• Found something near Bailey Ave @ E Lovejoy. Tunnel?

  • 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
While looking for a foam cushion shop, I ended up making a wrong turn. I turned onto E. Lovejoy St on the west side of Bailey Ave. Drove to the end and see this very large "thing" of concrete. I didn't take the time to look it over so I went back today. At first glance, it looks like a German bunker. But what I think it is, is an tunnel going under an abandoned RR line. There is a set of rails on the west side of this thing but nothing where the concrete tunnel is. What I assume is the row over this thing is covered with crushed asphalt and other "aggregate" . Its buried.

This link is from the Aerial photos from Erie County [1927]. I circled it but its pretty tiny and hard to see.


Here are several pictures of it. I did not climb down into it. Not the best of neighborhoods let alone couldn't be certain if I could climb back out.

Here is the view from the street. You won't even see it when the leaves come out.

I have other photos but the photo site seems to have stopped. I'll post the others later. This will get you in the ball bark.
  by NYCRRson
That is a culvert (or narrow single lane road, or pedestrian underpass) under what was the Erie RR branch up to Black Rock. This branch was elevated at this location and headed from the Erie RR East Buffalo Yard (just SW of the intersection of William St and Bailey Ave). This branch headed just about due North from there and it crossed over the NYCRR Main line, then Broadway, then the West Shore line. Then it split with a portion heading towards the Tonawanda's and another portion turning west and paralleling the DL&W and NYCRR "Belt Line". This end of this Erie RR branch ended at the Black Rock / International Bridge area.

To the immediate west of this underpass was the Stockyards, which opened in 1863 with a shipment of hogs (the hoofed kind, not the ones with rubber tires) and lasted to the 1960's. The rails paved over with asphalt are remnants of the tracks along the eastern edge of the stockyards. The stockyards were YUGE... several dozen tracks in there.

The embankment and other bridges are long gone, that big chunk of concrete was probably not worth busting up into pieces.

There might be a build date cast in the concrete ? Probably the 1920's (roaring twenties) when lots of RR improvements were done around Buffalo as part of efforts to reduce RR and Road crossings at grade.

My guess is it's a pedestrian underpass to let the workers who lived in the "Iron Island" get to the stock yards without a long circuitous route. The "Iron Island" was the neighborhood around Lovejoy St. and Bailey Ave, this area was surrounded on all three sides by railroad tracks. The locals called it the Iron Island or the Iron Triangle. My Father in Law grew up in that area, if he was still with us he would know exactly what that location was.

Edit, I followed this line a little bit with the satellite images. Part of this line North of the West Shore still exists. It does not exist south of the West Shore anymore, but it does connect to the West Shore at the North end of Hirschbeck Street (Near the Harvey Austin Elem School). Then it still heads North, looks like an original Erie RR overpass (originally 2 tracks) still exists right at the intersection of Walden Ave. and Sycamore St. That bridge was probably built about the same time as the Underpass noticed in the original post, there may be a build date cast in the concrete. Can't quite read the date from the satellite image (har har).

Then the line ends again before Main St. It originally crossed Main St. around about where the Metro "Lasalle" station is.

Also, don't know if you noticed, but your photo captured a bird (Starling, black with a yellow beak) in mid flight, flying left to right just about in the middle of the picture.

Cheers, Kevin.
  by ctclark1
The stretch of the old Erie line you refer to is (or, was, as of 2000, according to the Buffalo Terminal Yard Diagram pdf I have) known as "The Chevy Connection". It served the American Axle plant and Bison Labs (Not at their current location, but the old red building north of E Ferry).

Also, the majority of the Erie Line/Electric RR to Tonawanda (North of the where the Black Rock branch & DL&W lines split west) is now the Tonawanda Rails-To-Trails bike path.

For anyone unsure with the area or the immense stronghold railroads once had on the area, here's a 1958 topo of the "Iron Island" -- bordered to the south and west by the Erie, the north and the west by the NYC (mainline to the north, stockyards to the west), and to the east by the DL&W. DL&W also turned south of the Erie to add to this blockade, as well as the LV running south of the DL&W. Also, if you don't believe just how massive NYC's stockyards were, they're there in all their glory in this image to the west, nestled between Erie's "East Buffalo" Yard (now SK Yard, or what's left of it, if I'm not mistaken) to the south and Buffalo Central Terminal to the north.
  by SST
Here is a back side view. There is a set of rails still in place behind me. They use to connect to the warehouses. But the buildings are severed.

I had hoped to post more photos but the photo site seems to be restricting uploads to 1 per day. Time to look for another one.

Thanks for the info above. I kinda thought it must be a crossing under the track. Do you think this tunnel crossed under all the tracks? As it is, it's only big enough to take 1 set of rails. Maybe they chopped up part of it and left the rest.

If there is a time stamp on this, you'd likely have to dig to find it. Not me!
  by NYCRRson
The old maps show the embankment as two tracks wide. There was a two track bridge over the NYC mainline just north of this location.

Maybe they demolished part of this underpass ?

The tracks in the stockyard where all at ground level. So the tracks behind you in the photo were part of the stockyard and were never elevated.

Cheers, Kevin.
  by TrainDetainer
That was the pedestrian underpass (Erie's Niagara Falls Branch Bridge 3.27) for the NYC East Buffalo car shop. Car shop (not stock yard) was adjacent to the Erie Niagara Falls branch and stock yards were west adjacent to the car shop. Car shop shut down/razed in the early 60s I think. Erie's Niagara Falls Branch became the Erie Running Track then IIRC Lovejoy Runner under Conrail. Wye connected to what was Conrail's Howard Street Runner (former Erie main to FW tower) at IQ Tower until Lovejoy was removed. Erie's East Buffalo depot was just west of the wye. IQ tower was burned in the mid 80s (in the wye at bottom of linked photo, foundation is still there I think). http://nyc.railfan.net/buffalo/aerial/a ... yard51.gif" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by NYCRRson
Detainer, thanks for clarifying that the car shops were between the Erie RR Niagara branch and the NYC RR Stockyards, I thought they were just east of Bailey and south of the NYC main. Maybe the area east of Bailey and south of the mainline was an industry ?

Man oh man, Buffalo was just chock full of railroads back in the day, even with the old maps it's hard to keep it all sorted out.

Going even further back the Wagner Car Company (eventually put out of business by the rising Pullman company) built sleeping cars somewhere over there in "East Buffalo", anybody know the exact spot ? Maybe North of the NYC Main ? I know there was a coach yard between BCT and the Erie RR Niagara branch on the north side of the Mainline, there was a Pullman Co building were they did the laundry for the sleepers.

Cheers, Kevin.
  by TrainDetainer
The roundhouse here (https://www.google.com/maps/@42.8997932 ... a=!3m1!1e3" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;) (plus other buildings) was originally the northern end of the Wagner facility. Wagner didn't go out of business, they were bought out by Pullman when he got tired of competing with them. The Pullman Palace Car Company was already very successful by then, but dropped the 'Palace Car' bit at some point. I don't think this roundhouse was put up until after Pullman bought Wagner, and Pullman changed the facilities drastically in the 50s with a large building and transfer table replacing some of the smaller Wagner buildings, just in time for the Pullman business to fade away. The new building occupied most of the current Tops supermarket property. Not counting the two stub tracks in the old flexiflow site, the first track north of the roundhouse in Frontier yard from Bailey Ave to the loop switch is still named the Pullman track.

AFAIK east of Bailey and Central everything not adjacent to the main lines was houses from the beginning. Also, aerials from 1958 show the stockyards and car shops deserted. In the 1963 aerials most all of the shop structures are gone except the main car shop building.
  by SST
Thanks guys for all that info. Love learning about Buffalo.

This picture is a side view. After looking at it again, I see that this concrete tunnel is actually large enough to handle two tracks. Or maybe two tracks and a access road? The concrete blends in well with the surroundings and I didn't see the left side of it until looking at it today.

As for the bird, I did see the bird flying through the area as I took the picture but didn't see it in the picture until it was mentioned. Any activity is better than none.