Remembering the Falls road Railroad...

Discussion about shortline operator Genesee Valley Transportation, operator of the Delaware-Lackawanna; the Mohawk, Adirondack & Northern, the Falls Road Railroad; Depew, Lancaster & Western; and the Lowville & Beaver River railroads. Official site: GVTRAIL.COM.

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Remembering the Falls road Railroad...

Postby Train fan Mark » Fri Mar 02, 2012 7:05 pm

I grew up on Trolley Blvd in Rochester. My earliest memories of trains charging down the line are from about 1975. Those very early memories (born in early 1972), Are of giant, black, ominous locomotives. The trains were usually long rows of box cars and there was usually a caboose on the end! (what ever happened to cabooses!?)

Sometimes, the caboose would be in the middle of the train. Then, as I grew older and the world was rapidly changing to a more modern place, the engines got more modern too... the locomotives turned into an interesting color of blue and said Conrail on the side. Just like the ones I saw pulling all the CN cars when we'd take a family trip to Toronto. Doing some research a few years ago ...(as a kid I never knew where the line even went as it passed my house) I found out that those old black engines were Penn Central ones. Then the line was bought out by Conrail, hence the blue engines... and no more cabooses!

They would go by pretty fast. I got allot of horn blasts (thanks guys!) from the engineers as I stood in my front yard holding up my matchbox locomotive as you guys roared on passed safely across the street. Some of my favorite memories.

I surprised to think that as kids we ran across those tracks pretty freely to go to the park and back.

After tracing the lines route eastward through the city, I'm surprised they could have passed my house so fast, heading into such a congested area. The roll across Lyell ave must have been fun. Lots of automobile carrying cars... I wondered where they were going and where they were from.

I wonder if, any "Verti-pak" cars ever came by. They would have been carrying Chevy Vega's. Was the Falls road line used as alternate rt through Roch for trains?

I remember seeing Amtrak on there too sometimes..

Lastly anyone know why the descision was made to rip the lines out from Brockport to Gates, but leave some of it intact? Such as both bridges over the Barge canal, and the crossing on Lyell, which was recently repaired.
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Re: Remembering the Falls road Railroad...

Postby med-train » Mon Mar 05, 2012 11:48 am

The Falls Branch was a shortcut to Detroit, MI. going thru Canada, north of lake Erie. Passenger service stopped in 1957. A lot of auto carriers went that way into Rochester where they hooked up with the mainline thru to Albany where there was a large auto distribution yard.

Conrail took up the tracks from Brockport to Elmgrove area to reduce the value of the branch line and make sure no one else could compete with them if and when they sold the line as it was no longer producing a lot of freight. They sold the section from Lockport to Brockport in 1995 to Genesee Valley Transportation. GVT set it up as the Falls Road RR Company division.
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Re: Remembering the Falls road Railroad...

Postby RussNelson » Mon Mar 05, 2012 11:29 pm

I think CSX was still using the bridge plus some of the track on the other side in order to access a customer with a trailing points switch. They're disconnected now, and the bridge has a barrier across it on the east side.
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Re: Remembering the Falls road Railroad...

Postby Train fan Mark » Sun Jun 24, 2012 2:48 pm

Super thanks for the info.

I was on trimmer road the other day, and realized they took down the old bridge there for the now defunct line.

Thinking back.. I remember the trains going by with some decent speed (as viewed from @900 Trolley Blvd).. but looking at the line now I wonder how they maintained that speed around the upcoming curves, bridges and tight areas of the city..How did they get across Lyell and through the city so quick. (heading east)
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Re: Remembering the Falls road Railroad...

Postby erie2521 » Sun Jun 24, 2012 7:32 pm

I recall setting up at Lee Road around 1955 to get a shot of the westbound passenger train. The Falls Road was still double track at that time. I was there no longer than fifteen minutes and got not only the passenger train but also a westbound freight and two eastbound wayfreights. IIRC the NYC had one wayfreight working the western part of the line and a second doing the middle part - both working out of Rochester. So both of these were on their way home. Sometimes you're lucky. Ted
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Re: Remembering the Falls road Railroad...

Postby charlie6017 » Mon Jun 25, 2012 7:32 am

My copy of the NYC timetable from 1965 shows a 30 MPH speed restriction from what
was CP35 (now CP373) on the main-line to Milepost 4 on the Falls Road Branch, which
covers Maple St, Jay Street, Glide St and Lyell Ave crossings and perhaps even Lee Road
and Long Pond Road.

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Re: Remembering the Falls road Railroad...

Postby nessman » Sun Jul 01, 2012 9:00 am

med-train wrote:Conrail took up the tracks from Brockport to Elmgrove area to reduce the value of the branch line and make sure no one else could compete with them if and when they sold the line as it was no longer producing a lot of freight.

I've heard this time and time again - and yet no one has been able to substantiate this claim. Let's suppose for a minute here that they never abandoned the line between Brockport and Lee Road and they sold it to GVT. You'd have a shortline that interchanged with Conrail in Rochester and interchanged with Conrail in Lockport. How would this "compete" with Conrail? By the time they sold it to GVT it was just a handful of freight customers no longer profitable to Conrail to maintain and maintenance had been deferred to the point where you had 25 MPH speed limits for much of the way, 10 MPH restrictions in Lockport and Albion, rusty rail conditions at most crossings, all movements via Form D authority, no signal system, etc... etc. Through freights were rerouted via Buffalo years before that. Auto carriers are not time-sensitive trains like fresh produce. They're going to distribution yards - so by the time the mid-90's came, the Falls Road Secondary was no longer much of a "shortcut".
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Re: Remembering the Falls road Railroad...

Postby charlie6017 » Sun Jul 01, 2012 11:00 am

So true..........and it's been mentioned often that there were no customers between Lee Rd in Rochester
and Brockport, so it wouldn't have made any sense to keep it in service at all.

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Re: Remembering the Falls road Railroad...

Postby scottychaos » Sun Jul 01, 2012 11:54 am

nessman wrote:
med-train wrote:Conrail took up the tracks from Brockport to Elmgrove area to reduce the value of the branch line and make sure no one else could compete with them if and when they sold the line as it was no longer producing a lot of freight.

I've heard this time and time again - and yet no one has been able to substantiate this claim. Let's suppose for a minute here that they never abandoned the line between Brockport and Lee Road and they sold it to GVT. You'd have a shortline that interchanged with Conrail in Rochester and interchanged with Conrail in Lockport. How would this "compete" with Conrail? By the time they sold it to GVT it was just a handful of freight customers no longer profitable to Conrail to maintain and maintenance had been deferred to the point where you had 25 MPH speed limits for much of the way, 10 MPH restrictions in Lockport and Albion, rusty rail conditions at most crossings, all movements via Form D authority, no signal system, etc... etc. Through freights were rerouted via Buffalo years before that. Auto carriers are not time-sensitive trains like fresh produce. They're going to distribution yards - so by the time the mid-90's came, the Falls Road Secondary was no longer much of a "shortcut".


I can see the logic in Conrail ripping up the section from Brockport to Rochester to limit competition..yes, its true that if they hadnt ripped up the line you would have
"a shortline that interchanged with Conrail in Rochester and interchanged with Conrail in Lockport."..but it could be argued the "Rochester end" would be MUCH more valuable than the Lockport end..If a shortline had full access between Rochester and Buffalo (Niagara Falls) they could, in theory, siphon off quite a bit of traffic from Conrail from the Rochester side..Kodak, Delco, etc..There is a lot of industry on the West side of Rochester that the Falls Road could have had access to if Conrail hadnt severed the line in Brockport! So to me, the theory that Conrail removed the tracks between Brockport and Lee road to limit competition, and keep all the traffic for themselves, makes perfect sense..

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Re: Remembering the Falls road Railroad...

Postby nessman » Sun Jul 01, 2012 6:49 pm

scottychaos wrote:I can see the logic in Conrail ripping up the section from Brockport to Rochester to limit competition..yes, its true that if they hadnt ripped up the line you would have
"a shortline that interchanged with Conrail in Rochester and interchanged with Conrail in Lockport."..but it could be argued the "Rochester end" would be MUCH more valuable than the Lockport end..If a shortline had full access between Rochester and Buffalo (Niagara Falls) they could, in theory, siphon off quite a bit of traffic from Conrail from the Rochester side..Kodak, Delco, etc..There is a lot of industry on the West side of Rochester that the Falls Road could have had access to if Conrail hadnt severed the line in Brockport! So to me, the theory that Conrail removed the tracks between Brockport and Lee road to limit competition, and keep all the traffic for themselves, makes perfect sense..

Scot

Well, no not really. For the sake of argument, the runaround track just east of the Erie Canal bridge would be the eastern terminus of the Falls Road RR and used for interchange purposes. Even in the mid-90's... there wasn't much traffic on the west end of what's now the Falls Road Industrial. The AC Rochester plant on Lee Road when I worked there in 93-94 was not receiving any rail traffic at all - and I believe the trackage into the plant was either gone or overgrown by this point (the Delco plant on Lyell Ave is served by the R&S). The Monroe County Recycling Plant was maybe a few carloads a year if any. Everything else along the way to the Charlotte Runner was either closed or no longer shipping/receiving anything by rail either.

So how would traffic to/from Kodak get siphoned off by the shortline? Have Conrail interchange it with the Falls Road in Gates, send it to Lockport back to Conrail then down to Buffalo (assuming that's where it would be going)? Either way it still would have gone back to Conrail. No competition there and it would make no sense - other than the R&S which at the time interchanged with Conrail in Silver Springs anyway (with trackage rights to CP - throwing out the argument that the Canadian railroads wanted Rochester traffic which they got via the R&S anyway).

I think it came down to redundant trackage serving no one between Gates and Brockport they no longer had the need to maintain.
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Re: Remembering the Falls road Railroad...

Postby Train fan Mark » Sun Oct 21, 2012 2:16 pm

Wow, lots of cool information! Thanks for the dialog.

I was on Ferrano St. Last Wednesday, and they had some kind of yellow csx machine on the line there. There were some guys in a CSX truck, but I didn't stop and ask anything.
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Re: Remembering the Falls road Railroad...

Postby Train fan Mark » Tue Nov 20, 2012 6:59 am

The rest of line getting ripped up---

Senator Chuck Schumer is in the news today, rallying CSX to get busy and remove the old Falls Road overpass/bridges in Ogden and Spencerport.

:(
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Re: Remembering the Falls road Railroad...

Postby nessman » Tue Nov 20, 2012 1:11 pm

What do you mean the rest of the line is being ripped up? Are you talking about the Falls Road Industrial that goes as far as Lee Road in Rochester?

I thought the overpasses in Spencerport were removed already.

Guess not:
http://www.democratandchronicle.com/art ... ort-bridge

Otto mandated fair use quote:
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer will visit Spencerport on Tuesday to throw his weight behind an effort to convince railroad operator CSX to tear down three decrepit bridges officials say are “dangerous eyesores.”

Schumer will hold a news conference at 11:15 a.m. at the north side of the CSX bridge near 208 S. Union St. in the village.
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Re: Remembering the Falls road Railroad...

Postby charlie6017 » Tue Nov 20, 2012 1:23 pm

I know Spencerport's mayor has been making a lot of noise about wanting the span over Rte. 259 gone
for quite a while, but last I knew it is still there. The only other bridges in place besides that one are the
ones on Washington Street in Adam's Basin, Manitou Road and Elmgrove Rd. Who knows what the delays
are? At this point the bridges are better off gone because of clearance issues.

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Re: Remembering the Falls road Railroad...

Postby Train fan Mark » Tue Nov 20, 2012 6:29 pm

nessman wrote:What do you mean the rest of the line is being ripped up? Are you talking about the Falls Road Industrial that goes as far as Lee Road in Rochester?

I thought the overpasses in Spencerport were removed already.

Guess not:
http://www.democratandchronicle.com/art ... ort-bridge


Hi, No, just those old bridges...I wasn't thinking correctly, imagining there was still tracking up to those bridges.
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