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Ogdensburg and Lake Champlain Railroad

 

Ogdensburg and Lake Champlain Railroad

The Ogdensburg and Lake Champlain Railroad was founded in 1849 as the Northern Railroad running from Ogdensburg to Rouses Point, New York. The 118-mile railroad was leased by rival, Central Vermont Railroad for several decades, ending in 1896. It was purchased in 1901 by the Rutland Railroad and became the Ogdensburg Division.

The Ogdensburg Division represented the Rutland Railroad's expansion across the top of New York state, to the St. Lawrence River and a connection with ships to Great Lakes ports. The colorful rural route remained "the outpost" throughout its existence. A final strike, staged by unionized crewmen, led to the last revenue train in the fall of 1961. The dormant rails gathered rust until 1964, when the easternmost 93 miles-- Rouses Point to Norwood Junction, NY., were removed. The state of New York and Ogdensburg Port Authority assumed control of the 25 remaining miles to Ogdensburg grain elevators, sea port, and coal furnace for a state hospital. Several shortline operators leased the line through the second half of the 1960s until the dawn of the 21st century. Vermont Rail System has operated the line for the past decade.

The remaining portion of the O&LC is seeing growing business, with many track improvements during the summers of 2012 and 2013. Two veteran EMD diesels are the usual power for the average two or three trains a week.

Meanwhile, the lengthy wooden trestle crossing Lake Champlain from Alburgh to Rouses Point suffered severe damage in 2011, reducing the once mile-long behemoth to little more than match-sticks. Scarred landscape crosses the top of New York state, where trainless depots remain at Mooers Junction (lovingly restored by Larry Marnes and Chris Trombley), Mooers Forks (a thrift store), Ellenburgh Depot (animal rendering facility), Chateaugay (brick, but decaying quickly), Malone (twin brick turrets remain, overhead walkway gone since 1949, now an Elm Street bank), Brushton (storage), Moira (church), and Lisbon (museum). Freighthouses remain at Winthrop and Champlain. This railroad enjoys a devoted following by many historians and railroad fans. The Rutland Railroad Historical Society is the largest, with about 400 members. Books: THE RUTLAND ROAD by Jim Shaughnessy, VERMONT RAIL SYSTEM "A Railroad Rennaisance" by Robert C. Jones and "Rutland Remnants" video DVD's by James R. Jones, Tell-Tale Productions, vermontmadevideos.com, provide excellent coverage of this beloved line, past and present.


Stations

  • Rouses Point
  • Champlain
  • Mooers Junction (Mooers)
  • Mooers Forks
  • Woods Falls
  • Altona
  • Irona
  • Forest
  • Ellenburgh
  • Brandy Brook
  • Clinton Mills
  • Churubusco
  • Chateaugay
  • Burke
  • Malone Jct.
  • Morton Siding
  • Malone
  • Bangor
  • Brushton
  • Moira
  • North Lawrence
  • Winthrop
  • Knapps
  • Norwood
  • Madrid
  • Lisbon
  • Ogdensburg


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