Greenway - old ROW in Mt. Morris, NY

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Greenway - old ROW in Mt. Morris, NY

Postby Benjamin Maggi » Mon Nov 28, 2011 9:40 am

Can someone tell me about the "Greenway" that runs through Mt. Morris, continues on past Nunda, and who knows where else. From what I have heard it was once a towpath for the canal (at least portions of it) though I see no canal nearby. It also looks like an old railroad ROW from the grading, but I see no evidence of abandoned ties and ballast so if it was it is either really old or was torn down pretty well. Since my wife's family lives near there I see it now and then. Searches of the forum didn't produce anything.

Thanks.
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Re: Greenway - old ROW in Mt. Morris, NY

Postby siliconwafer » Mon Nov 28, 2011 9:51 am

I hiked part of the Greenway (GVG) a few weekends ago. I started near Near Nunda, NY at the intersection of Oakland Rd and Rt 436. There are a set of old canal locks at that point, and the ROW runs nearby. (This is outside of Letchworth State Park (LSP)). The trail continues into LSP, following Williams Rd after crossing Short Tract Rd. I'm not sure at that point if the trail is still a former ROW. Once in the park, the trail becomes LSP Trail #7 and continues to the trestle. (Awesome spot to get below the trestle and stand on the piers, BTW!) I believe that part of the trail was also a former ROW (maybe the same one?) I recall reading that a canal and/or ROW once followed the east side of the gorge in the park, which makes sense, because there are low areas filled with water. Kind of strange to think that a canal would be built high up on the edge of a gorge!
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Re: Greenway - old ROW in Mt. Morris, NY

Postby joshuahouse » Mon Nov 28, 2011 10:06 am

The Greenway follows the old PRR Rochester branch, which in its own right in places followed the old Genesee Valley Canal. In the area around Nunda the canal was up higher then the river and you can see the remains of old locks between Oakland and Nunda on the north side of the road.

http://www.fogvg.org/about/history/canal.php
Check out my photography from around the Finger Lakes. [url] http://joshua-house.artistwebsites.com/ ... +state/all[url/]
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Re: Greenway - old ROW in Mt. Morris, NY

Postby scottychaos » Mon Nov 28, 2011 12:26 pm

There are several places where the original canal *still technically exists*! :)
in several disconnected segments, the canal bed was not filled in after it was abandoned, and remains quite visable to this day..
the remaining canal ditch is mostly dry today, because the canal had to be actively "fed" to keep it filled with water..
once that stopped, the canal drained and dried..the railroad built along the towpath of the canal, and filled it in in many places,
but not everywhere..

Up near Rochester if you park at the Greenway trail crossing on Ballantyne road (just west of RIT) the canal is very visable
both north and south of Ballantyne road..If you park on Ballantyne and walk north up to Genesee Junction, the canal is right there to your left as you
walk up the trail..There are also a few places where the Greenway trail enters the north side of Letchworth park where the canal is quite visable..

Great bike ride: park at the Canal locks in Nunda..bike the greenway south (compass west out of Nunda) into the park,
then all the way down to the Portageville bridge..
interesting views from the east side of the gorge, which isnt nearly as accessable as the west side..
there is one area in the park called the "slide area" where a big chunk of the gorge wall slipped into the river, (landslide) wiping out the old railroad bed..
in this area you have to walk your bike down then back up the landslide area to get back on the main trail..

Genesee Valley Canal- 1840 to 1878
Genesee Valley Canal Railroad- 1882 to 1887
Western New York & Pennsylvania Railroad- 1887 to 1900 (unrelated to todays WNYP)
PRR Rochester Branch- 1900 to (removed in sections between 1963 and 1977)
Greenway Trail - 1991 to today.

Today the Greenway trail extends nearly 90 miles..North-South all the way across the state!
From Genesee Valley Park in Rochester, to Cuba, NY 90 miles south, nearly to the PA border..
I have biked and walked most of it between Rochester & Letchworth park..its a great trail! :)

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Re: Greenway - old ROW in Mt. Morris, NY

Postby Benjamin Maggi » Mon Nov 28, 2011 4:56 pm

Are there any books or pictures dealing with the trail? Anyone aware of any pictures of the railroad as it existed in the Mt. Morris area? Finally, anyone know what time the portions around Mt. Morris/Letchworth were removed?

This information is very interesting so far. Thanks!
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Re: Greenway - old ROW in Mt. Morris, NY

Postby nydepot » Mon Nov 28, 2011 7:16 pm

Olean to Wadsworth (south of Scottsville) was 1963.

Some sections of a few books but nothing of detail. WNY&P RR by Pietrak covers the line but uses the relevant early history from his PS&N book and then shoots forward to 1963. A few local history books (small) cover it. Converted from canal, doodlebug passenger service, 1963. A single paragraph at most.

Morning Sun's In Color series on the PRR facilities by Division completely skips the line. With employees who worked the line in declining health, I'm glad I interviewed and taped as many as I could.

The big photographers that I've talked to, also skipped the line in favor of lines with more traffic: PRR Buffalo line, Erie Buffalo line, DL&W, LV. Time and cost of materials. More bang for your buck catching dozens of trains on a more travelled line rather than waiting all day for a steam train blasting its way in the gorge across from the Glen Iris.

It was really a fascinating line with little traffic but big grades and unparalleled scenery, especially parts of Allegany Cty and through Letchworth to Nunda.

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Re: Greenway - old ROW in Mt. Morris, NY

Postby TB Diamond » Mon Nov 28, 2011 7:34 pm

Pennsylvania Railroad Rochester Branch abandoned thus:

Wadsworth Jct.-Hinsdale, 84.2 miles, 1963.

Rochester-Wadsworth Jct., 14.5 miles, 1971.

In addition:

Nunda-Nunda Jct., 2.2 miles, 1963

Scottsville-Garbut, 2.9 miles, 1944
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Re: Greenway - old ROW in Mt. Morris, NY

Postby RailKevin » Mon Nov 28, 2011 8:09 pm

Here are some maps from the Historic Map Works website.

http://www.historicmapworks.com/Map/US/16134/Mount+Morris+002/Livingston+County+1872/New+York/

http://www.historicmapworks.com/Map/US/14714/Mount+Morris+Village+++South/Livingston+County+1902/New+York/

http://www.historicmapworks.com/Map/US/14713/Mount+Morris+Village+++North/Livingston+County+1902/New+York/

You can clearly see the transformation from the canal era to the railroad era.

My Godparents live in Mt. Morris, and I spent most of my summers there as a youth. Most of the canal is still visible today. Just look for a long depression in the ground next to the trail. It is filled with trees, plants, and some water here and there when it rains. The former Erie yard (off Erie st) has two bridges that are used by a trailer park access road. I think one of them has an old date on it (will check the next time I visit).
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Re: Greenway - old ROW in Mt. Morris, NY

Postby Matt Langworthy » Tue Nov 29, 2011 7:51 am

nydepot wrote:The big photographers that I've talked to, also skipped the line in favor of lines with more traffic: PRR Buffalo line, Erie Buffalo line, DL&W, LV. Time and cost of materials. More bang for your buck catching dozens of trains on a more travelled line rather than waiting all day for a steam train blasting its way in the gorge across from the Glen Iris.


That train was probably diesel-powered by 1963, so... aside from the scenery... there would've been little to distinguish it from any other Pennsy local.

Also, a minor correction: the Erie's route through Letchworth was the Buffalo Extension, rather than the Buffalo Line.
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Re: Greenway - old ROW in Mt. Morris, NY

Postby nydepot » Tue Nov 29, 2011 8:37 am

Not my point and I'm not even sure what the point in your comment is (argue my steam train comment by converting it to diesel?). The photographers I talked to like Jim Shaughnessy and Dick Steinheimer and others were shooting steam era photos. They preferred steam on the Buffalo or Elmira lines. All agreed the Rochester line was much better scenery-wise but not worth the money and day off from work to yield a single train.

And many times, scenery is the distinguishing item in a photo. Double-headed steam train in the gorge is much better than a single engine train at Chafee, NY.

As for the Buffalo Line comment, I was speaking in general terms. It's a line running to Buffalo and was the Erie's. No need to call in the correction police.

While I'm not arguing your use of the Buffalo Extension moniker, when I Google Erie Railroad "Buffalo Extension" I get lots of references to the A&GW Buffalo Extension and its relationship to the Erie and a bazillion references by you to that name. No one else seems to use the name on the Interweb except "Matt L". Note, I only went to page 10 of the results. All the official railroad documents call it the Buffalo Division (Note, I only went to 1912).

Charles

Matt Langworthy wrote:
nydepot wrote:The big photographers that I've talked to, also skipped the line in favor of lines with more traffic: PRR Buffalo line, Erie Buffalo line, DL&W, LV. Time and cost of materials. More bang for your buck catching dozens of trains on a more travelled line rather than waiting all day for a steam train blasting its way in the gorge across from the Glen Iris.


That train was probably diesel-powered by 1963, so... aside from the scenery... there would've been little to distinguish it from any other Pennsy local.

Also, a minor correction: the Erie's route through Letchworth was the Buffalo Extension, rather than the Buffalo Line.
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Re: Greenway - old ROW in Mt. Morris, NY

Postby lvrr325 » Tue Nov 29, 2011 10:38 am

What allowed the PRR to abandon much of this line was their control of the LV; being that they owned most of the LV the trackage rights over the LV from Buffalo were relatively easy to come by. Some of the last of it in Rochester lasted into Conrail, I believe the last bits of it went to the R&S and there may be still one small segment left.

It's still pretty obvious where you cross it on the Thruway -
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Re: Greenway - old ROW in Mt. Morris, NY

Postby scottychaos » Tue Nov 29, 2011 10:44 am

Concerning the question of PRR steam through Letchworth:
I know 2-10-0 "hippos" were running on the line to Sodus Bay as late as 1957, but that was unusually late, and im not sure if other branches
also had steam that late..probably not..the hippos were specifically useful on the coal runs to Sodus Bay,
but the line to Rochester was likely fully dieselized several years earlier..
I would guess 1952 to 1955 as a reasonable date for "last PRR steam" through Letchworth..anyone know for sure?

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Re: Greenway - old ROW in Mt. Morris, NY

Postby scottychaos » Tue Nov 29, 2011 10:53 am

lvrr325 wrote:What allowed the PRR to abandon much of this line was their control of the LV; being that they owned most of the LV the trackage rights over the LV from Buffalo were relatively easy to come by. Some of the last of it in Rochester lasted into Conrail, I believe the last bits of it went to the R&S and there may be still one small segment left.


Only two small segments of LV in the area discussed in this thread..
a small section of LV *double track* mainline at P&L junction!
now used for car storage by R&S and/or "Commodity Resource Corporation" at P&L junction..

and a remnant of the LV Rochester branch in Henrietta..in use by the LAL..

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Re: Greenway - old ROW in Mt. Morris, NY

Postby SST » Tue Nov 29, 2011 10:58 am

Probably 10 years ago or more and when I would fly into Dansville, I crossed over Nunda. I could see the row going into Nunda. So one day, my friend and I drove into Nunda to explore the area and then came upon the trail and the locks headed toward LSP. A great ride. At that time, many of the open canal areas were full of water. The view over the side of the trail into the gorge was amazing.

We crossed the slide area and it was very wet and draining water. I remember commenting on the old RR.net about this and thought for sure another slide would happen. We also climbed down to the bottom of the gorge and climbed on one of the bridge abutments. The looks of that steel amazed me as to why it is still standing.

I should put that trail back on the list and revisit it sometime.
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Re: Greenway - old ROW in Mt. Morris, NY

Postby Matt Langworthy » Tue Nov 29, 2011 11:27 am

With regards to last date for steam through Letchworth and Mount Morris, the Pennsy finished dieselization in 1957... so that would've been the last possible date. However, as Scot has said, Pennsy had begun dieselizing earlier. The Elmira Branch had diesel switchers during the early '50s, so I'm guessing the same thing would true for other branch lines as well. Depending on when Shaughnessy et al got out to western NY, they might not have even had the chance to photograph steam... which is the point of my earlier post. Why would they spend valuable time on a sleepy branch when they could capture more action elsewhere?

As for the Buffalo Extension, that is a term that I learned from at least one of the books I own. I will check my library when I get home so I can reference the source book, author and page if necessary. While the Internet is a very useful source for information, it should be remembered that absence of proof is not the same thing as proof of absence.
Last edited by Matt Langworthy on Tue Nov 29, 2011 12:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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