Spur Line Review: Dunkirk, NY

I am starting a new category on the blog which will be aimed towards model railroaders.  In this category I will examine prototypical railroading practices and discuss how they can apply to model railroaders.  I will be examining industries, signal systems, timetables, rules, rolling stock and locomotive rosters.

In the first article I will look at an interesting industrial spur line, located in Dunkirk, NY.  I say interesting because I was surprised at first by how many active industrial users were on this spur line in such a small town.  And secondly because of how the line hooks up to the main line.  There is a three track mainline along this section of the CSX main line through Dunkirk, NY.  Near Middle Road, there is a 6 track yard on the South side of the main line.  I imagine this would be an interesting spot for some railfanning.  Regardless, off of that yard is an interesting switchback connection to the industrial spur.  In the photo below, the track highlighted in green is the yard track that the spur connects to via the switchback.  The track highlighted in red is the spur, which ends roughly 800ft beyond the switch back.

While it does appear that there is a proper entrance to the spur closer to where the tank cars are parked in the yard, the rails have been lifted from those ties, leaving that route inaccessible.  Upon close inspection, I see no other method for movements to reach the spur, other then this switchback.

The first industry is quite interesting.  It is a private bottling plant owned by www.cott.com.  While it is hard to tell which tracks perform which tasks, we can do our best to guess.  Firstly there is a storage track located closest to the CSX main line along the side of the building.  The storage track is about 1000ft long and stub ends.  There are a few old pieces of rolling stock located on this track which makes me think that this track is rarely used.  Running parallel to the storage track, yet closer to the building is a loading / unlocking track.  It is difficult to tell how long it is / if it enters the building due to the heavy shadow being cast by the building.  There is also a track for unloading tank cars.  These appear to be longer tank cars, and thus I believe that these cars are for ammonia or other disinfectants which could be used to clean processing equipment.  They may also be supplying co2 or nitrogen for pressurizing products.  The spur line continues through the factory property, splitting it in two.

The other half of the complex is equally as interesting.  First there are two tracks which appear to be unloading tracks for corn syrup and other food grade liquids.  Then there is a loading track with a few mechanical reefers spotted on it.  I am unsure if the loading track is dead ended or continues through the building.  There is an entrance from the opposite side of the building in roughly the same spot.  Likely for an inside loading dock.  There is also a set out track here too.  It appears to be an old loading track, however does not appear to be used any longer to load / unload goods.

The spur continues through town and crosses the Norfork Southern main line.  Shortly thereafter, a track diverges into an Ice Cream plant.  Tank cars can be seen in the track.   Likely such a plant would receive Corn Syrup and Ammonia.

The line continues about two miles South passing under I-90.  The line terminates at Carriage House.  This is an industry which produces Salad Dressings and other condiments.  The track diverges into two stub end tracks.  These tracks both serve this industry, and possibly even enter into the building for internal loading / unloading.   I am unsure what products this industry would consume.  I imagine some Corn Syrup, and perhaps plant based oils.

This is quite an interesting, yet short spur.  It would be fairly easy to model.  With the exception of the one set off track at the Bottling Plant, all of the sidings can be serviced in the same direction.   The locomotive would have to push loads into the spur, and pull empties out.  It is also interesting that this spur is completely devoted to food products, and many of the industries will likely receive similar products.

I imagine you would mostly see takers, and reefers on this spur, and rarely anything else.  Either way, hopefully this has helped you in some way.  Stay tuned for the next informative article.