Erie RR and DL&W Lines to Buffalo

Discussion relating to the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western, the Erie, and the resulting 1960 merger creating the Erie Lackawanna. Visit the Erie Lackawanna Historical Society at http://www.erielackhs.org/.

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Re: Erie RR and DL&W Lines to Buffalo

Postby Matt Langworthy » Wed Apr 06, 2016 6:36 am

dlandw wrote:I think the main factor was not railroad-related at all: the state (and likely federal) departments of transportation were eager to use the ex-DL&W right-of-way for highway construction. The former Erie route from Binghamton westward had tighter curves, limited clearance between the tracks and adjacent roads or rivers, and ran through the center of the various towns. The DL&W main offered the possibility of broad, sweeping highway curves without running through the central business district of the towns (although this was inevitable in some areas, such as Waverly). In the end, the need to acquire land to build the Southern Tier Expressway and I-390 sealed the fate of the Lackawanna west of Binghamton.


It should be noted that the Southern Tier Expressway does not use the DL&W ROW from Elmira to Lowman. Nor does it use the DL&W ROW between Painted Post and Avoca (except for a short stretch in Bath). I've heard/read rumors about NYSDOT wanting to use the DL&W for the highway, but the lack of historical documents leads me to believe this story is apocryphal.
Last edited by Matt Langworthy on Wed Apr 06, 2016 6:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Erie RR and DL&W Lines to Buffalo

Postby Matt Langworthy » Wed Apr 06, 2016 6:38 am

s4ny wrote:Many years later, some of that ROW was used for I-86. I don't know who owned that
land in the almost 50 year interim.


Many years? No. The Southern Tier Expressway (which eventaully became I-86) was built circa 1962.
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Re: Erie RR and DL&W Lines to Buffalo

Postby Matt Langworthy » Wed Apr 06, 2016 11:50 am

jaash5 wrote:I am later to this topic, but was just doing a lot of research this past summer about the DL&W routes and why it was originally only abandoned by the EL from Groveland to Way;and, why only take out such a small section of line. In reading up on the Phoebe snow, when it was shifted to the Erie from the DL7W to Binghamton and then back to the DL&W the running time was significantly longer. The DL&W was actually a faster route. Dansville hill was formidable but was not the factor in the decision (from what I have read)


The DL&W was faster for passenger service, but was it faster for freight service, too? Just a guess- I'm thinking the grade at Dansville Hill and the need for pushers may have slowed freight trains quite a bit. The hill also had drainage issues, according to a local history book, so that probably sealed the fate of the Dansville-Wayland segment.
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Re: Erie RR and DL&W Lines to Buffalo

Postby charlesriverbranch » Sat May 07, 2016 7:13 pm

Matt Langworthy wrote:
dlandw wrote:I think the main factor was not railroad-related at all: the state (and likely federal) departments of transportation were eager to use the ex-DL&W right-of-way for highway construction. The former Erie route from Binghamton westward had tighter curves, limited clearance between the tracks and adjacent roads or rivers, and ran through the center of the various towns. The DL&W main offered the possibility of broad, sweeping highway curves without running through the central business district of the towns (although this was inevitable in some areas, such as Waverly). In the end, the need to acquire land to build the Southern Tier Expressway and I-390 sealed the fate of the Lackawanna west of Binghamton.


It should be noted that the Southern Tier Expressway does not use the DL&W ROW from Elmira to Lowman. Nor does it use the DL&W ROW between Painted Post and Avoca (except for a short stretch in Bath). I've heard/read rumors about NYSDOT wanting to use the DL&W for the highway, but the lack of historical documents leads me to believe this story is apocryphal.


The expressway certainly does use the ex-Lackawanna ROW starting at Vestal, NY, just west of the old station site. I lived in the area as a child and saw the expressway built in the 1960's. I don't know how far west the highway occupies the old ROW, but it goes at least as far as Owego. The Apalachin, NY passenger station still stands beside the highway. The Vestal station was moved to a shopping center near the intersection of NY Routes 434 and 26, and has been restored as a museum.
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Re: Erie RR and DL&W Lines to Buffalo

Postby Matt Langworthy » Mon Jun 20, 2016 11:46 am

The expressway diverts from the DL&W ROW west of Owego, although I'm not 100% sure of the exact location. As stated earlier, the two are distinctly separate between Elmira and Lowman.
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Re: Erie RR and DL&W Lines to Buffalo

Postby Matt Langworthy » Mon Jun 20, 2016 12:21 pm

Here is a fascinating look into the respective locations of the expressway vs the DL&W ROW in Waverly, courtesy of Scot Lawrence:

http://www.trainweb.org/gggrs/DLW_south_waverly.html
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