NORWICH – Chenango County has been chugging away at restoring the New York Susquehanna & Western Railroad from Chenango Forks to Sherburne since 2006 when a historic, 100-year flood damaged the tracks and halted service.
Since then, the Chenango County Industrial Development Agency has obtained more than one million dollars in state and federal grants to accomplish the Herculean task, including a $86,000 contribution from the Cooperstown-based railroad. Clean-up efforts have already begun through a disaster relief grant received from the New York State Department of Labor, and thus far the line has been brush cut and cleared from the northern county border through the south of Oxford.
The CCIDA owns title to the portion of the right-of-way that passes through the Chenango County and leases it back to the NYS&W. In turn, the railroad is exempt from paying real property taxes. The arrangement was made back in the 1980s as a way to preserve local rail service. The NYS&W Railroad currently comes up from New Jersey to Binghamton, goes through to Syracuse, over to Utica and makes runs from Utica to Sherburne and back.