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WNYRHS RAILROAD HISTORY


Historian's Corner GIF BUFFALO & WESTERN NEW YORK
RAILROAD HISTORY


This page is devoted to some of the many historical articles about railroading in the Western New York area. Many railroads, people, accidents, structures and events all have made our local news both good and bad over the years. Below are many articles written by our WNYRHS Historian, Greg Jandura and others. So sit back and read or print out and enjoy the rich railway heritage of Western New York.

 ACCIDENTS   EVENTS   PEOPLE   RAILROADS   RAILFAN TRIPS   STRUCTURES 


ACCIDENTS
LOCATION DATE(S) CONTENT PUBLISHED
Western New York 1880  "All In One Day"  by the Buffalo Morning Express. November 27, 1890 is one day that will long be remembered in the annals of local railroad history. It was on that eventful date, which no less than four accidents occurred on as many railroads serving Buffalo. 1880 Buffalo
Morning
Express
Springville, NY.
Sharp Street
B&O Railroad
1934  "Calamity at the Crossing"  by Greg Jandura. On a bitterly cold day in January, 1934
a school bus had an encounter with a freight train at a grade crossing in Springville,
New York. Luckily there were no fatalities, but some required hospitalization.
2000
Greg Jandura
WNYRHS
East Aurora, NY.
Elm Street
WNY&P RR.
1893  "Into the Pit"  by Greg Jandura. On July 18th 1983, two steam engines hit head-on,
one pulling a 12 car excursion train. and tumbled into a turntable pit in the center of
East Aurora, New York. Luckily there were no fatalities, but many were injured.
2001
Greg Jandura
WNYRHS
Angola, NY.
New York
and Hudson
River RR.
1867  "The Angola Horror"  by Greg Jandura. One of our nations worst railroad disasters
took place on December 18th, 1867. The last car of a seven car NY&HR Railroad
express train jumped the track and tumbled into the freezing waters of Big Sister
Creek. 39 people perished that day and many more were gravely injured.
2009
Greg Jandura
WNYRHS


EVENTS
LOCATION DATE(S) CONTENT PUBLISHED
Buffalo
New York
1944-1945  "The Blizzard of Buffalo - 1945"  It happened at the height of World War II. On the
evening of December 11th, 1944 the snow started to fall. Every railroad in the city was
unable to move one car. Shovels were no match for mother nature with every able bodied
man helping. Finally on January 8th, 1945, the War Department came to the rescue.
1945
Cpt. John
W. Lovell
Lackawanna
New York
1984  "Railroads on Parade"  Through the efforts of over a hundred people, the WNYRHS put on a railroad show like no other. 50 pieces of real railroad equipment were put on display at the massive Bethlehem Steel plant. Over 15,000 people attended the two day event. 1984
Ron Dukarm
Buffalo, NY.
PanAmerican
Exposion
May-November
1901  "The Pan-American Exposition - 1901"  Through the collaboration of many railroads, millions of people came and went to Buffalo over the seven month run of the Exposition. Many railroads built fine terminals to handle the passenger flow. Greg Jandura does a wonderful job of how the overwhelming success of 1901 Pan-Am was due in part to the railroads of Western New York. 2001
Greg Jandura
Williamsville, New York 2004  "Horn & Whistle Blow - 2004"  On August 7th, 2004 at the Williamsville, New York - Lehigh Valley Depot, many WNYRHS members and visitors were treated to the sounds of real locomotive Horns and Whistles. 2004
WNYRHS
Buffalo, NY.
Heritage
Discovery
Center
August 2nd-4th
2019
 "Buffalo & Susquehanna Railway Symposium"  This was the third installment of the B&S Symposium. 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 the demise of the B&S Railway from Wellsville to Buffalo. 2019
Joe Kocsis


RAILROAD PEOPLE

PERSON

DATE(S)

CONTENT

PUBLISHED

John L. Kroll 1939  "A Medal for Heroism"  John L. Kroll, a 42 year-old Erie Railroad crossing watchman, was awarded a bronze medal by the Carnegie Hero Fund for his daring rescue to save the life of a seven year-old Niagara Falls lad from the path of a freight train. 2004
Greg Jandura
WNYRHS
George J. Daly 1922 "Terror on the Trestle"  It happened May 19th, 1922. 29 year old George J. Daly, of 638 McKinley Parkway, an instructor at the Collins Street playground, observed the peril of three lads on the tracks and ran to their rescue saving two. 2005
Greg Jandura
WNYRHS
Edward J. Haley 1922 "The Railroad Engineer"  Edward J. Haley stopped his last train on March 30th, 1922. Upon reaching his 70 year old age limit, it was time for Ed to retire. Read about his fascinating 48 years behind the throttle. 2006
Greg Jandura
WNYRHS
Devan Lawton 2014 "45 Years At The Throttle"  Local engineer, photographer, historian and patron, Devan Lawton stopped his last train on January 30, 2014. After a fascinating career working for six different railroads, Devan felt he was ready to "pull the pin." Read about his fascinating 45 years at the throttle. 2014
David Hamilton
KL&L
Buffalo, NY.
HDC
2016  "Heritage Discovery Center Research Library"  Our collections of material run the gamut from people, railroads, steel plants, marine and genealogical items. As of this year, we have processed into a database, over 10,000 railroad employee names. Our hours are Tues, Thurs, and Saturday from 10am to 5pm. Please make an appointment by eMail. 2016
Ed Patton
 Warren A Schutt 1909-1944 "Erie Railroad and Combat Engineer"  by Ed Patton. This is a brief glimpse into the WNYRHS collection of personnel records from the Erie RR, the EL RR. and the NYC RR. Our HDC Librarian shares the story of a local man who became a railroader, and then died serving our country as a Combat Engineer in 1944. 2016
Edward Patton
HDC


RAILROADS
LOCATION DATE(S) CONTENT PUBLISHED
Retsof, NY. 1899-1983  "GENESEE & WYOMING RAILROAD - A GREAT LITTLE RAILROAD"  In 1859 the largest rock salt deposit in the free world was discovered in Retsof, New York. From this discovery sprand the need for a railroad to move this valuable commodity. In 1983, Genesee & Wyoming Industries Inc. created a brochure to highlight their history and services. This is a very informative history of the railroad. 1983
GWI Inc.
Arcade, NY. 1917-1985  "ARCADE & ATTICA RAILROAD"  Having roots all the way back to 1836, since 1917, the A&A has been a little "shortline" railroad that never gave up. Without question, the A&A has been a WNY treasure and a place to go back in time and get a glimpse of what life was like on the railroad a long time ago. 1985
John Baker
Buffalo, NY.
to NYC.
1852-1971  "THE TRAINS WE RODE - BUFFALO TO NEW YORK CITY"  Before the Thruway and the jet airplane took the business away, the most important passenger rail market in New York was the Buffalo to New York City market. Over 170-odd years, eight different railroads developed to serve this crucial market. 2009 -
rev. 2019
Donald L.
Pevsner
Buffalo, NY. 1866-1900  "BUFFALO, NEW YORK & PHILADELPHIA RAILWAY" Way before Norfolk Southern, Conrail, Penn Central and the Pennsylvania Railroads there were five different railroads that created the tracks we know today. The city of Buffalo was the terminus for the start of all of them. 2020 -
rev. 2021
Aaron Heverin


RAILFAN TRIPS
LOCATION DATE(S) CONTENT PUBLISHED
Arcade Jct. to North Java, NY May 16th, 1981  "A&A 1st Railfan Day""- A&A #18 1981 - Ron Dukarm
Gowanda to Salamanca, New York August, 1981  "1st Fall Foilage Railfan Trip" - NY&LE #75 1981 - John Baker
Arcade Jct. to North Java, NY May 22nd, 1982  "2nd A&A Railfan Trip" - A&A #14 1982 - John Baker
Gowanda to Salamanca, New York Oct 9th & 10th, 1982  "2nd Fall Foilage Railfan Trip" - NY&LE #75 1982 - John Baker
Orchard Park to Altoona, PA. April 30th, 1983  "Altoona Railfan Bus Trip" 1983 - John Baker
Arcade Jct. to North Java, NY May 21st, 1983  "3rd A&A Railfan Trip" - A&A #14 1983 - John Baker
Bethlehem Steel Plant, NY September 13th, 1984  "The Lackawanna Limited" 1984 - Vickie Twarog
Bison Yard to Corning, NY June 8th & 9th, 1985  "Glass City Limited"  - NKP #765 1985 - Dave Nowakowski


STRUCTURES
LOCATION DATE(S) CONTENT PUBLISHED
Machias, NY.
Machias
Junction
BR&P Rwy
1882-1983  "Machias Junction Razed"  Machias Junction was the main cross point and the most
important operations center for all of the trains running between Buffalo and Eldred,
PA. on the North-South Pennsylvania Railroad line and the East-West, Buffalo, Rochester
& Pittsburgh Railway line. On December 20th, 1983, the Depot was gone.
1984
Pat Vadney
Bayview, NY.
Bayview
Tower
NYC&HRR
1898-1995  "Bayview Tower" Bay View tower was the point between the Buffalo terminal
division and the Erie division; there was a connecting track between the New York Central
and the Nickel Plate Road, which was used as a bypass if traffic had to get around a derailment. It was the demarcation between lines east and west
2000
Greg Jandura
Mendon, NY.
Rochester
Jct. Lehigh
Valley
1892-1976  "Rochester Junction"  by Paul Worboy. Rochester Junction was 13 1/2 miles
due south of the City of Rochester and surrounded by bucolic farms, forests
and streams. It was the Lehigh's north/south connection to midstate New York.
The junction was in operation for almost 90 years until Conrail took over.
2002
Paul Worboy
Buffalo, NY.
Buffalo
Central
Terminal
1929-2004  "Buffalo's Towering Temple Of Transportation" In 1929 the New York Central Railroad
opened the iconic Buffalo Central Terminal to crowds of cheering Buffaloians. For 50
years, this stately building would see millions of people from all over the globe. Read
this comprehensive story of how the Terminal was conceived, designed and constructed.
2004
Greg Jandura


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