Saratoga Springs to the Mines at Tahawus

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Looking toward the mine (about 5 miles away) from Tahawus Road. Photo by Doug Vensel, May 2007.

The original intent of the Sackets Harbor and Saratoga Railroad in 1848 was to build a 185-mile line between Saratoga Springs and Ogdensburg, right through the middle of the Adirondack Mountains. However, not a mile of track was laid until 1862 when investors started to finance the line in hopes of reaping the benefits of freight commerce granted by local mines along the planned route. By 1870, the funds had dried up, and only 60 miles of track had been laid from Saratoga Springs northwards to North Creek.

The line's usefulness diminished over time, until 1940, when the MacIntyre Titanium Mine opened in Tawahus: its yield was impressive, and prompted the Adirondack Railroad, who owned the line at this time, to build a spur to the mine. Despite the rest of the line being abandoned, the Adirondack Railroad continued to service the mine using the line north out of Saratoga Springs. The Delaware and Hudson soon purchased the railroad and the line.

The entire line, including a spur to Corinth, and another to Warrensbur, was abandoned in 1983; the mines at Tawahus closed their doors 6 years later in 1989.

The included pictures show, among other things, an old flat car, an old wooden snow plow, and other railroad artifacts left along the abandoned tracks.

Thanks to Doug Vensel for contributing information about this route.

The line to Corinth was still alive and active into 2000 I worked for the D&H then. I worked the local SC-1 and SC-R to the paper mill almost weekly off the extra board. There was a steep hill off the spur that required a switch back in order to reach the bottom down by the river to spot pulp boxcars. There was a small stub track off the main that we kept the cars on for storage. The depot was still also there, however it looked worse for wear, the roof had been done but not much else. That was a great job to work hated to see it go!!

Jeremy J. Harris
Avon, IN
11/22/2008

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My father ran the power plant in Tahawus from 1945 to 1952. I remember in about 1950, his having to shut down the boilers and using a D&H locomotive as a substitute for several weeks. My parents weren't very attentive and allowed my 5 year old brother and I to wander between Tahawus and the upper works.

bob west
w.melbourne, FL
2/19/2009

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Hello. Was wondering who owns the line now and if it is still there being two year now? Would be nice to see it as a tourist railroad. Did the equipment ever get saved?

Josh Guerney
n/a
10/18/2009

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The tracks are still in place from Saratoga Springs up to Tahawus. They are in service up to North Creek, where the Upper Hudson River Railroad runs tourist trains to the south. North from there the tracks are overgrown except where snowmobile and speeder owners have cleared them. There is a landslide with multi-ton boulders blocking the tracks at some point north of the Hudson.

Russ Nelson
Potsdam, NY
11/14/2009

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I was saddened to see that after I had this pictures posted, someone went in and took the headlight of the plow and also removed the old crossing lights. Perhaps someone who didn't know that they were still there. How sad is this. Anyway, the stuff is still there however. As far as high railing it, I'd love to and have the equipment to do so. Does anyone know to whom I'd speak regarding this segment of track or do people just get on it and run them? If anyone is interested in working to at least clear them a bit more, let me know. I have all the necessary equipment. Just need the permission.

Doug Vensel
Malone, NY
2/21/2010

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tawahus feels haunted, theres something in the air and in the forsts there. just looking into the abandoned settlement of homes is erie. and to know that an indian brought whoever there initally and showed them the iron ore and then boom it has never been the same since. the furnace also gives off a vibe i can't put my finger one. i went in (i know its not alkowed) and looked around the mine. i'd love to learn the real histrory of the place, especially from someone like the gentleman whos father worked there. I am intrigued by the place. I love history too. Mt email is dpdwyer06@yahoo.com

dan
saranac lake, NY
5/16/2010

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I made many visits to the Tahawus mine site before it was demolished. I have photographs linked here for those interested in seeing the mine site and buildings as they were just before being razed.

http://www.oboylephoto.com/mine/index.htm

Shaun O'Boyle
Dalton, MA
10/13/2010

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Just read in the March 2011 issue of trains that a conpany my be interested in reactivating this line the company is

Iowa Pacific holdings they have placed a bid to operate some lines in that area see full story(its small)in the march 2011 issue of TRAINS page 11.

Russell Blackburn
Jefferson, OH
2/21/2011

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For detailed information about this line, please see my website at www.adirondackbranch.net.

Jon Patton
Wurtsboro, NY
11/2/2011

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"What was old, is new again." ADKBREWCO is very much in favor of rail in the Adirondacks. The next step is connecting the 'dots' (rail lines) into the Great Adirondack Rail Beer Trail

Stay tuned.... It's gonna happen.

ADKBREWCO - Ken Tucker
Adirondakcs, NY
2/1/2012

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It is nice to see intrest in the area. I grew up in Newcomb and still visit there yearly to pay respects to my father and to see friends.The railroad revival could be a good thing but I hope that it does not ruin what I and others in Newcomb have loved over the years. Moderation is the key, I hope George Canon keeps tabs on the situation. If anyone can keep progress in check it is him.

John Gearity
long Island, NY
2/7/2012

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My grandfather's job at the plant in Tahawus was to load the railroad cars as they came in. My uncle worked for them right up until they closed for 33 years. Someday I want to walk up the line to its end. Is there a good place to park off of a trail to walk in?

David LaPell
Pottersville, NY
3/10/2012

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The Iowa-based parent company of the Saratoga & North Creek RR, and Warren(?) County, have purchased the line from North Creek to Tawahus, to extend their tourist RR based in North Creek. "RAILPACE" magazine has news about the revival of the line in most issues; the most recent was in their 3/12 issue, with a 3 1/2 pg. article & photos of the S&NC both in trackside photos as well as on-board pictures on the dinner train.

Some years ago, a guy named Bill Kozel, got permission to take a track car from NC to the mine property. He mounted a video camera to the front of the car & got some great images thru the pristine forests & along the headwaters of the Hudson River.

Dick Kuehnemund
Endwell, NY
4/26/2012

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Feds approve freight service on Tahawus Line

May 15, 2012

The Federal Surface Transportation Board announced Monday it will allow freight service to resume on the Tahawus Line between North Creek and Newcomb.

Full story:

http://www.adirondackdailyenterprise.com/page/content.detail/id/530854/Feds-approve-freight-service-on-Tahawus-Line.html

http://www.northcountrypublicradio.org/news/story/20005/20120619/iowa-pacific-wins-fight-to-rebuild-railroad-into-adirondack-park

Mark M.
Canadice, NY
6/20/2012

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Is there an underground loading place accessed by trains by rail at tawhaus?

Judy
Indian lake, NY
12/28/2012

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I have many relatives that come form this area as a child I lived in the house on the other side of the Hudson. My family and myself make it up in the area to pay respect to the area.. This was called the upper works and my Grandparents lived in the hotel President Roosovelt stayed in when he became President. I feel sad every year when I see how bad the buildings have fallen and no care even the care for the hotel has taken many years. I was hoping if the railroad was to start back in to Thawaus it be a reason to take care of the buildings if only for the history. They talk about Newcomb a lot but Thawaus was the start of it all. So sad. I will return anyway to see how everything is and hope some day to get some of the stories from the families that used to live there'

Melody LaFores Vassar
Altona, NY
8/22/2013

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To the young lady from Altona,ny I have a wooden scoop from the hotel in the Upper Works. I believe that there may have been a sale of objects from there in the early 50's.We lived in Tahawus, to the right of the bridge. I fondly remember the sportsmens shows and Noah Rondeau. bwest43@att.net

bob west
Melbourne, FL
1/8/2014

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To David LaPell, I wonder if we are related? My father spoke little of his family. He was Bob West from Long Lake, his mother was Fannie Ferris(LaPell) and had brothers Frances, James and half brother Guy.

bob west
melbourne, FL
1/8/2014

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The line from the mine to at least North Creek has been re-opened for limited ore freight shipments as of Summer 2012. There were are warning signs posted at the Boreas Rd, Tawahas Rd and Rte. 28N crossings stating..."Caution Trains Crossing: No Warning Lights or Gates"

Larry
Down State, NY
2/24/2014

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The line from Saratoga north to north creek is alive and well. I live just south of the bridge crossing the sacandaga river in Hadley. The train which is in the winter months a ski train operating to Gore mountain in north creek, passes behind my house daily. During the summer months it is a tourist sight seeing train. Through out the year the Saratoga north creek railroad as it is called does many different things such as a polar express in December, valentines day dinner train in February. Although the train doesn't often seem to have many passengers.

Bobby
Hadley, NY
3/28/2014

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I wonder how far the ore train from Tahawus, goes? Does it go to North Creek to dump its load?

bob west
melbourne, FL
3/28/2014

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I lived in Tahawus from 1950 to 1961. Had to move because they discovered ore under the town! Many moved to Winbrooke Hills in Newcombe, we moved to Minerva. My dad was an electrician there until he retired. Len Jereau has written a book about the town which only existed 23 years. I understand they will be on sale at the annual Newcombe Days event this August, 2014.

Jim Sturdevan
Knoxville, TN
7/6/2014

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To Jim Sturdivent(sp), I remember your name tho I can't remember what I had for dinner. I have a photo of a 1942 Dodge firetruck which I will put up soon. I was near Knoxville last weel, in the Cataloochee Valley, to watch the elk herd. It is funny that over the years I have met people from Newcomb. My stepdaughter went to school in Putnam County,NY and her princepal was from Newcomb, and my insurance agent on Long Island was from Newcomb. Thanks

bob west
melbourne, FL
7/6/2014

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Jim, sorry about my misspelling your name

bob west
melbourne, FL
7/6/2014

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To Bob West: I believe the rail cars from Tahawus travel to Albany where they transfer the rock into barges that take it down the Hudson River then out to Long Island where it is used as highway construction aggregate.

Larry
Down state, NY
7/6/2014

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I used to play Little League baseball in Tahawus in 1960-62 when I lived in Indian Lake. There was a huge boulder in center field, too big to be moved, so we outfielders had to keep that in mind when chasing fly balls. Then they moved all the houses to Newcome and mined the town for titanium. It was the early days of the space race, Kennedy was president. I remember time out being called in the middle of a game, we all went to our cars to listen on the car radios as Gus Grissom was blasted into space, a big deal back then. Then play resumed. Speaking of LaPell, I had a classmate , Cynthia LaPell about this time, then she moved away, a relative perhaps? Fun memories.

Bob Chandler
San Francisco, CA
10/26/2014

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Speaking of Minerva, my mother taught school there after they closed the 6 grade school in Raquette Lake and bussed the kids to Indian Lake. They closed the 4 grade school at Blue Mountain Lake about the same time.

Bob Chandler
San Francisco, CA
10/26/2014

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