• Salamanca Question

  • 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 JoeS
 
I was also wondering if the spur went to a sawmill or some type of industry along the south side of the river. There was a mill race along that side.

There were also pilings in the river about 1/4 mile east of where the spur met the water, suggesting some type of structure long gone.

But - if it was just a siding, why was there a wye?

  by MichaelWinicki
 
Well certainly Joe if the line terminated there in Salamanca for any length of time it would make sense to toss a wye in somewhere. Railroads seemed to toss a wye here, there and everywhere. BTW I noticed a nice outline of a wye between Rt 219 and the River, where the Pennsy crossed the Erie & the BR&P.

There are the outlines of several tracks that existed in the same area as the subject wye, it seems that a having a wye in that part of Salamanca would have been somewhat useful.

  by pablo
 
Forgive me for asking, but has anyone tried the new infrared mapping software online?

Someone recently did this for an area in New York State and while it didn't show up very well on a regular image, it was clear as possible in the infrared.

I don't know the exact area, or else I would look myself.

I will say that I looked to identify the wye that was once at the boatlanding in Jamestown, and the image did not get close enough to identify it, even though its remnants are still there, buried in the trees. There's no guarantee it would work.

Dave Becker

  by MichaelWinicki
 
I dunno Dave... I may not be an expert at reading images, but that certainly looks like it's a wye to me.

You look at how the main enters Salamanca from the west... and if what the other person states as fact, that the line from Warren to Salamanca was completed first, it would make sense that this spur, which continues the main as a straight line, was the original main-- going across Broad street and very possibly across the river and connecting with the Erie.

The line from Olean then formed the curved connection.

With the interchange with the Erie in Olean, there probably wasn't the need to maintain the river crossing and the connection with the Erie in Salamanca. Thusly this former "main" was probably then a great place to put an industry next to and spent the remainder of its life as an industrial siding.
  by erie2937
 
At a website called maptech you will find old USGS topo maps. Look at the 1900 map for Salamanca. You will find there a connection between the PRR/WNY&P and the Erie that crossed the river at South Carrollton. Knowing what I know about Salamanca I tend to doubt that the spur going to the river ever crossed the river. Checking out the area on foot might reveal something though, but, keep in mind that flooding has probably erased most evidence of bridge construction and r-o-w. The city of Salamanca dates back to the building of the Erie RR. That spur would have run right into the heart of the city. I think a connection to the Erie would have been difficult to construct. Why not contact the people at the museum in Salamanca in the old BR&P depot? Or try the Seneca Nation of Indians - they own the whole thing.

  by MichaelWinicki
 
You make a good point erie2937.

I'm guessing that if a connection did cross the river, it was in that 1880-82 time period, before the Pennsy line from Olean to Salamanca was completed. No doubt that part of Salamanca wasn't as "busy" then (1880) as it was in later decades so crossing the river at that point proposed and reaching the Erie on the other side isn't that farfetched.

It's certainly conceivable the Pennsy (or the predessor) could have worked out an arrangement to have trains move from Olean to Salamance via the Erie and then cross over to the Salamanca-Warren line until the Olean-Salamanca section had been completed.
  by Ron Mele
 
Interesting topic. Someone in an earlier post mentioned the PRR purchasing new U25B locomotives with government money. That wasn't they only thing they purchased. The following is from an article I did for Railpace a few years ago and the subject dovetails with the current topic:

In 1962, the Chautauqua Branch received one of the PRR’s last, and probably most short lived, applications of centralized traffic control. Construction of the Kinzua Dam on the Allegheny River east of Warren, and the subsequent inundation of land behind the dam, forced the PRR to close their Salamanca Branch between Warren and Olean, New York. All traffic that ran via that route was shifted to the Chautauqua Branch. The Federal Government provided financial compensation to the PRR for loss of the Salamanca Branch and a portion of those funds were used for the Chautauqua CTC Program. The CTC machine was located at Corry in a newly constructed one story building called “EYE” Tower which opened in July 1962. This building replaced an old wooden tower structure located a few dozen feet to the west. Commencing in October 1962, new interlockings and sidings were commissioned and by December 20, 1962, “EYE” controlled the entire Chautauqua Branch from Brocton, NY southward through Petroleum Centre.

On February 1, 1968, the landscape of railroading through the Oil Creek region was about to radically change. The merger of the PRR and NYC, resulting in the ill-fated Penn-Central Railroad, rendered the Chautauqua Branch as “redundant” and one of the first casualties was the CTC system. “EYE” Tower was closed on August 15, 1968 and control of the branch was transferred to “BRIDGE” Tower (located at the wye bridge over the Allegheny River) in Oil City. As Pittsburgh-Buffalo through traffic was rerouted via Youngstown and Ashtabula, Ohio, the Chautauqua CTC system was taken out of service between October 1 and December 1, 1970. Consequently, portions of the entire branch were changed to secondary, running, or industrial track status. The Chautauqua Branch through Titusville was designated as the Titus Secondary Track. Penn-Central gave way to Conrail on April 1, 1976 and over the next two years, the former Chautauqua Branch was slowly dismembered.

  by MichaelWinicki
 
The Penny implementing a CTC program on the Chautauqua branch seems kind of funny to me...

I mean, there weren't that many trains running on that branch right? Even after the Oil City/Olean line was severed. I read in a newspaper article discussing the whole Kinzua project that only two trains a day ran on the line from end to end.

Was there that much traffic on the Chautauqua branch?

  by MichaelWinicki
 
Combing through my newspaper articles it appears that the Oil City to Olean line was abandon in two-steps.

One article dated 4/18/62 tells of the ICC authorizing the abandonment of the section from Warren to Salamanca.

Then another article from 10/29/64 talks about the petition made by the Pennsy to abandon the section from Allegany to Salamanca. The petition also covers the Pennsy operations in Bradford accessed via the B&O.

An interesting side note... an article dated 2-12-60 talks about the Pennsy closing the Salamanca frieght station due to low revenue. They were losing $2,300 as opposed to a postive cash flow of $80,000 "That truck transportation for milk shipments have taken away."
  by Ron Mele
 
MichaelWinicki wrote:The Pennsy implementing a CTC program on the Chautauqua branch seems kind of funny to me...

I mean, there weren't that many trains running on that branch right? Even after the Oil City/Olean line was severed. I read in a newspaper article discussing the whole Kinzua project that only two trains a day ran on the line from end to end.

Was there that much traffic on the Chautauqua branch?
Yes, it does seem odd that the Pennsy would install CTC but at the time it was considered a cost saving measure. CTC replaced manned block stations so the system probably paid for itself. Traffic-wise, in 1962 I believe there were 4 scheduled Pittsburgh-Buffalo freights and additional coal and local freights. Today, that kind of traffic volume probably wouldn't even merit block signals, let alone CTC. DTC blocks via radio communication would probably suffice.

Ron Mele
  by Redwards
 
Apologies for going off-topic slightly but I am interested in sources of information about WNY&P and later PRR operations in Olean. From Mr. Burt's post it sounds like Pietrak's "Western New York & Pennsylvania" has some good information. Any other recommendations on the subject? I'm particulary interested in pictures or diagrams of the shops/yards/branch lines when the operations were at their maximum. Just as a bit of background I grew up in West Olean in the 1970's and some of my earliest memories of trains include watching short trains creep through the field behind my house on the way to a scrapyard on Henley Street.

Thanks,

--Reed
  by Ron Mele
 
Redwards wrote:Apologies for going off-topic slightly but I am interested in sources of information about WNY&P and later PRR operations in Olean. From Mr. Burt's post it sounds like Pietrak's "Western New York & Pennsylvania" has some good information. Any other recommendations on the subject?
Triumph VII by Roberts/Messer is a good resource for the information you seek. It covers PRR's Northern Region and certainly encompasses the environs around Olean. The book is pricy ($70.00 range depending on the retailer) but well worth it.

Ron Mele

  by MichaelWinicki
 
Redwards,

One of the best sources of information are Sanborn Insurance maps. The Olean Historical Society has a couple different versions from around 1900. The City of Olean has a set that is more current. Needless to say, all are amazing in their detail.

When you say the "height" of activity, it appears there were two or three periods of heavy activity in the Olean area. One around 1880 when the narrow gauge lines were active also.

The first Pennsy (actually predecessor of the Pennsy) yard was where Thatcher Glass, and later the junior high school are located. There were classification tracks along with a freight car repair facility and a roundhouse which was located near the corner of Wayne & North 6th.

I have a wonderful postcard showing the old walkway, over the then freight yards that carried kids safely to the high school.

The Pennsy then built the yards that extended from approximately Buffalo Street to the Rt. 417 bridge near St. Bonaventure. I believe this property was the once the location for numerous oil storage tanks. The yard really was more like two yards. With the one closest to St. Bonaventure, being mothballed after the closure of the the Pennsy division discussed within this thread, along with the Rochester division.

As many know the Pennsy had a large roundhouse and engine rebuilding facility near Clark Bros, which became part of Clark Bros after the railroad no longer needed them.

These new yards and engine facilities were added in the 1920's I do believe.

The trackage that you're referring to had a long history, starting out as part of the narrow gauge, Olean, Bradford & Warren. Then the trolley bought and widened the line-- using it until they completed the line following Rt. 16 South.

Empire Tanning and the Utter Smoking Pipe factory were then located at the terminus of the line there near S. 15th St and West Henley, where they were served by the Pennsy for many years-- then of course the scrap-yard was located there.

The old Utter Pipe company building was finally knocked down just a few years ago.

There was quite the array of track-work in that area of the tannery and pipe company at one time... switchbacks, diamond crossings and all sorts of interesting track-work.

  by Redwards
 
Thank you to MichaelWinicki and RonMele for your recommendations. The Triumph book is definitely a possibility when time and budget permits. Next time I get back up to Olean I will have to check out the maps and other resources available at the Olean Historical Society.

I was always curious how far west the yards extended. I wrote a paper on Olean's railroads in Junior High (the Conrail Yard had just opened) and the only maps I could find (like the one linked from Terraserver below) had the yard extending to the area just north of Archbishop Walsh high school. As part of the research for that paper I bought a book by a local author (I think his name was Kilmer) on the traction lines to Bradford. Hopefully I can dig the book up one of these days when I'm back at my parent's house. I remember seeing the remains of the bridge pilings when water levels were low in the Allegheny.

http://terraserver-usa.com/image.aspx?T ... an%7cNY%7c

I had toured the old shop building with its massive crane at Dresser Rand back in Junior High. I think part of a roundhouse exists on the property as well?

When I finally got old enough to be really interested in the history of the area and also have some mobility (early 80's) it seemed like the party was over.

Edit: The Utter Pipe company building - was this building later used by Service Stores?

Reed

  by MichaelWinicki
 
Yeah, Reed that was the former storage building used by the Service Store folks.

At one point that building actually had another story but I'm not sure if it was due to fire or whatnot, but it ended up a single-story building.

Actually, I feel pretty lucky in that I was able to watch a PC switcher (like a SW1500) haul a gondola full of scap down that line in the early 70's. We had some friends that lived right next to the track, on North 12th St.

One day we were out there playing in the yard and, there it is was... crawling along at a snail's pace.

For us folks that weren't around in the real hey-day of railroads, I guess that's as good as it gets.

But it's a good memory none-the-less. :)