Contributed by Richard Palmer

"Those doing serious railroad research are aware of the value of the annual reports of the New York State Railroad Commissioners and the New York State Engineer & Surveyor. Especially insightful are the detailed inspection reports which usually were made on individual cycle of every three to four years. Inspectors were usually provided with a private train consisting of a locomotive and coach, stopping here and there to closely examine the lines. Typical of one such report is that of the Pittsburg, Shawmut & Northern in 1901."--Richard Palmer.

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New York State Railroad Commissioners Annual Report, Vol. 2, 1901, Pages 607-609

(Inspected August 6 and 14, 1901.)

 The standard gauge portion of the Pittsburg, Shawmut and Northern Railroad extends from Hornellsville to Hornellsville Junction, a distance of 10.13 miles; and from Angelica to Wayland, on the line of the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad, a distance of 34.61 miles. The cuts, with the exception of a portion of those between Angelica and Swains, are of fair width and proper slopes. A portion of those between Angelica and Swains (mostly side hill cuts) are narrow and have steep

In the narrow cuts the ditches are poor. On the balance of the road the cuts are very well drained. On all portions of the road, excepting between Angelica and Swains, the embankments, with a very few exceptions, are of full width and proper slopes. Between Angelica and Swains considerable reinforcing is needed on narrow embankments. No sub-draining of cuts has been done. The iron bridges are generally in fair condition. A portion of them have been repainted since last inspection. The Stony Brook viaduct, about 700 feet in length and 239 feet in height, is very light, and also needs repainting. The masonry abutments and piers to this viaduct are in fair condition, excepting one pier under the highest portion of the structure. This was cracked and has been repaired with concrete, but is cracked again and is evidently falling. This pier should be promptly rebuilt.

Heavy rolling stock is not run over this bridge, and should not be. The ties and guard timbers are standard and in good condition. There are no wooden trussed bridges, but pile and bent trestles and trussed stringers are used in very many places. There are also many timber trestles crossing ravines. The bents are generally in good repair, but an occasional new post is needed. Quite a number of poor stringers were observed.

The attention of the officials of the road who accompanied your inspector was directed to those, and they advised that the material had been ordered to make the necessary repairs. The ties and guard timbers are generally standard, and, while some repairs are needed, they are apparently receiving attention and the necessary new material provided for. The long trestle at Swains, which at the time of last inspection was in very bad condition, has been nearly filled, with the exception of an opening left for waterway, another for a private under-crossing and behind the abutments to the bridge over the Erie Railroad.

Repairs have been made to those portions of the structure; also some repairs to the portion nearly filled. This entire trestle should be filled to grade, except where openings must be maintained, and those portions promptly rebuilt or something of a more substantial character substituted. Open culverts and cattle passes are generally in good condition. Inside guardrails are not maintained on trestles or bridges. The arch and box culverts and pipe drains are in good condition. The cross-ties—about 50 per cent oak, 25 per cent chestnut and the balance cedar and hemlock in about equal proportions—are 6 x 8 inches, 8 feet in length, and 2,816 are laid to the mile of track. About 10 per cent of those now in the track are considerably decayed, and should be renewed this season. All ties are fairly well spaced and full spiked.

About seven miles of the track are laid with 85-pound new steel rail, and the balance with 56-pound steel rail. The 85-pound rail is connected by angle plates 30 inches in length, with six bolts, and the 56-pound by angle plates 20 inches in length, with four bolts. The 56-pound rail is generally in fair condition; the 85-pound rail is new and first- class. All the angle plates are full bolted and no loose bolts were observed.

The track is in medium line and surface. The curves have about the right elevation for the speed maintained by trains. The line of the road is quite crooked, with a maximum curve of about 10 degrees. There are some long grades, the maximum being 85 feet per mile for a short distance; the majority of the grades are about 53 feet per mile. All switches are split point, in very fair condition, and have rigid stands, with well painted targets. All frogs are rigid. No frog or guard-rails are protected by foot-guards.

Switch lamps show red light for danger and white light for safety. No semaphore signals are maintained. The road is lightly ballasted with gravel and some cinders. The fences are mainly of wire; many of them in poor repair, and in some places no fence in maintained. The right of way is entirely cleared and generally free from small brush. Grass and weeds have been cut and removed.

The highway crossings are well graded and the planking properly maintained. Crossing signs of the diamond or banner form are properly located at all highway crossings, with the exception of a few, where renewal is promised; are well painted and in good condition. No cattle-guards are maintained. There are no mileposts, but new whistle-posts are being erected at the prescribed distance from all highway crossings. The track sections are about eight miles in length, and a foreman and three laborers are employed upon each. No regular track-walker is employed, but each section is patrolled daily by some member of the track force. All section gangs are furnished with flags, lanterns and torpedoes.

The stations are in very good condition. Drinking water is furnished waiting passengers, and a time-table of the road is posted in each waiting room. The name of the station is given on a sign placed on the front of the station building. The platforms are of plank and gravel and are in fair condition. Station grounds are fairly well kept. Station employees do not wear uniforms.

The coaches are in good condition, with drinking water in each; they are furnished with emergency tools properly located in the center of the cars; are equipped with automatic couplers and air brakes, heated by steam and illuminated with oil lamps. All passenger trainmen wear uniforms.

The freight equipment is in good condition. Cars are equipped with automatic couplers and a large portion of them with air brakes. Box cars have ladders on the ends and grab-irons on the sides. Running boards are in good repair. The locomotives are in good order. They are equipped with automatic couplers and air brakes on drivers. They are light weight, the maximum being 44 tons.

That the narrow cuts be widened and properly ditched; that weak embankments be reinforced; that the Stony Brook viaduct be cleaned and painted, and the defective pier rebuilt; that only light locomotives, at slow speed, be run over the present structure; that necessary repairs be made to the trestles; that inside guard-rails be laid and maintained on all bridges and trestles; that poor cross-ties be replaced; that frogs and guard-rails be protected by foot-guards; that the fences be put in proper
repair, and cattle-guards placed and maintained at each boundary of all highways crossed.

Narrow Gauge Division.
The narrow gauge division of the Pittsburg, Shawmut and Northern Railroad extends from Olean to Bolivar, a distance of 18 miles. The gauge of the track is three feet. The railroad (for a full description of which see report of inspection of 1899) is generally in poor condition, but the work of practically rebuild.
ing the road has been commenced with a large force. The line is to be changed for a great portion of the distance, and curves and grades reduced; all structures rebuilt and the road made standard gauge.
That while the work of rebuilding this road is under way, the present structures in the roadway be carefully watched and necessary repairs made and slow speed of trains maintained. A copy of this report was sent to the company, with a letter, making the recommendations of the inspector the recommendations of this Board. The company informed the Board that the recommendations would be complied with.