• Erie Rochester Division: 1926

  • 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/.
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/.

Moderator: blockline4180

  by Otto Vondrak
Reprint of an article that appeared in the October 1926 issue of the Erie Railroad company magazine, which was based on an article that appeared in Rochester Gas & Electric's magazine Gas and Electric News. I retyped the article for your enjoyment here. The article is repetitive and high on self-promotion, but if you read bewteen the lines, there is some information to be had. See the Erie Lackawanna Historical Society for additional supplemental information, diagrams, and photos. See also "The Diamond," Volume 20, Number 2, 2006.

http://erielackhs.org/index.php?option= ... e&id=17:th


Erie Railroad in its relation to the City of Rochester and the Genesee Valley country

The Erie Railroad holds a unique position in the commercial, industrial and home life of the city of Rochester, somewhat different from any of the other railroads entering here, due to its advantageous position and its electrification between Rochester and Mt. Morris. It connects Rochester with the famed Genesee Valley of which so much has been written in song and story, and furnishes perhaps the best commuting service of any railroad in the state of New York outside of the zone of the metropolitan district proper.

That portion of the railroad that was electrified in the latter part of 1907 lies between Rochester and Mt. Morris, a distance of thiry-four miles. The equipment used is the catenary overhead construction using a voltage of 11,000 volts; this was the first steam section of a steam railway in this country on which a single phase current was employed.

Power in the form of three-phase, 60,000 volt, 25-cyle current is received at the sub-station in Avon, twenty miles south of Rochester, and is there reduced to 11,000 volts in two V-connected transformers. One transformer secondary feeds a service in the Rochester side of the sub-station, and the other feeds the Mt. Morris section—the division into two sections, however, being made on-half mile north of Avon, which is not quite midway between the terminals.

On each car are four 100-horsepower single-phase Westinghouse series motors geared to the axles in the ratio of 63 to 20. These motors have nose suspension and are controlled by Westinghouse electro-pneumatic control with unit switches. The voltage is reduced from that of the line, or 11,000 volts, to that required for the motors by a 200-kilowatt transformer provided with three primary and eight secondary taps, giving a wide range of operating voltage, the normal voltage of the motors being 300. The voltage used for lighting the cars, heating, etc., is 110 volts.

The electric service affords a total of twenty-one passenger trains entering and departing from the Rochester station daily between the hours of 7:00am and midnigh, serving Avon, Geneseo, and Mt. Morris, and affording a most excellent commuting service which is appreciated by hundreds of persons, the facilities being such that the Erie could handle double this passenger travel without making any increase in train service.

The electric cars are housed and maintained in the railroad shops at Avon, New York.

In entering the city of Rochester, the Erie Railroad utilizes no grade street crossing except at Elmwood Avenue, and this one is soon to be eliminated. This is an advantage enabling it to operate trains to and from the Court Street station at the center of the city on a fast schedule with great safety. Commuters therefore can reach their homes at a distance of from ten to twelves miles from the city in less time than the ordinary streetcar requires to travel between many business and residence sections within the city limits.

The rapid development of Rochester, its proposed civic center directly in the zone of the Erie passenger station and its Subway, soon to be operated, will combine to make the Erie commuting electric service a much more important transportation factor, one which will be used by an increasing number of people who may desire to have a permanent or a summer home in the Genesee Valley, where the Erie has already established freight and passenger service, operated by both steam and electricity as the nature of the service requires, each providing a flexible “stand-by” unit for the other.

Meetings were held recently throughout western New York for the purpose of placing before the people of the great advantages of the Genesee Valley and to attract more industry, homes, and people to it. The Genesee Valley is rich in romance, Indian lore, history, and story, and the efforts of the hundreds of person who are now advocating and systematizing methods can but result in good. In this development the Erie, being the pioneer railroad of the valley, will have an important function which it is in excellent condition to perform. The people of western New York appreciate the advantages of the Genesee Valley and the Erie’s service therein. Electric operation of the Erie’s commuting service is satisfactory, electric power interruptions are rare, the service is consistently dependable and the trains are operated on a close schedule.

The headquarters of the operating forces of the Rochester Division of the Erie is at Rochester, where trains are dispatched over the entire section served by the electric and steam system. This force consists of the usual operating force necessary to run a division of a railroad. Two of the division officers located at Rochester are Supt. Edmund I. Bowen and Division Freight Agent B.C. Wedd. The electrical operation of the line is under the immediate supervision of R.C. Thurston, Supervisor of Electrical Operation with headquarters at Avon. C.J. Gilbert city ticket agent of the Erie at Court Street Station has working with him a competent force of passenger and ticket experts day and night to serve in connection with the commuting or electric part of the system, as well as all points between New York and Chicago.

The Erie station on Court Street occupies a most desirable position as regards to accessibility, landing commuters in the heart of the business, financial, and shopping districts; this station is also used as a terminal by the Rochester, Lockport & Buffalo Railway Corp., and the Rochester & Syracuse Co., Inc., which have a total of 110 cars arriving and departing daily. These traction lines go to important towns of western New York state, adding greatly to the flexibility and convenience of the Erie’s service.

An important transportation feature as pertains to Rochester proper is the Erie’s steam service which departs from Rochester electrically, and by locomotive from Avon, eastbound, passing through the counties of Monroe, Livingston, Steuben, and Chemung, to Corning and Elmira. This great agricultural country is afforded both freight and passenger service as well as steam service from Avon through Caledonia, LeRoy, Batavia and into Attica, where connections are made for Buffalo and Hornell.

Coneseus Lake, situated on the Erie Railroad twenty-seven miles south of Rochester, has a thriving and popular summer home colony. This was developed by the Erie Railroad by means of train service until it reached a point of perfection. The lake lies in the beautiful Genesee Valley.

Although transportation to Coneseus is now mostly by automobile, the Erie still operates a successful branch line into Lakeville. This town is located at the foot of beautiful Coneseus Lake in a fertile farming and dairying community where there are two large milk receiving stations handling from 75,000 to 100,00 pounds of milk daily. From Lakeville two or three cars are shipped to New York City daily; about forty men are employed there in the manufacture of condensed milk, cheese, cream, and pasteurized milk. At Lakeville there are also three grain warehouses, handling all kinds of farm products, one lumber yard handling about thirty cars of lumber annually, and a large ice storage house in which several thousand tons of ice are stored each season.

The Erie holds an advantage as regards Coneseus Lake, for its tracks practically surround it and bring supplies in that territory by means of the steam portion of its line from Avon to Lakeville, South Lima, Livonia and Coneseus: its electric line performs the same function on the south, from Geneseo, Mt. Morris and other points. The tonnage of coal, lumber, ice, milk, grain, etc., is so heavy to and from Lakeville that service all the year round is maintained into this active lake port.

Lake Keuka, which lies near the valley of the Cohocton River, is also served by the Erie. During the past year the general progress and building activity of Rochester were felt more than even and people were looking into this valley traversed by the Erie Railroad with a great degree of interest as to home and industrial location, using Rochester as the hub.

Daliy way-freight service is operated in each direction on the Rochester Division of the Erie between Rochester and all local stations on the division, namely West Henrietta, Industry, Avon, Geneseo, Mt. Morris, Lakeville, South Lima, Livonia and South Livonia, Coneseus, Webster, Springwater, Wayland, Atlanta, Cohocton, Wallace, Avoca, Kanona, Bath, Hammondsport, Savona, Campbell, Painted Post, Corning and Elmira. Through freight service is maintained daily on both carload and less-than-carload freight between Rochester, Corning and Buffalo, making direct connections with main line fast freights east and westbound from all points between Rochester and New England, New York City, Binghamton, Buffalo, Jamestown, Youngstown, Cleveland, Marion, Dayton, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Chicago, and the territory immediate and beyond via the various interchange points and connecting lines.

Ample and commodious terminal tracks and yards are advantageously located in Rochester, about three blocks from the “Four Corners.” Here, also, three is an ample freight house, 450 feeet long and 108 feet wide, for handling less-than-carload freight both inbound and outbound. In addition, there is 4,000 sqaure feet of covered platform, making pick-up and delivery of freight convenient and quick in all kinds of weather.

The Erie freight yard and freight house are in such proximity to Rochester’s wholesale, retail and financial districts as to cut to a minimum the trucking of freight.

The Rochester Division of the Erie has a daily through service for carload and less-than-carload freight between Buffalo and Rochester, delivering freight to its large terminal at Buffalo for distribution to all parts of the United States, either on Erie rails or connections, as desired.

Rochester also has a daily through freight service with trains leaving Rochester nightly for Corning and Elmira, where, the following morning, freight is delivered or transferred to the main line for quick picking up and handling for points east, west, and south, where regular scheduled connections are made.

The Erie Railroad is recognized as a specialist in the handling of package freight between eastern, western, and southern points. It maintains an elaborate system of package cars which are operated daily from its principal transfer stations, providing regular and dependable service. Aside from the service actually rendered in the movement of passengers and commodities, both through and local, the Erie maintains a personal transportation information service at many important points for the use of its patrols and the shipping public.

Rochesterians, as well as those living in towns adjoining, are familiar with the plans of the University of Rochester in its new location, two miles south of Rochester, on the Erie Railroad, in the neighborhood of Genesee Valley Park. The Erie is glad of its opportunity of serving this great educational development, the college structures being located adjacent to the Erie’s right-of-way line where twenty-one passenger trains pass daily, as well as local and through freights.

The Erie Railroad has been a large contributing factor in Rochester’s steady progress. It has done its share in moving the varied products which have brought Rochester fame because of their dependable quality. Rochester has and will continue to receive from the Erie Railroad the same dependable freight and passenger service that has characterized operations of the Erie in this territory for so many years. Occupying an enviable transportation position throughout the Genesee Valley, the Erie senses its responsibilities of this beautiful territory and in linking it and Rochester with the more distant places where markets await the products of Rochester’s industries.


Para Oberlin is appointed assistant to Vice President and General Counsel George F. Brownell, with an office at 50 Church Street, New York City.

Harold R. Cole is appointed Supervisor of Safety and Efficiency, New York Region.

M.T. Reap is appointed General Yardmaster at Hornell, vice J.X. Kettren resigned.

The following traffic department appointments were made effective September 1:
- Robert S. Wiley, eastern dairy agent, with office at Produce Exchange, 2 Broadway, New York City.
- Edward V. McHugh, western dairy agent, with office at 1369 Transportation Building, Chicago.
- William D. O’Donnell has been appointed commercial agent, Foreign Freight Traffic department, with office at 50 Church Street, New York City.
  by Idiot Railfan
Hey Otto, thanks for all the effort! And I really enjoyed the photo, too. There aren't that many good photos of the Erie electrics.