Abandoned Lehigh & Lake Erie in Buffalo/Lackawanna NY

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Matt Langworthy
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Re: Abandoned Lehigh & Lake Erie in Buffalo/Lackawanna NY

Post by Matt Langworthy » Mon Dec 10, 2018 12:34 pm

lvrr325 wrote:I don't think you have the slightest idea what I'm getting at.
Oh yes, I do. Among other things, you are referring the Ebenezer Secondary... rather than Gardeville Yard.
lvrr325 wrote:Erie out to whatever it is where everything comes together (between Clinton and Seneca Streets), around the curve south onto the Buffalo line, down to the Gardenville, around the curve back west, down around to the former NKP and a ramp there. Maybe they have to buy one or two properties on Electric Ave for the ramp - but where it needs to go is vacant, I don't even think the garage right next to the tracks would need to be torn down. And the elevation there is fairly low by that point, no clearance sign is visible on the overpass in street view but it doesn't appear to be more than 12 feet.
NS would still have to rebuild the existing track, purchase land, perform environmental studies (tedious/expensive) and build the ramp. In this scenario, both the curve and the grade for ramp would be pretty tough for longer freight cars, like auto racks.
lvrr325 wrote:A second option would continue the existing ROW and re-use the abandoned south leg bridge crossing the former NKP and EL. It appears the ROW would need to be repurchased on the west side of the bridge. A ramp could come down and enter the CSX/ex NYC as a fourth track, connecting back to NS/ex-NKP somewhere around Mile Strip Road. Aerials make the CSX ROW appear wide enough for the fourth track. It would allow bypassing the ex-EL Buffalo Southern crossing. It could also be tied in to CSX to allow their trains use of the bypass.
I can't see CSX selling a strip of land to help make a competitor more efficient. If the connector ties to CSX tracks proper, we're back to the old problem of CSX controlling access, just like they do at CP Draw. If the connector remains separate, it would have to be placed on either the CSX access road or the park east of Lake Ave in Blasdell. Again, CSX is unlikely to sell for the reason mentioned earlier, not to mention the fact they use that road! As for the park, the sports fans who use it (with assistance from allied NIMBYs) would fight tooth and nail to keep it. No elected village board worth their salt is going to take something away from the kids in this era of snowflakes and helicopter parents.

And this scenario fails to address the business property on the other side of Lake Ave, as well as Rt 179.

lvrr325 wrote:Either way it's rehab and signals for a few miles of existing track and whatever it costs to build the connector. Then the drawbridges can fall into the river for all they matter.
No, it's a bit more complicated than you think. Rehabbing or replacing the NKP drawbridge and working out a shared usage agreement with CSX would be the smart move by NS.
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lvrr325
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Re: Abandoned Lehigh & Lake Erie in Buffalo/Lackawanna NY

Post by lvrr325 » Mon Dec 10, 2018 1:48 pm

I actually got smart and looked at a vintage aerial of the area. It turns out that before Conrail screwed this all up, there was a connection there exactly as I'm describing. The south leg off the existing branch, that crossed the now empty bridge, curved down and around and eventually entered what is now the CSX main - one track on the compass east side, one track crossing via a now gone overpass to enter on the compass west side. No reason a track can't simply do the same, come down on the east side and run along to enter NS instead around Mile Strip Road (or whatever it is, 179). The only property in question would be the former ROW from the existing overpass over to CSX. It wouldn't shock me if NS or CSX already owns it and neighbors are simply encroaching on it.

Worth noting CSX just put in a third track in that same stretch; and there's now no real access road there. A truck could get in if it had to, but the third track occupies what was an access road. Which, so what, lots of lines have no access road at all, a mile or so here isn't the end of the world.


As for building the same connection from NS without using that abandoned overpass, I could Zillow the two properties NS would need to buy out, but I'd be shocked if the two combined are worth more than $250K. One is vacant, one has a small auto shop on it. I mean this is Buffalo, not the Hamptons. You'd have to pay me to live there. I can't imagine an environmental study being particularly complicated either.

You're never going to convince me that this is not cheaper than a new drawbridge. The replacement bridge at Letchworth was $75 million and it's a fixed bridge. The numbers I'm seeing for the draw are in the $50 million range but I think they're based on the idea of rehab or re-use of the NKP bridge. If this thing cost more than $20 million to build I'd be shocked.


Also amusing to see you say CSX would not assist NS here then insist NS should help CSX to the tune of way more money for the drawbridge.


And for what it's worth, from a point roughly compass west of the B&P this line uses the NYC ROW. East of here it uses LV, then PRR. It's parts of three branches, but the end of it was once the Gardenville line.

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Re: Abandoned Lehigh & Lake Erie in Buffalo/Lackawanna NY

Post by TheBeaver101 » Mon Dec 10, 2018 3:43 pm

Lvrr there already is a connection between the CSX main and the NS just north of Big Tree. NS could maybe organize shared usage if a connection north of Lake Ave is rebuilt. Or they could just rebuild the old extra track and connect near Milestrip like you said, OR a fresh connection around Electric Ave. I agree that it could possibly cost less than a new drawbridge. The best bet is probably a fresh new connection by Electric Ave which would require no trouble with CSX, and no need to rebuild a long length of track that you wouldn't have to with an Electric Ave connection.

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Re: Abandoned Lehigh & Lake Erie in Buffalo/Lackawanna NY

Post by ctclark1 » Mon Dec 10, 2018 6:28 pm

lvrr325 wrote:than repairing the bridge, which is north of CSX and requires crossing CSX to use
You've missed a huge point, no one is saying that NS should try to use the NKP bridge and build grade crossings across the CSX line.
lvrr325 wrote:around the curve south onto the Buffalo line,
You're referring to the Transco Wye; the connection between the Bison and Ebenezer Running Tracks. This isn't suitable as a main track, for sure.... From the 2008 ETT:

Code: Select all

 9. DISTRICT INSTRUCTIONS
A. LOCATION OF RUNNING TRACKS
Running Track    Between                         Restricted Speed not exceeding
Transco Wye*     Ebenezer R.T. and Bison R.T.    10 MPH

*Trains stopping on the Transco Wye will stop with the train stretched by using the automatic train brake. Before starting, the Engineer will ensure the train brakes are released throughout the entire train. Engineers must minimize slack action throughout Transco Wye due to extreme curvature.
--------------------------------------------
HB-EQ-1. EXCESSIVE CURVATURE
Long (73 feet or more) cars may be handled on Main and Passing Tracks without restrictions.
The following instructions apply to movement on tracks other than Main and Passing Tracks:
1. Long cars must not be handled through No. 6 turnouts.
2. Long cars moving over tracks having a curvature in excess of 12 degrees 30 minutes must be coupled on each end to cars not shorter than 50 feet. If curvature is in excess of 15 degrees, or turnouts are No. 7, the movement must be made under observation at slow speed.
3. Long cars must not be handled on curves exceeding 17 degrees.

Curves 12 Degrees 30 Minutes or Greater
Line             Location                      Degree of Curve
Buffalo Line     Transco Wye MP BR 1.9–2.1     17 Degrees 00 minutes
Additionally, while we're discussing using the Ebenezer to get to this proposed "bypass", the Ebenezer has a lowered weight restriction of 273,000. NS just got rid of one reduced weight limit in Letchworth, I doubt they want to introduce another one, especially on what you're proposing be their only connection between two main lines (Southern Tier Line and the Lake Erie District).
I can't imagine an environmental study being particularly complicated either.
Clearly you've never dealt with the NY DEC (/tic)
Also amusing to see you say CSX would not assist NS here then insist NS should help CSX to the tune of way more money for the drawbridge.
As you've said, the Drawbridge isn't going to last forever either. The smartest thing is for them to work together to repair both bridges in a way that they both benefit from the repairs. NS presumably still owns the NKP bridge, CSX owns the BCK bridge. Rather than creating grade crossings in the area, it makes sense for them to cooperate, swap bridge ownership (or setup a joint holding company) and work together to repair both bridges with reciprocal rights on both in case there is an issue in the future. CSX Dispatcher on the north bridge (we can even move the CP DRAW name if you want) and NS Dispatcher controls the south bridge (we can call it CP BRIDGE to be creative... Get it?)
And for what it's worth, from a point roughly compass west of the B&P this line uses the NYC ROW. East of here it uses LV, then PRR. It's parts of three branches, but the end of it was once the Gardenville line.
You're not telling us anything we don't already know. What are you getting at?

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Re: Abandoned Lehigh & Lake Erie in Buffalo/Lackawanna NY

Post by Matt Langworthy » Tue Dec 11, 2018 9:06 am

lvrr325 wrote:I actually got smart and looked at a vintage aerial of the area. It turns out that before Conrail screwed this all up, there was a connection there exactly as I'm describing. The south leg off the existing branch, that crossed the now empty bridge, curved down and around and eventually entered what is now the CSX main - one track on the compass east side, one track crossing via a now gone overpass to enter on the compass west side. No reason a track can't simply do the same, come down on the east side and run along to enter NS instead around Mile Strip Road (or whatever it is, 179). The only property in question would be the former ROW from the existing overpass over to CSX. It wouldn't shock me if NS or CSX already owns it and neighbors are simply encroaching on it.

Worth noting CSX just put in a third track in that same stretch; and there's now no real access road there. A truck could get in if it had to, but the third track occupies what was an access road. Which, so what, lots of lines have no access road at all, a mile or so here isn't the end of the world.
Yes, there was a ramp down the NYC mainline back in the day. As you say, Conrail got rid of it. it's worth noting that the ramp was used in error before longer freight cars like auto racks and intermodal spines were in use.

You statement about CSX putting in a 3rd track recently is incorrect. The third track has been there for years- I've been shooting at Lake Avenue since 2009. You comment about the access road is also incorrect. It is on the compass east side of the crossing. In fact, I parked my car there to photograph CSX Q165 just 3 months ago. Furthermore, the property at the end of said access road is in use.

Encroachment? I highly doubt it. You've never dealt with CSX police, have you?
lvrr325 wrote:As for building the same connection from NS without using that abandoned overpass, I could Zillow the two properties NS would need to buy out, but I'd be shocked if the two combined are worth more than $250K. One is vacant, one has a small auto shop on it. I mean this is Buffalo, not the Hamptons. You'd have to pay me to live there.
The owners of said land could jack up the price if they realize what the goal is.
lvrr325 wrote:I can't imagine an environmental study being particularly complicated either.
This might be the funniest thing I've read online in the past week! As ctcclark1 posted, you've obviously never dealt with NY state.
lvrr325 wrote:You're never going to convince me that this is not cheaper than a new drawbridge. The replacement bridge at Letchworth was $75 million and it's a fixed bridge. The numbers I'm seeing for the draw are in the $50 million range but I think they're based on the idea of rehab or re-use of the NKP bridge. If this thing cost more than $20 million to build I'd be shocked.
It's apples and oranges when comparing the Genesee Arch to the NKP drawbridge. Among other things, the NKP bridge already has a foundation.
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Re: Abandoned Lehigh & Lake Erie in Buffalo/Lackawanna NY

Post by Matt Langworthy » Tue Dec 11, 2018 9:09 am

lvrr325 wrote:Also amusing to see you say CSX would not assist NS here then insist NS should help CSX to the tune of way more money for the drawbridge.
The answer is simple: there is no benefit for CSX helping a competitor. On the other hand, NS does get a benefit if they help CSX with the bottleneck at CP Draw.
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Re: Abandoned Lehigh & Lake Erie in Buffalo/Lackawanna NY

Post by Benjamin Maggi » Tue Dec 11, 2018 10:57 am

For the benefit of those of us who aren't familiar with the area, could someone post a map of the bridges and tracks being discussed? Thanks.
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pumpers
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Re: Abandoned Lehigh & Lake Erie in Buffalo/Lackawanna NY

Post by pumpers » Tue Dec 11, 2018 12:26 pm

I found this map a long time ago on the internet and downloaded it when I was trying to understand Buffalo back in the day... Best one I ever found for the Buffalo area - all lines, yards, and connecting tracks labelled. No idea where I found it. The file name says "NYC&StL Buffalo & Vicinity Map 11-19-1952.pdf" - Probably that is what it was called when I downloaded it - So I presume the Nickel Plate made the map in 1952.

It is 5 MByte (too large to post here), so I put it online - you can see it and download it here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ywk8FV ... sp=sharing" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Hope it works.

Among other things being discussed, the 2 bridges over the Buffalo River are right at "number 6" . You can't see on this map that there are 2 bridges. Someone correct me - the eastern one the current CSX bridge and is ex Buffalo Creek RR (which was owned by LV and others), and the west bridge is long out of service, and I think was owned by Nickel Plate.
JS
It would be great if someone had the local knowledge and tech knowledge to outline with a yellow marker what is still in service, who operates what, and what is new since 1952, and post it again. I could probably do the tech part and about half of the local knowledge...
EDIT: The link was wrong above. I pasted a new link in. Now it should work.
Last edited by pumpers on Tue Dec 11, 2018 9:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Abandoned Lehigh & Lake Erie in Buffalo/Lackawanna NY

Post by pumpers » Tue Dec 11, 2018 12:32 pm

BuffaloMap. before PC.jpg
Here is another one that is small enough to post. Again, no idea where I found it on-line. As for the date, all I can say is "before Penn Central"
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Matt Langworthy
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Re: Abandoned Lehigh & Lake Erie in Buffalo/Lackawanna NY

Post by Matt Langworthy » Tue Dec 11, 2018 3:03 pm

To quote a friend, it's telestrator time. Those of you of you remember John Madden will understand the reference. LVRR325's proposed connections are compass north (RR east) of Lake Ave in Blasdell. The remnant of the old NYC connector is highlighted in yellow. I terminated the line at the property currently in use because I am unsure of the angle. Also note the property in use on both sides of Lake Avenue.

The theoretical direct connection between the Ebenzer Running Track (secondary?) and NS's ex-NKP mainline is marked in orange. Note the sharp curve for the latter, which would rival the No 6 turnouts at the Transco Wye. This map doesn't show it well, but there would also be a short but steep grade, too. Anyone who has ridden on the Buffalo Southern (or affiliated BC&J) has seen the difference in elevation between the Ebenezer Running Track (Secondary?) and the Lake Erie District. That would be a difficult connection to use, especially for eastbound trains.
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Re: Abandoned Lehigh & Lake Erie in Buffalo/Lackawanna NY

Post by TrainDetainer » Tue Dec 11, 2018 4:56 pm

Matt - Unless NS has shuffled the names of everything in Buffalo, that is NOT the Ebenezer. Ebenezer (of CR era) is not even in the area, it's over 3.5 miles to the north, although the TT instruction posted previously does indicate NS has shifted the Buffalo Line back to the CR EBES. That you refer to is the western end of the CR Buffalo Line, terminating at CP-5. The Ebenezer ran from CP-GJ to CP-Draw (old PRR main from GJ (Ebenezer Jct)) to old FW onto frmr BCK to P&B Jct and current CP-Draw.

Under CR 'rationalization' of Buffalo the old PRR to Buffalo became the CR Buffalo Line and was reconfigured to turn left at Ebenezer Jct (which became CP-GJ) onto the former PRR West Seneca Branch to Abbott Road (WSen Br MP 0 to 3.2), then over onto the former NYC Gardenville Branch remains (G'ville Br MP 9.51 to 11.46) between the B&O OHBR and South Branch of Smoke Creek (you can see the jog in current aerial views) and connect eastbound to the Chicago Line at CP-5 (old NYC SS 'D") to access Seneca yard and the Chicago Line to Frontier. The connection between the Gardenville and WSeneca branch at Smoke Creek goes way back to NYC/PRR (Blasdell Jct on the G'ville) and still shows on the CR track chart dated 1-1-78 as WSeneca branch going both ways to Seneca yard from MP 3.2 (PRR and NYC ROWs).

So the other question now is what does NS currently call what was the CR Buffalo Line from GJ to CP-5? Or is it just OOS/dead?
Last edited by TrainDetainer on Tue Dec 11, 2018 9:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Matt Langworthy
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Re: Abandoned Lehigh & Lake Erie in Buffalo/Lackawanna NY

Post by Matt Langworthy » Tue Dec 11, 2018 7:39 pm

Thank you for clarifying the name of the branch in question.
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Re: Abandoned Lehigh & Lake Erie in Buffalo/Lackawanna NY

Post by ctclark1 » Tue Dec 11, 2018 8:27 pm

I occasionally spend waaaaaaaaaaaay too much time on this stuff... (Part 1)
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Re: Abandoned Lehigh & Lake Erie in Buffalo/Lackawanna NY

Post by ctclark1 » Tue Dec 11, 2018 8:29 pm

Part 2.
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Re: Abandoned Lehigh & Lake Erie in Buffalo/Lackawanna NY

Post by nydepot » Tue Dec 11, 2018 8:33 pm

Thank you very much for those.

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