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A visit to the Empire State Railway Museum 6/13/2015

by Chris Guenzler

Robin and I arrived at the Empire State Railway Museum which was closed but we looked around the grounds.

The Historical Marker for the Phoenicia station of the Ulster & Delaware Railway.

Empire State Railway Museum History

The Empire State Railway Museum is a non-profit railroad museum located in the historic Ulster & Delaware Phoenicia Railroad Station, Phoenicia, New York. The station was built in 1899 by the U&D, and is one of the few surviving examples left along the line. In 1985, the station was purchased by ESRM and a local community redevelopment organization. The structure was restored and renovated to serve as the home of the museum.

The museum has seasonal exhibits in the station related to the history of the railroads in the Catskill Mountain region. The station had served as a stop on the Catskill Mountain Railroad until floodwaters from Hurricane Irene washed out the tracks. Train rides have been temporarily cut back to Mount Tremper station.

The organization's history stretches back to the 1960s, when they were headquartered in Middletown, New York and sponsored many steam excursions and other railfan activities in the area.

The museum is the owner of several pieces of vintage railway equipment, including former Lake Superior and Ishpeming 2-8-0 23, being restored to operating service in conjunction with the Catskill Mountain Railroad in Kingston, New York.

Additionally, the museum owns two former Delaware and Hudson and Boston and Maine wooden baggage cars, a 1926 former Central Vermont Auto Carrier Car and a steel former New Haven caboose, which are in storage on the museum's siding in Phoenicia. The railroad equipment is not restored and is not open to the public.

Finally, the museum owns former New York Central 519, former Delaware and Hudson D-74 heavyweight diner 154 "The Lion Gardiner" which is in derelict storage outside of Kingston.

The museum was also the publisher of the Annual Guide to Tourist Railroads and Museums until the 2006 edition, the 41st. The guide is now published exclusively by Kalmbach Publishing.

The museum is staffed entirely by volunteers.

Our visit

The Phoenicia station of the Ulster & Delaware Railway built in 1899.

Track maintenance equipment.

A flat car.

Side dump car.

New York Central transfer caboose 18015 built by the railroad in 1966.

Central Vermont flat car 7704 currently numbered 202.

Delaware and Hudson caboose 35952 built by the railroad in 1921 and damaged by floodwaters back in 2005. It is currently covered to protect it from the elements.

Central Vermont 40 foot outside-braced auto carrier car.

Passenger car under cover.

This may be a Delaware and Hudson baggage car circa 1890.

Lehigh Valley caboose 95041 built by the railroad in 1944 and lettered as Catskill Mountain Railroad 673.

Delaware, Lackawanna and Western MU trailer 670 built by Pullman in 1917 as a non-powered coach for the Lackawanna's steam hauled commuter trains in New Jersey. It was converted to run as an electric MU in 1930 when the Morris & Essex division out of Hoboken Terminal was electrified. It is currently numbered 703.

Museum view. After looking at the equipment I took out the computer and labelled the pictures taken so far this morning. First a couple showed up wondering when the museum would be open following by two of the volunteers arrived and I gave them my business cards and one of them told me all about Tropical Storm Irene which had severely damaged the area. Robin and I then left for our next stop in Arkville.