• New Tonawanda to Buffalo Rail Trail

  • 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
DGC-24711 wrote: Mon Sep 26, 2022 7:41 pm
SST wrote: Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:51 pm
On the south side of the creek looking towards Niagara Falls:
The rails in the asphalt on Young Street, where you ride your bicycle across (north bound) up the grade a bit to cross Ellicott Creek have been removed and paved over within the past week.
Pulling rails out of the ground bugs me as much as the Great Northern Elevator being torn down. To me its like erasing our industrial history...no matter how small or large it may be.
  by Fireman43
The NYCRR bridge discussed in this thread is to the right of the mainline and is now part of the rail trail?
In discussing the accidents above it was stated THIS bridge was ‘double tracked’?

Or is the current mainline the NYC line ?
  by SST
In your photo above, the bridge to the right [rail-trail] was formerly the Erie RR bridge crossing.

Bridge on the left is NYCRR bridge still in use.
  by NYCRRson
"Get in the clear" and "Stay in the clear" are two different things.
From what was typed in the description, the Niagara Branch dispatcher never verified that the job actually cleared the main. And he never stated in the clear exactly where. That is based on the previous description."

Correct, apparently the dispatcher "assumed" the switching crew was "already" clear of the main and believed he instructed them to "get/stay in the clear" at the siding they were switching (i.e. don't be on the mainline).

The crew was occupying the main while switching the siding and took the dispatchers instruction to "get/stay in the clear" to mean go back to the yard (only 2 miles away) and get off the main.

I believe the dispatcher was faulted for not clearly specifying where exactly he wanted the train to "be in the clear" and for not verifying that the switching crew was indeed "in the clear" someplace off the main track before releasing another train headed in a different direction into the same track.

Was also attributed to "confusing" radio instructions, and thus the RR implemented the "Write down and read back the orders you received via radio so there is no confusion".

In the beginning of radios being used to transmit "train orders" to crews there was no requirement to "write down and read back" the instructions sent to the train crew by dispatchers.

Was a while ago I discussed this with my Father, I may have scrambled a few details, but the main point is the early use of radio to direct train crews had some debugging to do.

Cheers, Kevin.
  by NYCRRson
"How many fatalities were there in that wreck? I used to work with an official who had that territory at the time and IIRC he was involved with the recovery and ID of the victims. Wish I had asked him about it, although it impacted him deeply and he may have wanted to avoid the topic."

If you are referring to the youngsters that died on that bridge I think it was 2 fatal and 1 injured, or 3 fataities. One young lad jumped from the bridge and landed in the creek but drowned before folks could reach him. But that was a long time ago. I did attend the same school they where walking to just a few years later.

I think the "train wreck" on the same bridge killed one or two folks in the caboose that was rammed by the engine of the southbound coal train.
  by BR&P
Tragic as it may have been, the kids caught on the bridge was not a wreck. Must have been terrifying for the engine crew as well as the kids, powerless to do anything to avoid it.

No, I meant the wreck, or collision as the official reports would read. So the local was shoving north caboose first? Is there an ICC report on line anywhere?
  by NYCRRson
So the local was shoving north caboose first? Is there an ICC report on line anywhere?
Yes the local was headed North Caboose first headed to the yard in N Tonawanda (about 1.5 miles from this bridge).

This is double track territory with each track signaled for only one direction of travel. The Western/Northern most track was (is ?) signaled for travel from N. Tonawanda to Kenmore. the Eastern/Southern most track was (is ?) signaled for travel from Kenmore to N. Tonawanda.

The Dispatcher can put trains on the other track in N. Tonawanda and at Kenmore Yard (AFAIK), there are no crossovers in between those yard locations.

The empty coal train was headed South towards Kenmore Yard.

I think I saw an ICC report on this, but can't find it right now.
  by NYCRRson
I believe the ICC report is question is this one;

NEW YORK CENTRAL. New York. North Tonawanda. (No. 3960). 1962-07-05

It is reported as North Tonawanda because that was the closest RR yard/station associated with the "wreck".

I cannot find an online copy at this time, but I believe I found and read a copy in the past.

Interesting thing, that bridge over Ellicott Creek (actually located in the City of Tonawanda, not the City of North Tonawanda) was originally built/installed on the NYCRR mainline somewhere near Batavia NY.

When the "NYCRR Bypass" around "downtown" Tonawanda was built circa 1923 this bridge was disassembled and moved from the "Mainline" and re-installed over Ellicott Creek. A larger (4 track bridge) was built on the "Mainline".

This would be during the "Roaring Twenties" when the NYCRR upgraded the "Mainline" with Automatic Train Stop, built the Tonawanda Bypass (with the big Bascule Bridge over the Barge Canal), and built Buffalo Central Terminal.

Ah, the good old days.

Cheers, Kevin.
  by BR&P
Fascinating how bridges, turntables and even depots were moved from one location to another, and then used at the new location for decades more.

Can't imagine the feeling when those two trains came in sight of each other. :( And the bridge prevented any chance the local crew had to join the birds.
  by NYCRRson
And the bridge prevented any chance the local crew had to join the birds.
That bridge is on a fairly high embankment, I would estimate the rails are at least 25 feet above the surrounding ground level. There is a very steep slope between ground level and the track level. Steep enough that is is difficult to climb up.

I think the crew would have been severely injured, or worse if they jumped.
  by BR&P
A local in 1962 would probably have had a wooden caboose. The NYC wood cabooses only had one emergency valve, located in the interior of the caboose. (Newer equipment usually had a valve on each end platform.) It probably would not have made a difference, from the looks of it dumping the air 5 seconds sooner would not have been enough.
  by Matt Langworthy
SST wrote: Sun Nov 22, 2015 10:02 amMarker B is were an access rd follows the DL&W row.
I think you mean Erie ROW, correct? I don't recall DL&W having track in the Tonawanda area.
  by NYCRRson
I think you mean Erie ROW, correct? I don't recall DL&W having track in the Tonawanda area.
Correct, the "Tonawanda to Buffalo Rail Trail" with a single track plate girder bridge that parallels the original NYCRR double track truss bridge crossing Ellicot Creek was originally an Erie Railroad ROW.

Then an E-L ROW and then a Conrail ROW, then abandoned.

I recall seeing E-L "F" units along that line hauling chlorine "tank cars" from the Chemical Plants in Niagara Falls. These where special flat cars with racks that held about 12 chlorine tanks crosswise on the car. Each chlorine tank was about 5 feet in diameter and 10 feet long.

There is a "salt brine" pipeline from "salt wells" down around Letchworth St Park up to Niagara Falls. They pump water down to the "salt wells" and pump the dissolved salt brine back to Niagara Falls and use the electricity from the hydro-electric dams to separate the sodium from the chlorine.


Then they ship the chlorine via RR tank cars to make bleach, pool chemicals, etc. The Sodium is shipped in RR tank cars pre-heated with steam passing through tubing inside the tank car so the Sodium stays molten while it is shipped over the railroad.
  by Fireman43
Thanks for that link to Texas Salt Brine and the chlorine business at Oxi Chemical.

Who knew !!!

Drove past this one yard visible from the 190 daily for almost 20 years not thinking past the yard as to what was chlorine was for, coming or going ?
Instead Always followed how the yard trackage was changing , new security fencing , high intensity floods and the windsock .

Only today did I surf around looking further into the industrial area at all the maze of tracks , remnants leading into the remains of so many long gone industries.

Does that yard visible from the 190 have a name ?

Now trying to remember, don’t think if I ever saw any of those trains on the line going down through Buffalo .
  by RailKevin
Perhaps you are referring to the Niagara Junction yard.