Website owned and operated by the:
Rail City Historical Museum
162 Stanley Drive
Sandy Creek, NY 13145
Robert J Groman, Owner/Curator
Bath & Hammondsport
The nine mile shortline Bath and Hammondsport Railroad Company is located in the Fingerlakes Region of New York State (south of Rochester, NY and west of Elmira, NY). The railroad was built in 1871-1872 and the first train operated in the summer of 1874. Besides a lucrative passenger service its profits came from serving the many vineyards and wineries in the Hammondsport region.
A flood and subsequent damage to the railroad in July, 1935 caused the owners of the B&H, the Erie Railroad Co., to seek permission from the Interstate Commerce Commission to abandon the railroad. The shippers in the region were not happy with the plan and a group of five businessmen purchased the railroad. They were D. W. Putnam, Fred C. Taylor, Charles D. Champlin, Robert H. Howell and U.S. Arland. A celebration was held in July, 1936 to ride the first train over the newly restored B&H RR.
In 1949, the B&H retired its 26 year old Baldwin Locomotive No. 11 and converted to diesel. The owners would not sell the 2-6-0 steam locomotive for fear it would be scrapped. A local resident, T.A. Morey of Vine City, informed Dr. Groman of the B&H locomotive in the spring of 1955. Although Dr. Groman had acquired Old 38 from the Huntingdon and Broad Top Mountain Railroad to operate at Rail City, Dr. Groman confided to Morey that the 2-8-0 locomotive was too large for his 1.5 mile oval track. When B&H President U.S. Arland met Dr. Groman and learned that No. 11 would have a starring role operating at the new museum, he agreed to sell the locomotive that had been in storage for five years. No. 11 was relocated to Rail City with just weeks to spare before the grand opening of the museum on July 4, 1955.
U. S. Arland, T.A. Morey and Stanely Groman, MD., inspect No. 11 at the B&H storage shed in Hammondsport, NY in April, 1955. The script above the "11" on the locomotive reads "The Champagne Trail" owing to the vineyards and wineries the locomotive served. [Photo by Doreen Groman, RCHM Photo Collection]
"The first steam-operating railroad museum in the U.S.A."
No. 11 going backwards on the nine mile B&H track between Bath, NY and Hammondsport, NY. The B&H had no way to turn the locomotive on the line. [Photo believed to have been taken in the late 1940's, RCHM Photo Collection]