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        "Buffalo to Corning
       behind E-8's 1987"

by: John Baker

         On October 10th & 11th and again on the 17th & 18th the Western New York Railway Historical Society ran four very successful diesel powered rail excursions from Buffalo to Corning, New York. Over 3,500 people participated in these "Glass City Limited" trips and from all reports received, they had a most enjoyable time.

All the trips departed promptly at 7:15 am. from Buffalo's Exchange Street Station proceeding Eastbound. The passengers watched the skyline of Buffalo fade into the distance with dawn's first light adding to the scene. Traveling past the old Central Terminal, many passengers remembered past departures from that grand old station. Within a few minutes our fifteen car train, powered by two forme r Pennsylvania Railroad "E-8" diesels, was speeding past Amtrak's Depew station causing astonished glances from passengers awaiting Amtrak "H-62," the Niagara Rainbow, which was only a few minutes behind us.

At this time our Premium Service passengers were being served a full breakfast and in our 1st class coach passengers were receiving a complimentary coffee and danish. Proceeding east at between 60 to 70 mph we watched Batavia and Corfu, N.Y. slip past. East of Rochester we slowed down and switched on to the trackage of the former West Shore Railroad so that we might pick up the 350 passengers from Rochester that boarded each of the trips in Henrietta, N.Y. After the brief boarding stop, we continued our easterly journey rejoining the Conrail Main line and traveling toward Lyons, N.Y.

At Lyons we slowed again to leave the former N.Y.C. main and started our journey south toward Corning, N.Y. Within a few minutes we were passing through Geneva, N.Y., which hasn't seen a passenger train in approximately 30 years. Each of the four trips produced a larger audience in this small city. On the second trip our train crew was considerate enough to give the TV crew from Rochester a run past there after they left the train for their return to Rochester.

Just after the city of Geneva, following the Corning secondary trackage we rode along the western shore of Seneca Lake heading for Dresden, N.Y. The fall colors were at their peak for all our trips and passengers were treated to some beautiful scenery during this portion of the trip . As we proceeded upgrade and began to travel away from the lake, passengers were able to look down on the lake and the beautiful valley that it rests in.

At the foot of Seneca Lake our train slowed down and we proceeded slowly across the Watkins Glen tressle. About 200 feet below, the winding Glen was visible in all its fall foliage splender, backed up by the huge rock formations with the walking trails and the amazed hikers waving at our train high overhead. Proceeding south, we passed through Beaver Dams, N.Y. and then slipped gently down grade to arrive in Corning at 12:30 p.m.

In Corning passengers left the train and boarded waiting busses and proceeded to the Corning Glass Works and Factory or a leisurely stroll along Market Street among the various shops and restaurants that abound there. The friendly and interested people of Corning were at trackside in large numbers to inspect and photograph our excursion train as it waited for passengers to return. Our returning passengers were full of fascinating tales of the different sights, sounds and foods they had enjoyed while in Corning.

Our train departed promptly at 4:00 pm with the exception of the first trip which departed at 4:30 pm. The later departure was arranged with Conrail as we arrived in Corning slightly behind schedule. After departing Corning we were riding on the former Erie Railroad main west to Hornell. Traveling through the valley of the Canisteo River passengers were treated to some more fall scenery at its finest. Brilliant fall colors covered the hills as we proceeded northwest toward Buffalo. At Hornell, the former Erie shops were to be seen surrounded by New York City subway cars that are rebuilt there.

Still heading northwest, we quickly covered the 30 miles to the high bridge over the Genessee River at Letchworth Park. Our train slowed to a crawl to give all passengers a long look at the magnificent view of the gorge and the Genesee River Falls well over 200 feet below. Many of the passengers said that this single scenic portion of the day was the high point of the entire trip. Certainly the view from the bridge high over the Genesee is breathtaking and must be seen to be appreciated.

About dusk we passed the village of Warsaw which was lit up in the valley below us, we then turned westward on the last leg of our journey back to Buffalo. Passing through Attica with the lights of the prison plainly in view we decided that no passenger stop would be made there, Ha! Our twin E- 8 diesel engines seemed to pull us effortlessly up the steepest grade of the trip from Attica to Darien, N.Y.

Soon passengers began to notice familiar landmarks as we passed through the towns of Alden and Lancaster east of Buffalo. We soon passed under Transit Road, the New York Thruway, then slowing down we passed through the former Bison Yard and the smaller S-K yard that serves as horne to Gilford lines in Buffalo. Because of our tight schedule caused by some freigh delays, we we re backed into the Exchange Street Station to conclude our first trip. However, this was not the case with the other three trips. On these trips we were pulled through Erie Jct. and then east toward Central Terminal. Then passing through the former station, Conrail ran us around Buffalo on the Belt Line to avoid the lenghty back-up move into Exchange Street . Passengers were treated to sights all around Buffalo that are seldom if ever seen by the general public. The grand finale to the whole trip was traveling along the Niagara River passing under the Peace Bridge with the lights of Fort Erie reflecting in the waters. With the night skyline of Buffalo approaching rapidly we quickly passed into the tunnel under Main Street in Bufalo and emerged slowing for the Exchange Street station immediately ahead of us.

Passengers were detrained quickly and within a short time. The Rochester passengers were loaded on the waiting busses and were speeding home on the last leg of their journey. Our train was then pulled out of the station to clear the way for Amtrak which was due shortly after 9:00 p.m. The trips were a grand success and all those who helped can be proud of their part in helping the WNYRHS show how superior, high caliber trips are run by our society.

In our October/NovemberJuly “Railway Flyer” 1987.

by: Dave Nowalowski - WNYRHS President

       This past October was a great month for the Society starting with our very successful "Glass City Limited" trips.

Unfortunately, due to my busy schedule, I was only able to make the final trip to Corning. I did however manage to get reports on the trips from passengers on the previous trips who reported how wonderful the trips were and how great our Society members were.

Hats off to Chairman Tom Stackhouse and Joe Kocsis for a job well done on all the trips. Although the schedule was set many months ago, some problems did crop up but the Trip Committee took care of these and every trip left on time.

Also, thanks go to Ed Rost and his Car Committe, who not only got our passenger cars ready but also serviced the leased cars both before and during the trips. Another well done to Jim Slominski and Mike Michailof who took care of our Society Store and to Jim Szymanski and his Safety Crew, they never looked better or came more prepared.

Another hats off to Don Macaluso and the Publicity Committee and especially to Bill Lacey of WBEN and the Buffalo News for the articles on the excursions. Thank you all! Till next time, Dave Nowakowski

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