On this date in Rochester rail history...

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On this date in Rochester rail history...

Postby BR&P » Sat Dec 13, 2014 9:19 pm

I thought I'd start a thread with some tidbits of Rochester area railroad history, on a given date. It won't be every day, just random as my notes, scrapbook or whatever shows something worth noting. And no claim of being comprehensive - I may note something from 1990 while not being aware of something from 1960. No reason why others can't post something as well, I won't "own" the thread exclusively.

December 13, 1980. Ontario Midland Railroad operated their first annual Santa train rides, sponsored by the Sodus Chamber of Commerce. Rides were free, and were planned to run hourly to Wallington and back. Demand was so great trips ran as soon as the cars could be reloaded and by day's end 1,097 riders had been carried.
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Re: On this date in Rochester rail history

Postby Benjamin Maggi » Mon Dec 15, 2014 8:38 am

This will be an interesting thread! :-D
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Re: On this date in Rochester rail history

Postby BR&P » Mon Dec 15, 2014 9:27 am

Benjamin Maggi wrote:This will be an interesting thread! :-D


IO'll try, Ben. Between old clippings rom newspapers and my own notebooks there will be some decent stuff. The problem will be to organize it so I can post when needed instead of 3 days after the fact! :P
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Re: On this date in Rochester rail history...

Postby BR&P » Fri Dec 19, 2014 9:34 am

December 19, 1963 Approximately 17 cars of a New York Central eastbound freight derailed off Track 2 just east of Allen Street, with several of them plunging down the embankment. A few years later, train OV-8 had an even bigger derailment at almost the same spot.

December 19, 2000 Ontario Central Railroad placed the first car (WP 12062) on the new Agrilink Foods spur in Shortsville. Two days later the news media and assorted dignitaries were invited for a "first car" ceremony, but after the cameras left, the now-empty car was pulled from the siding and returned to the Finger Lakes Ry interchange.
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Re: On this date in Rochester rail history...

Postby terms-d » Fri Dec 19, 2014 3:01 pm

BR&P wrote:December 19, 1963 Approximately 17 cars of a New York Central eastbound freight derailed off Track 2 just east of Allen Street, with several of them plunging down the embankment. A few years later, train OV-8 had an even bigger derailment at almost the same spot.


If I'm not mistaken, one or both of these derailments took out a row of houses where some seedy business was conducted, ultimately giving that curve a new nickname...
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Re: On this date in Rochester rail history...

Postby BR&P » Fri Dec 19, 2014 4:27 pm

Well, not exactly. The area did have the nickname of...shall we say..."ho-house curve". :wink: ..but that was WAY before these incidents. Kachler mentions that name in his book "The Snowflaker" in connection with a passenger train wreck which happened there in the early 1940's. By the 1963 incident, I am unaware of any such...business...still operating in the area, but must admit I am not well versed in where that occupation is employed. :P
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Re: On this date in Rochester rail history...

Postby BR&P » Fri Dec 26, 2014 11:28 am

December 26, 1978, Conrail was digging out of a major snowfall. As an illustration of how much busier the yard was, during the 8-hour second trick starting at 2:30PM, the following trains departed the yard: First Belt with 80 cars for Kodak and Charlotte, the Middleport Turn going up the Falls Road with 37 cars, CRC2 took 29 cars for various firms on the west side of the city (possibly cars for the B&O in that train also), EX-1 had 16 to go over the former PRR and up the EL to Exchange Street, and RC3, the salt train, took away 79 cars headed to P&L Junction.
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Re: On this date in Rochester rail history...

Postby charlie6017 » Sat Dec 27, 2014 8:06 am

I'm surprised to learn that Middleport was served by a turn-job out of Rochester, instead of Niagara Falls. Wonder
if that's because there was more room for the cars at Rochester's yard as opposed to the yard at Niagara Falls?

I bet FMC was a big customer......and I'm sure Medina had some traffic with Fisher-Price and Bernz-O-Matic as well.

Love this thread, by the way. :wink:

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Re: On this date in Rochester rail history...

Postby BR&P » Sat Dec 27, 2014 9:22 am

Charlie, you are correct, Middleport WAS served from the west end, by the Medina turn. The MTA as a rule only went as far as Medina. There was an overlap in the names and in the posted or advertised limits of the two jobs.

When a train was put on, the various positions on the crew - engineer, conductor etc - were put up for bid and awarded according to the seniority of those bidding. Part of the bid sheet that was posted described the details of the job - where it started from, what time it normally would be on duty, what days of the week it worked, and the geographic limits between which it would work. Once awarded, if the crew of that job was ordered to do work outside the posted limits, each member of the crew would receive an EXTRA day's pay in addition to what they actually earned that day.

Occasionally, it was necessary to hand a car off from one local to another on the Falls Road. By having the opposing crews able to overlap - in this case between Median and Middleport - such a move could be done without having to pay them extra.

IIRC a similar arrangement was in place on the main line east of Rochester, with traveling switchers from Rochester and Lyons overlapping. I think that would be the Lyons TS from the east, but I'm not sure about the west end. At various times there was a Palmyra, an East Rochester, and 2 or 3 Fairport traveling switchers daily. I'll see if I can dig up just how that worked in various timeframes.
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Re: On this date in Rochester rail history...

Postby charlie6017 » Sat Dec 27, 2014 4:50 pm

Thank you Don, makes sense there was a crew based out of Medina, given the amount of industry
in the area. Now that I think of it, Medina also had another factory in addition to Bernzomatic and
Fisher-Price.....another industry off Bates Road on the east-side of town where the Brunner's factory
exists today. I assume that company also had rail-service?

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Re: On this date in Rochester rail history...

Postby BR&P » Sat Dec 27, 2014 5:55 pm

No, Charlie, I guess I didn't make it clear. The Medina turn was from Niagara Falls, and usually went as far east as Middleport. The Middleport Turnaround was from Rochester, and usually went as far west as Medina. So each crew usually stopped one town short of their advertised limit. However, if needed, each of them could go one town farther than usual to leave cars for the other, without going outside their limit and without getting an extra day's pay. Sorry for the confusion.
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Re: On this date in Rochester rail history...

Postby BR&P » Sun Dec 28, 2014 9:24 am

December 28, 1968 While the B&O crew was switching at Kodak, an apparent malfunction of the stove set fire to their caboose. The Rochester Fire Department was summoned, but C-2664, former BR&P 313, was gutted.
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Re: On this date in Rochester rail history...

Postby Benjamin Maggi » Wed Dec 31, 2014 7:21 am

12/23/2001
I am surprised this didn't make it onto the list! Probably the biggest derailment in modern Rochester history, on this date CSX lost control of a train working the Kodak Plant which led to a 43-car runaway in Charlotte resulting in a major derailment.

Per the Democrat and Chronicle:

The two-man crew on the CSX train was attempting to unload coal and chemical cars at Kodak Park. But the train became a runaway after the conductor got off the train to close an angle cock valve. With the angle cock valve closed, the engineer was unable to release air into the brake lines to apply the brakes to the freight cars. With no brakes set, the tons of freight in the cars pushed the two locomotives downhill, north toward Lake Ontario. Coal, as well as acetone and methylene chloride -- chemicals similar to paint thinner and fingernail polish remover -- spilled from the wreckage. Cleanup efforts continue at the scene.

Full citation of D&C article: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/roc ... opics/5388

Links with some pictures from another website:
http://www.rochester-railfan.net/images/Derailment/
http://www.rochester-railfan.net/images/Derailment_2/
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Re: On this date in Rochester rail history...

Postby BR&P » Sun Jan 04, 2015 10:06 am

Ben, I don't claim to have everything and while I recall the incident, could not have told you the date. That was a mess indeed. And as is common with news reporting, they got things just a bit screwed up! Makes it sound like the crew was unloading the cars themselves. Also says the engineer was unable to release air INTO the brake lines. Oh well.....

If you guys have incidents which you are aware of on a given date, by all means post it, don't wait for me to do so.
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Re: On this date in Rochester rail history...

Postby BR&P » Sat Jan 10, 2015 9:41 am

January 10, 1978

Amtrak train #74, engines 422 & 442, picked up CR General Manager McKenna at the Rochester depot. Engines were low on water and the train was stopped at Goodman Street so the fire department could add water. The Rochester Fire Department refused to come do that, so arrangements were made to get water at Palmyra. #74 departed Goodman Street after standing from 6:36 to 6:50PM.

Goodman Street Yard was very congested due to bad weather the previous day. The First Belt crew, usually sent to Charlotte, was used to double up 95 Buffalo cars, and run them up Track 4 to just east of Pixley Road. This freed up several tracks in the yard, and they could be picked up and moved west when the "powers that be" decided they could be handled at Frontier Yard.
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