Abandoned Lehigh & Lake Erie in Buffalo/Lackawanna NY

Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New York State.

Moderator: Otto Vondrak

Abandoned Lehigh & Lake Erie in Buffalo/Lackawanna NY

Postby TheBeaver101 » Tue Nov 27, 2018 5:58 pm

Grew up around the torn up layout of the line, but I know so little about it. I know the line was officially abandoned around 1982 but when exactly did traffic stop? I know the Conrail merger hurt, but was traffic completely cut off right after the merger?
Also, when exactly were the tracks torn up?
TheBeaver101
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2018 2:51 pm

Re: Abandoned Lehigh & Lake Erie in Buffalo/Lackawanna NY

Postby lvrr325 » Wed Nov 28, 2018 1:38 pm

It was how the Lehigh Valley accessed their yard at Tifft. There was a customer or two along it. I don't think it saw anything but local traffic after Conrail.

A bit of it is still in place, the out of service line on the south end of the Gardenville swings over to the LV ROW to cross Abbott Road and go under the B&P, then back to the NYC right of way. Apparently that bridge was in the best shape.


One of the more foolish choices of Conrail was to not retain this or the Gardenville line as a bypass of the drawbridges over the Buffalo River.
lvrr325
 
Posts: 4500
Joined: Fri May 13, 2005 5:42 pm
Location: New York State

Re: Abandoned Lehigh & Lake Erie in Buffalo/Lackawanna NY

Postby ctclark1 » Wed Nov 28, 2018 4:08 pm

lvrr325 wrote:One of the more foolish choices of Conrail was to not retain this or the Gardenville line as a bypass of the drawbridges over the Buffalo River.

At a time when railroads were taxed heavily and unfairly on "track miles" (not even "route miles", not that it would've helped) evey redundant or unused connection they could reduce was helpful. If a line wasn't making money, it was automatically costing money. Conrail's outright directive upon creation was to stop the bleeding. They retained what remained of the (3) Gardenville lines enough to make it work for them (see the other active Gardenville thread) and got rid of the rest to stop the tax bleed. Even if they had kept it, NS most likely still wouldn't use it to this day. It doesn't work for them in a way that can benefit them, it's just an appendage of the Buffalo Line when they acquired it in the split, and a dead appendage at that. The most help it could bring to anyone would be through a connection built to the old B&O line where they cross. This would allow the B&P a connection to the Buffalo Line without dealing with the bridges and wouldn't interfere with the current OOS bridge at Electric Ave, but no one has ponied up the money for that.
ctclark1
 
Posts: 332
Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2012 10:46 am

Re: Abandoned Lehigh & Lake Erie in Buffalo/Lackawanna NY

Postby TheBeaver101 » Wed Nov 28, 2018 4:57 pm

So heavy NY railroad taxes were pretty much responsible for the tearing up of so many lines, that's sad
TheBeaver101
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2018 2:51 pm

Re: Abandoned Lehigh & Lake Erie in Buffalo/Lackawanna NY

Postby henry2018 » Wed Nov 28, 2018 6:06 pm

TheBeaver101 wrote:So heavy NY railroad taxes were pretty much responsible for the tearing up of so many lines, that's sad



It sure is. I read once that out of all the property taxes the NY Central RR paid, one third of the total went to NY State alone. Now granted, a lot of that probably was due to the property they owned in NY City but one third just to one state they operated in!
henry2018
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2018 5:19 pm

Re: Abandoned Lehigh & Lake Erie in Buffalo/Lackawanna NY

Postby TheBeaver101 » Wed Nov 28, 2018 6:22 pm

That's ridiculous
TheBeaver101
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2018 2:51 pm

Re: Abandoned Lehigh & Lake Erie in Buffalo/Lackawanna NY

Postby Matt Langworthy » Wed Nov 28, 2018 7:37 pm

lvrr325 wrote:One of the more foolish choices of Conrail was to not retain this or the Gardenville line as a bypass of the drawbridges over the Buffalo River.


From 2 1/2 years ago:

Matt Langworthy wrote:There is a discussion in The Lost Railroads Of Western New York: Volum 1 The Lehigh Valley In Buffalo which says Conrail did consider using the former Lehigh & Lake Erie RR in the early '80s when it was trying to decide between Frontier Yard (built in 1957) and Bison Yard (completed in 1962). The plan was to cut over from CP 429 on the former NYC to the Lehigh Valley and former DL&W to access Bison Yard. The L&LE connection would have completed the connection to South Buffalo. However, Conrail was under a mandate to cut spending, so the NYC/BCK routing was chosen because it was much cheaper. Gardenville didn't even seem to be part of the discussion.


As we discussed in viewtopic.php?f=128&t=161399&start=15 -Gardenville was not a good classification yard. Conrail still needed a hump yard in greater Buffalo when they were rationalizing track in 1982 and '83. Gardenville also lacked good connections to local industry and Canada.
Matt Langworthy

"It is highly likely that the 1990s were an overrated decade."
User avatar
Matt Langworthy
 
Posts: 3357
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 8:02 pm
Location: Rochester, NY

Re: Abandoned Lehigh & Lake Erie in Buffalo/Lackawanna NY

Postby BR&P » Wed Nov 28, 2018 10:22 pm

Matt Langworthy wrote: Conrail still needed a hump yard in greater Buffalo when they were rationalizing track in 1982 and '83. Gardenville also lacked good connections to local industry and Canada.


More importantly, Gardenville was gone by then! I know it's ALL long ago compared to today, but there is a big time difference between when Gardenville was in use and Conrail days.
BR&P
 
Posts: 3955
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 7:58 pm

Re: Abandoned Lehigh & Lake Erie in Buffalo/Lackawanna NY

Postby lvrr325 » Thu Nov 29, 2018 1:36 am

Cheaper to keep a big expensive to maintain and operate drawbridge, so expensive NS abandoned theirs for rights on the parallel one?

You could create a bypass using what's left but it would require trains to run south down the Buffalo line, connect to the Gardenville line, then a south connector would have to be built either down to NS or down to CSX. The latter may be easier to build but would require rehabbing a bridge that hasn't been used since the 1980s. Plus it would require a connector back to NS for NS trains.

I'm not sure that PC didn't abandon the very east end of the Gardenville line.
lvrr325
 
Posts: 4500
Joined: Fri May 13, 2005 5:42 pm
Location: New York State

Re: Abandoned Lehigh & Lake Erie in Buffalo/Lackawanna NY

Postby Matt Langworthy » Thu Nov 29, 2018 8:28 am

lvrr325 wrote:Cheaper to keep a big expensive to maintain and operate drawbridge, so expensive NS abandoned theirs for rights on the parallel one?

You could create a bypass using what's left but it would require trains to run south down the Buffalo line, connect to the Gardenville line, then a south connector would have to be built either down to NS or down to CSX. The latter may be easier to build but would require rehabbing a bridge that hasn't been used since the 1980s. Plus it would require a connector back to NS for NS trains.

I'm not sure that PC didn't abandon the very east end of the Gardenville line.


Your opinions are based on 20/20 hindsight. It's important to remember that NS did not operate east of Buffalo in the '80s. Their local traffic base was rather small and the only other traffic was interchange with the D&H. Shutting down the NKP drawbridge and shifting to the BCK drawbridge made good sense at the time. It should also be noted that NS was very interested in acquiring Conrail back in the '80s, so dropping the NKP drawbridge would have eliminated duplicate physical plant. I would be highly surprised if NS brass (in the '80s) had even thought of the possibility they would eventually split CR with CSX.

Also, your alternative routing for NS would be an expensive capital expenditure. It also wouldn't resolve NS's bottleneck in Buffalo if they still had to run trains on CSX, even for a short distance. NS would keep their track to Tifft anyway because of the BSOR and B&P interchange there. IMO, it would make more sense to repair or replace the NKP drawbridge and enter into a joint operating agreement with CSX at CP Draw.
Matt Langworthy

"It is highly likely that the 1990s were an overrated decade."
User avatar
Matt Langworthy
 
Posts: 3357
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 8:02 pm
Location: Rochester, NY

Re: Abandoned Lehigh & Lake Erie in Buffalo/Lackawanna NY

Postby lvrr325 » Thu Nov 29, 2018 5:52 pm

If a ramp was constructed from the Greenville down to NS I suspect it would be much cheaper than repairing the bridge, which is north of CSX and requires crossing CSX to use. Save that connection everything else is already there. The only con I see is it looks like it has a couple of what look like 10 MPH curves in it and the connector track needed would likely be just as sharp. You might be looking at 15 million instead of 50+ million.
lvrr325
 
Posts: 4500
Joined: Fri May 13, 2005 5:42 pm
Location: New York State

Re: Abandoned Lehigh & Lake Erie in Buffalo/Lackawanna NY

Postby BR&P » Thu Nov 29, 2018 6:06 pm

lvrr325 wrote: You might be looking at 15 million instead of 50+ million.


Or they could use the WNYP and bypass Buffalo altogether except for stuff that needs to go there. Probably for a whole lot less than $15 million.
BR&P
 
Posts: 3955
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 7:58 pm

Re: Abandoned Lehigh & Lake Erie in Buffalo/Lackawanna NY

Postby Matt Langworthy » Thu Nov 29, 2018 7:30 pm

lvrr325 wrote:If a ramp was constructed from the Greenville down to NS I suspect it would be much cheaper than repairing the bridge, which is north of CSX and requires crossing CSX to use. Save that connection everything else is already there. The only con I see is it looks like it has a couple of what look like 10 MPH curves in it and the connector track needed would likely be just as sharp. You might be looking at 15 million instead of 50+ million.


Are you serious? Rebuilding the Gardenvile ROW would involve new construction for the ramp, reclaiming land that has reverted to the original deed holders and environmental studies (since this NY after all). NS could face lawsuits from NINMBYs, too. I'm thinking the Gardenville connection would cost more than $50 million. Even if the NKP draw bridge can't be renovated, it would be cheaper and quicker to replace than the Gardenville boondoggle. NS might also be able to get CSX involved in the construction of the new track alignment at CP Draw if a jshared assets operation is set up there.
Matt Langworthy

"It is highly likely that the 1990s were an overrated decade."
User avatar
Matt Langworthy
 
Posts: 3357
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 8:02 pm
Location: Rochester, NY

Re: Abandoned Lehigh & Lake Erie in Buffalo/Lackawanna NY

Postby lvrr325 » Fri Nov 30, 2018 2:08 am

I don't think you have the slightest idea what I'm getting at.

Again, save a ramp connector from the south/west end to NS, everything is already there.

Erie out to whatever it is where everything comes together (between Clinton and Seneca Streets), around the curve south onto the Buffalo line, down to the Gardenville, around the curve back west, down around to the former NKP and a ramp there. Maybe they have to buy one or two properties on Electric Ave for the ramp - but where it needs to go is vacant, I don't even think the garage right next to the tracks would need to be torn down. And the elevation there is fairly low by that point, no clearance sign is visible on the overpass in street view but it doesn't appear to be more than 12 feet.

A second option would continue the existing ROW and re-use the abandoned south leg bridge crossing the former NKP and EL. It appears the ROW would need to be repurchased on the west side of the bridge. A ramp could come down and enter the CSX/ex NYC as a fourth track, connecting back to NS/ex-NKP somewhere around Mile Strip Road. Aerials make the CSX ROW appear wide enough for the fourth track. It would allow bypassing the ex-EL Buffalo Southern crossing. It could also be tied in to CSX to allow their trains use of the bypass.

Either way it's rehab and signals for a few miles of existing track and whatever it costs to build the connector. Then the drawbridges can fall into the river for all they matter.
lvrr325
 
Posts: 4500
Joined: Fri May 13, 2005 5:42 pm
Location: New York State

Re: Abandoned Lehigh & Lake Erie in Buffalo/Lackawanna NY

Postby TheBeaver101 » Fri Nov 30, 2018 4:07 pm

Lvrr I can almost see the second option being more practical. Even though most of the connector tracts to the CSX/NYC were taken out a while ago there's still lots of space on the east side of the CSX/NYC line from the old connector track from Gardenville. Like you said NS can just rebuild the southern Gardenville connecting ROW and then connect around Milestrip when the NS and CSX/NYC becoming parallel
If they chose the first option they could always build something like the old PRR turn off just north of the sight we are talking about. It would cost a lot of money and property would need to be bought but it's possible
TheBeaver101
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2018 2:51 pm

Next

Return to New York State Railfan

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests