The Dutchess and Columbia Railroad: (Pine Plains and the Railroads)
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Vol. 4: Pine Plains and the Railroads

Bicentennial Publication

By: Lyndon A. Haight

§6 The Dutchess and Columbia Railroad

The Dutchess and Columbia Railroad Company was incorporated in 1866, a few months after the incorporation of the Poughkeepsie and Eastern. It was to run from Plumb Point (Fishkill) to Bains Station (Craryville) on the Harlem. The road was promoted largely by New York bankers who had financial interests in the town of Washington. Several Dutchess County towns along the proposed route bonded themselves to aid in the construction of the road. Hesitation on the part of Columbia County townships to do likewise, together with the influence of some politicians in the northern section of Dutchess County, caused the promoters to give up the idea of reaching Bains Station; thus the line turned sharply east from Pine Plains, going over the mountains to Millerton by way of Bethel, Shekomeko and Winchells. It was also extended to State Line to connect with the Connecticut Western.

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The Shekomeko Station on the N.D.&C. (V04-21.GIF)

From that day forward, a dizzying history of combinations and recombinations produced the Central New England Railway.

Construction of the D&C started in 1868, with the road reaching Pine Plains in 1869 and completed to Millerton and State Line in 1871. However, before the construction was complete the road had been leased to the Boston, Hartford and Erie, which was constructing a railroad from the New York line to Brewster, Hopewell and the Hudson River at Fishkill.

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N.D.&C. Station at Bangall. (V04-22A.GIF)

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CNE Engine No. 116 at Winchell Mountain. (V04-22B.GIF)
To reach the river, the BH&E purchased the southern half of the D&C right-of-way between Fishkill and Hopewell. The BH&E failed in 1870 and lost all rights under the deeds and lease. In March 1870, the D&C regained possession and began to operate the completed portion of its road. In November 1871 it leased to the Connecticut Western Railroad Company the portion of its road extending the short distance between Millerton and State Line.

The D&C was involved in another combination formed in 1871-2 in a series of consolidations of lines either projected, under construction or already constructed, for the purpose of forming a through line from New York City and the New England states a Canada and the west.

One of these, the Putnam & Dutchess Railroad Company, was incorporated in 1871 to construct a road from the New York and Boston Railroad in Carmel to the D&C near Hopewell, but with only four miles from Sylvan Lake to Clove Valley built. The New York and Boston was incorporated in 1869 to construct a railroad from the Harlem River northerly to Lake Mahopac, near Brewster. These two roads were consolidated with the Dutchess & Columbia as the New York, Boston & Northern Railroad Company. Another railroad in this series of combinations was the Harlem Extension Railroad, formed in 1870 by the consolidation of the Lebanon Springs Railroad Company and the Bennington and Rutland Railroad Company; this was further combined in 1873 with the Pine Plains and Albany. Then in 1873 the New York, Boston & Northern and the Harlem Extension were combined as the New York, Boston & Montreal Railroad Company. The panic of 1873 stopped the construction of these combined lines. The route of the Pine Plains and Albany was from Pine Plains north to Chatham and over the Western Railroad (Boston & Albany to Albany.

In 1874 foreclosure proceedings were commenced against the Dutchess and Columbia, a receiver appointed and the property sold in 1876. The road then operated under a new name, the Newburgh, Dutchess and Connecticut, from 1877 until it became part of the Central New England system in 1907.

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The N.D.&C. Station at Stissing, NY. N.D.&C. on the left and P&E on right. (V04-23.GIF)

The Clove Branch Railroad Company, incorporated in 1868, built a railroad from Clove Branch Junction on the Dutchess and Columbia to Sylvan Lake, about 4.25 miles long. Although the operating officers of the two companies seem to be the same, the Clove Branch operated as an independent railroad. In 1872, under the New York, Boston and Montreal, the road was extended to Clove Valley, about four miles, the purpose being to reach the iron mines at Clove Valley and to form the main stem of the Putnam and Dutchess route to Carmel. This was abandoned in 1898.

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