• B&O vs. great snowstorm January 1945

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New York State.
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New York State.

Moderator: Otto Vondrak

  by BR&P
CLIFF NOTES: In January 1945, a major winter storm hit western New York and paralyzed rail traffic. This is a write-up from H.D. Graffious to higher B&O officials, detailing the storm's impact on the Buffalo Division. It's quite long but provides interesting details on what went on. As typewritten it was all one giant narrative - I have copied the words but have made it into paragraphs to make it easier reading.

About 6AM Jan 31st hard winter storm with snow between Clarion Jct [PA} east to Buffalo and Rochester wind velocity 35 to 45 mph. Began snowing lightly Tuesday morning around 11am and insufficient to require additional use of snow plow, the snow being light not packing. When gale struck caused bad drifts on the level as well as in cuts. Train #151 stalled in snow at Lime Rock, West end Leroy [sic} and necessary run plow ahead of #151 Leroy to Gainesville.

QD train 92 stalled Hardys and Extra East 1 mile east of Gainesville required 4 engines to get this train out by taking 3 cuts of train to Gainesville and 4 engines required to get #92's engines out of drifts which delayed snow plow and #151 at Warsaw.

#60 stalled snow drift 1 mile east of East Hamburg at 1055am unable to get to either end of train account of drifts ahead and to rear. 5 different engines including 4 Mallets sent up behind #60 to pull train back and snow drifted as fast due to gale that none of these engines could reach the end of #60 and drifted between engine 3056 and head 2 Mallets and between second pair of Mallets unable to get coupled up. Fires drawn on 1 Mallet engine. Passengers train 60 provided with food and train remained warm, removed from train 1:30AM to town hall Orchard Park. Bus service provided for passengers on train 60 and 58.

Train #151 arrived East Salamanca 14 hours 30 mins late, #153 4 hours 5 mins late. #53 operated made up at E. Salamanca with the connection of #153, trains #51, 61 and 53 annulled account unable to detour PRR or Erie account they having trains stalled in snow. Unable to get relief from any connection at Buffalo on snow plows. Excessive delay due to trains stalling at points where no communications and snow waist deep consumed excessive time getting to phone at farm home together with engines running out of coal and water and 7547 lap and lead lever broke when sent to assist #60.

Two yard engines from Buffalo Creek yard got to head end #60 at 445AM will require third engine to get #60 out which will be dispatched from Buffalo Creek. Work train engine 7531 dispatched from East Salamanca with two Brownhoists in snow drift at Edies two miles west Springville. Two Mallet engines called E. Salamanca to go there and pull out and will have one on the snow plow ahead of these engines to train #60. 28 section men shoveling to release #60.

Engine 3056 and 4 mallet engines and work train 7531 picking up section men at West Valley and all labor possible is being rounded up to shovel trains out. 515am gale has reduced to a very light wind. Figure on getting #60 out drift by 930am

  by BR&P
Elwood's "Fallen Flags" web site has a pic of the 7531 mentioned there. It was originally BR&P 731.
B&O 7531.jpg
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
  by NYCRRson
My Father talked about this storm. He was just returning from service with the 8th USAAF (US Army Air Force) after completing 50 combat missions escorting bombers into occupied Europe.

After returning to the States he got two weeks "leave" to go home and see the family, etc. He made it up from NYC on a NYCRR train (the conductor would not let him go to the club car, but another passenger gave Dad a shot or two from his personal store of refreshments). After arriving at BCT the city was almost totally stalled from the snow.

A Taxi driver insisted that he could deliver "our returning service man" right to the doorstep of the family home (in Kenmore). Dad insisted the cab driver leave him at the end of the main street in that area (Ellwood Ave) and Dad could walk down about a dozen houses to "get home", but the cab driver insisted he "could make it".

Of course, the cab driver got stuck on the unplowed street and Dad had to help shovel/push him out of the snow drifts and then walk the rest of the way home anyway. Dad said the trip from BCT back to the house in Kenmore was the hardest part of getting back from the "European Front"...

Cheers, Kevin