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Oil Creek & Titusville Railroad May 20, 2010

by Chris Guenzler

I got up in the B&O Caboose, showered and walked to McDonalds for breakfast. I walked back and worked on stories before taking some pictures.

Engine on display.

Box Car IREX 531.

Tank Car.

Oil Creek & Titusville Caboose.

View of the open car I planned to ride in on this trip.

Oil Creek & Titusville S-2 75.

Oil Creek & Titusville Station.

Oil Creek & Titusville S-2 85

Two views of our train before we would leave Titusville. I went back to the caboose and worked some more on the story. I took my clothes to the office to be washed while I was on the trip and picked up Randy's clothes that he had left last night to be washed. At 8:50 AM I walked across the driveway and entered the Oil Creek & Titusville Station walking straight onto the train. I walked through the train to the open car on the rear end and waited for departure.

A Brief History: The lines that we are riding today. The Main Line between Titusville and Rynd Farms

In 1862 the six foot gauge railroad the Oil Creek Rail Road was built between Titusville and Correy, Pennsylvania. The railroad was an immediate success and was soon extended southward to Miller Farm and Shaffer Farm. The main purpose was to haul oil to the Atlantic & Great Western Railroad. In 1864 the New York Central and Erie {PRR Controlled} purchased the majority stock then divided the traffic among them. In 1865 a third standard gauge rail was laid to allow direct connections to other railroads. In September 1865, the Philadelphia and Erie purchased sole control of the Oil Creek Rail Road Company. In 1866 the railroad connected with the Farmers Railroad in Petroleum Centre allowing the oil to move either north to Correy or South to Oil City. On December 10, 1864 Henry A. Guernsey purchased the company and gained the authority to build not exceeding 30 miles between Oil City and Plummer. On February 27, 1866 the company leased the railroad to the Farmers Railroad of Venango County for $1 a year and the agreement to transport Kersey Company oil at 10 cents a barrel, apparently without Mr. Guernsey's permission thus a Supreme Court Case occurred which Mr. Guernsey won. The Farmers' Railroad soon completed the line to Rouseville and the connection with the Oil City Rail Road. In 1868 the Oil Creek Railroad merged with several other short line railroads in western Pennsylvania to form the Oil Creek and Allegheny River Railroad Company. By 1875 the Oil Creek and Allegheny Railroad was several million dollars in debt and was sold to the Pittsburgh, Titusville & Buffalo Railroad Company. In 1881 Pittsburgh, Titusville & Buffalo Railroad merged with the Buffalo, Pittsburgh and Western Railroad. The BNY&P went into receivership on May 20, 1885 and was sold a foreclosure on September 10, 1887 with the New York and Pennsylvania sections being reorganized into Western New York and Pennsylvania Railroad Company of New York and Western New York and Pennsylvania Railroad Company of Pennsylvania. These two companies were consolidated on November 28, 1887 as the Western New York and Pennsylvania Railroad Company. It went into receivership on April 1, 1893 and was sold at a foreclosure on February 5, 1895 and was reorganized on February 25, 1895 as the Western New York Railroad Company in New York and the Northwestern Pennsylvania Railroad Company in Pennsylvania. These two companies were consolidated on March 18, 1895 to form the Western New York and Pennsylvania Railway Company. This company operated independently until July 31, 1900 when the Pennsylvania Railroad began operating the company. This line lasted through the Penn Central merger and then the creation of Conrail. The north end of the Chautauqua Branch continued in operation until December 29, 1978 when the last train passed over that part of the railroad. The rails were removed the following year. When Conrail decided to sell or abandon the line, two groups came together to form the Oil Creek Railroad Historical Society and purchased the track, buildings and real estate on June 6, 1986. The first public excursion trip was run on July 18, 1986.

The Industrial Line at Titusville.

In early 1867, the Dunkirk, Warren & Pittsburgh Railroad Company was organized and construction began on June 17, 1867. Track was laid south from Dunkirk through Laona, Sinclairville and on to Falconer. The first passenger train ran over the line on June 22, 1871. On December 31, 1872 the Dunkirk, Warren & Pittsburgh Railroad Company combined with the Warren Venango Railroad Company to form the Dunkirk, Allegheny & Pittsburgh Railroad Company. This company was then leased to the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad Company. Later the Dunkirk, Allegheny & Pittsburgh became known as the Valley Branch of the New York Central, fondly nicknamed the "Dolly Varden". Passenger service was dropped in 1937. The line was removed from service between Falconer and Dunkirk in 1972 by Penn Central in the aftermath of Hurricane Agnes. The line south of Falconer was abandoned in 1976 with the formation of Conrail. There is a very small piece of this railroad still in Titusville today.

Our Trip

At 9:00 AM we started our trip by backing towards West Central Ave. Our train consisted of Oil Creek & Titusville S-4 85, Coach 65 Samuel Van Syckell, Coach 61 Andrew B. Funk, RPO/Concession 66, Coach John W. Steele, Coach 62 Thomas Struthren, Coach 60 Jonathan Watson, Coach 59 Colonel Edwin L. Drake and the open air car.

Pipes are made in Titusville.

These cars are some of what this railroad ships today.

The switch to our rare mileage on the former New York Central Line in Titusville.

Our train had to back all the way to West Central Ave so we could forward down the ex New York Central Line through Titusville.

The farthest our train had traveled west on this line.

We then switched the switch and began our trip down the former New York Central.

Leaving the Oil Creek & Titusville line.

Our line was one block east of the Caboose Motel.

Oil Creek & Titusville S-2 75.

Our route took us in between industries in Titusville.

You can see the Caboose Motel. We stopped across from the Titusville Junior High School for a posed photo on this former New York Central track.

Our train in Titusville.

Oil Creek & Titusville S-2 85.

A view of our train in Titusville.

Oil Creek & Titusville S-2 85. We all reboarded and our train continued down the former New York Central trackage.

We left Titusville Junior High School behind.

Our train crossed a small creek.

The decay of industry in the Northeast USA.

These tank cars at an active industry.

More industry.

Flagging the crossings for us.

More tank cars.

We ran by this siding.

The view from where we had been.

The last industry on this line east end. We all detrained for a posed picture at the east end of this rail line.

Posed pictures at the east end. We all reboarded and the train went back to the siding so the engine could run around our train.

Our engine running around the train then coming forward to couple.

The coupling of the engine to our train.

I walked to the other end of the train to take a few pictures as we headed back west on the New York Central tracks.

The industrial railroad crossing in Titusville.

Our train returned to the former Pennsylvania Railroad track which is the mainline of the Oil Creek & Titusville Railroad.

This truck is having major problems.

You can see the former New York Central tracks just to the left.

Our engineer operating our Alco switcher.

The Caboose Motel in Titusville. We pulled into the station and our engine cut off to pick up some freight cars that we would take to the interchange track at Rynd Farm when we get there later today.

The engine leaves our train.

A few minutes later it had three freight cars.

They made several moves to get the cars on the rear of our train. We would be running as a mixed train.

The engine then ran around our train again and got on the south end for our trip to Rynd Farm.

Click here for Part 2 of this story