Coming fresh from a visit to Vermont, I ventured on the back roads around Ithaca, New York. The country was far too beautiful to pass up with rolling, overcast skies for as far as the eye can see. Autumn colors were plentiful.
Rounding the corner, I look over and out of the corner of my eye, I sighted derelict locomotives. I did a quick turnabout in the car and hurried back. This was too photogenic to pass up.
The two locomotives were actually two GG-1 electric locomotives. Both were built by General Electric and the Pennsylvania Railroad’s (PRR) famed Altoona Works. They were a PRR 4917 from 1942 and a PRR 4909 from 1941, both later used for Amtrak. The locomotives were then purchased by the Cooperstown and Charlotte Valley heritage railroad (C&CV).
The C&CV was incorporated in 1865 as the Cooperstown and Susquehanna Valley Railroad Company (C&SV). The C&SV desired to operate a line from Cooperstown to Colliersville. Construction began in early 1868 and the C&SV opened in July 1869. Extensions reached north to Richfield Springs and south to Davenport.
The Delaware and Hudson Railroad (D&H) purchased stock control of the C&SV’s successor, the C&CV, in June 1903. This allowed the D&H to block any extension of the New York & Mohawk Valley Railroad.
In 1970, D&H sold the Cooperstown Junction to Cooperstown segment to the Delaware Otsego Corporation. Delaware Otsego resurrected the the C&CV brand, operating the line as a heritage railroad.
Through Delaware Otsego’s ownership, freight usage dipped. The last freight train operated in December 1987. Common carrier service ended in April 1989. The railroad petitioned to abandon the 16.4-mile C&CV in November 1993. Permission was granted in July 1995.
The Leatherstocking Railway Historical Society offered to acquire the C&CV from Delaware Otsego in December 1993. It desired to run excursion trains over the C&CV. The non-profit undertook a fundraising campaign to buy the railroad.
In May 1995, the Society received $225,000 from the state Department of Transportation. It matched with a $900,000 Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) grant. The Society purchased the C&CV from Delaware Otsego in July 1997. Eight miles of track from Cooperstown to Milford was renovated in 1998 and 1999. Two later multi-modal grants from the state allowed for the acquisition of rolling stock and locomotives.
The first revenue passenger train by the historical society operated over the new C&CV on June 6, 1999. Portions of the C&CV remain out-of-service due to track conditions.
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