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14522RE: [FJGRailroad] Northville Line Question

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  • Paul Larner
    May 2, 2010
      A good look at the Northville line, north of Kingsboro Avenue, will reveal that the freight revenue alone could not pay the cost of running the line, ever, in my opinion.  Remember the G&N failed after five years of operation, never able to pay its debt, being purchased by the FJ&G at foreclosure.  Generally there were but two regular trains on the line running between Northville and Fonda which originated in Northville and operated as mixed trains between Northville and Gloversville.  It was not until the early nineties following complaints from patrons of the park, when mixed trains were discontinued during the summer months only.  Extra passenger trains were a daily event in the summer months as was the scheduling of one or more regular trains on a Northville/Fonda circuit, originating at Gloversville.  Extras freights were run as required for logs and ice but not regularly enough to pay the bills.  The passengers made the line profitable until paved roads started expanding the opportunities for the week end traveler.  This is as early as 1911, when more and more park patrons began driving their automobiles rather than ride the train. Mail and express necessitated the two round trips to Fonda quite possibly with the mixed consists covered the cost of running the trains in the off season.  In 1922 the two of three gas cars were acquired to cut costs sufficiently to operate more trains and increase the contribution of the mail and express; ridership increased a bit.  A mixed steam train continued to run until the end between Gloversville and Northville with all other passenger, mail and express service being handled with the gas cars (exceptions being breakdowns and excessive snow fall).
      Until the teens I will suggest the line could support itself largely with the summer passenger trade.  There were always regular movements of freight to and from Northville but not in sufficient quantity to cover fully allocated costs.  Between Gloversville and Fonda, freight was exceptionally profitable, effectively covering the debt and dividends until 1914, after which cost cutting became necessary to continue servicing the debt.
      With the Sacandaga trade the line made a grand profit, but that profit had to carry through the off season and cover the cost of improvements and repairs.  The line was marginal otherwise.  After 1910 it is questionable whether the line could cover costs, as with so many of our short lines.

      To: FJGRailroad@yahoogroups.com
      From: akeller_1979@...
      Date: Sun, 2 May 2010 18:58:04 -0700
      Subject: [FJGRailroad] Northville Line Question

      Here is a good question for the group that perhaps Paul or others could answer.

      Overall, how did the Northville line fare economically?  Did the line make a substantial amount of money during peak excursion seasons or was it always just a "break even" or loss operation?


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