Syracuse to Lower South Bay

The Syracuse and South Bay Trolley Line

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(Forwarded from the Syracuse & South Bay Railway Company)

Note: The author of this article would like to acknowledge Mary J. Harrington for contributing information presented herein.

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View looking southwest on South Bay Road near its northern end just southwest of Oneida Lake at Lower South Bay. Present-day South Bay Road follows what once was the Syracuse and South Bay Trolley Line. The trolley line likely began somewhere near this location. Photo by Kevin M. Smith, July 2008.

During the early 1900s, the Syracuse and South Bay Railway Company built an electric trolley line from the City of Syracuse northward through North Syracuse and Cicero, ending at Lower South Bay on the south shore of Oneida Lake. Service began in August of 1907. This trolley line provided mail and passenger service to the developing northern suburbs and Oneida Lake region, also connecting to steamboat traffic on Oneida Lake and the canal system. (South Bay Road north of North Syracuse is almost perfectly straight all the way to Oneida Lake, further indicating a past railroad presence.) Most of the trolley line consisted of two parallel tracks. It is unknown how many trolley cars were in service on the line.

The trolley had several stops along the line, including but not limited to the intersection of South Bay Road and East Taft Road in North Syracuse, a station at what is today the corner of Centerville Place and South Bay Road, and in downtown Syracuse. The line ran southward from North Syracuse to a trolley barn on Wolf Street in Syracuse, and then continued downtown to Salina Street. It's exact route beyond the Wolf Street barn is unknown. The trolley barn not only house trolley cars for this line, but also for the other various trolley lines around the Syracuse area that existed during the time.

Service was discontinued on the Syracuse and South Bay Trolley Line during the 1930s, at which time the tracks were abandoned. This coincided with the abolishment of other trolley services in Syracuse. Along most of the line, the tracks were pulled up sometime later, although the tracks in downtown Syracuse may have simply been paved over and never removed. Most of the former trolley line through North Syracuse and Cicero was later paved, becoming South Bay Road which is still in place today. Today, only South Bay Road remains to mark the former route of the Syracuse and South Bay Trolley Line. No other remnants of the line can be found as of 2008. The former Trolley Station at the intersection of Centerville Place and South Bay Road in North Syracuse and the former trolley barn on Wolf Street in Syracuse also remain, as does one of the trolley cars, currently on display in Plank Road Park in North Syracuse. There were no known spurs along the line.

Edward "Teddy" Harrington, uncle to contributing author of this article Mary J. Harrington and great-great uncle to author Kevin M. Smith, was the motorman for the trolley line back during its existence. Mary Harrington still recalls walking along the trolley tracks to get to school after the line had been abandoned, but before the tracks were pulled up, and also riding the trolley with her family into the city from North Syracuse. She also remembers the seats on the trolley being constructed of flattened, finished, and woven straw.

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

Mr. Smith did not do his homework on this article

He better talk to the people from National railway historical society inc. (CNY. Chapter)

Kevin C.Duarte
Mattydale, NY
7/9/2010

[Kevin, Mr. Smith himself is working on an update for this page, so check back soon!  —Greg Harrison]

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There are indeed rails still in both Wolf and Salina streets. I just saw them last weekend.

Russell Nelson
Potsdam, NY
4/16/2011

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I own the old wolf st trolly barn and found whole bunch of what I think is transfer tickets in the walls of the building they say liverpool,Salina and such old stuff

kurt
Syracuse
9/3/2012

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you can follow the spur line off south bay road to Cicero then to Brewerton follow the power lines across Rt. 11 to existing rail line, lots of evidence of railway.

jb
ciero
1/11/2014

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