-0, acquired 1924, built 1885.

Roster & Stats:

Locomotive – 1
Passenger – 1
Combine – 1
Passengers carried – 231
Ton of Freight – 17,097

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.

 

1926

Engine #13, 2-8-0, acquired 1926, built 1883.

 

1926/1927 (or after)

Engine #302, 4-4-0, Ex. Erie 1902.

Scene – Engine #302, 4-4-0, at Hammondsport Depot (Page 92, Gordon).

 

1931     Steamboat Mary Belle (Penn Yan) scrapped.

 

1935

July – large flood. Operations cease. The Erie RR leases truck line
to Operate truck line between Bath & Hammondsport.  Erie petitions ICC
to abandon the line.

No turntable in Hammondsport so train runs backward on its return
trip to Hammondsport.

 

1935-36     Line purchased by private business group.

 

1936

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

1930s     Scene – Ford Business car on rails (Page 104, Gordon).

1937     B & H RR now owned independent of Erie RR.

 

1938

#11 mogul acquired from Naragansett Pier RR.


Caboose acquired from Erie RR and modified.  The caboose has been restored and is on display at the Aviation Museum in Hammondsport, NY.

 

1942

Famous “Jupiter” #60 Civil War 4-4-0 engine stored in Hammondsport,NY
during WWII.   Scene – (Page 96, Gordon).

 

1945     Scene – Engine #11 – at Fish Hatchery (Page 100, Gordon).

 

1947     Scene – Engine # 11 – Hammondsport (Pages 95, 99, 102, 103, Gordon).

 

1948

Scene – Caboose #1, B & H R R, The Champagne Route (Pages 87, 104, Gordon).

Scene – Engine # 11 at Rheims (Page 104, Gordon).

 

1949

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).

 

1959

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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