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by: Aaron Heverin
         This is going Wayyy back... to 1887, long before the modern railroad we know by the same name today. The "Western New York and Pennsylvania Railroad" was a railroad located in New York and Pennsylvania. Incorporated as the Western New York and Pennsylvania "Railroad" Company from the reorganization of the Western New York & Pennsylvania "Railway" Companies of New York and Pennsylvania. But, before that, specifically before it became the "Pennsylvania Railroad," it was the Western New York & Pennsyvania "Railway" Company.

         But before that, there are more transitions to contend with, the "Buffalo & Washington Railroad"... That name was changed to the "Buffalo New York & Philadelphia Railway" which existed until 1887 when it became the "Western New York & Pennsyvania Railroad Company." The line stayed the WNY&PRY until roughly 1900 when it became part of the Pennsylvania Railroad.

         From its City of Buffalo terminus, the "Buffalo and Washington Railway," was incorporated on April 18th, 1866 [1] and opened its line to East Aurora, New York in February 1868. [2] [8]

By September 15th, 1870, the rails reached South Wales. [3]

On April 12th, 1871 its name was changed to the Buffalo, New York and Philadelphia Railway. [4] [5]
To the right is a beautiful BNY&P brass top, bellbottom lantern that was for sale in 2001. Sale price is unknown.

The line was extended to Emporium, Pennsylvania in 1872, completing the line between Buffalo and Harrisburg. Reorganization and mergers of the line saw it incorporated on November 28th, 1887 to the Western New York and Pennsylvania "Railroad" Company. [6]

On March 18, 1895 the line became the Western New York and Pennsylvania "Railway" Company. [7]
The map on the right shows how the WNY&P made its way from Buffalo down to Emporium Pennsylvania and connected to other existing Pennsylvania lines by 1900.

The WNY&PRY was acquired and leased by the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1900 and merged into the "Penndel Company" in 1955. [8] [9]

The newest piece of the Buffalo Line was opened in 1909 running from the old main line at Gardenville southwest to Seneca Yard. [10]

The Buffalo, New York & Philadelphia Railway facilities were located in roughly the same spot the Pennsylvania Railroad used until they were absorbed into the Penn Central. The photo shows the BNY&P facilities at Alabama & Exchange Streets. At the corner of Louisiana & Exchange Streets was a passenger station with a freight station at the corner of Carroll and Louisiana Street. The map shows the BNY&P property labeled accordingly, with individual buildings showing up as B&W RR.

The BNY&P property extended from Louisiana to Alabama Streets. Later on, the PRR would build divisional offices and a larger freight terminal. For the longest time, enormous concrete bumpers lined either side of this block of land unit they were eventually removed except for one which is still located at the corner of Seneca and Louisiana Streets. Each one said “PRR 1918” on them.

Obviously, this is way before our time. However, it’s another railroad that served Buffalo in the 19th century and helped to make the city a major transportation hub of both merchandise and passengers. And given the fact that the trackage used by the Buffalo New York & Philadelphia Railway is pretty much the same trackage used by the PRR later on and Norfolk Southern today. It’s entirely possible that some part of the roadbed still exists... if you dig deep enough.

One more side note, the  Western New York & Pennsylvania Railroad was reborn in 2001 after concluding a long term lease with Norfolk Southern in the southern tier of New York and northern Pennsylvania. It operates as limited liability company, controlled by the Livonia, Avon & Lakeville Railroad Corp. of Lakeville, NY. It’s nice to see history repeat itself with such a successful road.


         [1] The Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society - Pennsylvania Railroad Chronology April 18th, 1866
         [2] The Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society - Pennsylvania Railroad Chronology February 1868
         [3] The Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society - Pennsylvania Railroad Chronology Fall 1870
         [4] The Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society - Pennsylvania Railroad Chronology April 12th, 1871
         [5] Dunn, Edward T. (2000). A History of Railroads in Western New York. Canisius College Press. p. 149.
         [6] The Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society - Pennsylvania Railroad Chronology November 28th, 1887
         [7] The Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society - Pennsylvania Railroad Chronology March 18th, 1895
         [8] Schotter (1927). The Growth and Development of the Pennsylvania Railroad 1846–1926. Philadelphia, PA: Allen, Lane & Scott. p. 279.
         [9] "Pennsylvania In Control; Acquires the Western New York and Pennsylvania Railway." The New York Times. 27 May 1900.
         [10] "Railroad Grows; Western New York & Pennsylvania Reports Increase of $2,699,918." The New York Times. 11 May 1922.

Editors Note:

My thanks to Aaron Heverin for allowing me to use his research to develop this history of the evolution
of one of Buffalo's historic railroads who's rails still exist today. Scott H.

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