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|This page is devoted to some of the many historical articles about railroading in the Western New York area. This installment was written by Society President and Railway Flyer editior, Ron Dukarm as it appeared in our October/November 1984 issue of the "Railway Flyer." Many more past articles will be added as time allows. So sit back, or feel free to print out, and enjoy the rich railway heritage of Western New York.|
| On September 15th and 16th, 1984, the Western New York Railway Historical Society, sponsored a major railroad exhibition at the Bethlehem Steel - Lackawanna plant. We used the entire north yard of the plant and the large structural repair shop for displays.
Amtrak also brought an entire passenger train consisting of a locomotive, diner, coach, sleeper and dinette. Bethlehem Steel and the South Buffalo Railway displayed both their standard and narrow gauge equipment. This included ALCO-S2’s, S4’s, ladle cars, torpedo cars, slag cars, snow plows and narrow gauge locomotives and rolling stock.
| This was the first and last and time this equipment could be viewed and photographed by the public. Much of this equipment was scheduled to be transferred, sold or scraped.
We also had some of our Society cars on display as well. In all, we had 50 pieces of equipment and perhaps the greatest assortment of rail cars ever seen in one setting.
In addition, there were displays by the NFTA, VIA Rail, several local short line railroads, a dozen historical societies and various railroad related industries.
The event began at 11:00 am and ran through 6:00 pm. Admission was only $2.00 for adults and $1.00 for children under 12 and $5.00 per family maximum.
Coordination was required with ten different railroads, numerous venders, a dozen exhibitors, local and plant police, attorneys, insurance brokers, the press, local government dignitaries, zoning and safety ordnances, etc, etc, etc….
Numerous thank you and acknowledgements are were in order, and with the numbers involved, I risked missing someone. But first and foremost, I must acknowledge the unrelenting and tireless efforts of my co-chairman, Don Macaluso. The hundreds of hours and scores of phone calls and letters that Don initiated were instrumental in the success of “Railroads on Parade." His assistance and encouragement kept me going when at times it seemed nothing could go right.
Secondly: I just can't properly express our appreciation and gratitude to our "hosts" for this event: Bethlehem Steel Corporation, South Buffalo Railway and Gateway Metroport. Unless one was involved with this project, it is difficult in this space to describe the support, coordination, assistance, staff hours, dollars and "faith" we received from these good neighbors in Lackawanna.
Most of these entities had never heard of us before. Our first meeting was in May, but they were willing to take a chance, and make a substantial investment in this project. Although we dealt with a dozen executives in their organizations, we especially want to acknowledge Eion T. Gordon, Mary Stremlow and Paul Pietrzak of Bethlehem Steel, Joseph Ball of the South Buffalo Railway and Irenaeus J. Yurchuk of Security Pacific Realty (Gateway Metroport).
Thirdly: the railroads and organizations. There were three railroads who moved our equipment at no charge, and their generosity was an important element in making "Railroads on Parade" possible. Our thanks go out to Joseph Ball at the South Buffalo, Edwin Winter at the Buffalo Southern Railway and Dave Daniels of the Chessie System. The foregoing also exhibited equipment in addition to the following: Canadian Pacific, Conrail, New York and Lake Erie, Genesee & Wyoming and Guilford Transportation Industries. VIA Rail, The Buffalo Chapter of the NRHS, the Cornell Chapter of the NRHS, the Erie County Preservation Coalition, the Historical Society of Dunkirk, the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, the Salamanca Rail Museum and Jerry Soltis' Steelworker's display.
A special note must be made of the contribution by Amtrak of an entire passenger train, along with a crew. Our heart-felt thanks to Tom Driggers of Amtrak and to all the railroads who contributed equipment.
Lastly, I want to personally thank all our members who volunteered to work the show and my committee chairmen who put in months of preparation. Thank you’s go to: Joe Kocsis, who spent months preparing our equipment for display, Tom Markert, who headed up the difficult task of safety, security and parking; Devan Lawton, Mel Pempsell and John Nagurney, who set up cashier and gate operations, Dave Nowakowski, who oversaw cleanup and transportation of equipment and Bob Stuhr for displays; etc...
Over 40 members contributed their time and efforts, and due to the size of the crowds, most saw almost continuous duty, with no planned reliefs. Members such as Mike Michailof and Bruce Koch, and many more too numerous to mention, who saw what needed to be done, and did it. Thank you all so very much.
"Railroads on Parade" was more than just a fundraiser or a public relations event. It was an experience which helped document some of the unique rail history of the plant before it loses its essential character. It also allowed us, the public, a rare glimpse of an institution that helped shape the history of Western New York. And it shows just what can be accomplished when everyone works together.
|1) Motive Power
|2) Passenger Equipment
|3) Freight Equipment
|4) Non-Revenue and in Plant Equipment
|To state that "Railroads on Parade" was a huge success, is an understatement. Nearly 15,000 people turned out over the two day event, to see one of the greatest varieties of rail equipment ever assembled. An added attraction was the location, the mammoth Bethlehem Steel Lackawanna plant in an area never before opened up to the public in mass. "Railroads on Parade" was the culmination of months of work, scores of meetings, hundreds of phone calls, and nearly 500 letters. As I sit back and reminisce of the thousands of smiling faces, and all the hard work put in by so many people that helped make it such a historic event, I say "It was all worth it!" Thank you once again, Sincerely, Ron.|
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