Like the Amtrak comments in the article Gino posted people expected the railroad's trains would get through, even though the Sammonsville cut had always been trouble and Lake's also caused aggravation in drift periods. When I was there each winter we would erect huge board snow fences at Lake's cut and also put up fences east of Broadalbin Junction.
Regular steam division passenger service to Fonda had been suspended for more than ten years at that time, 1920. Because the trolleys had no chance of getting through to Fonda, it was common practice to substitute a steam train to make the Central connections. Seems they simply didn't expect not to get through. That the relief train stuck in the snow near Lake's certainly compounded the matter and the derailment on the north end could have done no less. From their first winter the railroad employed a lot of shovelers to keep the line open in winter. Another area where the trains early on became stuck was just north of the old fairgrounds above the North Perry street crossing. In the early years this area was open land where the wind deposited significant snow over the tracks.
Date: Sat, 17 Feb 2007 21:26:34 -0500
Subject: [FJGRailroad] Lakes Cut Bottleneck
The Leader articles are fascinating, with lots of extraneous information. Looks like the cut was the bottleneck for the whole line. The shovel plow #1 was pretty useless since it did not push the snow off to the side as a wedge plow would. I imagine the cut was too narrow to push the snow off to the side of the track anyway. The line's engines were not up to the task, with light 4-4-0's and 2-6-0's having far too little tractive effort. Anything the NYC could have sent up probably would have been too heavy. Like a 2-8-2 and a wedge or rotary. Actually a rotary would have done the trick but I am sure they were all busy at home on the NYC tracks. What were they thinking, dispatching that train in the first place. If I had been a member of the traveling public I'd have holed up in the Kingsborough Hotel in a room with lots of steam heat.