An Eastern Regional Railroad of the 1930's - 1940's
New York Ontario and Western Railway


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Western Maryland Logo The New York, Ontario and Western Railway, more commonly known as the O&W or NYO&W, was a regional railroad with origins in 1868, lasting until March 29, 1957 when it was ordered liquidated by a US bankruptcy judge. The railroad began life as the New York and Oswego Midland Railroad, organized by Dewitt C. Littlejohn in 1868. The railroad's mainline ran from Weehawken, New Jersey in the greater New York City area to Oswego, New York, a port city NYO&W
New York Ontario & Western
April-June 1940
on Lake Ontario. It had branch lines to Scranton, Pennsylvania; Kingston, New York; Port Jervis, New York; Delhi, New York; Utica, New York and Rome, New York. The part south of Cornwall, New York was operated over the New York Central Railroad's West Shore Railroad via trackage rights (wik).
The OW's primary freight traffic was coal and dairy products. As auto and truck traffic expanded and coal use shifted to large utilities outside of OW's area, the road declined and was liquidated in 1957. In the early 30's passenger service was quite ample on the main line all the way to Oswego with service on most branch lines. By the 40's the O&W passenger service had been cut back, however, several, so called, "name" trains ran on a portion of it'd main line from New York (Weehawken) to Walton, New York, 181 miles, Included were names like "Ontario Express", "Roscoe Express", and on holidays the "Holiday Express". These trains, and additional holiday trains served, primarily, the Sunday and holiday traffi to the Catskill Mt. resort areas (rp).
History of the New York Ontario and Western Railway
New York & Oswego Midland Railway
The New York & Oswego Midland, the O&W's predecessor, was the grandiose vision of Dewitt C. Littlejohn, a dynamic politician bearing an uncanny resemblance to Abraham Lincoln. His concept of a direct rail route northwest across New York State, serving virgin territory not reached by any existing line, seemed logical.
1868 - The "Midland" began building, meandering this way and that to reach the towns which had put up money for its construction. Its twisting route was built "at right angles to the mountains" requiring steep grades, high bridges and enormous fills.
post 1868 - Construction costs far exceeded estimates, and within a month of completion the Midland was bankrupt.
1880 -OM was reorganized as the New York, Ontario & Western Railway.

New York Ontario and Western Railway
1880 - O&W inherited the Oswego - New York corridor as well as the branches to Ellenville, Delhi and New Berlin, NY from the NY&OM.
1883 - The New York West Shore and Buffalo builds line from main to Weehawken to Corning, New York.
1884 - The West Shore extends from Cornwall to Middletown meeting the OW.
cir 1884 - O&W improved the line by providing a new route to the New York City area from Middletown, NY which ran to Cornwall on the Hudson river and then to Weehawken, NJ. This development was made possible by negotiating rights of way from the New York, West Shore & Buffalo Railway, later New York Central.
1884 - The West Shore, in Bankruptcy, is taken over by NYC.
cir 1886 - Reorganization of West Shore gives OW the Middletown branch and trackage rights on the NYC from Cornwall to Weehawken.
1886 - The O&W acquired the Utica, Clinton & Binghamton and the Rome & Clinton railroads from the Delaware & Hudson Canal Company. By acquisition of these assets and construction of a new line to Sylvan Beach on the east shore of Oneida, O&W extended its operations into new market areas, and the Sylvan Beach Loop became a seasonally-significant corridor by providing transportation to central New York's recreational resort area.
1889,- The O&W added two new branches, New Berlin to Edmeston, and Port Jervis to Monticello, connecting to the main line at Summitville, NY.
1890,- O&W constructed a 54- mile branch from Cadosia, NY to Scranton, PA through the rich anthracite coal reserves in Pennsylvania's Lackawanna Valley. Revenues from this Scranton division strengthened O&W's revenues and provided the means for future improvements to the railroad.
early 1900's - New Haven (under J.P.Morgan) gains control of OW.
1920's-30's - OW's business base of anthracite coal diminishes as changes to gas, oil and electricity, and population movements reduce demand for its service.
1931 - OW runs many passenger trains, including main line trains, 1 or 2 New York to Oswego, 327 miles, and several to Roscoe; also trains on branches to Rome, Kingston, Monticello and Attica.
1937 - OW defaults on loans and declares bankruptcy.
1941 - Passenger traffic limited to Catskill Mt. area of New York; New York to Walton, 181 miles
1942 and later - OW installs diesel-electric locomotives including GE 44 ton, and EMD NW2 switchers, and FT and F3 road locomotives from EMD.
1950 - A few summer passenger trains only as far as Roscoe, 157 miles. All other lines are freight only.
1955 - Freight service only on the OW.
1957 - OW is liquidated.

NYO&Wmap
Our Sources
Private Collection of Richard R. Parks(rp)
Wikipedia the free Encyclopedia [web](wik)
Official Guide- Various editions
http://www.nyow.org/midland.html
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Web Page Written and Maintained by Richard Parks
Copyright Richard Parks, April 30, 2009, revised Sept. 16, 2011