LV Apollos Through Tifft Street Yard??

Discussion related to the Lehigh Valley Railroad and predecessors for the period 1846-1976. Originally incorporated as the Delaware, Lehigh, Schuylkill and Susquehanna Railroad Company.

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LV Apollos Through Tifft Street Yard??

Postby DElder » Sat Jun 03, 2006 7:39 pm

A friend recently passed along an old issue of Passenger Train Journal (September 1983) that includes an article titled “Last Fare from Sayre” by David Monte Verde and Jim Crosby. The article describes a cab ride from Sayre to Buffalo on an Apollo 1 train (and return to Sayre on an LV-2) that the two authors took in late January 1976. An entertaining and informative article, but some of the article text has me wondering if my understanding of how the Apollo and Mercury trains were interchanged to and from the N&W at Buffalo may be incorrect.

The article states that AP-1 (at least on this particular trip) “arrived at Tiff Terminal, Lehigh’s yard in Buffalo”. The authors also state that they were then “quickly ushered over to LV-2” for their return trip to Sayre, and that as they “prepared to leave Tiff, N&W’s leg of AP-1 went roaring past with high-nose EMDs in charge.”

I was under the impression, based on what I’ve read in many of the various LV books, that the Apollo and Mercury trains were handed off to and picked up from the N&W at or near Tifft Jct., and thus did not pass through Tifft Street yard. Could someone that might be familiar with operations around Buffalo sort this out for me?

(Excellent article, by the way, with a couple pictures of the LV in central NY that I’d not seen before. The near 9-hour trip from Sayre to Buffalo was reportedly attributed to a 10 mph slow order for the first 10 miles west of Sayre, a meet at Cayuga with a Geneva pickup with a coal train, and a “14-inch piece of rail broken out at a switch point” near Batavia, which resulted in a lengthy delay while the section gang made repairs. The right-of-way was also reportedly littered with recently derailed cars from an LV-2 train at Van Etten Jct., a COJ-32 train at milepost 289, and an AP-1 at Manchester. Kind of a sad picture of a classy railroad now struggling just to keep going, but despite all the problems, still “movin’ the goods”!)
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Postby TB Diamond » Sat Jun 03, 2006 10:06 pm

The Apollo and Mercury trains usually swapped power at Tifft Jct. The N&W power would hold west of Tifft Jct. while the LV power cut off and proceeded west through Tifft Jct. to the L&LE branch and on to Tifft Terminal. That is why the authors mentioned that they arrived at Tifft Terminal and were ushered over to LV-2. The old NKP Buffalo-Chicago line passed fairly close to Tifft, so the authors noted the passage of AP-1 with the N&W power. Deferred maintenance and a shortage of cash hurt the proud little line towards the end. Nevertheless the LV put on a great show right up to 01 April 1976. Thirty years later a lot of us still miss it. By the way, Jim Crosby passed away in the early 1980s. He was a highly proficient photographer and a really neat man. God rest his soul.
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Postby DElder » Sat Jun 03, 2006 10:50 pm

Ah, great point...I was thinking about the entire train, when I should have been thinking power only continuing on to Tifft!

Thanks also for the additional info on one of the authors of this article. I am continually grateful to all the folks that took the time and effort to document the last years of the LV, and that have shared that information with those of us that missed it all. (In my case, due to college during the mid-70s, and being quite distant from my home in central NY).

I always enjoy your interesting and informative posts..please keep 'em coming!

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Postby dj_paige » Sun Jun 04, 2006 7:02 am

Where exactly is Tifft Jct.? Are there any maps on-line that show this area clearly?
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Tifft Jct.

Postby DElder » Sun Jun 04, 2006 10:09 am

I don't know offhand of any good on-line maps that you could reference on this, but will check around a bit. Tifft Jct. was about 4 miles northeast of the actual Tifft Street Yard (with was essentially right along Lake Erie, oriented in an approximately north/south direction), and as you may have noted from previous posts, the point at which trains destined for Tifft diverged from the main line to make an approximate 10 mile run along the Lehigh & Lake Erie Branch to enter the yard from the south.

If you have access to old "Trains" magazines, there's an article in an issue from (I don't recall the exact date, I'd have to do some digging) late 1976 or 1977 on the Erie Lackawana's Bison Yard operations at Buffalo which includes an excellent 2-page foldout map entitled "Train-Watcher's Guide to Buffalo", which shows all the railroads in the Buffalo area. I had this scanned a while back, and it's a good reference....if you'll shoot me an e-mail off-list (delder@sbcglobal.net) I'll be glad to e-mail the scan to you.
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Postby dj_paige » Sun Jun 04, 2006 10:35 am

Thanks, DElder

I have the SPV Railroad Atlas for NY, and I realize (as has been pointed out to me many times) that the SPVs are filled with errors. Nevertheless, as a train on the LV heads west towards Buffalo, it comes to Niagara Jct, continues west to another junction labelled LV East Buffalo Jct on the SPV map. Here, the LV branches into 2 lines, one leading to the passenger terminal, and the other heading almost due south to Lackawanna where the trains would then have to head north again into Tifft Yd. Is this junction that SPV calls LV East Buffalo Jct the one you call Tifft Jct? (By the way, is the LV junction on this map the one you call Tifft Jct?)
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Tifft Jct.

Postby DElder » Sun Jun 04, 2006 11:02 am

You're correct...sounds like the indicated SPV map location of the junction is as you describe it. On the referenced map that you provided the link to, Tifft Jct. is located at the point where a track diverges southward from the LV main right at "Harlem Street". I'd not seen this map yet...thanks for the lead!
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Re: Tifft Jct.

Postby CAR_FLOATER » Sun Jun 04, 2006 11:14 am

DElder wrote:If you have access to old "Trains" magazines, there's an article in an issue from (I don't recall the exact date, I'd have to do some digging) late 1976 or 1977 on the Erie Lackawana's Bison Yard operations at Buffalo which includes an excellent 2-page foldout map entitled "Train-Watcher's Guide to Buffalo", which shows all the railroads in the Buffalo area.
Doug Elder


Devan Lawton was the author of the article.

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Re: Tifft Jct.

Postby dj_paige » Sun Jun 04, 2006 11:35 am

DElder wrote: I'd not seen this map yet...thanks for the lead!
Doug


Actually, the link I provided is just a portion of a large web page of USGS maps of Buffalo from about 1950. I'm sure you will enjoy all the maps at this web page.
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Postby TB Diamond » Sun Jun 04, 2006 9:35 pm

Tifft Jct. was almost directly underneath the Harlem Road overpass and right alongside the Frontier Yard. Great place for train watching years ago and possibly may still be, even though there is precious little left of the old LV plant.
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Postby BR&P » Mon Jun 05, 2006 6:50 am

TB Diamond - did you mean to say Bison Yard instead of Frontier? LV was about a mile south of the NYC and I believe the junction was just south of the west end of Bison.

According to an old (1960's) map I have, it was a wye, which started just west of Harlem Ave if you were westbound, It curved around and the east and west legs joined just south of William St, between Wagner Ave and McLaughlin St. Hopefully that will allow some Buffalo folks to see what's there today - probably a mini-mart and a field of weeds and trash.
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Postby TB Diamond » Mon Jun 05, 2006 11:39 pm

BR&P: Yes, I did mean Bison and not Frontier yard. Believe that the west leg of the wye at Tifft Jct. was taken out of service in April 1961. Used to drive under the bridges at William Street on the way to the Agway mill on Ganson Street back in the mid-1960s. The west leg was still there, but I do not know if the tracks were intact at that time. Be interesting to revisit the locale to see what may remain. As you mention, probably a mini-mart, trash and weeds, alas.
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Postby WNYP431 » Mon Jan 01, 2007 7:02 pm

Long overdue for the topic, but I was just up on what used to be Tifft Jct...

...was the L&LE all double tracked from the diverging point all the way to Lackawanna & the bridges? I know the west wye at Tifft was only single tracked, but I am interested to know the specifics of how the track was laid out at the Junction.

Same with Niagara Jct... I can make out a few things from various books, but can't get the whole picture.

Old track charts from Batavia to Tifft Yard would be nice to look at.

(Yes, I'm modeling it in HO....yeah, I know.....foamer. Well, my lovely and gracious trainmaster once said to get a hobby. If I'm going to spend time recreating something, it's going to be the Lehigh.)

Thanks.
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Postby lvrr325 » Mon Jan 01, 2007 7:08 pm

There is (was?) a vendor who sells reproduction track blueprint charts of the LV; he usually has places like Sayre and Coxton when I see him at shows, but he told me he had a whole set and could do others by request. I haven't seen him in a while - anyone know who he was?
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Postby TB Diamond » Tue Jan 02, 2007 11:22 pm

WNYP431: The L&LE Branch was, at one time, double track from from Tifft Jct. to Tifft yard. Lehigh Valley RR Zone E G.O. No. 904 dated December 16, 1968 effective 10:01 A.M. Friday December 20, 1968 shows No. 2 track 500 feet west of MP 451 and Ridge Road abandoned.
Last edited by TB Diamond on Wed Jan 03, 2007 2:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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