Discussion relating to the Penn Central, up until its 1976 inclusion in Conrail. Visit the Penn Central Railroad Historical Society for more information.

Moderator: JJMDiMunno

  by pablo
I'm looking for some information for a book that I'm writing. I would like to know if anyone has employee timetables that cover Mayville, NY trackage that once belonged to the Jamestown, Westfield and Northwestern. The railroad itself was gone long before PC arrived, but I believe a bit of trackage was used by PC for some time.

This was an interurban that also ran freight, and at the early part of the years listed, used steam to interchange with the freight roads. Before too long, electric freight motors and occasional baggage trolley cars were used to bring in freight cars to Mayville.

The Mayville interchange was particularly important to the J-W, as it avoided a nasty grade between Westfield and Mayville. I have numerous pictures of Pennsy boxcars along the line, and the J-W received many cars of coal from the Pennsy starting in 1922.

Any and all information that you can provide would be excellent. Thanks in advance.

Dave Becker

  by conrail_engineer
A little information...

The trackage owned by the JW&NW ("Jesus Wept & No Wonder" to the locals) was entirely separate from the Pennsylvania line from Corry and Meadville, through Mayville and then over the hill to Brocton and Buffalo. The JW&NW ran along the EAST side of Lake Chautauqua, through all the summer communities there...logical since it started as an interurban trolley line.

So far as I know it didn't go directly into Mayville. (Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.)

The JW&NW was ripped out in the 1950s...my family bought a largeish tract at Point Chautauqua that included an undisturbed part of the railroad bed there. At the time of our purchase, the Penn Central still was running trains from Corry to Buffalo through Mayville.

The tracks through Mayville fell into disuse in the 1970s; and with the creation of Conrail they were ripped out from Mayville to Brocton in 1979.

The stub from Mayville to Corry was abandoned circa 1981 after the Kling Furniture plant closed. It's now a Rails-to-Trails walkway.

  by pablo
The JW absolutely did go through Mayville, and in fact, there was a tower that protected the diamond between the two railroads. The JW was one of two lines that ran into Mayville "opposite" the PRR: this and the Chautauqua Traction Company.

In that "abandoned diamonds" thread in the New York State forum, the JW/PRR diamond is one of those that once was and is no more.

Dave Becker

  by conrail_engineer
pablo wrote:The JW absolutely did go through Mayville, and in fact, there was a tower that protected the diamond between the two railroads. The JW was one of two lines that ran into Mayville "opposite" the PRR: this and the Chautauqua Traction Company.

In that "abandoned diamonds" thread in the New York State forum, the JW/PRR diamond is one of those that once was and is no more.

Dave Becker
Where exactly was it? You sound familiar with the area. I'm acquainted with the JW&NW right-of-way from Midway to the Hartfield area, and then it kinda blurs. Never really researched it.

I know the Broadhurst-owned interurban (changed names many times) ran along the Western shore of the lake, by the front of Chautauqua Institution, to Mayville to tie in with the PRR at Mayville, and off to Westfield to tie in with the NYC there. But the diamond and connnections, I wasn't aware of.
  by Noel Weaver
For what it's worth, the April, 1947 Official Guide shows the Jamestown,
Westfield ;& Northwestern Railroad as stopping at a station known as
Mayville (Chaut. Street). It also shows them as having an interchange
with the Pennsylvania Railroad at that location. This same guide shows
at that time six round trips of passenger service.
Noel Weaver

  by pablo
Thanks, Noel. I'm currently continuing to write my/a book on trolleys and interurbans around here, and life, babies, marriage, and work make it slow for me. I thought for sure that I'd have that book done by now...

As for Mayville, if you knew where the PRR/PC line came through the town, and you've seen the station, I'll try to help out. The diamond for the Jamestown, Westfield, and Northwestern is a bit fuzzy for me, even though I've seen pictures of the tower. What makes things harder or more interesting is that the Chautauqua Traction Company also came into Mayville and crossed over the PRR, near as I can tell. I'm actually in the middle of the CTC now and just now getting to where they are figuring out how to get across. I am nearly certain that I've seen an overhead bridge postcard in Mayville for the CTC, but don't quote me. Not yet.

Both the JW and the CTC were owned by the Broadhead families at the time of their suspension of trolley passenger service. The JW was owned by the Pinsleys ( I believe, as the 70-tonners carried a Pinsley family scheme) when the line was closed for good in 1950.

The JW was a steam road first and it was very ugly when they tried to get across the PRR. The PRR went so far as to derail a locomotive at the diamond-to-be in spite of a court ruling allowing it to be so, which was eventually settled. The JW was the North side of the lake, though they did get to the Institute via a spur...I think a CTC spur that they simply absorbed when the CTC folded.

The diamond, I believe, was North of the PRR station. Still not entirely sure where the huge grade was out of Mayville for the JW, but the CTC went right up the main street there to the county courthouse, later to go to Westfield as well, apparently. I think it's not too far from Hartfield...or wasn't.

The CTC is who went to the Institute first, which was a way of tweaking the PRR in itself. Some sort of...we got here first! I suspect that the Broadheads thought that they could just use the one line to Westfield instead of two...though two parts of the CTC outlasted the line as a whole, a stub to Ashville, and the line to the Institute.

As I said, I don't have a good image of it, but maps do exist. I haven't gotten to either Albany or Washington to get them. I had one online, but now I'll have to look for that diamond.

Dave Becker

  by TB Diamond
The JW&NW was sold by the Broadhead Holding Co. to the Salzberg interests in September, 1941. Passenger service ended on 30 November 1947. Salzberg bus service began the next day. This service was short-lived as the franchise was sold to another company. Diesel freight service had begun prior to the end of electric passenger service. Power consisted of two GE 70T locomotives. The last train operated from Jamestown to Westfield and return on 21 January 1950. This information is from JAMESTOWN AND CHAUTAUQUA LAKE TROLLEYS, The Fenton Historical Society, 1974.

  by pablo
I didn't have my materials in front of me. You are indeed right, it was the Salzbergs, not Pinsley. Wrong short line operator in my mind at the time. At least you found some use for that pamphlet!

Dave Becker

  by conrail_engineer
I learned a lot here. The main street through Mayville is South Erie Street, which runs from the courthouse down the hill to the waterfront, then turns right where the station sits, there on the waterfront. The PRR line ran along the lakeshore briefly from what is now the village park, along through to Whallon Street Extension, then turned north and up over the hill to Brocton and Lake Erie.

The JW&NW would have had to cross somewhere between Whallon Street (which, now that I think about it, looks suspiciously like a paved former railroad bed) and the station.

The CTC (thanks for the name) used the PRR station and went up the hill past the courthouse on what is now NY 430, apparently.

Been many years since I read about this stuff. The Broadheads (and thnx for the correction) had their fingers in all aspects of transportation of the time; they ran the lake-steamer monopoly the same time they were laying the Chautauqua Traction line. I was unaware they had an interest in the JW.


  by pablo
Near as I can tell as I progress through this, the CTC was to be the choice from Jamestown to Mayville, then Westfield, as the way to get to the Chautauqua Institute, and then the Jamestown, Chautauqua and Lake Erie (to be the JW) went into receivership, so they got that too.

Near as I can tell, so far, anyway, only the JW carried freight, which is why it lasted until 1950. I can't imagine bringing a boxcar up Rt. 430 off of the lake.

Dave Becker

  by pablo
This is the best that I could find of the old maps. You have to look at the bottom left of the image. Mayville happens to fit in at the intersection of foru quads on these old maps. What also makes it hard to read is that in this map, from 1900, it's still the JC&LE, and it shows a "wye", basically, but little else. The diamond isn't there, so I'll have to check my stuff and see when that was.

In any case, for some time, the JC&LE had trackage rights to Brocton, and I suspect that caused some of the ill will between the two roads.

Here's all I could find...perhaps this helps where the diamond was, though no streets are labeled. It looks very close to what is 430 now, I think...whatever NY State route out of Hartfield is.


Dave Becker

  by pablo
Okay, last of the night. This is an excerpt from my unpublished book. I'm on a backup computer, so this isn't as good as the rest. Consider it copyright-protected.

As happened in many places where two railroads intersect, there were some peculiarities in both the physical and emotional arrangements between the two lines. Where the JC&LE met the future Pennsylvania Railroad, a wye existed for interchange. Since the JC&LE was not yet electric at the time, there had to be a way to turn the locomotives for the trip to Jamestown, and the wye provided this.

For a long time, starting with the Chautauqua Lake Railway and continuing until the Jamestown, Westfield, & North Western era, the relationship between the larger Pennsy and the smaller local railway was unstable at best. Before the line from Jamestown ran to Westfield and Barcelona, it ran to Brocton over the larger railway's rails. The financial instabilities of the CLRR took their toll, however, and in 1899, they could not pay for the trackage rights. The BNY&P promptly shut the smaller railroad out at Mayville and forced them to interchange by transferring freight into cars of the other railroad. After a period of time, however, the Lake Shore Railway got involved; their relationship with the Chautauqua Lake Railway was on good terms, and the Lake Shore began to deny the newly-renamed Western New York & Pennsylvania nearly 100 cars a day at the Brocton connection. Service was restored within a year to the CLRR.

Later, as the JC&LE attempted to build a line to Mayville, the contempt nearly grew to violence. As in most cases in American railroading history, the pre-existing railroad controls the crossing when two lines met at grade. The Pennsylvania Railroad was determined to prevent the crossing from even happening. The railroad helped prevent the new line to Westfield in numerous ways. To help prevent the construction, the Pennsy continuously sent a locomotive back and forth through the area of the potential line, and later, to seal the deal, laid side tracks at the crossing and derailed two old locomotives at the spot. At the same time, the Pennsy sought an injunction against the JC&LE and the construction, and won. After all of this, the Pennsy also kept a crew of nearly 200 men in the town in case the JC&LE could overcome all of the above.

The Pennsy wanted exclusive use of the Chautauqua Branch in return for the crossing, but were denied, so for years, no trains went to Chautauqua. By mid-1901, the Pennsy had relented in return for a $10,000 bond and allowed the JC&LE to cross the line. The JC&LE promptly derailed their first train over the line due to "a mistake of its operators" (Taylor). Eventually, the crossing nightmare was resolved through the construction of a tower by the Jamestown, Chautauqua & Lake Erie that guarded the diamond. This tower would last until 1943.

Dave Becker

  by TB Diamond
JAMESTOWN AND CHAUTAUGUA LAKE TROLLEYS, published by the Fenton Historical Society in 1974 is a thirty-six page 8.5 x11" soft cover book, not a pamphlet. The book contains 78 photos and three maps. Among the photos is one of the final JW&NW train heading for Jamestown, having just crossed the PRR diamond at Mayville on 21 January 1950, 1305 hours. The photo was taken by Van Dyke Underwood and it shows both the diamond and what is referred to as the tower house.

  by pablo
I've found more. The CTC did cross the PRR using an overhead bridge. If I had a place to upload the photo, I'd show everyone. The bridge was finished sometime in late 1904.

The CTC used the PRR depot as a northern terminus until their station near the court house was completed. The need for the depot was also caused by the PRR tearing up the temporary crossing in spite of an agreement and state railroad commission ruling. Therefore, the CTC had to use the PRR station for some time.

It doesn't seem that there was ever an agent of the CTC there. I don't know if that was by force or by design.

The previous post of mine dealt with the JW, for those who might have been confused.

Dave Becker
  by Aa3rt
A few links that will hopefully be of interest...

Courtesy of Davesrailpix.com, a map of Chautauqua Lake and environs with the JW&NW, CT & PRR lines shown:


A photo of the JW&NW/PRR crossing in Mayville:


From the Jamestown Trolley website, the GE 70 tonners in Salzberg paint:


http://www.jamestowntrolley.com/trolley ... wnw600.htm

#700 & 600

http://www.jamestowntrolley.com/trolley ... wnw700.htm