O. & W.: The Long Life and Slow Death of the New York, Ontario and Western Railway by William Helmer


Paperback, 232 pages

The Ontario & Western, the O&W, or, as both boosters and detractors referred to it in its later years, the “Old & Weary,” operated from 1869-1957 and ran from Oswego on Lake Ontario to New York City, passing through the midlands and southern counties of New York State, with spurs to Utica, Kingston, Port Jervis, and Scranton, PA. Filled with colorful characters and miscellaneous machinery, O. & W. chronicles almost a century of alternating hope and heartache, prosperity and poverty, dignity and degradation. Her passing was mourned for a variety of economic and sentimental reasons, but the loss was deeply felt in an intangible way. The rambling, elderly, inefficient, accident-prone, irritating old railroad was a part of a way of life now gone from the American scene.