The Railroad’s Impact
The impact of the CACV’s conversion to a tourist railroad is especially significant due to its proximity to the village of Cooperstown, long established as one of the major tourist destinations in North America. The CACV passenger operations complement the existing museums in the Cooperstown area, providing an additional activity for visitors to enjoy, and giving them a reason to stay in the area longer. The museum sites, with their displays and archives, as well as the train ride provide entertainment and educational opportunities for visitors. The Leatherstocking Railway Museum complexes give visitors a glimpse of the area’s rich railroad heritage through displays and exhibits which are as interactive as possible.
Once funding can be secured, the Cooperstown Junction Site’s primary purpose will be the exhibition of railroad rolling stock and equipment. The dismantled FA Tower will be reassembled on the property.
The Milford Depot Complex consists of several structures. Centerpiece of the complex is the totally restored Milford Depot, a wooden structure built in 1869. The waiting room and station agents office have been restored to their original appearance. The freight room contains exhibits. Next door is the former Milford Auction Barn. When renovated it will contain exhibits, a large archive space and an auditorium for railroad related audio/visual presentations. The LRHS’s monthly meetings will also be held in the auditorium. Behind the former Milford Auction Barn is the right-of-way for the Milford Park Railway. A quarter mile loop track takes passengers around wetlands on the property. Next to the Milford Park Railway is the Milford Engine House. All repairs and renovations to LRHS rail equipment current takes place in this structure. This structure is also used for servicing the locomotives used on the CACV. Behind the Milford Engine House a two track, four car shop will be built to renovate and service the passenger cars used on the train rides as well as equipment to be displayed in Cooperstown Junction. While not open to the public on an unlimited basis, special tours of the engine house and car shops are conducted on a regular basis for school groups and others.
The Cooperstown Passenger Handling Facility, behind the New York State Electric & Gas Substation in the southern end of Cooperstown off from NYS Route 28, is located next to the Village’s Blue Trolley Parking lot and is served by its trolley bus system. A restored former D&H Railway Post Office Car serves as a passenger handling facility on a stub track adjacent to the parking lot. The Village of Cooperstown is currently upgrading this site with improved roadway, paved parking, landscaping, and new CACV passenger facilities. This is all be part of the Cooperstown Gateway Center.
The reopening of the Cooperstown and Charlotte Valley Railroad has provided visitors the opportunity to personally experience one of the most beautiful rail corridors in America. As the CACV winds its way from Milford northward toward the village of Cooperstown, it passes through wetlands, forests, and pastures, skirting the upper reaches of the Susquehanna River. On its 8 mile journey it crosses two vintage 19th Century wrought iron bridges. As the line draws near the head waters of the Susquehanna at Otsego Lake, the river narrows to a shallow stream. Finally, as the journey nears its end, the rails break out into rolling meadows at the Grasslands Farm. As funding allows the 8 miles of the railroad south of Milford will be renovated for limited special passenger operations.
In addition to passenger service, the Cooperstown & Charlotte Valley Railroad could be made available for freight customers and will be capable of moving any type of commodity currently shipped by rail. While no freight customers currently reside along the CACV, having this service available is crucial in attracting industries to the Upper Susquehanna River Valley.