Our Early History

Today’s organization was preceded by an earlier group of dedicated railroad enthusiasts. In the spring of 1972, this group acquired the former New York Central passenger station in Hart Lot (Skaneateles Junction) from the Penn Central Railroad. The station became the home of a model railroad layout and a haven for local railroad artifacts and memorabilia.

Photos of our previous model layout operational from 2002 to 2016

Early in 2002 interest in the station facility with its artifacts and the remnants of the earlier model train layout took a new direction. In March of that year a new organization was created and formally incorporated. Work on upgrading and expanding the layout to encompass most of the former waiting room of the train station began. Structural improvements and repairs to the building were performed, including energy-efficiency installations and a new roof. The layout became fully operational as a DCC-only layout and rejuvenation of the building continued. The Central New York Model Railroad Club and Historical Society, Inc. is proud of the dedication and hard work of its original founders and of all those who have succeeded them.

Skaneateles Junction

From about 1867 until 1982, Skaneateles Junction served as the connection of the Skaneateles Short Line Railroad to the “Auburn Road” of the former New York Central Railroad. A timetable from 1901 listed the station as a stop for eight passenger trains in each direction daily (except Sundays). Freight service was also a major component of the Junction, especially due to car loads received from the short line. Running five miles from Skaneateles through Mottville, the short line once served as many as 17 industries. Industry was also located around the Junction with a former beanery structure still standing near our station facility today.

Following the end of passenger service in May of 1958, the Junction continued to provide freight operations through its separate freight house (now gone) until it was closed by the New York Central in the late 1960’s. For a short time the United States Post Office rented the former passenger station (our facility today). It provided postal service to the area named “Hart Lot,” a name the post office created to alleviate the confusion of another “Skaneateles” as a postal location.

Our Building Circa 2015

Our Building Circa 1900

As noted above, the station we now use was purchased in 1972 by local railroad enthusiasts from what was then the Penn Central Railroad. On April 1, 1976, Conrail took over operations of the Penn Central Railroad and continued to transfer freight at the Junction for the short line. The Skaneateles Short Line Railroad continued until its final abandonment in 1981, thus formally ending the location as a true railway junction. Since July 1, 1995, the tracks passing the station are operated by Finger Lakes Railway. In recent years excursion passenger service on Finger Lakes has allowed the Junction to once again serve as a rail stop. From our archives, here are some articles written by former members:

HO Model Layout

From its inception to the winter of 2017, our fictional Delaware & Ontario Railroad ran on a 21′ by 57′ layout from Wolcott Bay on Lake Ontario to Kingston on the Hudson River.

The layout operated as both a DC and DCC controlled system with a central train control (CTC) system wired into the main track routes to control train traffic into and out of local switching yards. Eventually, the layout became difficult to maintain … the wiring needed replacing, the handmade turnouts became misaligned causing derailments, and the hand-laid track needed constant repair. In 2015, members of the club decided to completely scrap the old layout, save buildings, lighting, locomotives and rolling stock, and design a new layout that would address the needs and interests of a new generation of members.