The New York & Ottawa Railroad ran from Ottawa to Cornwall, Ontario, crossing the St. Lawrence at Cornwall and connecting to the vast New York Central system at Tupper Lake, NY. It (or parts of it) was variously known as the New York & Ottawa Railroad, the Northern New York Railroad, the Northern Adirondack Railroad, the Ottawa & New York Railway and finally the New York Central's Ottawa Division. It was abandoned on February 15, 1957.
It is not my intention here to give a history or sort out its various names, owners and corporate structures (it's complicated enough I'm not able to keep it straight in my head). If you're interested, see Chris Granger's excellent site NYC Ottawa Division, and his older site, New York Central's Ottawa Division - A History and this Wikipedia Article. And as always with anything railway-related around the Ottawa area (not to mention other areas of Canada and beyond), the definitive source is Colin Churcher's Railway Pages. A Google search can no doubt dig up other interesting sites and information, such as this concise synopsis.
What concerns us here is what is left of the line that might be of some use in recreating in our minds the flavour and character of the line, specifically what might be learned from photographs taken from the air, and where those photographs might be taken. To be sure, there's also the problem of finding suitable takeoff and landing zones for the fixed-wing aircraft, safety considerations, etc.
To that end, I have identified the following possible targets.
The village of Ramsayville lies just outside the city of Ottawa's metropolitan area (and well within it's official boundaries). Whoever layed out the route of highway 417 must have had something against the village as the highway plows right through the former centre of the town, and resulted in the re-direction of both Baseline and Russell roads, the crossroads of which formed the centre of the village. This Google Earth view clearly shows the former routes of the two roads. The thin blue line indicates the approximate route of the NYO.
There was, apparantly, a station here, but no trace remains. There is a culvert where the railway crosses Green's Creek, but good photographs of it are easy to obtain from ground level. And the presence of the 417 very closeby makes the safety risk not insignificant. It is therefore probably of little benefit to try and get aerial shots of the area and I have put this off for now.
The former Berwick station now sits in Embrun, beside the NYO right-of-way, now converted to a bike path along this section. Along Notre Dame street there are still some industrial buildings, once served by the railway, which you can clearly tell based on their alignment.
The Berwick station is in the centre of the circle at "A". The NYO crossed the river at "B", and if memory serves you can still see some of the pilings. It would be the bridge area and industrial area that would be of interest for AP. As you can see, possible landing zones abound, at C, D, and E.
Since the above was written, I have visited Embrun briefly to scout flying locations. C and D are corn fields and do not present very attractive flight locations. E is accessed by a long road across which is a gate, which is locked. It would be a long walk! It is possible that a suitable area can be found on the north short, just above B, in which to fly, if I decided it is worth it.
At Crysler (45º13'N, 75º9'W) (Google Maps) the NYO passed to the west of downtown. Charles St. comes very close to where the NYO crossed the South Nation River, and abutments can still be seen on both sides of the river. A mural on the side of a building depicts the days of the NYO, and a short synopsis accompanies the mural.
I flew my first (and so far only) AP sortie at Crysler on July 12, 2008. Full details are available on the Crysler page. Below is an overview shot showing the bridge abutments at the right, the right of way going down to the bottom-left, Charles St. and the building with the mural (roughly centre).