Author Topic: The road to perdition (I-90 across New York State)  (Read 585 times)

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w neal

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The road to perdition (I-90 across New York State)
« on: January 22, 2018, 12:02:22 PM »
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Can someone point out a few rail-related (and rail archaeology- related) scenic highlights on the way across New York on I-90 from Niagara to Albany and the Mass Turnpike to look for?

I assume that most of what I am seeing from the Interstate is NYC, especially the B&A through the Berkshires.

I was curious where the Lehigh Valley crossed I-90, if at all.

Also, there is an abandoned grade along the south side of I-90 about 2/3rds the way west in NY state.

Who had the elevated tracks in the North Tonawanda area pointing (more or less) East/West?

Any info or highlights to look for would be appreciated.

Thank you
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prr7161

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Re: The road to perdition (I-90 across New York State)
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2018, 08:41:08 PM »
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The Castleton on Hudson bridge - freight connector to Selkirk - is very impressive, though finding a place to stop with a decent view is difficult.  State Line Tunnel is just up the road from the easternmost exit in New York and pretty accessible by car, although to get the iconic shot back to the tunnel you have to hike up the embankment a bit.  If you jump off the highway at Lee, Mass, and follow Route 20 for a ways you are right down by the ex-B&A.  Not dramatic but pretty easy to chase CSX on.

Other than the Castleton bridge and some of the track immediately to the east, you don't see a lot of track from I-90 proper. at least in western Mass (haven't followed it all the way to Boston yet).
« Last Edit: January 22, 2018, 08:42:55 PM by prr7161 »


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Jbub

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Re: The road to perdition (I-90 across New York State)
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2018, 09:01:14 PM »
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I drove through Geneva, NY a few years ago on my way from Buffalo to Ithaca for a good friends wedding. I remember seeing a yard with a lot of old diesels,  some of which had Lehigh Valley paint. It wad just off Hwy5 route 20. Looking at Google maps shows a finger lakes railway. I dropped a pin at the location.
Finger Lakes Railway
68 Border City Rd, Geneva, NY 14456
(315) 781-1234

https://goo.gl/maps/nRhG6CzSEJ52
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Darth Vader

N_DaveS

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Re: The road to perdition (I-90 across New York State)
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2018, 01:39:26 PM »
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Finger Lakes Railway has some snappy "heritage" paint schemes for its equipment, including NYC lightning-stripes and the aforementioned LV. Its headquarters are at the junction of the old NYC "Auburn Road" and Corning Secondary that runs up to Lyons (where I grew up) from Geneva, and near the junction with the old LV right-of-way. I-90 crosses the Corning Secondary just to the east of exit 42; unfortunately NS has abandoned that section of the line. If you find yourself in Geneva, check out Lake City Hobbies at Exchange and Castle Sts. downtown, the old LV station just off of Genesee St. in the north of town, and, right next to the station, Uncle Joe's Pizzeria.

I-90 follows roughly the same path across New York as the NYC Water Level Route, now CSX. In the Mohawk Valley you get a pretty good view of the tracks, then the highway and railroad cross over each other every so often until the railroad veers northwest to the west of exit 40. West of Syracuse you can see (especially in winter) the right-of-way of the NYC West Shore Line just to the south of the highway.

I think the LV crossed I-90 right around where the interchange with I-490 is at Victor, but I do not know for sure.

Between Rochester and Buffalo I am not sure there is anything of interest to anyone. That is probably unfair but it is striking how such an otherwise beautiful place can have such a dull stretch down the middle of it.

Point353

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Re: The road to perdition (I-90 across New York State)
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2018, 04:33:17 PM »
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The site https://www.historicaerials.com/ has a trove of both aerial photos and topo maps that let you see the various roads and rail lines in a given location both now and well into the past.

w neal

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Re: The road to perdition (I-90 across New York State)
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2018, 08:25:10 AM »
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Thank you all! Most helpful!

It looks like there is an old right of way south of I-90 & the I-490 interchange, "southwest" of Rochester. I wonder if that was the Lehigh Valley? Unfortunately, I do not have a steam powered Atlas for New York State to help me.

Thank you for letting me know what the old grade is south of I-90, west of Syracuse. It is very distinct in the winter.

I will check out the Finger Lakes shops, seeing how they are just off the interstate. Great tip! Always been a fan.

The Mohawk Valley is very impressive. Is that where one starts to notice the "canal" and locks every so often? There is an old right of way branching off to the south down there somewhere (getting closer to Albany) that appears to rise out of the valley and into the mountains on I-90's "south side". There is a spot where the tracks used to cross over on a sizeable steel girder bridge. Who's tracks were they? It might be this one?

https://www.google.com/maps/search/maps/@42.9250158,-74.6167161,158m/data=!3m1!1e3

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N_DaveS

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Re: The road to perdition (I-90 across New York State)
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2018, 12:45:34 PM »
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I think you are right about the ROW being the old LV. Looking at some maps I think the main stayed south of I-90, with a branch running up to Rochester around the interchange with I-390. The B&O and Erie also had branches up to Rochester in roughly the same area.

The Mohawk Valley is narrow enough that the highway, canal/river and railroad are all necessarily close to each other. (The original Erie Canal was its own waterway along and sometimes over the Mohawk via aqueducts, but when it was rebuilt in the early 20th century it incorporated existing rivers along the route. There's a whole other set of archaeological remnants for that, including an old lock between exits 39 and 40 on the south side of the highway. Eastbound there is a parking area and paths leading to and around the lock.)

w neal

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Re: The road to perdition (I-90 across New York State)
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2018, 05:56:49 AM »
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Yeah, hard to miss the old lock when you pass right next to it like that. Very cool!
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