• History of Hamburg Street Yard, Buffalo

  • 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 dj_paige
 
I'd be interested in learning more about the Hamburg Street Yard in Buffalo. I assume it was originally part of the Erie Railroad, and then Conrail and eventually CSX took ownership. But any further information would be appreciated, including date of creation and date of abandonment.

I recently walked around this yard, the tracks are no longer connected to any active tracks, but the crossing signs at Louisiana Street are still in place and there even is a signal light still working there. Why is that?

Thanks!
  by pumpers
 
On google maps, and maps.bing.com the yard still seems connected to the "main" back across Hamburg and Katherine Streets. Not sure how old the images are though. JS
  by nydepot
 
Google maps shows it gone too.
gone.JPG
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  by BR&P
 
dj_paige wrote:In real life, the tracks are NOT connected any more. Photo by me, 4/30/17.

ImageBuffalo, NY by Paige Miller, on Flickr
Almost looks like a vertical split head on the right hand rail at POS. Image
  by Matt Langworthy
 
Bing maps also shows the missing rail.
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  by pumpers
 
You all are more careful track inspectors on google maps etc than I am! But I did catch a block of wood (and maybe a paper cup) between the rails holding the switch open on the one track that is left in the pic dj_paige posted. At least, in the pics I saw, traffic to the elevator just south of South Street and St. Clair Street was still keeping the rails shiny.
JS
Also, while we are in the area, is the main along side Fitzgerald St going to the bridge over the river the route that the Amtrak Lake Shore Limited takes, or does that go over the other bridge?
  by metoo
 
In the photo the active track going left towards the the buffalo river service the ADM silos on south street

the building directly behind the photographer back has received single boxcars over the last several years

linde and safty kleen both recieve tank cars
  by lvrr325
 
I presume the elevator and other sidings were once much busier and needed the yard for support. The track at the other end went to a paper company; that siding has been removed but enough was left to allow for engines to run around cars.

Of course, being Erie they came in from their yard on a track that bits of remain - a siding terminating before Seneca Street, a mostly empty ROW except for some tracks by another, smaller elevator remain. In September of 2007 the track reached to the intersection of Exchange and Smith Street; the grade crossing remains disconnected from anything.

I'm actually a little surprised they're not storing cars in there, it seems like it would be a reasonable place for it.
  by dj_paige
 
lvrr325 wrote: I'm actually a little surprised they're not storing cars in there, it seems like it would be a reasonable place for it.
As I walked around, I wondered why the rails were still in place, the switch really could easily be restored to working condition, but even so the yard is in terrible shape, rails way out of gauge and tie plates are loose, ties are rotted, standing water between the tracks. It would require some work to store cars there.

On Louisiana Street there are still crossing signs in both directions that seem to indicate that the crossing is still active (at least, if I was driving a car down Louisiana Street and didn't know about the missing switch, I'd think the crossing was still active), so I wonder why CSX has left the yard in this condition, why they left the signals and signs on Louisiana Street, why they haven't removed it, and my thought was that perhaps by keeping it this way, they can officially abandon the yard, but still have it in the future with a minimal amount of work to store cars (but I'm not a lawyer, maybe "abandoned" isn't quite the right word). Or maybe CSX just decided that it wasn't worth the effort to remove the rails.

ImageBuffalo, NY by Paige Miller, on Flickr

On Louisiana Street, there is still an active signal facing the auto traffic, and lit signals facing both directions the trains would travel!

ImageBuffalo, NY by Paige Miller, on Flickr

Also the the extreme top right hand corner of this photo:

ImageBuffalo, NY by Paige Miller, on Flickr
  by lvrr325
 
There's track here that rough that still gets used. Same deal with a crossing, too, the lead that used to go into Crouse Hinds, ends at their gate, but the track across 7th North Street is kept as a tail track for switching one of the two remaining sets of sidings down in there.

The track across Lexington went to the paper company; what remains is room for two engines or an engine and a car or two to use the runaround.
  by metoo
 
the area in question is in the old first ward in buffalo ny
there is no north st or lexington in the area see google map link


https://www.google.com/maps/place/South ... d-78.86443" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

the tracks that cross Louisiana st went to an erie rr fright house on ohio st that was torn/falling down and now a new apartment building

https://www.buffalorising.com/2015/03/e ... sidential/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by TrainDetainer
 
In 1989 I worked as a brakeman in Buffalo for a few months. Hamburg Street was served by a job based out of Ohio Street yard. I made one trip out to the Ohio Street freight house at Hamburgh St., a boxcar or two IIRC, it was only once and the cdr told me it was getting to be rare. The yard was used to handle covered hoppers for the elevator on St.Clair Street, which was still somewhat busy then. There were 5 or 6 switches the length of Katherine Street but only four got regular service IIRC. Track on Katherine Street was terrible, not uncommon to go on the ground every other trip over there. The Katherine Street lead crossing was famous for icing up in the winter and sending SW1500s down the street sideways. Fun to see a locomotive act like it was a drunk on ice skates. It would either walk right back onto the track or it would be a serious PIA to rerail. Had to chip flangeways in the ice to pull cars out sometimes because of all the frozen standing water from the street. As depressed as Katherine street looked then, it looks like a vacant parking lot now.
  by ctclark1
 
dj_paige wrote:On Louisiana Street there are still crossing signs in both directions that seem to indicate that the crossing is still active (at least, if I was driving a car down Louisiana Street and didn't know about the missing switch, I'd think the crossing was still active), so I wonder why CSX has left the yard in this condition, why they left the signals and signs on Louisiana Street, why they haven't removed it, and my thought was that perhaps by keeping it this way, they can officially abandon the yard, but still have it in the future with a minimal amount of work to store cars (but I'm not a lawyer, maybe "abandoned" isn't quite the right word). Or maybe CSX just decided that it wasn't worth the effort to remove the rails.
"OOS" is the term you're looking for, I think. They could put it back into service if necessary. I've previously seen "Exempt" signage with turned crossing signals at some crossings, such as the old Gardenville crossing at Clinton St and the Groveland IT in Attica prior to the lines being removed, I don't know if this is an option with OOS trackage or just those which have been officially abandoned and not yet ripped out. If those are only allowed with legally abandoned lines then I believe the railroad is responsible for keeping crossing systems in an active state regardless of use of the track (level of crossing protection I think is supposed to be based on the "level of service" of the roads, not the crossings for the most part but I feel like exceptions are made)

Abandoning the tracks requires a different process, one which requires a lot of red tape I think. (something about No customers for x number of years, official notices to any potential customers requiring a response that they'd have no intention of using the rail services, etc)
  by MarkT
 
dj_paige wrote:In real life, the tracks are NOT connected any more. Photo by me, 4/30/17.

ImageBuffalo, NY by Paige Miller, on Flickr
Well here is what I can add: to the far right the sided building with the green awning, McCarthys great food and beer. The red brick building is the Barrel Factory distillery, restored as original really awesome inside. Vodka and gin.

The last business on these tracks over Hamburg street was a tire recycler long gone. Preservationations wanted to save the building but torn down. Really was nothing special. Linde on Katherine hasn't seen a car in maybe 5 years. Not sure why