East Ithaca to Camden

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  • States: New York   
  • Railroads: LV   

The Cortland Branch


GOOGLE MAPS no longer available: With apologies, I am unable to continue showing Google Maps. Google has forced my hand by increasing their map usage fee from nothing/free to OVER $300 A MONTH for the Abandoned Rails website! This is an expense that I simply cannot afford. Rest assured I am looking at available open source alternatives, so maps should be back online soon!

Greg Harrison

Showing of

View looking northeast toward Cortland at the McLean Road Extension crossing. This small, three-mile existing segment of the old Lehigh Valley Railroad connects to the former DL&W Syracuse Line farther up the track, and services a lumber company behind the photographer under Conrail and the NYS&W. This segment was still listed as ?active? and ?in-use? as of 2003, however, the condition of the tracks and the debris evident across the tracks suggest that this segment may have since been abandoned. A stop sign with the letter ?W? below it also can be seen to the left of the track pointing northeast. Photo by Kevin M. Smith, May 2008.

This line extends from the LV mainline at Ithaca to Camden; it crosses the The Auburn Branch at Freeville, west of Cortland. Just south of Camden, the line ends at its junction with a former New York Central mainline.

Most of the right-of-way has been abandoned, except for a short three-mile section around Cortland that is still considered "active" and accessible via connection with CSX (formerly the Syracuse Branch of the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western); however, it is doubtful that the tracks in this "active" segment have been used in a long time. The tracks beyond this section to their endpoint in Camden were taken out in 1976.

Thanks to Kevin M. Smith for contributing information about this route.

The line from Camden to Canasota NY was abanboned in the late 30'. The line from Canasote to Cortland was abandoned in 67-68.. Interesting you didn't continue the line from East Ithica to Elmira via Van Etten. Nice pictures.

Jerry Misik
Palmyra NY, NY


This line was part of the Elmira, Cortland & Northern before merger to the Lehigh Valley.

Itself collected from various shortlines, the section from Deruyter to Freeville was constructed by the NY&OM, an Ontario & Western predecessor, as part of an aborted route to Buffalo. EC&N predecessor Utica, Ithaca and Elmira was granted trackage rights, and took it over when the NY&OM gave up.

Canastota to Camden was abandoned in 1938, with various expansion schemes to continue northward never built. An interesting track arrangement existed here where the LV line made a 90' turn from north-south to the east, crossing the West Shore at grade, shared the NYC depot for passenger service, then went up an embankment to cross the NYC line via overpass east of the village, turning back northward in the process. One of the abutments for this bridge was still in existence as late as 2005, and the abutment where it crossed the Erie Canal still remains. A 1961 crossing elimination elevation shifted the NYC main onto the West Shore ROW and obliterated most of this, although it continued to be an interchange for the LV.

Cortland to Canastota was abandoned in 1967; the Canastota end of the line was sold to local investors who contracted PC to switch the industries there and lasted through about 1980. Most of the ROW Cortland south to Cazenovia can be hiked as a trail.

The former DL&W through Cortland belongs to the New York, Susquehanna and Western since 1982, including the stub of LV to South Cortland. This stub serves a lumber yard but seems to be used mostly for car storage; I did see a train here in 1995 or so, a NYS&W GP18 with just one or two cars.

The LV served this line via Freeville and connection to the former Southern Central line, which was abandoned in 1976. It was in place, but out of service, to East Ithaca where it served the Cornell University steam plant.

East Ithaca to Horseheads was also abandoned in 1938, except for a short segment at Van Etten Jct. that remained at least through the late 1990s as a setout track.

Going west from Van Etten was a steep grade that required LV's 4-6-0 branch power of the time to double the hill when pulling more than a handful of cars.

The section from Elmira to Horseheads was served via trackage rights on the Erie/EL and taken out of service just before Conrail.

Bill Kisselstein
Liverpool, NY


That should read Canastota to Cazenovia with regard to the trail.

Too many C town names on this line.

Billl Kisselstein
Liverpool , NY


*Not* from the main line at Ithaca! The main line depot is on the flats (currently a Chemung Canal Bank office), the EC&N is from the East Ithaca depot (site is at Maple Ave.), about two miles and 600' vertical away! The southern extension of the EC&N (abandoned 1936) did reach the main line, but 20 miles south in Van Etten.

David G Rossiter
Ithaca, NY


Shortened Link: http://a-r.us/er1

Do you have any pictures or information about The Cortland Branch? Please . You will get credit for anything you contribute.