Scheduled LV Trains-Buffalo, NY in March ‘76

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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Re: Scheduled LV Trains-Buffalo, NY in March ‘76

Postby XC Tower » Sat Jan 19, 2019 10:10 pm

Awesome information and answers! My thanks to you all for them.
Pardon my ignorance of town or street names, but I remember riding Amtrak’s “Maple Leaf” leaving Exchange St. Station in Buffalo during 1983 or 84 ( I believe the time frame is correct)on the way to Toronto, to the right of the train was a railway line in the process of being removed for some distance. I remember thinking that it was probably the former Lehigh Valley or Erie Railroad’s route to Niagara Falls. Can anyone clue me in on this?
Also, I am interested in the TH&B’s interchanging with the LV. Did it actually run trains over trackage rights into Buffalo from Canada? If so, until what year?
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Re: Scheduled LV Trains-Buffalo, NY in March ‘76

Postby TrainDetainer » Sun Jan 20, 2019 3:53 pm

Erie/EL paralleled the NYC from Wheatfield Street in North Tonawanda all the way to NiaF post-realignment, crossing the NYC on a diamond at Tuscarora to get to the south side. LV had trackage rights on NYC from North Tonawanda to reach their Suspension Bridge yard. LV and EL lines were completely redundant under Conrail in that area and were removed, except parts of LV Suspension Bridge Yard - with the LV freight house becoming Amtrak's NiaF depot until the new one opened a year or two ago. For a while in the 2000s the short line in Lockport was using the LV yard for their interchange point with CSX, don't know if they still are or not.

I don't know about LV/THB interchange, but if they did directly it was probably at NiaF (maybe North Tonawanda early on).
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Re: Scheduled LV Trains-Buffalo, NY in March ‘76

Postby NYCRRson » Sun Jan 20, 2019 6:43 pm

"but I remember riding Amtrak’s “Maple Leaf” leaving Exchange St. Station in Buffalo during 1983 or 84 ( I believe the time frame is correct)on the way to Toronto, to the right of the train was a railway line in the process of being removed for some distance."

The Tracks through Exchange Street Station was the NYCRR Falls Branch (not the Falls Road). From Exchange St Station, under the Peace Bridge, along the Niagara River then Black Rock and on into the Tonawanda's (Town, City and North Tonawanda). This was double track all the way from Exchange St. to Niagara Falls. It was used for Freight and Passenger trains. It could handle the height of the Auto-racks.

In the early 1980's at Buffalo Central Terminal they cut apart the train concourse from the main station building. This was done to allow higher freight cars through from the Belt line to points west.

Once this was complete freight trains used the Belt Line to go through Black Rock on the way from Buffalo to NF (or vice-versa). Then the Falls Branch from Exchange St. to Black Rock (Northwest end of the belt line) became passenger only and was single tracked. You saw one of the tracks of the then Passenger Train only Falls Branch being removed to save costs for Conrail.

The section from Black Rock to NF is still double track. This short section of track (about 20 miles) was never equipped with crossovers so trains cannot change track to go around another train. Rather than install automatic switches to make parts of the second track passing sidings It was simpler & cheaper to keep two tracks in place.

From most of my observations the Western most track (nearest the Niagara River) is used for South-bounds (towards Buffalo) and the other track is for North-bounds (to NF). But I'm sure there are exceptions due to breakdowns, track maintenance, etc. At one time trains could change tracks in N. Tonawanda (about mid-way), but I do not know if that is still possible.


"I don't know about LV/THB interchange, but if they did directly it was probably at NiaF (maybe North Tonawanda early on)."

I also do not know where the LV and the TH&B interchanged. But the TH&B also had trackage rights over the Falls Branch. I remember seeing TH&B GP7/9 loco's on the NYCRR Falls Branch occasionally along RIver Road in N. Tonawanda in the 60's and 70's.

I do not recall ever seeing TH&B power in the NYCRR yard in North Tonawanda. When I was a young lad (60's) I went there every week with my Mom to pick up my Father's paycheck at the Freight House. And I got a couple of cab rides with my Dad in the local N. Tonawanda Switcher (an SW something).

Cheers, Kevin
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Re: Scheduled LV Trains-Buffalo, NY in March ‘76

Postby TrainDetainer » Mon Jan 21, 2019 1:20 am

It could handle the height of the Auto-racks.

Only north of Black Rock. Equipment over 16'9" is prohibited between CP-437 and CP-7. IIRC the lowest tunnel is Erie St, and Main St isn't much higher.

The section from Black Rock to NF is still double track. This short section of track (about 20 miles) was never equipped with crossovers so trains cannot change track to go around another train. Rather than install automatic switches to make parts of the second track passing sidings It was simpler & cheaper to keep two tracks in place.

Not true. NiaBr has been single track from CP-17 to CP-22 at least since the realignment from downtown Niagara Falls to Suspension Bridge. With CP-17 (single to double point) roughly in the middle of 8 to 22 section and trains between Frontier and Suspension Bridge being generally large, there simply isn't much need for passing, except for Amtrak, locals working and the occasional train being held out of one of the yards when things were really busy. But with double track between CP-22 and CP-25 and on the Belt Line, holds usually sat at 25 or Sycamore Street. Traffic between Suspension Bridge and Black Rock is lighter since the Split, particularly since the CP route is gone from NiaFalls.

From most of my observations the Western most track (nearest the Niagara River) is used for South-bounds (towards Buffalo) and the other track is for North-bounds (to NF). But I'm sure there are exceptions due to breakdowns, track maintenance, etc. At one time trains could change tracks in N. Tonawanda (about mid-way), but I do not know if that is still possible.

Between CP-8 and CP-17 both tracks are/were signaled 251 (one way traffic (CSX may have spent the money to 261 them recently)). Tk1 westbound and Trk 2 eastbound, dispatcher has to issue a train order to operate against the current to do otherwise in 251, so most normal operation is with the current. There are still crossovers at Woodward Ave just east of CP-9 (right hand) and at Robinson Street in North Tonawanda (left hand), usually used by locals to get to/from the right track to run current of traffic.
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Re: Scheduled LV Trains-Buffalo, NY in March ‘76

Postby XC Tower » Tue Jan 22, 2019 6:55 pm

Just more great information and answers, which I am so grateful for. My thanks to all!
Buffalo, NY, from my earliest memories as a young boy traveling through, glued in awe to the back windows of the car (as a teenager I advanced to the front passenger seat with my dear old Dad) meant big industry: Bethlehem Steel, Buffalo Forge, with their monstrous facilities that seemed to stretch forever, the towering concrete cylinders which I thought were for grain (but I think now, we’re for cement?), massive “Lake Boats” tied up loading and unloading, and best of all, railroads...Lots of railroads with tracks and yards all over!....A city that fascinated a boy with all these bigger than life things that captivated the imagination....What times they were!!!....Imagine a father with his three sons driving into railroad yard facilities, saying to the employees who saw us “I’m just showing my boys the trains” (Most of the time it went no farther than a friendly wave returned to ours)...Only one time were we asked nicely to leave, with a kind “You can’t be here....You’ll get in trouble” in Frontier Yard as we walked the fuel racks looking at the various Penn Central units parked there (I remember being in awe of seeing a Buffalo Creek Railway ALCO switcher close up!)....Lehigh Valley’s Tifft Yard, Penn Central’s Tifft facilities with ALCO RS-3 “Dewitt Rebuilds” parked and idling with EMD “chants” which seemed so out of place....Bison Yard....Even going down to the small B&O engine house in their yard (I remember three units, including an EMD GP30 parked there, I believe)...Times that make wonderful memories to recall! I remember our Dad taking us to a pizza place that was flat out fantastic in our travels in the downtown area (Like after one bite “Wow!! This pizza is a awesome!!!....Yes, we absolutely went back on other trips!!!!....I can’t remember the name...Memory is frustrating as time goes by)
The Lehigh Valley was and is very much a part of those wonderful times that still live in my mind....I appreciate each and every answer.


XC
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Re: Scheduled LV Trains-Buffalo, NY in March ‘76

Postby XC Tower » Tue Jan 22, 2019 7:00 pm

One more question, if you will: Did the Lehigh Valley haul coal to Buffalo and Niagara Falls?
Thank you again.


XC
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Re: Scheduled LV Trains-Buffalo, NY in March ‘76

Postby DElder » Mon Jan 28, 2019 8:30 pm

Hey, great to see some activity on this site again! And really glad to see that TB is still "alive and kicking" and helping to keep us all better informed on LV history and details. Thanks Paul....hope all's well out your way!
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Re: Scheduled LV Trains-Buffalo, NY in March ‘76

Postby TB Diamond » Tue Jan 29, 2019 11:03 pm

The only regular delivery of coal on the west end in the mid-1970s to my recollection was to the University of Rochester heating plant on the Rochester Branch.

Thank you, DE for the kind comments. All is well out here on the Front Range of CO. Hope all is well with you.
You can't go home again- Thomas Wolfe
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Re: Scheduled LV Trains-Buffalo, NY in March ‘76

Postby XC Tower » Mon Feb 04, 2019 9:38 pm

Hello Again,
The information shared in this thread has been a true delight. Once more, my thanks to all who have provided it.
A couple of more questions, please :On the eve of Conrail, which Lehigh Valley freights were the last departing and arriving to/from Buffalo? Were Tifft Street and Niagara Falls Yards and facilities closed with the immediate beginning of Conrail?


XC
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Re: Scheduled LV Trains-Buffalo, NY in March ‘76

Postby TB Diamond » Mon Feb 04, 2019 10:54 pm

Final Lehigh Valley Railroad trains to originate in the greater Buffalo area on March 31, 1976:

Tifft Terminal: LV-2 Dpt. 2:55 P.M.

Tifft Jct.: AP-2 Dpt. 4:30 P.M.

Suspension Bridge: COJ-32 Dpt. 6:28 P.M.

Final Lehigh Valley Railroad trains to arrive in the greater Buffalo area March 31-April 1, 1976:

Tifft Terminal: PLB-5 Arr. 5:20 P.M. March 31, 1976

Tifft Jct.: ME-1 Arr. 6:50 A.M. April 1, 1976

Suspension Bridge: NE-1 Arr. 5:15 P.M. March 31, 1976

Information is from the Dispatchers Record Of Trains dated Wednesday March 31, 1976 at Buffalo, NY.

Yes, both Suspension Bridge and Tifft Terminal yards were closed after April 1, 1976.
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