Well group, we have just completed our second successful speeder trip of the year on the NYS&W. On the weekend of July 23rd and 24th, we had just over a dozen operators and speeders show up for our annual trip over the NYS&W Syracuse Branch between Binghamton and Syracuse, New York. Both Saturday and Sunday we operated trips from the set on point in Cortland, NY. I served as the Excursion Coordinator, Craig Hartman as my mentor, and Steve Weiss was our pilot.
On Friday night, Joe White from the NYS&W oversaw the NORAC rules class for six of our attendees. Joe switched up the class a little this time and had each participant actually take a sit down exam after first reading through some of the tougher questions in the test. Everyone passed thanks to Joe’s technique. However as of 8pm Joe still wasn’t sure of the train line up for the weekend so we were unsure if we would be going to Syracuse on Saturday or Sunday. However he did tell us we would not be able to go to the mall because CSX hadn’t picked up nearly ninety cars from NYS&W yet, so the lead to the mall was blocked.
On Saturday morning we had thirteen total cars come for the trip, including Steve Weiss. We had everyone on the rails, held our safety meeting, had our Form D train order in place, and were pulling out of Cortland by 8:45am. Overall the trip west went very well with only a few minor breakdowns. We were able to turn our cars just past the Armory Square station in downtown Syracuse and return to that station for our lunch break. About half the group stayed at the station and the other half went to get a bite to eat in one of the many places in the area. We left Syracuse at 1:30 and were back at Cortland and buttoned up for the night by 4pm! Unfortunately we had one car blow a clutch drive on the return trip so that operator pulled off and left for the weekend.
Sunday, due to a train working the mainline in Cortland, we were blocked from getting out of the branch until 10:15am. However we made it to a lunch stop a mile or two north of Binghamton by Noon. Although it was hot, there was enough shade around to make it bearable. After lunch, we turned the cars in Binghamton yard and headed back north. We got back to Cortland just before 5pm and were off the rails by 5:30. We had no breakdowns on Sunday and that very much sped the trip along. All in all, it was a very good run and with the small group it was very manageable. I’d also like to extend a special thanks to Steve Weiss for piloting our group and Craig Hartman for assisting me in the excursion coordinator duties.
Please consider attending our trips coming up in October on the Stourbridge Railroad in PA, and the Middletown & New Jersey in Campbell Hall, NY.