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The New York & Oswego Midland Railroad-reorganized in 1879 as the New York, Ontario & Western Railway-was born out of necessity and a desire to populate and industrialize the interior regions of New York State. The railroad meandered down from Oswego, traversed the north shore of Oneida Lake, and then took a southerly route through Oneida and Norwich before turning east for a mountainous crossing to gain the village of Sidney. The railroad was not a success in its time. The New York, Ontario & Western brought a degree of financial stability to the northern division, and the line functioned through the late 1950s.
The Ontario & Western Railway Northern Division features photographs of the Ontario & Western, a railroad long on scenery but short on freight. The Ontario & Western inherited a railroad in search of revenue and a circuitous route that passed through one small community after another. Small wooden country depots dotted the line, locomotives of meager proportions pulled the trains, and dedicated employees did their best to keep the railroad solvent. The railroad is still fondly remembered today by those who rode its cars and witnessed its passing trains.