This abandonment started out under the 1883 charter of the Northern Adirondack Railroad, who built the first segment of the line between Helena and St Regis Falls later that year. Another railroad, the Northern Adirondack Extension Railroad, chartered in 1886, extended the right-of-way southward to Santa Clara in 1885, eventually reaching Tupper Lake by 1890 (by which time both railroads had merged into a singular Northern Adirondack Railroad). The NARR declared bankruptcy in 1894 and came under control of the newly-formed Northern New York Railroad a year later.
In order to take advantage of other regional lines in the area, and to expand its reach into Ottawa in Canada, the NNYRR was formed with other railroads into the Ottawa and New York Railroad in 1897. This line was ultimately purchased by the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad in 1900, itself coming under control of the New York Central Railroad, who named this route the New York & Ottawa Railroad in 1905.
The line between Helena and Tupper Lake was abandoned in 1937.
There are a number of logging spurs branching from this line, not all of which are shown in the map.