• The South Buffalo Railway

  • A general discussion about shortlines, industrials, and military railroads
A general discussion about shortlines, industrials, and military railroads

Moderator: Aa3rt

  by Mountcastle
Growing up in the Buffalo, New York area, I recall as a little twerp a railroad called the "South Buffalo Railroad" (or perhaps, "South Buffalo Railway"), whose locomotives I used to see ambling back and forth throughout the Bethlehem Steel Plant.

Does anyone know if this railroad exists any longer? Also, I notice for sale in local hobby shops a diesel switcher painted in South Buffalo RR colors (yellow and black) but lettered, simply, "Bethlehem Steel Company". I don't recall any such thing.

Last edited by Mountcastle on Thu Oct 23, 2008 3:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by Aa3rt
Mountcastle: Having grown up in northwestern Pennsylvania, just south of Jamestown, NY, we would occasionally make family forays to the "big city" of Buffalo. Catching glimpses of the South Buffalo Railway from the New York State Thruway was always a highlight of our trips and helped develop my interest in industrial railways long before I knew that there were others who shared that interest.

The South Buffalo was owned by Bethlehem Steel from 1899 through 2001 when it was sold to Genesee & Wyoming Industries. More information here:


Author and railway historian Paul Pietrak has shared a number of vintage photos of South Buffalo operations here:

http://www.railfan.net/cgi-bin/trainthu ... ilpix/sbrr

As far as the model loco paint scheme, you can follow the next link to the Fallen Flags website and scroll down to the South Buffalo Railway photos for some more contemporary views of SB diesels. Bethlehem Steel used a standard paint scheme for its locos with the name of the railroad inside the oval. (Other Bethlehem Steel operations included the Philadelphia, Bethlehem and New England in Bethlehem, PA and a couple of others that readily come to mind-I believe the Cambria & Indiana in southern PA and the Patapsco & Back River railroad that served the Sparrows Point (Baltimore) Beth Steel plant.)

  by tomjohn
I too remember the South Buffalo Railway I had the pleasure of touring the South Buffalo Ry back when I was in high School and the Steel plant there as well. Anyone here know where Frontier Central Senior High School is ?

  by Mountcastle

Frontier Central is in or near Arcade, isn't it?


Thanks so much for the info. I miss seeing the black and yellow switchers perambulating to and fro at the plant; as a kid I used to love to watch them as the family drove past the plant in dad's car on the way back to the nothern burbs from grandma's house in South Buffalo.
  by tomjohn
Frontier Central is in or near Arcade, isn't it? < you're thinking of the Pioneer Central School District that's in ARCADE<

Frontier Central Senior High School is in the town of Hamburg NY,the SOUTH BUFFALO Ry is in the neighboring school district which is called Lackawanna Central High School, actually the SB Ry ran between the FORD Stamping Plant in Woodlawn,NY is in the Frontier Central School district just as is Blasdell,NY. Lackawanna,NY (the old Bethlehem Steel plant) which is part of the Lackawanna Central School District.

The SOUTH BUFFALO Ry ran between Woodlawn,NY, Blasdell,NY and Lackawanna,NY . I know this because my dad was the Superintendent of Schools at Frontier Central Senior High School,in which I am a alumnus of Frontier, my mom taught in the other neighboring /rival School District called Hamburg Central School District which is in the Village of Hamburg.

  by TB Diamond
There is an excellent book on the South Buffalo entitled SOUTH BUFFALO RAILWAY by Stephan M. Koening published in 2004. A copy should be easy to locate and purchase.
  by Aa3rt
Just found this site today with some South Buffalo photos:

  by scottychaos
Fourteen SB Alco Switchers still exist in NY state!
(and im sure many more are outside NY state)

a few are still in SB colors:
http://www.railfan.net/railpix/submit/s ... AlcoS4.jpg

http://www.railfan.net/railpix/submit/s ... YRHS77.jpg

http://www.railfan.net/railpix/submit/s ... oS2-84.jpg
(Number 84 is now highly visible right next to a public road in Eden, stored with sister 107, their fate is uncertain...
get your pictures now!)

Some SB units are still in daily service:
http://www.railfan.net/railpix/submit/s ... -72-02.jpg

LAL 72 is almost SEVENTY years old!
still going strong..
She was built as South Buffalo No. 72 in 1941.

There is a great book on the SB, I highly recommend it:
"South Buffalo Railway" by Stephan M. Koening.
gives a full roster, and lots of detailed history and photos..