NORWICH – As of today, rail service on the roughly 41 miles of track through Chenango County between Chenango Forks and Sherburne is no more.
In a petition filed with the Surface Transportation Board in August, the New York Susquehanna and Western Railroad expressed its intention of discontinuing service along the section of the Utica Branch Line, which had been damaged by flooding in 2006. The STB acknowledged this filing in an Aug. 29 ruling. The date of the planned discontinuance was today, Oct. 1.
Despite earlier efforts by both the New York Department of Transportation and the Chenango County Industrial Development Agency to encourage the STB to stay or reject the NYS&W petition, the discontinuance of service will go into effect without contest as both organizations withdrew their objections in the eleventh hour.
The petitions were withdrawn after the NYS&W agreed to make certain concessions to NYSDOT and the IDA. The terms of the agreement were negotiated in a conference call last week in which representatives from the NYS&W, NYSDOT, IDA and Empire Development participated.