Railroad History

The Andes Branch of the Delaware and Northern Railroad (originally the Delaware and Eastern), was a 9.09 mile spur from the main line railroad that ran from East Branch to Arkville, where it connected to the Ulster and Delaware heading into Kingston.  The Andes Branch ran from 1907 until 1925.   Early on, in addition to passengers, the train brought significant shipments of freight into Andes and sent Andes milk out to distant markets.  Several flag stop stations along the Andes Branch allowed residents to take the train into and out of town.  When NY State built the highway up the hill from Margaretville, the railroad was doomed.

The history of the railroad is evident along the trail, from the starting point at the old Delaware and Northern depot building – which was donated to the Town of Andes by the Decker family and including the remnants of the old turntable and the ties still underfoot in many places.

The Delaware and Northern Railroad Depot  building was built in 1907 as part of the railroad branch that served Andes.  In 1924 the building was abandoned.  Later it  served as a storage building for Decker Hardware and Lumber.  Plans are underway for its restoration.  

The Depot building and surrounding property was donated to the Town of Andes by the Decker family in memory of Edwin M. and Marian H. Decker.

Local kids pose at the new Delaware and Eastern Andes Station in early 1907

Local kids pose at the new Delaware and Eastern Andes Station in early 1907

#1 F.F. Searing at Andes 1907sm

Station employees, train crew and local ladies pose beside Delaware and Eastern #1, the F.F. Searing at Andes, 1907. The D&E’s Andes Creamery is in the background

#3 A.C. Fairchild at Andes Station 1907sm

#3 train, A.C. Fairchild, at the Andes Station. 1907

#4 train, circa 1911

#4 train, circa 1911

Map of Andes yard

Map of Andes yard

Main Line with Andes Junction

Main Line with Andes Junction

All photos and maps from the collection of John M. Ham

the big picture map

the big picture map

Really fun article from a 1989 issue of Kaatskill Life telling about the origin of the Andes Branch (traveling by horse and carriage was too slow and uncomfortable for an early wealthy visitor) and about a couple of silent movies filmed on the trestles on the Andes Branch.

The Andes Branch, by Gertrude Fitch Horton
Reprinted with permission from Winter, 1988-89 Kaaterskill Life

Further reading:
Rails Along the East Branch: The Delaware & Northern Railroad, John M. Ham and Robert K. Bucenec, Stony Clove & Catskill Mountain Press

Mountain Railroads of New York State: Where Did the Tracks Go in the Catskills, Michael Kudish, Purple Mountain Press

Also, please visit the Andes Society for History and Culture’s Museum at the Hunting Tavern, on Main Street,  and see  WWW.AndesSociety.org

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