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

by Chris Guenzler

We 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 LS&I No. 23, a 2-8-0 steam locomotive being restored to operating service in conjunction with the Catskill Mountain Railroad in Kingston, New York.

Additionally, the museum owns two former D&H and B&M wooden baggage cars, a 1926 Ex-CV Auto Carrier Car, and a steel Ex-New Haven caboose, which are in storage on the museum's siding in Phoenicia, New York. The railroad equipment is not restored, and is not open to the public.

Finally, the museum owns an Ex-NYC No. 519, Ex-D&H No. 154 type D-74 heavyweight diner, the Lion Gardiner, which is in derelict storage outside of Kingston, New York.

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.

My visit

The Phoenicia Station of the Ulster & Delaware Railway.

Interesting railroad equipment.

A flat car.

Side dump car.

Transfer caboose.

CMRR 202 Flat Car.

Caboose covered to protect it from the elements.

Outside braced box car.

Passenger car under cover.

Another passenger car.

The ex-New Haven caboose.

Commuter Coach.

Museum view.

Outside braced box car. After looking at the equipment I took the computer out and labeled the pictures taken so far this morning. First a couple showed up wondering when the museum would be open. Next two of the volunteers showed up and I gave them my business cards and she told me all about Tropical Storm Irene. Robin and I then left for our next stop in Arkville.