• Aerial railfaning at night

  • 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 SST
After three cancellations for night flying due to weather and maintenance on the a/c, I finally got into the air last night. It turned out to be a good night.

I actually departed before sunset and pretty much flew the BR&P from Colden to Great Valley south of Ellicottville. I landed at Great Valley.

To back up a month ago or more, while headed to Holliday Valley to ski, several times I picked up Rt240 from Rt39 at Springville. What a scenic drive. It generally goes from wide open pastures to wooded areas and then into a deep valley about 3 miles before getting to Ashford Jct. It’s really beautiful in there. I thought that this would be a great little line for a scenic railroad. Operate it from either Salamanca or Ellicottville/Holiday Valley/The Depot Restaurant to the town of West Valley or perhaps to the trestle at the county line.

So, last night I decided to follow the BR&P more closely instead of going direct to Great Valley. Once the line crosses the trestle and goes past West Valley Nuke, it really kinda snakes through the area. I was surprised to see that this line isn’t very straight for several miles. Once passed the West Valley Project switch it begins to straighten out and passes through some very scenic areas. There is a lot of marshy areas followed by large tracks of pine trees and then wide open meadows. When I flew over the deep valley portion I noticed that here must have been 20 little “creeks” running down the side of the steep hills. Hope they got good drainage.

Following the line into Ellicottville there nothing much to report. The boxcars are still in place. The original row from the ground isn’t really clear unless you really know where to look. From the air, it’s clear as day. Holimont and Holiday Valley both have a lot of snow on there trails still. Many of the hills still look good to ski on. If I had a snow mobile and a driver, I’d be going up and down skiing. The golf course is coming along nicely.

After departing Great Valley I climbed on a SW heading to make sure I didn’t clear cut any hilltops and then turned north. Looking back over my shoulder was Salamanca all lit up with streets lights reflecting off the water. I also noticed a locomotive running north out of Salamanca. I couldn’t tell if he was pulling anything. Just too dark.

I crossed over the Buffalo Airport at 6500ft and had a great view of everything. The Bison yard is really lit up. The Frontier yard is very dark, a black hole. The belt lines for the Erie and the NYC really stick out. Large sections or corridors are black as compared to the surroundings. As I came over Grand Island I made a rapid descent to 1800ft to get below Buffalo’s airspace before heading south along the Niagara River. I managed to catch the back side of a train entering the U.S. After that I just flew back to Akron and called it a night.

As a side note, when I landed at Akron I tabulated the total bill for that fish fry I had at Eddy’s in Great Valley….$150. It was worth it.

  by nessman
Dan... you should have called me for a 50% discount on that fish fry!

  by SST
Hey, I would have loved to have split the cost. Half the price and double the distance. Because of the weather delays and other delays my currency to carry passengers at night lapsed. So, this flight was basically to perform 3 takeoffs and 3 landings to meet currency requirements.

Now that I'm current, I'll call ya.