Fastest New York 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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Fastest New York to Buffalo?

Postby D Alex » Sat Feb 10, 2018 10:22 am

The DL&W predates me by a few years (I was born in 1961, a year after the Erie merger), but from what I've seen and read about the DL&W's projects built during the teens, I was wondering just how much of a speed advantage this gave them on the NY-Buffalo route. Was the Lackawanna faster than the NYC to Buffalo? Also, how did Erie and LVRR compare in travel time on this route?
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Re: Fastest New York to Buffalo?

Postby Rockingham Racer » Sat Feb 10, 2018 12:10 pm

Given that one had to add travel time to the equation when using E-L, and its slow route, I would imagine the Central would have been the faster option from Midtown Manhattan. Just a guess, though.
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Re: Fastest New York to Buffalo?

Postby jr » Sat Feb 10, 2018 12:25 pm

I also first saw the light of this world in '61. I did some snooping in my rapidly decaying July 1939 Official Guide, and found the following:

(all times are Westbound, NY to Buffalo; presumably Eastbound times are roughly similar)

NYC train 25 - 7hrs 20 min - This was the 20th Century. However, you are not allowed off of the Century, in Buffalo. There are only people getting on here.
NYC train 67 - 8hrs 5 min - The Commodore Vanderbilt. You are allowed to get off the train in Buffalo, so this would be a better comparison to the DL&W
DL&W train 3 - 9hrs 36 min - Lackawanna Ltd (believe the timing is from Hoboken)
LV train 7 - 10hrs 20 min - The Maple Leaf
Erie train 1 - 10hrs 35 min - Erie Ltd (timing is from Jersey City, rather than Manhattan)
PRR - 13hrs 40 min - Combination of a couple of trains
B&O - approx 23 hrs - Several trains

JR
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Re: Fastest New York to Buffalo?

Postby scottychaos » Sat Feb 10, 2018 12:56 pm

jr wrote:
NYC train 67 - 8hrs 5 min - The Commodore Vanderbilt. You are allowed to get off the train in Buffalo, so this would be a better comparison to the DL&W
DL&W train 3 - 9hrs 36 min - Lackawanna Ltd (believe the timing is from Hoboken)



Tack on the ferry ride for the DL&W, and you are over 10 hours..
makes NYC the clear winner here..

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Re: Fastest New York to Buffalo?

Postby jr » Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:13 pm

My earlier post for DL&W 3 was, in fact, timing from New York. Includes 20 minutes for the ride to Hoboken.
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Re: Fastest New York to Buffalo?

Postby D Alex » Sat Feb 10, 2018 3:42 pm

jr wrote:I also first saw the light of this world in '61. I did some snooping in my rapidly decaying July 1939 Official Guide, and found the following:

(all times are Westbound, NY to Buffalo; presumably Eastbound times are roughly similar)

NYC train 25 - 7hrs 20 min - This was the 20th Century. However, you are not allowed off of the Century, in Buffalo. There are only people getting on here.
NYC train 67 - 8hrs 5 min - The Commodore Vanderbilt. You are allowed to get off the train in Buffalo, so this would be a better comparison to the DL&W
DL&W train 3 - 9hrs 36 min - Lackawanna Ltd (believe the timing is from Hoboken)
LV train 7 - 10hrs 20 min - The Maple Leaf
Erie train 1 - 10hrs 35 min - Erie Ltd (timing is from Jersey City, rather than Manhattan)
PRR - 13hrs 40 min - Combination of a couple of trains
B&O - approx 23 hrs - Several trains

JR


Well, I guess that confirms the old joke my dad once told me:

Guy at ticket window: "I gotta get to Buffalo in the WORST way possible!"
Agent: "OK, I can get you a ticket on the Erie....."

BTW, was it true what Grouch Marx said; "You can set your watch to the Lehigh Valley"?
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Re: Fastest New York to Buffalo?

Postby ExCon90 » Sun Feb 11, 2018 3:59 pm

Never heard that one. Knowing Groucho there had to be a real zinger in the next line.
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Re: Fastest New York to Buffalo?

Postby D Alex » Sun Feb 11, 2018 6:34 pm

ExCon90 wrote:Never heard that one. Knowing Groucho there had to be a real zinger in the next line.


You mean like: "The streetcar stopped with a jerk.....but then I got off!"
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Re: Fastest New York to Buffalo?

Postby ExCon90 » Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:47 pm

Exactly that sort of thing.
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Re: Fastest New York to Buffalo?

Postby GandyDancer1 » Tue Feb 13, 2018 5:53 pm

Hard to say looking at a single source. Schedules changed over the years. The lackawanna route was 40 miles shorter, but many grades.
Believe the NYC owned enough Lackawanna stock that they were able to populate the Board of Directors with 3 Directors. Hence, there was no way the Lack
was going to be quicker...
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Re: Fastest New York to Buffalo?

Postby ExCon90 » Wed Feb 14, 2018 4:21 pm

And Grand Central Terminal was a lot more convenient for most people than the foot of Barclay Street, a few blocks from the nearest subway--no way to overcome that handicap.
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Re: Fastest New York to Buffalo?

Postby D Alex » Wed Feb 14, 2018 5:24 pm

Well, then it seems that despite the huge improvements the Lackawanna made in the teens (the bypass and the viaduct around Scranton), it primarily helped the freight end. Still, the DL&W DID have the most convenient station in Buffalo, and they charged less. Also, a transfer to the Nickle Plate offered a cheaper alternative to the NYC all the way to Chicago, too. It seems that on the NY-BUF route, you had 3 good choices (plus one not-so-good choice, followed by 2 lousy choices) all together. Today, you just have 1 choice of provider, with 3 trains. Sometimes 'riding the dog' looks good....
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Re: Fastest New York to Buffalo?

Postby ExCon90 » Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:32 pm

The rates were the same on all railroads until (sometime in the 1960's?) the ICC granted a rate increase which some railroads, including the EL and the B&O, elected not to take in hopes that an increase in ridership would make up for the lack of an increase in revenue per passenger (I never heard how that worked out). There was a lot of discussion on that point a few years ago; I don't remember on which forum, but somebody had the exact year. At the time of the improvements the fare was the same on the NYC and DL&W/EL (including on the PRR via Harrisburg and Williamsport).
But it's true that freight benefited primarily--the Old Main Line in NJ and the original alignment west of Scranton must have been a real headache.
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Re: Cheapest New York to Buffalo?

Postby timz » Fri Jun 01, 2018 6:04 pm

ExCon90 wrote:The rates were the same on all railroads until...

All agreed Erie and DL&W/NKP were cheaper NY to Chicago than PRR/NYC? Looks like in the 1930s Erie was also cheaper NY-Buffalo than NY Central.
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Re: Fastest New York to Buffalo?

Postby s4ny » Mon Jun 11, 2018 8:38 am

Of the 22 persons identified as losing their life in the 1943 crash at Wayland,
10 were from NY City. That is surprising to me. (the 10 includes 2 from Staten Island, closer to Hoboken than Grand Central)

I believe most of the deaths were in a NKP coach.
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