|In this part, and the concluding part, we will see how the number of trains dramatically increases at key time periods in future decades by using employee timetables.|
|THE NEW YORK CENTRAL RAILROAD COMPANY|
ERIE DIVISION - ETT 6-A - January 1st, 1918
|12:05AM||BF-1||NEW YORK-GARDENVILLE-ST. LOUIS||WEST||TUESDAY-SUNDAY|
|12:27AM||#41||NEW YORK-BOSTON-CHICAGO SPECIAL||WEST||DAILY|
|2:52AM||#16||NEW YORK-NEW ENGLAND EXPRESS||EAST||DAILY|
|3:17AM||#19||THE LAKE SHORE LIMITED||WEST||DAILY|
|5:53AM||#22||THE LAKE SHORE LIMITED||EAST||DAILY|
|7:32AM||#35||SPECIAL MAIL LIMITED||WEST||DAILY|
|9:17AM||#20||NEW YORK CENTRAL LIMITED||EAST||DAILY|
|12:42AM||#43||ST. LOUIS-CHICAGO EXPRESS||WEST||DAILY|
|1:20PM||WAY FREIGHT ERIE-WEST SENECA||EAST||MONDAY-SATURDAY|
|1:40PM||#28||NEW YORK EXPRESS||EAST||DAILY|
|2:41PM||#82||PITTSBURGH AND BUFFALO LIMITED||EAST||DAILY|
|3:10PM||THROUGH LOCAL ERIE-WEST SENECA||EAST||MONDAY-SATURDAY|
|6:00PM||WAY FREIGHT BUFFALO-ERIE||WEST||MONDAY-SATURDAY|
|6:32PM||#3||NEW YORK-CHICAGO SPECIAL||WEST||DAILY|
|7:32PM||#44||CLEVELAND-NEW YORK SPECIAL||EAST||DAILY|
|9:20PM||THROUGH LOCAL WEST SENECA-ERIE||WEST||MONDAY-SATURDAY|
|10:15PM||NY-6||ST. LOUIS - NEW YORK||EAST||DAILY|
|11:02PM||#26||THE 20TH CENTURY LIMITED||EAST||DAILY|
|11:10PM||#25||THE 20TH CENTURY LIMITED||WEST||DAILY|
|11:17PM||#12||NEW YORK AND BOSTON SPECIAL||EAST||DAILY|
| "This signal station with its 1923 cornerstone would become a landmark in the town of Hamburg, New York for railroad men, passengers, steam excursionists, and railfans for 72 years until it was torn down by Conrail in 1995. Its design was typical of the New York Central Railroad, but I don't know who designed the structure, who actually built it, or its exact date of opening. I do know however, that railroad traffic, both freight and passenger was booming during the early 1920's and the railroads were spending huge sums to upgrade and modernize their right-of-way. On September 22,1923, "The public service commission today approved the plans of the New York Central Railroad for the development of the connections between the West Shore tracks and its main line and Gardenville Branch in the town of Cheektowaga and the Village of Depew, Erie county, for the purpose of facilitating movements in the western part of the state."
An item also appeared in Railway Age magazine, the September 22, 1923 issue which read. "The New York Central has ordered from the General Railway Signal Company an electrical interlocking machine, 41 working levers, for installation at Bay View, N.Y."
|In recent conversations with Mr. Gerald E. Toomey, WNYRHS member, and retired New York Central tower operator at Bay View, New York, 1950-1965, I was able to get an insight as to what was at the tower while it was in use. The first floor contained the signal relay and switching mechanisms for the switch machine located on the second level. Also on the first floor was an oil burning furnace which had replaced the original coal furnace as evident by the coal chute located on the outside wall facing westward. The second floor of bay view tower "BV" was the command center of operations.|
|Open twenty-four hours a day, there would be one tower operator on duty for each eight hour shift. There would be the familiar tower operator sitting at his desk in the window illuminated by a lamp. At his disposal was the telegraph, teletype, telephone, and speaker box with the dispatcher at Erie, PA., which was the CTC control point for the entire "Erie Division." Mounted on the roof and coming down past the overhang were wires connected to a signal light which displayed yellow for train orders, or displayed blue indicating car pickup or setout at Seneca Yard.|
|Outside of the tower, was the four track mainline. Numbered 4,2,1,3, going from east to west, tracks numbered 2 and 1 being the high-speed tracks, and tracks numbered 4 and 3 for slower traffic, as well as the connection to and from the Gardenville Yard. (see track chart insert).|
|There was also a manually operated switch immediately south of the tower which was used infrequently by both the Nickel Plate and Central as a bypass in the event or a derailment or some other unusual circumstance. In front of the tower were also high-speed crossover switch tracks to speed traffic along without any delays if congestion in and out of Buffalo or to and from the Gardenville Yard.|
| Just northwest of "BV" Tower you can today see two telephone poles side by side with a crossbeam. It was here where a high-car detector device was placed after an incident in which an extra high vehicle on the top level of an autorack car was riding in the days before they were fully enclosed and it didn't quite make it under the Tifft Street highway overpass. Oops!
By 1930, when the Bay View Tower that we remember was seven years old, there were within a twenty-four hour period 83 scheduled trains. Not counting extra sections of passenger trains, and the adjacent Nickel Plate and Pennsylvania Railroad traffic this meant over 100 trains crossing Bay View Road. Quite a traffic increase from 54 trains in 1918 and 67 trains in 1924.
|THE NEW YORK CENTRAL RAILROAD COMPANY|
ERIE DIVISION - ETT #32 - September 28th, 1930
|12:03AM||#26||THE 20TH CENTURY LIMITED||EAST||DAILY|
|12:11AM||#25||THE 20TH CENTURY LIMITED||WEST||DAILY|
|12:30AM||ADV-NY6||ST. LOUIS-EAST BUFFALO-NEW YORK||EAST||DAILY|
|12:30AM||#15||THE OHIO STATE LIMITED||WEST||DAILY|
|1:40AM||#67||THE COMMODORE VANDERBILT||WEST||DAILY|
|2:32AM||#68||THE COMMODORE VANDERBILT||EAST||DAILY|
|3:34AM||#11||THE SOUTHWESTERN LIMITED||WEST||DAILY|
|3:42AM||#142||THE PRAIRIE STATE||EAST||DAILY|
|4:06AM||#19||THE LAKE SHORE LIMITED||WEST||DAILY|
|4:30AM||NY-6||ST. LOUIS-EAST BUFFALO-NEW YORK||EAST||DAILY|
|4:45AM||SB-4||COLLINWOOD-EAST BUFFALO-NEW YORK||EAST||DAILY|
|5:23AM||#22||THE LAKE SHORE LIMITED||EAST||DAILY|
|6:27AM||#18||HUDSON RIVER EXPRESS||EAST||DAILY|
|7:00AM||E-12||LOCAL ERIE-EAST BUFFALO||EAST||MONDAY-SATURDAY|
|8:55AM||#40||NORTH SHORE LIMITED||EAST||DAILY|
|12:27PM||#60||CLEVELAND BUFFALO SPECIAL||EAST||DAILY|
|1:23PM||#43||SOUTH SHORE EXPRESS||WEST||DAILY|
|1:57PM||#56||THE DEWITT CLINTON||EAST||DAILY|
|3:47PM||#82||PITTSBURGH AND BUFFALO LIMITED||EAST||DAILY|
|4:38PM||#83||EMPIRE STATE EXPRESS||WEST||DAILY|
|5:34PM||#91||FOREST CITY SPECIAL||WEST||DAILY|
|7:00PM||BF-NY4||ST. LOUIS - GARDENVILLE - NEW YORK||EAST||DAILY|
|7:00PM||GP-3||GARDENVILLE - PITTSBURGH||WEST||DAILY|
|8:35PM||NY-10||CHICAGO - GARDENVILLE||EAST||DAILY|
|9:15PM||BS-3||GARDENVILLE - CLEVELAND||WEST||DAILY|
|9:30PM||XB-4||ELKHART - EAST BUFFALO||EAST||THURSDAY - SUNDAY|
|9:44PM||#4||NEW YORK LIMITED||EAST||DAILY|
|9:45PM||BF-1||NEW YORK - GARDENVILLE - ST. LOUIS||WEST||DAILY|
|10:08PM||#39||NORTH SHORE LIMITED||WEST||DAILY|
|10:20PM||XN-2||CHICAGO - EAST BUFFALO - NEW YORK||EAST||DAILY|
|10:35PM||#6||FIFTH AVENUE SPECIAL||EAST||DAILY|
|10:45PM||ED-10||COLLINWOOD - GARDENVILLE - DEWITT||EAST||DAILY|
|11:00PM||PS-10||YOUNGSTOWN - SENECA||EAST||DAILY|
|11:09PM||#38||ADVANCE 20TH CENTURY LIMITED||EAST||DAILY|
|11:15PM||LS-1||NEW YORK - GARDENVILLE - CHICAGO||WEST||DAILY|
|11:27PM||#37||ADVANCE 20TH CENTURY LIMITED||WEST||DAILY|
|11:38PM||#12||THE SOUTHWESTERN LIMITED||EAST||DAILY|
| BAY VIEW "BV" Tower was also synonymous with one of the greatest spectacles in the annals of railroading, as it was here that the "Greatest Train in the World", both Eastbound and Westbound, sections of the "20TH CENTURY LIMITED" would "PASS IN THE NIGHT" as they sped toward their destinations in New York City or Chicago.
First inaugurated on June 15, 1902, it had gone through numerous schedule changes until its demise on December 3, 1967. The era between November 1912 and April 1932, had the Centuries scheduled to pass by the tower at 12:03 am eastbound and 12:11 am westbound with an eight minute interval in between. But, the Centuries often were ran in two and three sections in each direction. Sometimes, four or even five sections were not uncommon. On January 11, 1926, "The Century operated in seven eastbound sections and Detroiter in four eastbound sections in conjunction with the New York Auto Show."
The New York Central railroad referred to the 60 minutes prior to departure from Grand Central terminal or LaSalle street station as "The Century Hour" as those paying a $10 surcharge would be arriving at the depot to check-in, and board the train while a flurry of redcap activity and photographers in search of celebrities ensued. This was no ordinary train, but the flagship of "The Great Steel Fleet," and to be a patron of this extra-fare, extra-service train was a status symbol of its day from the ordinary businessman to those making the news headlines. You had arrived!
Bay View tower had its own "Century Hour" as nothing else was scheduled between 12:03 and 12:30 a.m. You can almost visualize a hot summer night in 1930 as the air is warm with little breeze coming off the lake as this beacon of civilization near a dimly lit country road waits in anticipation. The switches are aligned, the telegraph is silent. Outside the only sound is that of a cricket and a bullfrog in the nearby ditch. The bell rings signaling the approach of a train! The adrenaline is flowing! The headlight of the first section pierces the night as the whistle blares for the bay view road crossing. The second and third sections follow about a minute apart each with green flags flying. You get a glimpse of the illuminated open platform observation cars as they pass by with their red marker lamps and lit blue and white tail signs "20th Century Limited." You hear the third eastbound section blow his whistle at Milestrip road crossing around the bend as he salutes the first westbound section which will shortly come into view. Two more will follow behind him. Indeed, this was Bay View.
In the ensuing years, the century would be streamlined in 1938, and later again in 1948. According to NYC Ett #57 issued 06/27/1943 at the height of World War II eastbound #26 passed Bay View Tower at 1:05 am and #25 westbound passed at 1:30 a.m. NYC Ett #76 issued 09/26/1954 showed the times as #26 eastbound at 1:21 am, and 1:43 am westbound for #25. By 1964, NYC Ett #16 "Lake Division" formerly "Erie Division" indicated the times past Bay View as #26 eastbound at 1:37 am, and #25 westbound at 1:45 am.
During the World War II years, Gardenville Yard continued to be of strategic importance in facilitating freight traffic and helping to win the war effort employee timetable #57 "Erie Division," dated June 27, 1943 showed that 11 of 12 westbound (scheduled) freight trains daily came over the Gardenville Branch by way of Bay View. The 12th westbound freight train being a Tuesday through Sunday run from east Buffalo to Cleveland. All freight traffic eastbound during this time 12 (scheduled), utilized the east Buffalo railyard. The 13th train was a (scheduled) Erie-Gardenville Tuesday through Sunday operation. In addition, there were 23 westbound and 23 eastbound (scheduled) passenger trains daily passing by Bay View or "BV" tower. This amounted to 71 trains in a twenty-four hour period! Its not known how many troop train or war material trains were operated daily as needed, but they could have easily boosted the total to around 100! By moving westbound freight traffic through Gardenville, and eastbound traffic through East Buffalo, the New York Central kept trains rolling with little chance of a bottleneck.
In post-war Western New York in the late 1940's, Gardenville continued to be an important yard and bypass route around the city of Buffalo. "climaxing years of exhaustive tests, the New York Central railroad yesterday (march 19, 1947) placed in operation radio equipment permitting two-way communication between engine and train crews and the yardmaster at the Gardenville"hump." It marked the first installation of its kind on the central system and in Buffalo railroad yards. The hump yardmaster can talk directly to the engineer anywhere in the Gardenville yards" The diesel could be as far away as ten miles and still receive orders."
In a preliminary test at Central Terminal, V.C. Chappell, engineer for the General Railway Signal Co., Rochester, seated in a station-wagon equipped with a portable set, succeeded in contacting the hump. He said "reception was very good." the wagon was parked on Curtiss Street. The test was significant because of the distance between the terminal and Gardenville.
Quoting I.F. Nash, trainmaster regarding the first ever successful two-way radio communication with engineer Frank Shilling, "the communication system is one of numerous steps in a general modernization program to speed up operations on the railroad. One other diesel engine is nearly fully equipped, and three others are in the process of being equipped." call letters of the new system, licensed to operate on a frequency of 160.41 megacycles, are "WNYH." The equipment installed here by the Rochester firm is the result of tests conducted in the yards at Selkirk. Both Selkirk and the DeWitt yards will shortly have the two-way communication system in effect, we have come a long way in 50 years!
On March 1, 1952, the New York Central railroad announced a $1,000,000 modernization program for Gardenville yard which would be completed in about one years time, included were a huge turning "Y" for diesel locomotives, a 1,000,000 million gallon fuel storage tank, fuel station, pump house, tracks for diesel storage, refueling, and inspection. Also included, was an inspection building and a 60 room, two-story "YMCA."
By 1954, changes were taking place all along the New York Central railroad. ETT #76 "Erie Division" dated 09/26/54 listed 22 westbound and 21 eastbound passenger trains daily past Bay View "BV" tower. Thirteen westbound freights were scheduled all by way of Gardenville, and 13 eastbound freights were shown, of which 6 were by way of Gardenville. One of these eastbound symbol freight trains was "ON-2 Pacemaker" going past "BV" tower daily at 3 PM.
In 1918 the "Erie Division" of the New York Central railroad had 19 interlocking signal stations between Buffalo and Cleveland. Technological advances in signaling and communications enabled the railroad to eliminate 4 of these towers during the 1930's. Gone were Lake View (RD), Silver Creek (MN), Canadaway-Brigham road (CA), North East (N), and Amboy (J). Girard Junction (GJ) remained open into the 1940's. The remaining 14 towers "open day and night" would last into the 1950's. There's an old adage, "nothing endures but change," this is especially true on the railroad. With Alfred E. Perlman elected president in 1954, the winds of change were blowing.
During his tenure as president of the New York Central Railroad (1954-1968) Alfred Edward Perlman (1902-1983) had the formidable task of turning around a bankrupt, but didn't know it, railroad back into solvency. Alfred Perlman's credo was: "all it takes is common sense and modern equipment." ref. 1
He turned around Vanderbilt's paradise lost into a lean, aggressive plant He heretically substituted reverse-signaled CTC double track for Central's cherished four-track mains, introduced 70-mph Flexi-Vans to fight off truckers, sublimated the road's passenger orientation, replaced across-the-board rate hikes with marketing strategy, and defied politics who mistreated the rai1road . ref. 1
When Alfred E. Perlman took command of the New York Central presidency in 1954, he began the transformation of the road from a passenger-oriented line built essentially for nineteenth-century purposes into a lean physical plant. One of his first duties was to tour the property. The Central was more passenger orientated than he had realized. There were a dozen passenger stations the size of St. Patricks cathedral and just as costly to heat. The freight tracks on the main line, in poor repair and signaled for thirty miles an hour, were incapable of providing a competitive freight service. West of Buffalo, along the south shore of Lake Erie where the Central and Nickel Plate ran side by side, the Nickel Plate's short, fast freights went darting past the Perlman inspection train on their lean, well-signaled single track line in a dazzling display of technological superiority, an embarassment made even greater because they were pulled by steam locomotives. ref. 2
Web Site Hosting by TRAIN WEB The WNYRHS, Inc., 100 Lee Street, Buffalo, NY. 14210 is an independent organization and has no affiliation with any other local or national group.
The Society is a fully qualified organization under 501 (C) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code and all donations to the Society are tax deductible.
©Copyright 1999 , WNYRHS Inc. all rights reserved
The WNYRHS, Inc., 100 Lee Street, Buffalo, NY. 14210 is an independent organization and has no affiliation with any other local or national group.