Phoenicia Railroad Station – A Photographic Study

January 28, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

The Phoenicia Railroad Station is located at the hamlet of Phoenicia in the town of Shandaken, Ulster County, New York. The station served the former Ulster and Delaware Railroad (UDRR).

 

The Phoenicia Railroad Station is located at the hamlet of Phoenicia in the town of Shandaken, Ulster County, New York.Phoenicia Railroad StationThe Phoenicia Railroad Station is located at the hamlet of Phoenicia in the town of Shandaken, Ulster County, New York. The station served the former Ulster and Delaware Railroad (UDRR).

The Rondout and Oswego Railroad was chartered in 1866 by Thomas Cornell. By 1872 the Rondout and Oswego was bankrupt, but was reorganized as the New York, Kington and Syracuse Railroad. This railroad, in 1875, also went bankrupt. It was then reorganized yet again as the Ulster and Delaware Railroad.

The Ulster and Railroad proved to be very successful, opening up the central Catskills region for expanded tourism and providing easy access to the numerous boarding houses and hotels along the line. At its greatest extent, the railroad originated at Kingston Point, on the Hudson River, and followed much of what is today’s Route 28, passing through four counties (Ulster, Delaware, Schoharie and Otsego), ultimately connecting to its western terminus at Oneonta. The Ulster and Delaware was advertised as “The Only All-Rail Route to the Catskill Mountains.” At its peak, in 1913, the railroad carried 675,000 passengers.

Eventually the rise of the automobile and changing vacation patterns led to a slow decline in business, and by 1932 the Ulster and Railroad was acquired by New York Central. The line was then operated by New York Central until 1954, when it ceased operations.

The Phoenicia Railroad Station was constructed in 1899 to replace an earlier station following conversion of the narrow-gauge line to Hunter to standard gauge. The new station handled baggage, mail, express and passenger traffic to and from Phoenicia. The building remained in service until the cessation of passenger traffic in 1954. The station was acquired by the Empire State Railway Museum, which was founded in 1960 and moved to Phoenicia in 1983. Visit the museum website at www.esrm.com for more information.

 

The Phoenicia Railroad Station is located at the hamlet of Phoenicia in the town of Shandaken, Ulster County, New York.Kingston Point to OneontaThe Phoenicia Railroad Station is located at the hamlet of Phoenicia in the town of Shandaken, Ulster County, New York. The station served the former Ulster and Delaware Railroad (UDRR).

The Rondout and Oswego Railroad was chartered in 1866 by Thomas Cornell. By 1872 the Rondout and Oswego was bankrupt, but was reorganized as the New York, Kington and Syracuse Railroad. This railroad, in 1875, also went bankrupt. It was then reorganized yet again as the Ulster and Delaware Railroad.

The Ulster and Railroad proved to be very successful, opening up the central Catskills region for expanded tourism and providing easy access to the numerous boarding houses and hotels along the line. At its greatest extent, the railroad originated at Kingston Point, on the Hudson River, and followed much of what is today’s Route 28, passing through four counties (Ulster, Delaware, Schoharie and Otsego), ultimately connecting to its western terminus at Oneonta. The Ulster and Delaware was advertised as “The Only All-Rail Route to the Catskill Mountains.” At its peak, in 1913, the railroad carried 675,000 passengers.

Eventually the rise of the automobile and changing vacation patterns led to a slow decline in business, and by 1932 the Ulster and Railroad was acquired by New York Central. The line was then operated by New York Central until 1954, when it ceased operations.

The Phoenicia Railroad Station was constructed in 1899 to replace an earlier station following conversion of the narrow-gauge line to Hunter to standard gauge. The new station handled baggage, mail, express and passenger traffic to and from Phoenicia. The building remained in service until the cessation of passenger traffic in 1954. The station was acquired by the Empire State Railway Museum, which was founded in 1960 and moved to Phoenicia in 1983. Visit the museum website at www.esrm.com for more information.

 

The Phoenicia Railroad Station is located at the hamlet of Phoenicia in the town of Shandaken, Ulster County, New York.Waiting RoomThe Phoenicia Railroad Station is located at the hamlet of Phoenicia in the town of Shandaken, Ulster County, New York. The station served the former Ulster and Delaware Railroad (UDRR).

The Rondout and Oswego Railroad was chartered in 1866 by Thomas Cornell. By 1872 the Rondout and Oswego was bankrupt, but was reorganized as the New York, Kington and Syracuse Railroad. This railroad, in 1875, also went bankrupt. It was then reorganized yet again as the Ulster and Delaware Railroad.

The Ulster and Railroad proved to be very successful, opening up the central Catskills region for expanded tourism and providing easy access to the numerous boarding houses and hotels along the line. At its greatest extent, the railroad originated at Kingston Point, on the Hudson River, and followed much of what is today’s Route 28, passing through four counties (Ulster, Delaware, Schoharie and Otsego), ultimately connecting to its western terminus at Oneonta. The Ulster and Delaware was advertised as “The Only All-Rail Route to the Catskill Mountains.” At its peak, in 1913, the railroad carried 675,000 passengers.

Eventually the rise of the automobile and changing vacation patterns led to a slow decline in business, and by 1932 the Ulster and Railroad was acquired by New York Central. The line was then operated by New York Central until 1954, when it ceased operations.

The Phoenicia Railroad Station was constructed in 1899 to replace an earlier station following conversion of the narrow-gauge line to Hunter to standard gauge. The new station handled baggage, mail, express and passenger traffic to and from Phoenicia. The building remained in service until the cessation of passenger traffic in 1954. The station was acquired by the Empire State Railway Museum, which was founded in 1960 and moved to Phoenicia in 1983. Visit the museum website at www.esrm.com for more information.

 

The Phoenicia Railroad Station is located at the hamlet of Phoenicia in the town of Shandaken, Ulster County, New York.BaggageThe Phoenicia Railroad Station is located at the hamlet of Phoenicia in the town of Shandaken, Ulster County, New York. The station served the former Ulster and Delaware Railroad (UDRR).

The Rondout and Oswego Railroad was chartered in 1866 by Thomas Cornell. By 1872 the Rondout and Oswego was bankrupt, but was reorganized as the New York, Kington and Syracuse Railroad. This railroad, in 1875, also went bankrupt. It was then reorganized yet again as the Ulster and Delaware Railroad.

The Ulster and Railroad proved to be very successful, opening up the central Catskills region for expanded tourism and providing easy access to the numerous boarding houses and hotels along the line. At its greatest extent, the railroad originated at Kingston Point, on the Hudson River, and followed much of what is today’s Route 28, passing through four counties (Ulster, Delaware, Schoharie and Otsego), ultimately connecting to its western terminus at Oneonta. The Ulster and Delaware was advertised as “The Only All-Rail Route to the Catskill Mountains.” At its peak, in 1913, the railroad carried 675,000 passengers.

Eventually the rise of the automobile and changing vacation patterns led to a slow decline in business, and by 1932 the Ulster and Railroad was acquired by New York Central. The line was then operated by New York Central until 1954, when it ceased operations.

The Phoenicia Railroad Station was constructed in 1899 to replace an earlier station following conversion of the narrow-gauge line to Hunter to standard gauge. The new station handled baggage, mail, express and passenger traffic to and from Phoenicia. The building remained in service until the cessation of passenger traffic in 1954. The station was acquired by the Empire State Railway Museum, which was founded in 1960 and moved to Phoenicia in 1983. Visit the museum website at www.esrm.com for more information.

 

The Ulster and Delaware Railroad had its founding roots with the Rondout and Oswego Railroad, chartered in 1866 by Thomas Cornell “in order to provide a route for goods from mid-state beyond the Catskills to the Hudson River.” By 1872 the Rondout and Oswego was bankrupt, but was reorganized as the New York, Kington and Syracuse Railroad. This railroad, in 1875, also went bankrupt. It was then reorganized yet again as the Ulster and Delaware Railroad.

 

The Ulster and Delaware Railroad proved to be very successful, opening up the central Catskills region for expanded tourism and providing easy access to the numerous boarding houses and hotels along the line. It also operated as a freight line, supporting the local agricultural, timber and bluestone industries in getting their products to market.

 

At its greatest extent, the railroad originated at Kingston Point, on the Hudson River, and followed much of what is today’s Route 28, passing through four counties (Ulster, Delaware, Schoharie and Otsego), ultimately connecting to its western terminus at Oneonta. The Ulster and Delaware Railroad was advertised as “The Only All-Rail Route to the Catskill Mountains.” At its peak, in 1913, the railroad carried 676,000 passengers.

 

In 1904 the railroad published the following description of the Phoenicia station and its scenic locale.

 

“PHOENICIA. This is one of the most important stations on the line. You are now twenty-eight miles from the river and 794 feet above it, with lofty mountain peaks on every hand. It is the entrance of the famous Stony Clove Canyon, and the southern terminus of the Stony Clove and Kaaterskill Branch of the Ulster & Delaware system. You are now well into the mountains and the scenery is wild and picturesque. It is late in the day when the sun peers over the eastern skyline on Mount Tremper, and comparatively early in the afternoon when the western shadows begin to envelop the little hamlet. Meanwhile your engine, having taken afresh drink of mountain water, gets the signal and skips off up the valley with a business-like snort, winding now closely along the left bank of the Esopus, which lessens in volume as the region of its source is approached. But the little valley grows in wildness and beauty with every mile, and the Mountains become higher and grander.”

 

Eventually the rise of the automobile and changing vacation patterns led to a slow, steady decline in the Catskills railroad business, and by 1932 the Ulster and Delaware Railroad was acquired by New York Central. The line was then operated by New York Central until 1954, when passenger service ended. The branch line from Phoenicia to Kaaterskill was abandoned in 1940.

 

The Phoenicia Railroad Station was constructed in 1899 to replace an earlier station following conversion of the narrow-gauge line to Hunter to standard gauge. The new station handled baggage, mail, express and passenger traffic to and from Phoenicia. The below describes the physical attributes of the station in detail.

 

“The station is a long, low, one-story building, rectangular in shape. The building is surmounted by a broad, deeply overhanging hipped roof, with decorative exposed rafters and oversized decorative wooden brackets. The roof, originally featuring slate shingles, is now sheathed in asphalt shingles. The building rests on a slightly raised, ashlar and bluestone foundation and is of wood-frame construction with shingle cladding. The walls are slightly flared just above the foundation. Continuous wooden moldings create horizontal divisions. Fenestrations is asymmetrical and corresponds to the station’s functional program. There are various passenger and baggage openings, a bay window on the track side for views up and down the track and other windows lighting interior spaces. Windows consist of double-hung wooden sash with six-over-one or eight-over-one lights. Doors are wooden with six panels. There is a deep wooden platform at the track side, sheltered by the deep overhang of the roof. The non-historic platform replaced the original and was constructed at an elevated height to permit direct access to the station without the use of dangerous boarding stools.

 

The interior of the station is divided into a waiting room with a vaulted ceiling extending to the roof, a station agent’s office, a baggage/express room, a closet and men’s and women’s bathrooms. Stairs provide access to the basement. Interior walls and ceilings are entirely finished in narrow beaded board siding of yellow pine. Siding is laid both vertically and horizontally, creating a patterned effect. Floors throughout have three-inch tongue and groove flooring. Interior surfaces have been recently refurbished.

 

Both the waiting room and the baggage room have the original ticket agent’s windows with brass window bars and milk glass windows. The main waiting area retains the original wooden benches, which line the three walls of the waiting room. Also present is the original water fountain and porcelain sink. The floor retains an original figured cast-metal heating grate and a central cast-iron air distribution pedestal. The pedestal has been moved to the side to permit installation of an electrical outlet. The furnace is extant but no currently operational. A single change to the floor place has been made to provide a closet for an electrical control panel. The closet is finished to match the rest of the interior.” (LaFrank, Kathleen, “Phoenicia Railroad Station,” National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, 2005.)

 

In 1906 the Phoenicia Station and the nearby railroad line were featured in the 1906 drama film titled The Holdup of the Rocky Mountain Express. Although supposedly set in the Rocky Mountains, the film was actually made in the Catskills hamlet of Phoenicia. The film was produced by Frank Marion and the American Mutoscope and Biograph Company. It was a one-reel film intended for the store shows and nickelodeons of the day. The film depicts a group of bandits as they block the train tracks, and then board the train to rob the well-dressed passengers. While attempting to make their escape using a four-wheeled pump car, the bandits are chased by the train and ultimately captured at a railroad crossing.

 

The Phoenicia Railroad Station building remained in service until the cessation of passenger traffic in 1954. The station was acquired by the Empire State Railway Museum, which was founded in 1960 and moved to Phoenicia in 1983.

 

The Phoenicia Railroad Station is located at the hamlet of Phoenicia in the town of Shandaken, Ulster County, New York.At the StationThe Phoenicia Railroad Station is located at the hamlet of Phoenicia in the town of Shandaken, Ulster County, New York. The station served the former Ulster and Delaware Railroad (UDRR).

The Rondout and Oswego Railroad was chartered in 1866 by Thomas Cornell. By 1872 the Rondout and Oswego was bankrupt, but was reorganized as the New York, Kington and Syracuse Railroad. This railroad, in 1875, also went bankrupt. It was then reorganized yet again as the Ulster and Delaware Railroad.

The Ulster and Railroad proved to be very successful, opening up the central Catskills region for expanded tourism and providing easy access to the numerous boarding houses and hotels along the line. At its greatest extent, the railroad originated at Kingston Point, on the Hudson River, and followed much of what is today’s Route 28, passing through four counties (Ulster, Delaware, Schoharie and Otsego), ultimately connecting to its western terminus at Oneonta. The Ulster and Delaware was advertised as “The Only All-Rail Route to the Catskill Mountains.” At its peak, in 1913, the railroad carried 675,000 passengers.

Eventually the rise of the automobile and changing vacation patterns led to a slow decline in business, and by 1932 the Ulster and Railroad was acquired by New York Central. The line was then operated by New York Central until 1954, when it ceased operations.

The Phoenicia Railroad Station was constructed in 1899 to replace an earlier station following conversion of the narrow-gauge line to Hunter to standard gauge. The new station handled baggage, mail, express and passenger traffic to and from Phoenicia. The building remained in service until the cessation of passenger traffic in 1954. The station was acquired by the Empire State Railway Museum, which was founded in 1960 and moved to Phoenicia in 1983. Visit the museum website at www.esrm.com for more information.

 

The Phoenicia Railroad Station is located at the hamlet of Phoenicia in the town of Shandaken, Ulster County, New York.Phoenicia Station CentennialThe Phoenicia Railroad Station is located at the hamlet of Phoenicia in the town of Shandaken, Ulster County, New York. The station served the former Ulster and Delaware Railroad (UDRR).

The Rondout and Oswego Railroad was chartered in 1866 by Thomas Cornell. By 1872 the Rondout and Oswego was bankrupt, but was reorganized as the New York, Kington and Syracuse Railroad. This railroad, in 1875, also went bankrupt. It was then reorganized yet again as the Ulster and Delaware Railroad.

The Ulster and Railroad proved to be very successful, opening up the central Catskills region for expanded tourism and providing easy access to the numerous boarding houses and hotels along the line. At its greatest extent, the railroad originated at Kingston Point, on the Hudson River, and followed much of what is today’s Route 28, passing through four counties (Ulster, Delaware, Schoharie and Otsego), ultimately connecting to its western terminus at Oneonta. The Ulster and Delaware was advertised as “The Only All-Rail Route to the Catskill Mountains.” At its peak, in 1913, the railroad carried 675,000 passengers.

Eventually the rise of the automobile and changing vacation patterns led to a slow decline in business, and by 1932 the Ulster and Railroad was acquired by New York Central. The line was then operated by New York Central until 1954, when it ceased operations.

The Phoenicia Railroad Station was constructed in 1899 to replace an earlier station following conversion of the narrow-gauge line to Hunter to standard gauge. The new station handled baggage, mail, express and passenger traffic to and from Phoenicia. The building remained in service until the cessation of passenger traffic in 1954. The station was acquired by the Empire State Railway Museum, which was founded in 1960 and moved to Phoenicia in 1983. Visit the museum website at www.esrm.com for more information.

 

The Catskill Mountain Railroad operated a tourist train ride in the Catskills from Phoenicia to Mount Tremper for many years.Catskill Mountain RailroadIn the early-to-mid 19th century visitors typically travelled to the Catskills area via ship on the Hudson River and then on to their ultimate destination, most likely one of the area mountain or boarding houses, via horseback or stage coach. The trips were long and physically tiring. The arrival of railroads changed all that, allowing quicker and easier access to the region while also opening it to the “mass market”.

In 1866, construction began on what was to become known as the Ulster and Delaware (U&D). The U&D followed much of what is today’s Route 28, ultimately connecting Kingston to Oneonta. In 1882, the Stony Clove and Catskill Mountain Railroad was completed, connecting Phoenicia to Hunter, much of it along today’s Route 214. Also in 1882, the Catskill Mountain Railway was completed, connecting the town of Catskill to Palenville.

All three companies are now defunct. However, the spirit of the region’s great railroad era lived on for many years with the Catskill Mountain Railroad (CMRR), based out of Phoenicia. Chartered in 1983, and operating along a section of what was the Ulster and Delaware line, the tourist-oriented CMRR was a wonderfully scenic photographic opportunity with trains, rails, and depot station all evoking memories of yester-year. Unfortunately, in 2016, the Catskill Mountain Railroad ended more than 30 years of service between Phoenicia and Mt. Tremper when their lease ended for that section of track.

The CMRR continues to offer scenic train rides out of Kingston, New York. Visit their website at www.catskillmountainrailroad.com for more information.

 

Now operating out of the former Phoenicia Railroad Station, the Empire State Railway Museum offers a step back in time to the railroad era of the Catskills. Self-guided tours of the building are available, and the gift shop offers items for all ages, including books, toys, t-shirts, hats and much more. The museum can be visited at 70 Lower High Street in Phoenicia. They are currently open weekends from 10am to 4pm. Visit the museum website at www.esrm.com for more information.

 

The Phoenicia Railroad Station is listed on the National Register of Historic Places “as a distinctive and exceptionally intact example of a late nineteenth century passenger station in rural Ulster County.” The station “exemplifies the type of intermediate size railroad buildings built in small rural communities in this period.”

 

Phoenicia Railroad Station, National Register of Historic PlacesPhoenicia Railroad Station, National Register of Historic PlacesThe Phoenicia Railroad Station is located at the hamlet of Phoenicia in the town of Shandaken, Ulster County, New York. The station served the former Ulster and Delaware Railroad (UDRR).

The Rondout and Oswego Railroad was chartered in 1866 by Thomas Cornell. By 1872 the Rondout and Oswego was bankrupt, but was reorganized as the New York, Kington and Syracuse Railroad. This railroad, in 1875, also went bankrupt. It was then reorganized yet again as the Ulster and Delaware Railroad.

The Ulster and Railroad proved to be very successful, opening up the central Catskills region for expanded tourism and providing easy access to the numerous boarding houses and hotels along the line. At its greatest extent, the railroad originated at Kingston Point, on the Hudson River, and followed much of what is today’s Route 28, passing through four counties (Ulster, Delaware, Schoharie and Otsego), ultimately connecting to its western terminus at Oneonta. The Ulster and Delaware was advertised as “The Only All-Rail Route to the Catskill Mountains.” At its peak, in 1913, the railroad carried 675,000 passengers.

Eventually the rise of the automobile and changing vacation patterns led to a slow decline in business, and by 1932 the Ulster and Railroad was acquired by New York Central. The line was then operated by New York Central until 1954, when it ceased operations.

The Phoenicia Railroad Station was constructed in 1899 to replace an earlier station following conversion of the narrow-gauge line to Hunter to standard gauge. The new station handled baggage, mail, express and passenger traffic to and from Phoenicia. The building remained in service until the cessation of passenger traffic in 1954. The station was acquired by the Empire State Railway Museum, which was founded in 1960 and moved to Phoenicia in 1983. Visit the museum website at www.esrm.com for more information.


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