S. Berliner, III's sbiii.com Marion River Carry Railroad Page keywords = Marion River Carry Railroad Adirondack Raquette Blue Mountain Utowanna Eagle lake rail train Vest Pocket Eckford Fulton chain Bassett

Updated:   13 Jan 2014, 22:50 ET
[Page created 02 May 2002; converted 19 Jul 2011>
{missing images restored 22 Dec 2002}

    original AT&T Worldnet Website begun 30 May 1996.]
URL:  http://sbiii.com/marionrv.html
[was at "home.att.net/~Berliner-Ultrasonics/marionrv.html"]

S. Berliner, III
Consultant in Ultrasonic Processing
"changing materials with high-intensity sound"

[consultation is on a fee basis]

Technical and Historical Writer, Oral Historian
Popularizer of Science and Technology
Rail, Auto, Air, Ordnance, and Model Enthusiast
Light-weight Linguist, Lay Minister, and Putative Philosopher

note - The vast bulk of my massive Web presence (over 485 pages) had been hosted by AT&T's WorldNet service since 30 May 1996; they dropped WorldNet effective 31 Mar 2010 and I have been scrambling to transfer everything.  Everything's saved but all the links have to be changed, mostly by hand.  See my sbiii.com Transfer Page for any updates on this tedious process.

S. Berliner, III's


Marion River Carry Railroad Page


(moved from SB,III's MODEL RAILROADING Page 2 on 02 May 02)

NOTE:  It appeared that my pages were limited by AT&T, without warning, to 30kB!  Thus, I was forced to add these separate pages to fit the expanded coverage of this tiny carrier.

In Memoriam - Jean Carmichael

2 May 1913 - 23 March 2006

Jean, doyenne of the Carmichael family of St. Hubert's/Good Shepherd,
passed away peacefully at 1:32 am Thursday 23 March.

[Go in peace, dear Jean.]


[To conserve space, this index has been truncated by removing some detail links;
go to the pages indicated - they are each indexed fully.]

On this Marion River Carry Railroad page:

    Marion River Carry Railroad - moved to this page on 02 May 02.
    Richard Sanders Allen's "The Carry Railroad"

On the Marion River Carry Railroad continuation page 1.

    1902 Survey Map.

On the Marion River Carry Railroad continuation page 2.

  new (29 Oct 2013)

On the MAIN Model RR page:

    Sunrise Trail Division (STD) of the
        Northeastern Region (NER) of the
        National Model Railroad Association (NMRA)
    Long Island - Sunrise Trail Chapter (LIST) of the
        National Railway Historical Society (NRHS)
    Long Island Live Steamers     and model railroading miscellany at the end.

On the mrr page 2:

    Vest Pocket Railroads You Can Model:

Marion River Carry Railroad - moved to this page on 02 May 02.

Degnon Terminal Railroad, plus
    Murrer's Sidings
    Kearney Sidings
    as well as (on an LIRR page):
  Blissville/Laurel Hill,
Blissville Sidings
Laurel Hill Sidings
    and Maspeth and Fresh Pond -
Maspeth Yard
Fresh Pond Yard

The Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal Railroad segment was moved to its own separate page on 07 Sep 99.

New York & Atlantic Railway.

On MRR Continuation Page 3:

Model Railroading Miscellany
PRR/Wrong Island #007 Cabin Car
Garden Railway Scales
Making a Stacker from a Front End Loader
Berlinerwerke-ALCo RSD-1m
Model Railroading HELP!

On MRR Continuation Page 4:

Great Northern/Western Fruit Express Reefers -
    (moved to MRR page 4 on 07 May 01).
Railroad Grades
Model Railroad Photgraphy
More Model Railroad Miscellany, with
    Hobbytown of Boston (Bear Locomotive Co.).

On Z-Scale pages:

    Z-Scale Narrow Gauge (really)
    Scale and Gauge
    Scale Conversion Table
    Ztrack Magazine
    Z-Scale Miscellany
    Z-Scale Wiring Conventions
    Z-Scale Vehicles and Märklin Rubber Autos
    and much more on Page 2 and noted below.
    Sub-Z-Scale Page with
Half-Z Scale - 1:440 Tiny Trains and even 1:900 Tiniest Trains!

[To conserve space even further, the index for material on separate pages has been removed; see the main model RR page.]

Visit the courtesy and official home pages listed in the index on the main MRR page.

You may also wish to jump to SB,III's RAILROAD Page.






Photo courtesy of the Adirondack Museum


This is one fantastic museum and well worth a trip to the heart of the Adirondacks!

The Marion River Carry Railroad¹ may well have been the shortest standard-gauge passenger line in history and certainly had one of the smallest standard-gauge steam locomotives built in the 20th Century.  The Marion River is one of the waterways in the Fulton Chain of Lakes system running diagonally east-northeast in New York State's Adirondack Mountains from near Utica through Raquette Lake to Blue Mountain Lake (the Eckford Lakes).  Extended culturally, if not strictly hydrologically, Long Lake, Tupper Lake, Saranac Lake, and Lake Placid to the northeast and Indian Lake to the southeast can be included.

[1 - There never was an actual entity named the "Marion River Carry Railroad"; it was merely a part of Durant's Blue Mountain & Raquette Lake Steamboat Line, itself never incorporated.]   new (13 Jan 2014)

MapQuest map of area of the Marion River Carry.
{to be replaced}

You can zoom down and scroll for more detail or zoom up to see where in the world Raquette Lake and the Marion River are.  The "river" parallels Route 28 to the west, emptying into Raquette Lake between Wood's (or Osprey) Point and Long Point, and that is Utowana Lake to the east.  As far as I can recall, the small road (dirt trail in 1980) runs north from Route 28, by a lovely little restaurant, across a meadow where the Carry Hotel was (and what was that building may still be) and then northwest to the right-of-way about where the train shed was (there was in 1980, and may still be, the impression of the inspection pit that still lay between the rails inside the shed as late as 1948 and was since filled in, still visible on the ground).  The right-of-way continued west to the rotted remains of the dock on the Marion River and following it east from the shed brings you to the western shore of Utowana Lake, which feeds through a small neck directly into Eagle Lake and thence to Blue Mountain Lake.  If you are up that way, be sure to visit the Museum!  {I will have to find my Geodetic Survey map of the area and some old reference works before this information can be nailed down with more certainty.}

If you prefer Excite's maps, try theirs.

For additional reference, I redrew the Michael Kudish maps of 1996 and in Allen, et al. of 1999:

(Map redrawn 27 Jul 2005 after Michael Kudish, 1996, and in Allen, et al. 1999 - all rights reserved)
[Thumbnailed image, click on diagram for larger image.]

adding the buildings, the roads, and other details.

Kudish locates the road in to the outlet of Utowana Lake as half way between the Raquette Lake village road, opposite Sagamore Road, (6.7 miles) and the intersection of 28 and 30 in Blue Mountain Lake village (6.4) miles and the road to the inn as 2.5 miles from Golden Beach Campground and 6.4 miles from the Raquette/Sagamore Roads.

If anyone can locate the station, restaurant, inn, and enginehouse with ABSOLUTE certainty, I'll put them in more accurately.

[However, there is more to this than meets the eye, so see continuation page 1.]

Here's a fantastic coincidence!  I am not a postcard collector but I went to a local postcard show on 02 May 2002 to meet a friend (who didn't turn up) and, while waiting, poked around and found this gem in a miscellaneous pile for a VERY reasonable price and snapped it up:

MRCRR #2 with Train Jul 28
(From the collection of S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)
[Thumbnailed image, click on picture for larger image.]

What we have here is a very slight crop from the post card, which has absolutely no identifying markings of any sort, but which is neatly hand-lettered on the reverse:

"Trip from Fourth Lake
July, 1928

What a find!  All three horsecars show, although the third one only barely.  Look at the shape of the roof on the first one!  They look more like gypsy caravans than passenger cars.

note-rt.gif - 18 May 2002 - looking at that odd first horsecar, it occurred to me that I definitely had NOT seen that car in the shed, at least certainly not up against the loco nor at the tail end; the car directly behind the loco had transverse seats, as did the one behind that one.  I am absolutely certain of this; there were at least two cars in with the loco and both end ones had transverse seats.  I don't recall a third car (first on the postcard), with longitudinal seating, in the shed after WWII.  We know for a fact that the last car in the shed was one of the "normal" two because of the 1948 photos (below) of letter carrier Dave sprawled across the back seat and of me standing there.

In addition, it occurred to me (20 May 2002) that I do not remember anything blocking my view from front to back (and I was an attendant, good, big brother) and the front end of that odd car certainly would have done that!  Even more to the point, since I wasn't up on the back of the loco cab (there was no coal bunker#), how could I have taken the picture of my sister (left, below) if that car had been between the cab and where I stood?

# - Incidentally, that Porter had no coal bunker; it was fueled at each end of the exceedingly-short line and carried small piles for emergency replenishment in the corners on the floorplate at the back wall of the cab.

BIG NEWS! (maybe) - I got word (Aug 2005) that an effort is underway to restore the Marion River Carry Railroad, with a Master Plan and all.  It's true; an application is before the Adirondacks Park Agency.

I was back up to Raquette and Blue Mountain Lakes and the Adirondack Museum on 26 Jun 02 on my way down from Québec and Montréal; watch for more photos.  The RoW of the MRCRR was blocked and posted!  I was also up on 07-08 Aug 05; much more to add.

History of the Marion River Carry Railroad:

With the development of tourism in the area before the turn of the 20th Century, railroads were pushed into the virgin timberlands.  The NYC, D&H, and others encroached into the Adirondack wilderness.  At the head of rail, small steamers ferried passengers across lakes to carries (portages) where horse and wagons awaited.  Between Raquette Lake and Blue Mountain Lake, however, the Marion River (barely more than a stream) allowed steamers to penetrate several miles eastward to a ¾-mile¹ carry (originally Bassett's Carry) between the River and Utowana Lake.  Once across the carry, steamers continued through Utowana and Eagle Lakes to Blue Mountain Lake.  In the summer of 1899, William West Durant, President of the Adirondack Railroad, built a ¾-mile railroad¹ on the carry and shipped in three surplus Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company open horse-drawn streetcars, one for baggage and two capable of carrying a total of 125 passengers on a single run.  Durant paid $25 apiece for the cars!  A horse pulled one car until May, 1900.  A small wood-burning steam locomotive was purchased and converted to oil service at the Schenectady Locomotive Works (later ALCo); it was delivered by rail to the station at Raquette Lake in May of 1900 but proved inadequate for the load and a New York Central engine was rented for $5 per day.  That engine was too heavy for the roadbed and, in 1900@, the H. K. Porter Company of Pittsburgh built a diminutive locomotive, patterned after those used on New York City's elevated lines, to pull these cars.  This third engine, Number 2, was placed in service in August of 1901, and remained on active duty until September 15, 1929.  On October 2, 1929, a Mr. Covey, Master Mechanic of the Raquette Lake Transportation Company, put the engine and one or more cars in the engine shed which sat alongside the line near its lower (western) end, near the former Carry Inn (there is a question as to how many cars - the author remembers at least the two passenger cars for certain, and possibly all three, being in the shed in the mid-to-late '40s).  The rails remained in place until scrapped to supply Japanese demands for steel in 1939.  In 1955, No. 2 and the sole remaining car and remnants of the other two were moved to the Adirondack Museum at Blue Mountain Lake, the locomotive cosmetically restored and a single passenger car created from the remains of the one car and parts from the other two cars; they are on view at the museum now.  The author was somewhat shocked on first visiting the Museum to find his childhood "playtoys" on view.

¹ - ¾ of a mile is an approximation; 1,300 yards (3,900 feet or 1188.7m) is closer to accurate.  That comes out to 44' 9¼" in HO scale (1:87.1), 24' 4½" in N (1:160), and 17' 8¾" in Z (1:220 - where 24' = 1 mile) - however, Kudish (1996) shows it as 0.87 miles (4,593' 7") {???}.

@ - Porter may have started #2 in 1900 but it's builder's plate clearly shows it as having been built in 1901, as No. 2396:

(cropped from 08 Aug 2005 photo by and © 2005 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)

{Long-promised picture of}
Summer 1948 (view looking east from front of first horsecar)
and now with two same-day shots of the author (the nerdy kid), as well,
also "at the throttle" (view looking northeast through shed window)
and on the end horsecar (view looking east though west door):

(1948 photos by and © 2002 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)

AHA!  That old package of Raquette Lake photos from the summer of 1948 revealed the nose of Marion River Carry Railroad #2 through the east door of the shed and a picture of letter carrier Dave sitting (sprawling?) nonchalantly in the back of the end horsecar (I didn't remember that Dave was with us but pictures of the whole family, on the Adirondacks pages, show that he had to have taken them):

(1948 photos by and © 2002 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)

It's interesting to note that the opening in the last picture is off center and runs to the ground; it appears to have been a window, with a personnel and materiel access door to its left (north) just visible in the earlier end view, thus effectively demolishing any thought that the shed was double-ended.

Speaking of my sister, here's an oddly blurred image of my father, sister, and mother (you'll have to take my word for it), from my Adirondacks page 2, at the north-cum-west door to the enginehouse of the Marion River Carry Railroad c. 1947:

(ca. 1947 photo by and © 2005 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)
[Cropped thumbnail image - click on picture for larger, full image]

This is from memory - as I recalled, the path went along the north side of the enginehouse; the track went right through it!  Too bad I didn't focus the old Voightlander better; I was told that the the junk at right might be the missing left shed door.  Actually "trainshed" might be a better term, since the entire train - the engine and the three horsecars - was stored right in the shed, always facing east, with an inspection pit underneath between the rails.

[Please don't ask what happened at the top; bad processing, I'd guess.  It's a rather weird photo by any standards.]

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: Much of the factual material given herein is based heavily on Harold K. Hochschild's Township 34 (1952), reprinted in several monographs by the Adirondack Museum ca. 1962, especially Life and Leisure in the Adirondack Backwoods, Adirondack Steamboats on Raquette and Blue Mountain Lakes, and Adirondack Railroads, Real and Phantom.

You might also be able to locate a copy of an appropriately-diminutive pamphlet, "The Carry Railroad, by Richard Sanders Allen, reprinted from York State Tradition 1965"*, about this equally-diminutive railroad.  I found mine on 09 Jan 2004 and it has no copyright restriction so I've reproduced it below.

* - no publishing data given in the pamphlet.

AHA!  Whil(e)(st) up at the Adirondack Museum on 26 Jun 02, I found a book, "Rails in the North Woods', by Richard S. Allen, William Gove, Keith F. Maloney, and Richard F. Palmer (North Country Books, Utica, NY, 1978/1999, ISBN 0-925168-69-6), which contains an article, ""The Marion River Carry Railroad', by Allen and Palmer (pp. 137-146) which closely approximates, amplifies, and updates the text of that pamphlet.

For more information about the Adirondack Railway and the Raquette Lake Railway, see my ADIRONDACKS page.

There is a comprehensive book about all railroads, operating, disused, and abandoned within the Adirondack Park (and a few on the outskirts); it is Michael Kudish's 1996 Railroads of the Adirondacks.

{Last updated (before transferring to this page):  12 Jan 2002, 11:30]

Turnouts on the Marion River Carry Railroad - I always remembered the Marion River Carry Railroad as being just a single track point-to-point (dock-to-dock) line with no side tracks, spurs, or attendant turnouts (switches), but it had been abandoned for many years before I stumbled on it with my dad on a canoe trip up the Marion River ca. 1940-41.  Well, an e-mail about switching on the Marion River Carry Railroad set me to thinking; how could freight cars have been transported from Raquette Lake to Blue Mountain Lake up the Marion, across the Carry, and through Utowanna and Eagle, unless there was a way to get them on the tracks ahead of (or behind) #2?  So much material has turned up that it overloaded this page and has been moved it to continuation page 1.

Richard Sanders Allen's
"The Carry Railroad"

Having found my copy on 09 Jan 2004 and seeing there is no copyright notice, I decided to reproduce it in full but the pages scanned oddly.  After vainly trying to straighten the text, I discovered to my chagrin that some pages are printed askew!  Also, some pages developed strange artifacts, probably from ageing of the paper, which I have touched out.  Here, then, for your edification, "The Carry Railroad" (front cover in color, pages 1 through 8 in B&W - the inside and back covers are blank):

[These are thumbnail images - click on the picture for a much larger image]
MRCRR Book Cover MRCRR Book Pg 1

MRCRR Book Pg 2 MRCRR Book Pg 3

MRCRR Book Pg 4 MRCRR Book Pg 5

MRCRR Book Pg 6 MRCRR Book Pg 7

MRCRR Book Pg 8
(scanned by S. Berliner, III 09 Jan 2004)
[These are thumbnail images - click on the picture for a much larger image]

Oh, wow!  On 22 Mar 2004, I heard that there may well be a railroad car on the bottom at the north-east end of Blue Mountain Lake and that a diver is going to look for it this summer; the speculation is whether it could it be that third MRCRR car?  Three boxcars loaded with sacked coal went off floats on Raquette and Blue Mountain Lakes between 1920 and 1925; one still sits on the bottom off the M. Callahan and Company dock on Blue.  No mystery at all; this is recounted in Hochschild's "Life and Leisure" (pp. 86-87).  Stay tuned for developments!

[Continued on Marion River Carry Railroad Continuation Page 1.]

You may wish to visit the Railroad Continuation Page, et seq.

of this series of Railroad pages.


  What happens to all this when I DIE or (heaven forfend!) lose interest?  See LEGACY.


See Copyright Notice on primary home page.

If you like model railroading nonsense (and good tips), take a gander at Jim Wells' incredible

U.S.Flag U.S.Flag


THUMBS UP!  -  Support your local police, fire, and emergency personnel!

Contact S. Berliner, III

(Junk and unsigned e-mail and blind telephone messages will NOT be answered)

© Copyright S. Berliner, III - 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2011, 2013, 2014  - all rights reserved.

Return to Top of Page