• Notes on Lehigh Valley Seneca Falls Branch

  • Discussion related to the Lehigh Valley Railroad and predecessors for the period 1846-1976. Originally incorporated as the Delaware, Lehigh, Schuylkill and Susquehanna Railroad Company.
Discussion related to the Lehigh Valley Railroad and predecessors for the period 1846-1976. Originally incorporated as the Delaware, Lehigh, Schuylkill and Susquehanna Railroad Company.

Moderator: scottychaos

  by Richard1
(Another on-going project)

Seneca Falls Branch of Lehigh Valley Railroad
By Richard Palmer
The Seneca County Railway was incorporated February 24, 1891. The line, 8.1 miles in length, Geneva Junction to Seneca Falls, was opened on October 24, 1897. It was acquired by the Lehigh Valley on August 3, 1903. It owned no equipment. In 1910 the station agents were H.B. Forest, Waterloo; and W.G. Cushing, Seneca Falls. Telegraph call letter were: WR for Waterloo and FC for Seneca Falls. It was within the Buffalo division.
Lehigh Valley public timetable of January 12, 1902 shows two daily round trips. Train #602, leave Geneva at 7:25 a.m., arrive Waterloo at 7:40 and Seneca Falls at 7:50 a.m. Train #603 leave Seneca Falls at 8 a.m., Waterloo, 8:10 a.m. and arrive Geneva at 8:25 a.m.; #604, leave Geneva at 7:25 p.m., arrive Waterloo. 7:40 p.m. and Seneca Falls at 7:50 p.m.; #605, leave Seneca Falls at 8 p.m. and Waterloo at 8:10 p.m. and arrive at Geneva at 8:25 p.m

Seneca Junction into the village of Seneca Falls, 1.60 miles, was abandoned in 1958. The portion from Geneva Junction to Lehigh Valley Junction, east of Seneca Falls where it connected with the New York Central, 6.8 miles, was abandoned in 1969.

Geneva Advertiser
Tuesday, May 27, 1902

By the new Lehigh Valley timetable, which went into effect Sunday, passenger service o the Seneca Falls branch has been still further reduced to one train a day each way, leaving Waterloo going east at 7:30 p.m. and west at 7:55 p.m. The trolley road does the business between Geneva and Seneca Falls.

Geneva Advertiser
Feb. 17, 1903

The Lehigh Valley has abandoned all passenger traffic on the Geneva & Seneca Falls branch. It never paid, not even when running one train a day. The electric cars do about all the local business between Geneva, Waterloo and Seneca Falls, because passengers land in the very heart of business.

Clifton Springs Press
Thursday, April 23, 1903

It is said that beginning about the first of May the Lehigh Valley will restore the passenger train service on the Seneca Falls branch, and that the United States Express Co. will re-open their offices in Seneca Falls

Geneva Daily Times
Saturday, Sept. 5, 1914

Would Discontinue Passenger Service
P.S.C. to Hold Hearing Here on
Application of Lehigh With
Reference to Seneca Falls Branch
That the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company is anxious to discontinue the passenger service on the branch road which runs from the city to Auburn is evidenced by an application for permission to discontinue the passenger stations at Waterloo and Seneca Falls filed with the Public Service Commission.
When this branch was extended to Auburn, it was believed that at least two passenger trains a day would be run over the road but on account of other means of transportation, about the only passengers are those bound for western Leigh points, and so the local officials believe the road has found the passenger branch of the road an unprofitable one and this accounts for the desire to discontinue.
Mayor Gulvin this morning received from Frank H. Mott, secretary of the Public Service Commission, a communication notifying him that a petition under section 54 of the Railroad Law having been filed with the commission by the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company for consent to the discontinuance of the passenger stations on said railroad in the villages of Waterloo and Seneca Falls, is being proposed by said petition that passing train service on this Seneca Falls branch be discontinued, and the following: "Notice is hereby given that a public hearing on said petition will be held by Commissioner Irvine of the commission at the Common Council Chamber, city hall in the city of Geneva on Friday September 11, 1914 at 10 o'clock in the morning."
As a result of the communication and notice Mayor Gulvin today advertised the public hearing will be held at the common council room at the time specified.

Geneva Daily Times
Friday, Sept. 11, 1914

Train Carries One Passenger
That is Average on Seneca Falls Branch
Therefore Lehigh Valley Wishes to
Suspend Passenger Service on
This Line
That only about one passenger a day has been handled during the months of July and August by the Seneca Falls Branch of the Lehigh Valley Railroad, was a fact brought out at a hearing on the application of the road to discontinue passenger service on this branch, which was held this morning by Public Service Commissioner Frank Irvine of Ithaca at the City Hall. It was also shown that the average daily passenger revenue over the line during the month of July was 16.6 cents and during the month of August was 41.7 cents, while the average cost of the service was $5.07.
Because of this daily loss the Lehigh requested the Public Service Commission to relieve it of the necessity of maintaining this service. Commissioner Irvine expressed himself as inclined to grant the request of the road, although he adjourned the hearing for one week upon the request of the village attorneys of Waterloo and Seneca Falls. The adjournment was ordered to enable the two villages to present evidence, if they desire, and upon the understanding that if they desired to present evidence in the matter to notify Commissioner Irvine by Monday and also the counsel for the Lehigh Valley.
In behalf of the railroad, Benjamin F. LaDue of New York, assistant general solicitor, appeared, while the village of Waterloo was represented by its village attorney, J. Willard Huff, and Edward McGhan, a member of the village board of trusted, and Seneca Falls was represented by its village attorney, John S. Gay.
The only witness examined was W.W. Abbott of Auburn, superintendent of the Auburn Division of the Lehigh, who testified at length regarding the reasons why the passenger service on the line should be discontinued and was cross examined by attorneys from Waterloo and Seneca Falls.
In the evidence of Mr. Abbott it was brought out that at present the Lehigh Valley operates one passenger train each way daily over the Seneca Falls Branch. This train leaves Geneva at 4:49 p.m, reaches Waterloo at 5:09 p.m. and Seneca Falls at 5:24 p.m. On the return trip the train leaves Seneca Falls at 5:28 p.m., arrives a Waterloo at 5:35 p.m. and Geneva at 5:54 p.m. This train consists of an engine and a single combination passenger and baggage car. The crew of this train consist of a conductor, engineer, fireman and two brakeman. Besides running to Seneca Falls each day this crew assists with the traffic on the Naples Branch and in switching Geneva yards. Mr. Abbott testified that owing to the maintenance of the Seneca Falls service the crew is frequently required to work overtime to clean up its work in the Geneva yards.
Extensive evidence was introduced to show that ample passenger service between Geneva, Waterloo and Seneca Falls to meet public demands is provided b the New York Central and the Geneva, Seneca Falls and Auburn
trolley road. It was also explained that since July 1st, no express business has been handled over the branch. Tis was due to the fact that when the American Express Company succeeded to the contract of the United States Express Company on the Lehigh Valley's lines, it closed the United States Express Company's offices in Waterloo and Seneca Falls, and routed all express in and out of these towns by way of the New York Central. The option was expressed that the two towns had not suffered by this change in the express services.
Application to cease the operation of passenger trains on the Seneca Falls branch was made two years go and local business men lodged a strenuous objection then because it would have eliminated the United States Express business office from the village's shipping facilities. That was the sole objection then. The closing of the express office removes that from consideration in the matter now.
In behalf of the railroad a schedule was filed showing the daily passenger receipts of the branch during the months of July and August. The attorneys from Waterloo and Seneca Falls said that they had not been notified of the hearing until Wednesday and had not had an opportunity to prepare a case, if it was desirable to do so in in behalf of their respective communities. They therefore requested that the case be held open to further consider the question. Owing to this request Commissioner Irvine adjourned the hearing, conditionally, until 10 a.m. on Sept. 18th at Geneva. The condition is that if the attorneys from Waterloo and Seneca Falls wish this additional hearing they must notify the commission and the attorney for the commissioner by Monday next.*

*Earlier in 1914 the morning train had been removed.

Geneva Daily Times
Sept. 19, 1914

Stations Discontinued
Application of the Lehigh Valley
Railroad Company Granted

Word was received from Albany today announcing that the application of the Lehigh Valley Railroad to discontinue its passenger service on the Seneca Falls branch of the road and close the stations at both Waterloo and Seneca Falls, has been granted by the Public Service Commission.
The application by the company was filed with the Public Service Commission some time ago and a public hearing was held here last week. Attorneys for the villages of Waterloo and Seneca Falls appeared and upon their request an adjournment was taken until yesterday in order to permit them to put in a case against the application if it was decided to do so.
The case was not prepared and accordingly the application of the company was granted. It was shown at the hearing that the trains carried an average of but one passenger and it cost in the neighborhood of $5 to secure a return of about 50 cents in fares,
  by Richard1
On Oct. 22, 1897 the Elmira Daily Gazette reported:
Announcement is made that passenger service will be inaugurated on the new Seneca county railroad between Geneva and Waterloo on Sunday, October 24th. The trains on this division will make close connections with Lehigh trains to and from Buffalo and Rochester to and on the main line trains south of Geneva. Trains will leave Geneva at 7:20, 5:00 and 2:05 p.m. and 11:05, 8:25 and 7:20 p.m. Trains from Waterloo to Geneva will leave as follows: 7:50. 9:50, 10:39 a.m. and 1:30, 3:15, 6:15 and 8:45 p.m.

Geneva Daily Times of Thursday, December 30, 1897:
Complete connection of the grading on the Seneca County Railroad will be made from Waterloo to Sucker Brook by tonight, and by Saturday night it is expected that the grading will be finished to Bridge street, when the work of laying the rils will be commenced. Contractor Dolan is constantly hiring more men and teams and is rushing the work along at the greatest possible speed.
It is not at all likely that any more obstacles will be met with, and if such is the case it is said by authority that the road will see its complete by February 15, 1898. The right of way has been secured over the entire route, and no delays are expected.