"Last Train to Lowville"

David H. Link - January 2007

With the demise of the paper mills and the dairy industry in Northern New York, rail service has faced decades of challenges. The village of Lowville once hosted two railroads which served daily the thriving paper mills along the Beaver and Black River, along with several other manufacturing plants, feed and fertilizer, heating oil and propane customers.

Passenger trains ran for over a hundred years providing service to Watertown and Philadelphia, NY to the North, and Utica to the South where connections were made for trains to New York and Chicago. With the loss of these customers to a changing business climate, the Mohawk Adirondack & Northern Railroad pulled the final cars and equipment out of Lowville on Wednesday, January 24, 2007.

On the following day, MA & N locomotives 642 (formerly British Colombia Railway built by Montreal Locomotive works with American Locomotive Works 251 engine built in Auburn New York), and 1951 (built new by General Electric for the Lowville and Beaver Railroad in Lowville) were to serve as ushers to an end of an era.

The below pictures were taken that day as a train of empty lumber cars were moved from CSX railroad in Carthage NY to be stored on the former mainline to Lowville. Effectively ending over 140 years of common carrier freight service to the Black River Valley, commencing with the Utica and Black River Railroad, followed by the Rome Watertown & Ogdensburg, New York Central and Hudson River Railroad, New York Central System, Penn Central, Conrail, and finally Mohawk Adirondack & Northern.

On this beautiful below zero January day, I was at work for what is now my fourth railroad that I have been employed by in Northern New York over the last thirty years,........headed South from Carthage, past the ghost town of Castorland, on what is probably,.......my last train to Lowville. 

Click image to enlarge.

Castorland Depot          1951 & 642                642 Jan07           Deer River Bridge
                               at Castorland, Jan07

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