D&H C-628 #700 in Sterzing bluebonnect paint

The late 1970s/early 1980s were not good for the Delaware & Hudson, and by 1983 the railroad was on the verge of collapsing. The PV&T took notice when Guilford started proposing a bargain-basement takeover (less than a million US dollars!), and counteroffered, starting a small bidding war that ran the sale price up to US$20 million before Guilford threw in the towel.

One of the first things that the PV&T did with their new property was to buy the (now unused, but not torn down yet) overhead on Conrail’s Columbia & Port Deposit, purchase a handful of E44’s, and start operating electric freight from Harrisburg to Washington DC (followed soon thereafter by the purchase of the Atglen & Susquehanna Branch, and (after a fairly complex negotiation with Amtrak) trackage rights to Philadelphia over the Main Line and NE Corridor.

The long-term plan for the D&H was to electrify the entire railroad, but this has been a long process. The line to Montréal was the first to go under wire (at 3000vdc, in 1988), followed by Albany to Sunbury (25kvac, in 1998), and then Sunbury to Harrisburg (also 25kvac, in 2002.)

In 1992, the D&H purchased – with strings attached; a condition of the purchase was that Conrail would retain the monopoly on interchange to other Conrail lines between Owego & Niagara Falls – the Southern Tier, plus the Niagara & Lockport subdivisions (but not the industrial district that used to be the Niagara Junction).

In 1999, the old alphabet route trackage rights from Scranton east to Philadelphia & Newark was spun off into a new subsidiary – the East Penn & New Jersey – which operates with new & ex-D&H Alco power (as does the Southern Tier) and modern ILW power.

In 2023, following passage of the USA’s Inflation Reduction Act, a government grant/loan was made to start electrifying (and increasing clearances to allow for double-stack under wire) the Southern Tier from Owego to Buffalo, which is expected to finish around the same time as the OSW’s CTRC electrification from Buffalo west, which, when finished, will result in the D&H being about 95% electric. (That 5% is the Adirondack Railroad branch from Saratoga to Tahawus, which sees almost no traffic and will remain dieselized for the forseeable future.)

The D&H owns or has part ownership in a variety of other railroads:

Albany Port Railroad
A terminal railway serving the Port of Albany. Jointly owned by the D&H and CSX.
Allegany County Railroad
ex-PS&N route between Ceres, NY & the Southern Tier at Swain
Batavia Air Line
Attica to Batavia, NY, with a branch connecting to the original Genesee & Wyoming in Retsof, NY.
Columbia & Port Deposit
Sunbury NY to Perryville MD. Jointly owned by the D&H and Norfolk Southern.
East Penn & New Jersey
Scranton to Newark via Allentown (the trackage rights that were granted to the D&H when Conrail was founded), plus a handful of (ex-Lucerne & Susquehanna branches in the Wyoming Valley.
Napierville Junction
The Canadian subsidiary that owns the D&H main from the Canadian border to Montréal, now jointly owned by the D&H and the TdM
Ontario Southwestern
Fort Erie, Ontario (across the river from Buffalo) to Detroit, MI, along trackage that used to be NYC’s old Canada Southern & the Grand Trunk’s Fort Erie line, plus a handful of branch lines in the Golden Crescent. (Jointly owned by the D&H and the LT&L.)
Owego & Hartford Railway
Ex-LV trackage running north out of Owego. Purchased in 2020.
Wellsboro & Corning
A shortline running south out of Corning; it was purchased just as the fracking boom started, and now about 80% of its traffic is fracking sand.
  • Copyright © 2024 by Jessica L. Parsons (orc@pell.portland.or.us) unless otherwise noted
    Mon Feb 06 20:38:35 PST 2023