• Narrow gauge terminals at Bradford?

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in Pennsylvania
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in Pennsylvania

Moderator: bwparker1

  by salminkarkku
Can anyone tell me how the three narrow-gauge lines at Bradford terminated there? That is, the "Kendall & Eldred", "Buffalo, Bradford & Kinzua" and "Bradford"? Did they interchange?

The Mapquest USGS for McKean county is 1926 and not much use.

  by henry6
See your posting on KMS rr elsewhere:"Kishwaukee Mineral Springs RR". That will lead you to your answers.
  by Aa3rt
I wish I could give you an answer but a definitive reply to your question would require a LOT of reading and research. Many of these "oil boom" narrow gauge railroads were very short lived in nature and having been built, operated and abandoned in the late nineteenth or very early twentieth centuries there's not a lot of readily available material.

It's a credit to the authors of the volumes that I've listed that the existing material for these lines has been uncovered, researched and documented.

(A quick check of a map in one of the volumes listed below does show that the BB&K and the K&E did not terminate in the same area of Bradford.)

Some titles to get you started:

Bradford, Bordell and Kinzua by Thomas Barber and James Woods, printed in 1971.

Bradford and Foster Brook-Peg Leg Railroad by Lawerence W. Kilmer, printed in 1974. (Includes information on the Olean, Bradford and Warren narrow gauge which was closely aligned with the Kendall & Eldred.)

The Kendall & Eldred Narrow Gauge Railroad by Robert W. Stout, printed in 1972.

Western New York and Pennsylvania Railway by Paul V. Pietrak, Joseph G. Streamer and James A. Van Brocklin, printed in 2000.

From the June 1963 Model Railroader an article by Linn H. Wescott titled "Big Level: Colorado of the East".

Some quick perusing of the reference material listed reveals that the Kendall & Eldred was chartered in 1877, opened for business on July 30, 1878 and ceased operations on December 9, 1893.

The BB&K began operations in 1880 and last ran on September 2, 1906. (Barber and Woods do note in their volume that the K&E tried to delay the construction of the BB&K and a cursory glance through both volumes does not reveal any photos of "joint" operations-I seriously doubt that these competitors shared facilities.)

I'm puzzled as to what railroad you are referring to was simply listed as "Bradford"? The short lived Bradford and Foster Brook, a pioneering monorail line, lasted less than two full years, from 1877 to 1879, its demise being hastened by a boiler explosion of one of its locomotives in January of 1879. The Olean, Bradford and Warren, as has already been noted, did operate in close conjunction with the K&E. However, a line simply listed as Bradford is a new one on me. I should note that Bradford did have a trolley line at one time.

  by salminkarkku
Thanks everybody for the bibliographies.

However, the problem I've got is that I'm helping out with the historical info for SPV's "North American RR Atlas", and we are revising the PA pages in "Northeast". Since I'm presently based in a small town near Canterbury, England, I don't have much opportunity to refer to more obscure rr history works unless we buy them online, and that costs too much. So I'm grateful for help on tricky little points like this one.

The "Bradford" was the ng line which ran SW to Marshburg, 1881-4 before being taken over by the "Buffalo, New York & Philadelphia".

  by CarterB
Heres some info on theK&E: http://wnyrails.railfan.net/railroads/p ... l_home.htm

A station on the BB&K:


Some history of the Bradford RR:

http://broadway.pennsyrr.com/rail/prr/C ... wny_p.html

June 30, 1911 Bradford Railway Company and Olean, Bradford & Warren
Railway Company merge to form Bradford Railroad Company;
Kinzua Valley Railroad Company and Kinzua Railway Company
merge to form Kinzua Railroad Company; remnant of former
narrow gauge lines is operated by Western New York &
Pennsylvania. (Val)

  by Aa3rt
Some great links from CarterB...

I did manage to come up with some information from your last post by checking the Western New York and Pennsylvania Railway by Pietrak, Streamer and Van Brocklin.

From Chapter Six, "The Narrow Gauge Railroads":

"There were two major networks of narrow-gauge railroads in the oil fields: one, controlled by the Erie Railroad and comprised of the Bradford, Bordell & Kinzua, the Bradford, Eldred & Cuba, and the Tonawanda Valley & Cuba; the other dominated by the BNY&P and which included the Olean, Bradford & Warren, the Kendell & Eldred, the Bradford Railway and the Kinzua Railway. Another narrow-gauge line, the Allegany Central, although not owned by the BNY&P, was greatly influenced by that railroad."

The Olean, Bradford and Warren was completed between Olean and Bradford but financial backing for the planned Warren extension never came forth. However the line was extended, under two corporate titles as far east as Kinzua. More from the book:

"Nevertheless, the idea of a rail link from Bradford to Warren seemed sound, and so in December 1880 the backers for two narrow-gauge shortlines: the Bradford Railway, chartered on January 7th, 1881; and the Kinzua Railway, chartered on January 18th, 1881. The Bradford Railway was to run from Union Depot in Bradford a distance of 14.75 miles, to intersect with the Kinzua Railway at a point near Marshburg; the Kinzua Railway would run from this connection with the Bradford railway to Kinzua on the Allegheny River, a distance of 14.04 miles. The reason for having two seperate companies was a consequence of Pennsylvania law: a narrow gauge railroad of less than 15 miles required a stock subscription of only $2,000 per mile, wheras a line of more than 15 miles would require more than three times that amount per mile. These two narrow-gauge lines had the same officers and directors, many of whom also served on the boards of the OB&W, the K&E, and the BNY&P."

The book goes on to quote an article in a Bradford newspaper from April 10, 1896 stating that the line from Bradford to Marshburg was to be standard gauged, but then goes on to remark that the standard gauging never took place with the exception of some Bradford Railway trackage in Bradford proper that was relayed to serve an industry in Bradford.

  by RussNelson
I'm trying to capture the route of the Bradford, Eldred & Cuba for my New York Railroad Routes project. I've got a first-cut guess here:
http://rutlandtrail.org/list.cgi?bradfo ... a.ny.track

The things I'm very not sure about are right around Ceres. Did the PS&N and BE&C run side-by-side there? And where does the WNY&P come into the picture? That's the trolley line And then there's the CNY&W, which was narrow gauge, related in some manner to the WNY&P.

  by Aa3rt
Russ, I saw your question yesterday but didn't have an opportunity to research it last night. However, just by coincidence, this link was posted on the WAG Railroad Yahoo group, courtesy of Chris Bigham:

Allegany County, NY- Local History & Genealogy Site

http://www.usgennet.org/usa/ny/county/a ... dsHome.htm

Make sure to scroll all the way down-there are a number of links, including a map and link to the "Bradford, Eldred & Cuba" as well as the "Tonawanda Valley & Cuba" and way down at the bottom some information on the trolley lines in Allegany County.

I'll try to do some more research in the near future, hopefully this link will be of some help.

  by Aa3rt
Russ-Paul Pietrak's volume, simply titled Pittsburg Shawmut & Northern contains a track diagram of Ceres. Sorry I can't reproduce it here but the PS&N ran east to west at Ceres with the trolley line running parallel to the PS&N on the north side. According to Paul Pietrak in his book Coudersport & Port Allegany-New York & Pennsylvania, this trolley line ran under three names during its existence-Originally known as the "Olean Street Railway", the line then became the "Western New York & Pennsylvania Traction Company" and finally the "Olean, Bradford and Salamanca Railway Company".

Just a bit of confusion here-there is also a standard gauge shortline named the New York & Pennsylvania that connected with the PS&N at Ceres, ran southeast through Shinglehouse, PA and numerous other towns eventually ending in Canisteo, NY and a connection with the Erie RR.

I'm still trying to come up with where the CNY&W and the BE&C fit in but it will take a little more reading.

  by Aa3rt
Well Russ, after some late night reading, the quick answer is that the Central New York & Western (CNY&W) operated in two sections-from Olean to Bolivar via Portville & Ceres and from Angelica to Wayland Junction, and a connection with the DL&W. The section from Bolivar to Angelica had been abandoned at an earlier date.

The whole history is rather complex, essentially the line started life as the Lackawanna and Pittsburgh in 1882, incorporating parts of the Allegeny Central narrow gauge in 1883. The line had a checkered financial history and was foreclosed upon in April of 1889.

The line was then reorganized as the Lackawanna and South Western. The section from Angelica to Bolivar was never standard gauged and was the only portion of the line producing profits.

The whole railroad was purchased in September 1892 and reorganized again as the CNY&W, operating the two sections mentioned in the first paragraph, with the Angelica to Bolivar section being abandoned.

In August of 1899, these lines, as well as the abandoned right of way, were purchased and merged into the Pttsburg, Shawmut & Northern. and eventually standard gauged around 1901. The NY&P built a connection with the PS&N at Ceres in 1904.

The Bradford, Eldred & Cuba ended service in the mid-1890's. I also checked the book Bradford Bordell and Kinzua by Thomas Barber and James Woods but was unable to find a map that would have given a clue as to where the BE&C ran in Ceres. An 1882 timetable for the BE&C lists the following stations:

Bullis Mills Ceres
Lit'e Genesee

Sorting out the the histories of the "Western New York & Pennsylvania" railroad vs. the "Western New York & Pennsylvania Traction Company" will take a little time. Somewhere in my train room I have a reproduction of a WNY&P trolley schedule but I have yet to recall where I filed it.
  by 2nd trick op
Several authors, including the well-respected Thomas Taber, collaborated on a seft of soft-cover books on Pennsylvania logging railroads, first published about twenty years ago. In addition to the recent reprint of several installments, many copies were sold at retail at local gift shops, so you might be able to find some of them at an auction site.

Here's a link:

http://www.narrowtracks.com/eastern_log ... gBooks.htm

In addition, much of the Taber family's personal collection is under the care of the James V. Brown library, at Williamsport.

  by thebigham
I was just looking at Penn Pilot (http://www.pennpilot.psu.edu/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;) for grade around Eldred.

I think I found the BE&C narrow gauge right of way from the just south of the PS&N bridge at State Line to just north of Eldred!

It's still very visible in the 1940 aerial photo of the Eldred area.