Buffalo & Susquehanna / WAG Questions

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Buffalo & Susquehanna / WAG Questions

Postby Cactus Jack » Thu Apr 25, 2013 8:33 am

After the floods in 1972 the WAG abandoned the line into Wellsville, NY is my understanding.

Can someone explain if all this was closed at the same time (Wellsville to Galeton, PA) ? When were the rails physically torn up from Wellsville south ?

At Wellsville north of the depot is a school, was this built on the grade of the B&S to Buffalo and if so when ?

In 1942, 30 years prior to Agnes there was severe flooding that washed out sections of the B&S (by now B&O) south of the switchbacks in the Wharton, PA - Sinnemahoning area. The story is that B&O filed for abandonment of 53.46 miles of track ... but when ? Photos of in Mike Zollitsch's BR&P Vol. 4 - Morning Sun has pics of the south end near Sinnemahoning supposedly taken in 1954 showing the tracks still in place although washed out. So with the war going on in 1942 and extensive damage why was this not scrapped for the war effort, and when in general were the tracks at the switchbacks torn out. Seems odd that they would leave the tracks so long after the flood.

Thanks for any info.
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Re: Buffalo & Susquehanna / WAG Questions

Postby mdamico23 » Thu Apr 25, 2013 10:36 am

[quote="Cactus Jack"]After the floods in 1972 the WAG abandoned the line into Wellsville, NY is my understanding.

Can someone explain if all this was closed at the same time (Wellsville to Galeton, PA) ? When were the rails physically torn up from Wellsville south ?

Hi Jack- I believe the WAG's Wellsville-Galeton line was officially abandoned in 1973. The last train to operate on this line was during the Hurricane Agnes Floods of June 1972. The Wellsville Line was up for abandonment even before the Hurricane. I believe the WAG filed to abandon it around 1969. The Erie Lackawanna and several shippers in and around Wellsville fought the abandonment and the ICC did not have an official decision until the Agnes Floods made it a moot point. I do not think it was actually torn up until 1974 or 1975. I think they also scrapped the connecting C&PA RR at the same time as the Wellsville Branch.

At Wellsville north of the depot is a school, was this built on the grade of the B&S to Buffalo and if so when ?

The B&S Line to Buffalo was abandoned right after World War I. It was briefly operated as an independent shortline with the creative name of "Wellsville & Buffalo RR", but it was out of business and abandoned before the 1920s, so it would make sense that something else was built on its grade.

In 1942, 30 years prior to Agnes there was severe flooding that washed out sections of the B&S (by now B&O) south of the switchbacks in the Wharton, PA - Sinnemahoning area. The story is that B&O filed for abandonment of 53.46 miles of track ... but when ? Photos of in Mike Zollitsch's BR&P Vol. 4 - Morning Sun has pics of the south end near Sinnemahoning supposedly taken in 1954 showing the tracks still in place although washed out. So with the war going on in 1942 and extensive damage why was this not scrapped for the war effort, and when in general were the tracks at the switchbacks torn out. Seems odd that they would leave the tracks so long after the flood.

That's another good question. I know when the WAG was created, they inherited a 7-mile section south of Galeton to the locale of "Borroughs". This is part of the former B&S route to Sinnemahoning that you are referencing. As far as I know, the line to "Burroughs" didn't even last two years under the WAG and was gone before the end of the 1950s. Not sure what was there that would keep a 7-mile stub in place. Perhaps, it was the last possible place south before the tracks were wiped out by the floods.

Hope this helps...

-Mike
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Re: Buffalo & Susquehanna / WAG Questions

Postby thebigham » Thu Apr 25, 2013 11:02 am

Here's the WAG website:

http://www.personal.psu.edu/tss109/WAG/homepage/

Here's my short WAG history at Tom Trencansky's website:

http://www.newyorkrailroads.com/wag/

Here's the WAG caboose just north of Belmont:

http://photos.greatrails.net/s/?p=173229
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Re: Buffalo & Susquehanna / WAG Questions

Postby Cactus Jack » Thu Apr 25, 2013 12:55 pm

Re: Caboose north of Belmont

That sure looks very BR&P with the 3rd window in the cupola.

I remember some old wooden cabooses in Galton in '79 when I went there for the last run. Would this be one of them ?
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Re: Buffalo & Susquehanna / WAG Questions

Postby thebigham » Fri Apr 26, 2013 10:13 am

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Re: Buffalo & Susquehanna / WAG Questions

Postby TB Diamond » Sat Apr 27, 2013 5:11 pm

The WAG Wellsville-Galeton was being pulled up during the summer of 1974. Took photos of the scrapping equipment at Brookland, PA on 07 August 1974.
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Re: Buffalo & Susquehanna / WAG Questions

Postby Cactus Jack » Sun Apr 28, 2013 9:44 am

What equipment was used in the scrapping ? Scrap train or other ??
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Re: Buffalo & Susquehanna / WAG Questions

Postby thebigham » Sun Apr 28, 2013 10:58 am

^One of the C&PA 44-tonners were used.

I've seen pics of a C&PA engine around Newfield and descending Cutler Summit with a scrap train.
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Re: Buffalo & Susquehanna / WAG Questions

Postby mdamico23 » Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:00 pm

TB Diamond wrote:The WAG Wellsville-Galeton was being pulled up during the summer of 1974. Took photos of the scrapping equipment at Brookland, PA on 07 August 1974.


Would love to see a picture of that.. I wonder if they pulled up the line in two sections- from Galeton west/north and from Wellsville south/east up to the part where the tracks were flooded, or if they made minimal repairs to get a train over the entire Galeton-Wellsville section and then scrap it all at once along with the C&PA?

-Mike
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Re: Buffalo & Susquehanna / WAG Questions

Postby TB Diamond » Mon Apr 29, 2013 9:59 pm

The scrapping equipment was idle on the day I spotted it and no loco was in sight. Same gear used on other Salzberg scrapping operations and which featured the car with the sloped steel table up which rail was pulled after being unspiked and unbolted.

The mill marks on the rail being lifted read: L.I. & S. Co. S.W. SCRANTON . 6 95.
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Re: Buffalo & Susquehanna / WAG Questions

Postby thebigham » Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:49 am

^The 1972 Trains article on the WAG noted that the Wellsville branch was mostly original B&S rail laid down in 1895!
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Re: Buffalo & Susquehanna / WAG Questions

Postby Cactus Jack » Thu May 02, 2013 11:51 am

So does anyone know for sure if the C&PA rails were pulled in the same 1974 time frame as the Wellsville Branch ?

Great info on the rail size !

I noted rail near a still existant bridge near Bingham area a few weeks ago but no visible markings.
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Re: Buffalo & Susquehanna / WAG Questions

Postby TB Diamond » Thu May 02, 2013 9:14 pm

My photo notes for 07 August 1974 read, in part: "Newfield Jct. Only structure left standing is the outhouse". If recall is correct, on that date both the WAG and C&PA tracks had been pulled up at the junction.

BTW: The outhouse was painted in the Salzberg orange and cream colors.
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Re: Buffalo & Susquehanna / WAG Questions

Postby mdamico23 » Fri May 03, 2013 10:19 am

>>So does anyone know for sure if the C&PA rails were pulled in the same 1974 time frame as the Wellsville Branch ?

I looked through my WAG stuff last night and here are a couple of relevant blurbs from "The Shortline" magazine from that era..

May 1973- ICC Order (Finance Docket 25726) gives authority to abandon the line from Wellsville, NY to Galeton, PA, 36.9 miles effective 35 days from service date of April 25, 1973. (I believe the line was OOS already as I don't think it was ever operated again after the "Agnes" Floods of June 1972).

May- June 1974- The latest on the WAG is this: The trackage from Wellsville, NY to Genesee, PA is torn up because state taxes in New York must be paid on an abandoned railroad if the rail is still in place. The trackage from Genesee to Galeton is still in, but is not used and is awaiting the scrappers to tear up the line. The Coudersport & Port Allegany, a subsidiary of the WAG is torn up from Coudersport to Gold, PA. There are about 3-5 miles of C&PA trackage still in place, but the wreckers are slowly working towards Newfield Junction, PA. The line from Galeton to Elkland, PA is still going, despite the fact that they tannery in Elkland has closed.

August 21, 1974-During the third week of July 1974, they had the track up below Gold, PA. The C&PA engine was at Galeton and running. It is still lettered for the C&PA #D-2. It is being used for the rip track gang.

-Mike
Last edited by mdamico23 on Fri May 03, 2013 11:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Buffalo & Susquehanna / WAG Questions

Postby Cactus Jack » Fri May 03, 2013 11:03 am

Great Info on the time line.

A very fascinating thread.
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