Rails to the Catskills
In 1913, the Ulster & Delaware Railroad completed its move of 11 miles of track to the northern edge of the nearly completed Ashokan Reservoir. During fishing season, if you are currently licensed and holding a NY City DEP issued reservoir access permit, you are allowed to bring your rod and reel to try your luck from shore or a row boat at the beautiful Ashokan.
If you enter Reservoir lands from the north (the Rt. 28 side) at some point as you head to the water you’ll pass over the tracks which are leased from Ulster County by the Catskill Mountain Railroad. All along the right of way (ROW) the tracks head west up-hill through West Hurley, into Glenford, Shokan and Boiceville before passing west beyond the reservoir. Then the tracks head west, hugging the Esopus Creek. In the 100 years since the building of the reservoir the brush and trees have grown up along the tracks obscuring the reservoir itself from much of a view. The right of way passes though straight and curving wooded areas and rock cuts on higher ground above the reservoir itself which can be glimpsed through the trees.
As you head down for fishing keep your eyes peeled for railroad landmarks that tell part of the history of the Old Up and Down, as the Ulster and Delaware (U&D) was sometimes called.
Here are some pictures we gathered while on our way to fish at the Ashokan as we passed the Ulster & Delaware right of way.
Our film, Deep Water chronicles the building of the Ashokan and the Catskill Water System.