Question about the Dunkirk-Titusville branch...

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Question about the Dunkirk-Titusville branch...

Postby MichaelWinicki » Sun Apr 22, 2007 9:56 am

I drove through North Warren (PA) yesterday and noticed the community had turned a portion of the grade into a paved trail... a little further north towards the New York State line I noticed a small amount of trackside electrical equipment still in place... I know this line was abandon in the early 70's, what sort of traffic did it see? Anything at all special about this line?
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Postby RussNelson » Sun Apr 22, 2007 2:30 pm

The wikipedia article has some information:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunkirk,_A ... h_Railroad
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Postby pablo » Sun Apr 22, 2007 4:59 pm

I should add some things to that Wiki article: there's some things that aren't quite right still.

Actually, I biked that grade this afternoon with the family, and I regularly pass along the line between Dunkirk and south of Warren, so I can add some more here. I cannot add much about traffic, though, since that was well before my time in this area.

I'm not sure where the trackside electrical equipment is near the state line: I know you can still see the crossing equipment box in Gerry, NY where Rt. 60 crosses over what the track was.

I plan on biking a lot of the old DAVP to see if there are any mile markers left. I will say I had a close encounter with a very large snake trying to get onto the old grade at the state line in some PA gamelands last year, and since I had my daughter with me (she loves hiking) I decided discretion is the better part of valor.

I did find a couple of old trolley rails today, and I will be going back to see if I can get the dates off of them. These would be the old Warren and Jamestown.

There is a DAVP freighthouse still alive in Warren.

The A&E/G&W still uses a portion of the DAV even though the rails in fourth street in Warren have been lifted. These rails now serve a plastic company in Warren.

Between Warren and Dunkirk, it is easy to spot the line if you know where to look, and many bridges are still with us, including a large truss bridge between Falconer and Gerry and one as a part of the aforementioned bike trail. Of couyrse, several bridges are gone, including teh one mentioned in the Wiki article and two large ones over the Conewango, one in Frewburg and one near Russell PA.

I'm including below a list of online industries from 1921. The text is from my website that is now long gone. I am plagiarizing myself.

VALLEY BRANCH (DAV&P) INDUSTRY LIST 1921

The following is a 1921 compilation of industries associated with stations located on the New York Central Valley Branch (DAV&P). This list was derived from a similar list in the archives of the Historical Society of Dunkirk, New York. Both lists lack data associated with Dunkirk and Fredonia, New York. Spelling, punctuation, etc. closely approximate the original list. Appreciation is expressed to the Historical Society of Dunkirk, New York for making this information available to those of us interested in the DAV&P.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

LAONA NY STATION # 7215 MILE POST 4.79
INDUSTRY BUSINESS
WM. WILLSON COAL
BERT BEEBE GRAIN FLOUR AND FEED

NORTONS NY STATION # 7220 MILE POST 7

LILY DALE NY STATION # ----- MILE POST 13.03
INDUSTRY BUSINESS
WEBSTER CITIZENS CO. ICE

CASSADAGA NY STATION # 7230 MILE POST 14.09
INDUSTRY BUSINESS
PAYNE SUPPLY CO. BUILDERS SUPPLIES
A. P. WOODS COAL
B AND O TAYLOR GRAIN FLOUR AND FEED
L. KNOTT and CO. LUMBER

MOONS NY STATION # 7235 MILE POST 17.94
INDUSTRY BUSINESS
L. L. DERBY FRUITS AND VEGETABLES

SINCLAIRVILLE NY STATION # 7240 MILE POST 21.77
INDUSTRY BUSINESS
BORDENS CONDENSED MILK CO. CANNED GOODS
O. M. CLELAND FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
M. H. CROFOOT FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
H. A. LEE GRAIN FLOUR AND FEED
H. S. WHEELER GRAIN FLOUR AND FEED
E. J. WHITE GRAIN FLOUR AND FEED
N. H. CROFOOT LUMBER
J. H. CUMMINGS LUMBER
GERRY LUMBER CO. LUMBER
STRONG AND COBB LUMBER
STANDARD OIL CO. OILS

GERRY NY STATION # 7245 MILE POST 26.44
INDUSTRY BUSINESS
W. M. BARMORE BUILDERS SUPPLIES
D. L. DOBBINS COAL, GRAIN FLOUR AND FEED
FRANK T. SAMUELSON FRUIT AND VEGETABLES

ROSS MILL NY STATION # ----- MILE POST 29.13

FALCONER NY STATION # 7250 MILE POST 32.33
INDUSTRY BUSINESS
FALCONER MILLING CO. BUILDERS SUPPLIES, GRAIN FLOUR AND FEED
FALCONER COAL CO. COAL
CHAUTAUQUA FRUIT GROWERS ASSN. FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
FALCONER LUMBER CO. LUMBER
FRED KNIGHT LUMBER
PEARL CITY VENEER CO. LUMBER
WARREN ROSS LUMBER CO. LUMBER

FALCONER JCT. NY STATION # 7255 MILE POST 32.74

FREWSBURG NY STATION # 7260 MILE POST 38.25
INDUSTRY BUSINESS
C. F. MYERS DRY GOODS
WALKERS CREMERY PRODUCTS DAIRY PRODUCTS
J. B. JOHNSON GRAIN FLOUR AND FEED
TRIANGLE FURNITURE CO. FURNITURE
H. M. PRESTON LIVE STOCK
E. F. WHITE LUMBER

FENTONVILLE NY STATION # ----- MILE POST 42.07

AKELEY PA STATION # 7270 MILE POST 44.67

RUSSELL PA STATION # 7275 MILE POST 46.62
INDUSTRY BUSINESS
RUSSELL COAL AND CHEMICAL CO. CEMENT PRODUCTS, COAL
CONEWANGO CHEMICAL CO. CHEMICALS AND ACIDS
RUSSELL CHEMICAL CO. CHEMICALS AND ACIDS
A. J. ARNOLD FENCING AND FENCE MATERIALS, LUMBER
D. H. GREGORY FERTILIZERS
W. B. HALL AND SONS FERTILIZERS
D. B. HITCHCOCK FERTILIZERS; GRAIN FLOUR, FEED
L. A. CHASE AND SON GRAIN FLOUR AND FEED
FAIRVIEW FRUIT FARM FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
A. REYNOLDS FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
G. E. MATTISON FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
T. T. MOLL HIDES, TALLOW, OILS
ROBERT ELBERG LUMBER
MUTUAL SALES CO. OILS
REYNOLDS VINEGAR CO. VINEGAR

NORTH WARREN PA STATION # 7280 MILE POST 51.81
INDUSTRY BUSINESS
WARREN COOPERAGE CO. COOPERAGE STOCK

WARREN PA STATION # 7285 MILE POST 54.36
INDUSTRY BUSINESS
M. BESHLIN CEMENT PRODUCTS, COAL, PLASTER, LIME
N. C. LARSON CEMENT PRODUCTS
PENN FURNACE AND STOVE CO. FURNACES
HORTON SMITH CO. GROCERS
JAMISON HARDWARE AND SUPPLY CO. HARDWARE
PICKET HARDWARE CO. HARDWARE
S. H. ROTHSCHILD IRON AND STEEL PRODUCTS
SAMUEL PETERSON LUMBER
MUTUAL REFINING CO. OILS

STARBRICK PA STATION # 7290 MILE POST 57

IRVINETON PA STATION # 7295 MILE POST 60.66
INDUSTRY BUSINESS
P. D. SWANSON FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
J. G. McCOY FRUITS AND VEGETABLES

YOUNGSVILLE PA STATION # 7300 MILE POST 62.93
INDUSTRY BUSINESS
A. E. COLEMAN FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
H. O. CEBERBURG LUMBER
FLEMING COLVIN LUMBER CO. LUMBER
GALLUP AND SHELDON LUMBER
KAY AND SHELDON LUMBER
RICHEY, HALSTEAD AND QUICK LUMBER

PITTSFIELD PA STATION # 7305 MILE POST 66.94
INDUSTRY BUSINESS
MUSGROVE KNITTING KNIT GOODS
ONOTO KNITTING KNIT GOODS

GARLAND PA STATION # 7310 MILE POST 70.88
INDUSTRY BUSINESS
GARLAND CHAIR CO. FURNITURE
W. E. TAYLOR FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
C. C. JOHNSON LUMBER
ROSS HILL SILICA SAND CO. SAND AND GRAVEL

TORPEDO NY (?) STATION # 7315 MILE POST 73.54

NEWTON PA STATION # 7320 MILE POST 76.23

GRAND VALLEY PA STATION # 7325 MILE POST 79.46
INDUSTRY BUSINESS
WILLISTON P. WOOD COAL, LUMBER, OIL PRODUCER
A. R. THOMPSON GRAIN FLOUR AND FEED

SELKIRK PA STATION # 7330 MILE POST 82.52

DOTYVILLE PA STATION # 7332 MILE POST -----

FIELDMORE SPRINGS PA STATION # 7335 MILE POST 88.80

TITUSVILLE PA STATION # 7340 MILE POST 90.33
INDUSTRY BUSINESS
TITUSVILLE, SUPPLY CO. CEMENT PRODUCTS, COAL, SAND, GRAVEL
TITUSVILLE IRON WORKS ENGINES, IRON AND STEEL PRODUCTS
ALLEN AND CO. FERTILIZERS, HARDWARE
KEER MILLING CO. GRAIN FLOUR AND FEED
TITUSVILLE CITY MILLS GRAIN FLOUR AND FEED
T. S. BURR FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
C. J. GILSON CO. HARDWARE
AMERICAN RADIATOR CO. HEATORS
CYCLOPS STEEL CO. IRON AND STEEL PRODUCTS
D. E. OLSON LUMBER
I. L. SHANK LUMBER
SPECIALTY MFG. CO. LUMBER
AMERICAN OIL WORKS OILS
LEVICK CREW CO. OILS
DERRICK OIL CO. OILS
OIL CREEK REFINING CO. OILS
THE SPECIALTY MFG. CO. WOODENWARE

I hope this helps. I can add more if you like. I was told that someone was working on a DAVP book. I'd like to do it, but I need to finish the first one I'm doing before I do something else dumb, like start another book!

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Postby MichaelWinicki » Sun Apr 22, 2007 9:00 pm

Thanks guys!

Maybe someone will chime in with some idea of the traffic on the line but the industry list is pretty cool Dave.

Back in 1983 I was hired by National Fuel and worked out of the Fredonia shop on White St. It was the first time I had spent considerable time in Chautauqua county and was amazed at the number of lines that had been abandon over the previous decade... The E-L line from Perrysburg to Dunkirk, the Chautauqua branch and of course everything south of Fredonia. Kinda sad really.
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Postby TB Diamond » Sun Apr 22, 2007 9:49 pm

Back in 1971 I was working for a week at the NY Guard Armory in Dunkirk, NY. The Valley Branch passed by the rear of the armory property. Noticed one job go by with a GP7/9 and a couple of cars. Tried on a few occasions to catch the job between Dunkirk and Falconer a few years later. Waited for it near the abandoned creamery at Sinclairville one time and at the E-L tower at Falconer another time. Had info that the job was coming, but both times darkness intervened. Never got over that way again before the line was taken o/s. Traffic was light, but I do not recall the frequency. Doubt that it was much more than 1x/wk, however.
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Postby pablo » Mon Apr 23, 2007 4:13 am

The PRR Chautauqua Branch got a significant upgrade from the state of New York right before it was abandonded, but the grade outside of Laona doomed this line for that. With Conrail, you didn't need to get from Dunkirk (where there was Conrail) to Falconer (Conrail again) or Warren (ditto) or yet again to Titusville (I see a pattern here).

I imagine that those small moves you saw were for an online customer. I don't know what was left at the end, but I imagine that one customer in Frewsburg, who still transloads from rail off of the NYLE, was around still.

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Postby Cactus Jack » Mon Apr 23, 2007 9:32 pm

Seems I recall a crossing case right at the north end of the bike trail at North Warren - where the RR crossed the old road that goes on the east side of the State Hospital. At least the case was there about a year ago when I last biked it. - This would be right adjacent to Rt 62 just south of the Warren Mall intersection. Also there was a whistle board for the first crossing in Warren, along the bike trail, just before you exit the south end of the trail. It was near an old coal? dump, the remains which can still be seen alongside the high fill for the RT 62 highway. There is also a nice thru-truss bridge intact up by Ross Mills, north of Falconer and south of Gerry.

BTW, Torpdeo, listed in the customer list is in PA, and not NY. I think at one time there may have been a powder plant there.
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Postby pablo » Mon Apr 23, 2007 9:40 pm

I forgot about that case. It is still there, north of the Hospital.

I am 95% sure that the whistle board is gone, as I've never seen it...I just might have missed it. Where are you talking about, where the trail itself ends and turns into 4th street, or elsewhere?

I can tell you that I've seen lots of remnants of things along that stretch of trail, from ties (obvious, they're everywhere) occasional trolley ties (I think I saw two...assuming that's what they were) the trolley ROW (which is also obvious), a trolley rail, and the like...but no mile markers or posts, whistle or otherwise. I haven't hit the whole thing, obviously.

I had mentioned that truss bridge previously as being between Falconer and Gerry. Is it Ross Mills' or is it Kimball Stand? I know that KS is a bit north, but still...it's close. I'll go with Ross Mills if you're sure.

You're also correct on Torpedo. I just saw that. Not sure where it is.

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Postby Cactus Jack » Mon Apr 23, 2007 10:18 pm

Dave

I think the whistle post was just north of the south end of the trail - where the ROW / Trail exits to the street area. Going south it was on the right near where the highway fill comes near where the unloading chutes are located. It may have fallen over by now. Sorry I can't be more specific, but check the west side of the ROW 800 - 1200 ft north of the "gate" at the south end of the trail.

As for Ross Mill or Kimbal Stand - I am not sure what designation the RR would have given that location.

Torpedo - down on Rt 27 - just north of where the tracks crossed the highway. I think there is at least one old building _ non RR of some sort there. Actually not too hard to find, but been a while since I drove down there.

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Postby pablo » Tue Apr 24, 2007 10:11 am

Doug! Holy cow! Good to hear from you!

I'll check it out when I ride it today with the wifey. I suspect it has been permanently borrowed.

One other thing: I just checked a track chart online and the rail from Dunkirk to Warren is listed as being "less than 100lb." Not sure what size, and this likely helped contribute to the line's abandonment.

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Postby MichaelWinicki » Tue Apr 24, 2007 3:53 pm

Geez, those Borden Condensed milk plants were all over the place... I know of three along now abandon ROW's-- Sinclairville off of this line, in Fillmore (Allegany county) off of the Pennsy Olean-Rochester division, and in Salamanca off of the Pennsy Oil City-Olean division. The ones in Fillmore and Salamanca closed up in the 1950's... I'm guessing Sinclairville's did likewise.
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Postby pablo » Wed Apr 25, 2007 4:52 am

I zipped along the trail last night. I see a suspicious pile of debris about where Doug said it might be...but that's it.

That having been said, for Doug (or anybody elses' benefit), I have a question.

I know along the trail the trolley line and the railroad were roughly side by side. However, for much of the paved trail poart along the Rt. 62 fill, there is a ROW still visible, adjacent to the trail, with ties still buried, and they look like railroad ties, and not trolley ties. I understand there was a siding in the area, and that's fine...but is the trail directly over the old RR grade?

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Postby TB Diamond » Wed Apr 25, 2007 5:52 pm

MW: First noticed the Borden plant in Sinclairville in the early 1970s. Appearance at that time leads to the conclusion that it had been closed for many years.
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Postby Cactus Jack » Wed Apr 25, 2007 9:39 pm

I am not positive, but think the ties and ROW were siding tracks and the main part of the trail is pretty much on the Main Track ROW.

I guess I thought the trolley was up at highway level, but of course RT 62 has really changed since those days.

Back a few years ago when the City of Warren tore up some pavement near the Post Office / Struthers Theater it revealed the trolley track and rail that had been buried for years.

Seems also that in the Warren Yard that rail there on the NYC side was 105 Dudley. I supposed that the whole thing was 105DY, but apparently not.

Re: Moons MP 17.94. I think that was named for the Moon family and one of the boys became a railroad exec on the NKP or RW&O or some such. Guess I forgot more than I ever knew !
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Postby pablo » Wed Apr 25, 2007 10:33 pm

I could, of course, be very wrong about the trolley grade...but it just seems in several places that it's quite a bit lower...and as you get closer to North Warren, the track had to cross the DAV to get into "downtown" North Warren. I still don't know how that happened.

I have seen a map for the W&J/Warren Street Railway and it looks as though the W&J hugged the topography into Warren then went down Market. I didn't dig out the map, but I know that Water isn't wide enough for two lines, and so that leaves Market. Closer to North Warren, if the trail is one ROW, a second ROW is apparent adjacent and West of that line by perhaps 10-15 feet.

Further, about the rails in the street...I live on Conewango, and the center of that road, where the trolley line used to run to the old fairgrounds, is quite bumpy...and I'll bet that they simply paved over ties and rails there too. I'm eager for when they dig the road to its base and redo it properly. Perhpas I'll get some WSRY rail for my garden. Who knows.

This track chart key shows the rail weight I was talking about:
http://www.railsandtrails.com/TC/PC/Wil ... d-100r.jpg

And this is the chart for the DAV into Warren in 1969:
http://www.railsandtrails.com/TC/PC/Wil ... 02-100.jpg

You'll note, unless I'm reading that wrong, that much of the line is under 100lb rail. I have no clue what weight that might actually be. Also, there aren't many sidings left at that point, though it does show one between the main and the river...so that makes me wonder if the former ROW is actually the stuff I see poking out from under the Rt. 62 (at least in some places) and the whole line went tighter to the river for a path. There would at least be a siding there to use for surveying...or whatever it would be called in such a situation.

I remember hearing about the Moons family member. One more addition for that: there's a christmas tree farm right along the old ROW there where Moons Road is (I think there's still a crossing case there, too) and the school house that the people there use for their office has the last surviving item from the old Moons Station: its stove.

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