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Historian's Corner GIF This page is devoted to some of the many historical articles about railroading in the Western New York area. Many railroads, people, structures and events all have made our local news. This installment written by Committee Chairman Joe Kocsis highlights the 3rd meeting of the Buffalo & Susquehanna Railway Symposium. So sit back and read about the rich railway heritage of Western New York.
Buffalo & Susquehanna Railway Symposium
By Joe Kocsis

The Heritage Discovery Center hosted a weekend-long symposium on August 2nd - 4th, 2019, to explore the fascinating history of the Buffalo & Susquehanna Railway's Buffalo Extension and the involvement of the Goodyear Brothers. This was the last major railroad to reach Buffalo in 1906 and the first to be abandoned and scrapped in 1917.

This was the third installment of the Symposium with the first two delving into the history of the railroad, coal and lumber interests of the Goodyears in Northwestern Pennsylvania. After nearly a year of planning, a group of nearly 60 historians came together at the Heritage Discovery Center in August to learn about the intricacies of the construction, operation and eventual demise of the B&S Railway's 85-mile extension of the railroad from Wellsville to Buffalo.

Our Symposium weekend started out on Friday, August 2nd, with an all-day bus/rail tour over the Arcade & Attica and Buffalo Southern Railroad. Our charter bus departed from the museum at 8am for our first stop at North Java to ride over the line of the Arcade & Attica RR from North Java to Arcade Jct. This railroad was once controlled by the Goodyear Family interests and part of the line between Arcade and the junction is actually former B&S Railway trackage.

The train stopped at the Curriers Depot to allow passengers to photograph the train and tour the depot displays. We continued on to the Arcade Depot for another stop for the passengers to visit the A&A's Gift Shop. Reboarding our special train, we travelled past the A&A engine house, the former B&S depot on Park Street, and over the former B&S track to Arcade Junction.

At 12:30, after distributing our boxed lunches, (Thanks to Devan Lawton & Caryl Youngers), our bus, with 48 passengers, traveled west to North Collins for our next train ride over the former Erie Buffalo & Southwestern Division.. We arrived at the boarding site in North Collins just as the Buffalo, Cattaraugus & Jamestown Scenic Ry train was backing in to pick up our passengers.

At 12:30, after distributing our boxed lunches, our bus, with 48 passengers, traveled west to North Collins for our next train ride over the former Erie Buffalo & Southwestern Division.. We arrived at the boarding site in North Collins just as the Buffalo, Cattaraugus & Jamestown Scenic Railway train was backing in to pick up our passengers.

Several passengers were already onboard the train riding down from Hamburg. The train, owned and operated by the BC&J, operates special excursions over the Buffalo Southern Railroad using BSOR locomotives and crews. Today, BSOR Alco #1847 was to pull our four-car train north over this former Erie trackage to the end of the line at Buffalo Creek Jct. (CP DRAW) in Buffalo.

Our interest in train ride over the Buffalo Southern was the fact that for a short time in 1906, before the B&S RY track construction was completed in Buffalo, the B&S trains used trackage rights over the Erie RR from Goodyear Jct, located just north of the current Hamburg Fairgrounds to gain access to their yards in Blasdell, and also used the Erie's Passenger Station on Exchange Street for their passenger trains.

Once the connection to the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern was completed at Milestrip Road in Blasdell, the B&S trains used their own trackage from Hamburg to Buffalo. The bridge abutments that carried the B&S line over the Erie at Hamburg are still there, just a short distance from the Fairgrounds Road crossing. Our train continued north on the line to Buffalo passing the Eden & Hamburg Depots on our way to Buffalo Creek Junction.

At Lake Avenue in Blasdell, the train stopped and waited for our green signal allowing our train to pass over the diamond at old GB Jct where the Erie line crossed at grade over the old Pennsylvania and Nickel Plate Road mainline now operated by Norfolk Southern. After a 20-minute wait, were received permission to continue our train ride to Buffalo. Once we crossed the diamonds, the engine ran around the train and pushed us the rest of the way to the junction where the BSOR interchanges with the Class 1 railroads.

Arriving back at Hamburg, we board our bus for the quick trip back to the museum and a picnic cookout.

On Saturday & Sunday, our activities were centered at the HDC. A big thank you to all the speakers for their great presentations on the history of the Goodyears, the railway construction, the founding of their steel plant, construction of the Union Ship Canal, as well as a short presentation on the B&S Steamship Co. that they formed to ship coal & coke across the Great Lakes, as well as their Mining and Lumber interest in Minnesota & Louisiana. The discussions were lively and as many questions were answered, more questions arose about this fascinating line.

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