Portageville Bridge Replacement, Future Tier Traffic

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Re: Portageville Bridge Replacement, Future Tier Traffic

Postby SALSDP35 » Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:17 am

Matt Langworthy wrote:
SALSDP35 wrote:The DL&W had FAR more industry than the Erie had and even today, the DL&W has local business while the Erie side only has Alstom and Morton from Attica to Erwin.


Using today's local traffic is a poor rationale. Yes, the B&H does generate more local business than NS between Attica and Gang Mills... but the majority of the current B&H traffic developed after EL severed the Dansville-Wayland segment. The LPG facility was built around 1964 and the sand traffic began less than 10 years ago.


Simply not true. Do you think the line survived from 1963 until the end of the EL on no traffic? The EL had Gunlocke Chair in Wayland who was a huge shipper and receiver well into the B&H years. The Birdseye plant in Wayland (which they built a connect to the Erie in Atlanta) the ag. businesses in Atlanta (including inbound movements of Machinery. Several plants in Cohocton (all predating the B&h except one) the potato warehouses in Avoca, the B&H in Bath in addition of at least 5 industries on the Erie trackage alone. Wards and Higbies in Savona, Polly-O in Campbell (who received coal until 1973), the D&M interchange in Groveland and the G&W in Greigsville. By comparison, even in 1960, the Erie had few industries even if you start in Hornell. SKF and the Salt Mine being the two major. Bill Stubbs himself (who was president of the B&H at the time of this comment (and the last division manager of the Erie Rochester Division) told me, "the Erie had a great deal of business between Wayland and Corning. Far more than the Buffalo division. Still, Gunlocke alone generate more carloads and even more importantly, more high valued carloads than all of the Erie's Rochester Division put together." If anything, business on the line declined after 1965.

I read the Wyer-Dick report, too. The Erie was generating more revenue than the DL&W in upstate NY and had less operating expenses. H Roger Grant also stated the Erie had more customers in Erie Lackawanna: Death Of An American Railroad 1938-1992, which is generally considered to be a well-researched authority on the subject.

First of all, the Wyer-Dick did not study things equally. The studied the cost of moving a car from Buffalo to Hornell on the Erie and Buffalo to Elmira on the DL&W. Not exactly apples to apples.

Secondly, frankly, what does total revenue generated even mean? It you total up the fact that The Erie could count everything from Jamestown to Binghamton, Buffalo, Rochester, the Rochester Division etc. in a Western New York number, I am sure that this is true. How this argument is even relevant to the base point of keeping the route available as a through route only is anyone's guess (more on the later). As far as Grants book goes, he never gets into this level of detail about the Erie vs. DL&W thus I am not sure what your point is here.

SALSDP35 wrote:While the DL&W was a far better line, it is hard to argue that the above plan was not the right one for a merged EL. The EL wanted as much business as possible to go via the route to Chicago and that meant the Erie need to stay as far as River Jct even if they were to drop the rest of the Erie Buffalo line..


The Erie Buffalo Divison was never considered for abandonment during the planning for EL. As stated earlier, it was vital for moving traffic between Buffalo and Ohio/Indiana/Chicago,

Yeah I agree. My only point was that it was an error to remove the 12 miles making it impossible to use as a through route. I already stated that within the context of a merged EL, I would have made every move that the EL made except that one. It saved next to nothing and in the end, drove up the O/R.

SALSDP35 wrote:What can be questioned is the poor move to drop the 12 miles that rendered the line useless as a through route. That 12 miles saved very little in the annual MoW budget and cost the operating department a great deal. Two crews six days a week that could have (and were) moving through cars between Buffalo and points east were now only performing local service. Removal of the 12 miles seems more political than sound from any business standpoint.


The move was made by Bill White after he replaced McInnes as CEO, so your "political" point has little merit. It is important to remember that White was the president of the DL&W and (along with EL President Greg Maxwell) worked very hard to integrate former Erie and DL&W operations for greater efficiency, EL didn't need 2 through routes from Corning to Buffalo. The cost to keep the track at Class II, III or higher standards is obviously more expensive than keeping it at Class I. The small amount of through traffic remained on the former DL&W was easily moved over to the former Erie Buffalo Division. The move also allowed to EL to save money by keeping a smaller pool of qualified crews for the Wayland and Groveland Branches.


The removal occurred under Bill White but the approval process before the ICC had already taken place. Bill White may not have stopped it but he did not advocate it. He had bigger problems upon his arrival than to spend his time reverse this mistake. Your quote of class of track makes no sense as the FRA did not set class standards until the mid 1970's. Anyway, as it was, the reverse was true, the track was in excellent shape, was left in place and has required very little up keep even to the present day. Granted the tonnage has been light in recent years but the plant was much heavier than need for two through freights per day and all remained in service until late 1985. The line still saw heavy salt trains on the western end. If anything, the EL squandered the investment in good track - something that Maxwell would later recognized east of Binghamton. (That he had an excellent DL&W for the most part and a worn out Erie route to get to Croxton. The traffic shifted even with the Greenwood Lakes line handicap.) The Crew point makes no sense. The EL maintained 5 man crews and ran six days per week until the end. They had to protect the job with guys off the extra board anyway. They saved nothing in crew cost. Instead of these guys moving an entire train the length of the run, they had two round trips delivering far less transportation. Particularly inefficient was all the handling that went into the salt that was taken back to Buffalo with 75% of it shipped to points east.

Your argument of no need for two through routes would apply if their was not a thriving local business along the line. However, 12 miles is a very different matter than 100. Your assumption that is was light in 1963 is simply incorrect. There was more local business on the DL&W vs. the Erie main in 1960, 76, 85 and even today. Even if the Erie had had more, the line had enough to remain in place. Given that all but those 12 miles remained in service until 1985, it would seem to indicate a need for service. Political (as in internal politics) really becomes the most likely explanation. Frankly, 54 years after it was removed, the endpoints still have rails today where as the Erie side has two customers, only one who has no alternative to the Erie line (Alstom). Wyer Dick didn't even recommend removal of the 12 miles.
Last edited by SALSDP35 on Fri Jan 19, 2018 3:22 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Portageville Bridge Replacement, Future Tier Traffic

Postby SALSDP35 » Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:24 am

ctclark1 wrote:Silver Springs doesn't really play into the ruling grade... Eastward between Attica and Linden, charts show a rising grade of 1.14% to 1.15% from MP392 to MP MP389.


I used Silver Springs as the helpers generally cut off at Rock Glen siding in D&H days. While not part of the ruling grade, it is still up hill until the crest half way between Rock Glen and Silver Springs.
Last edited by SALSDP35 on Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Portageville Bridge Replacement, Future Tier Traffic

Postby 452 Card » Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:35 am

What does all this have to do with the Bridge?
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Re: Portageville Bridge Replacement, Future Tier Traffic

Postby Matt Langworthy » Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:59 am

452 Card wrote:What does all this have to do with the Bridge?


Alex D made reference to the Letchworth bridge being an alleged bottleneck on the Erie a couple pages back and its relation to the EL merger. You are correct about the debate between SALSDP35 and myself being a tangent at best... so my next reply to his comments will be over in the EL forum. I'll provide a link here when that happens.
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Re: Portageville Bridge Replacement, Future Tier Traffic

Postby thebigham » Sat Jan 20, 2018 2:14 pm

John Kucko pic and reports:

End of an Era: An amazing visual looking north this morning along the Genesee River as one can see the gaping void on the 1875 railroad trestle at Letchworth SP. As previously noted, ironworkers from Buffalo and Rochester did incredible work yesterday removing a 50 ton truss from "Old Shaky". The process took the entire day and as one worker told me "that may be the toughest section we take down". Most all of this iron will be recycled, with a very small portion going to the park for historic purposes.
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Re: Portageville Bridge Replacement, Future Tier Traffic

Postby Noel Weaver » Sat Jan 20, 2018 7:48 pm

thebigham wrote:John Kucko pic and reports:

End of an Era: An amazing visual looking north this morning along the Genesee River as one can see the gaping void on the 1875 railroad trestle at Letchworth SP. As previously noted, ironworkers from Buffalo and Rochester did incredible work yesterday removing a 50 ton truss from "Old Shaky". The process took the entire day and as one worker told me "that may be the toughest section we take down". Most all of this iron will be recycled, with a very small portion going to the park for historic purposes.


Very interesting and scary photo. I take one look and NO WAY. The folks doing this job have got to be good at what they do, they are well worth every dollar that they earn doing this very risky and cold job.
Many thanks for providing this photo.
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Re: Portageville Bridge Replacement, Future Tier Traffic

Postby Scott K » Sat Jan 20, 2018 8:07 pm

I like John Kucko's further proposal;
"I am making a plea to Norfolk Southern and anyone else who has say. Can you PLEASE give each of the railroad museums in WNY a tiny piece of iron to display? The Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum, the Medina Railroad Museum, the Arcade & Attica Railroad Depot and the New York Museum of Transportation are most deserving. There may be others in WNY I left out, but these fine places should have a tiny piece of trestle iron to showcase and preserve the rich history. Breathtaking workmanship by WNY folks to get this project completed. History in the making!"

I wonder if NS will be willing?
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Re: Portageville Bridge Replacement, Future Tier Traffic

Postby 452 Card » Sun Jan 21, 2018 8:31 pm

With the removal of the first section of the 1875 structure, it has created the severance of what brought W.P. Letchworth to the area long ago over the original wooden structure to find his future home and the beginning of Letchworth as a destination years later. I am a bit saddened after so many hikes below it on the east side, and the view from Inspiraton Point, and seeing it in all the park literature that it will soon be just a memory. Not trying to complain; just describing a feeling of sadness to see the old lady go.
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Re: Portageville Bridge Replacement, Future Tier Traffic

Postby thebigham » Wed Jan 24, 2018 11:01 am

John Kucko wrote:

End of an Era: With wind chill at 8 degrees, WNY ironworkers and crane operators remove a massive 27 ton section of the 1875 railroad trestle here at Letchworth SP. The crane lowers the truss to the park side, iron then crunched up and placed into a massive container--iron to be recycled. Incredible history taking place here, the trestle is disappearing--section by section.
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Re: Portageville Bridge Replacement, Future Tier Traffic

Postby nessman » Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:41 pm

Are they removing the approaches via crane and doing a controlled demolition of the main span? I figured they'd start from the middle and work their way back to either end (rather than the other way around). I can't imagine they can get a crane in that far over the gorge without tipping?
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Re: Portageville Bridge Replacement, Future Tier Traffic

Postby ctclark1 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:01 pm

Just thinking out loud here, maybe they needed to get the western approach out of the way faster so the park road could be finished by spring time, with the crew moving the crane out onto the main span from the east side to the western remaining extent of the bridge and working their way back?

Edit: NVM, I see what you're saying about being able to get the chunks of bridge back to dry land from the main span... In that case, forget I said anything.
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Re: Portageville Bridge Replacement, Future Tier Traffic

Postby nessman » Fri Jan 26, 2018 12:07 am

They took down the east approach too.
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Re: Portageville Bridge Replacement, Future Tier Traffic

Postby lvrr325 » Fri Jan 26, 2018 3:48 pm

What parts of this had value to be re-used? That caption makes it sound like they're just chopping it up to go to the furnace.
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Re: Portageville Bridge Replacement, Future Tier Traffic

Postby nessman » Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:12 pm

That's precisely where the bridge is going... cut up for scrap as you can't realistically reuse it for anything. Iron has a scrap value of around $160/ton. That's a lot of iron. The contractor likely had it as part of their bid/contract they keep the scrap value of the bridge.
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Re: Portageville Bridge Replacement, Future Tier Traffic

Postby nydepot » Sat Jan 27, 2018 3:07 pm

I read it was going to several places that use iron for railings, lawn ornaments, etc. This type of iron is harder to find.
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