• Yates Dock in Rochester - correction to picture caption

  • 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 BR&P
A very old and very rare picture has surfaced on Facebook, showing the Yates Coal Dock on the Genesee River in Rochester. Unfortunately, it is described an a NYC facility, rather than BR&P.

The confusion likely arises from the fact that at the time, BR&P trains went north over their own line to a point north of Dewey Avenue, and then crossed onto the NYC&HR RR track for roughly 3/4ths of a mile to reach Yates Dock.

Arthur G Yates was a partner in the Bell, Lewis & Yates Coal Mining Company. In 1890, he became President of the BR&P. That dock was a key outlet for BR&P coal until the new trestle was constructed about a half mile or so upriver - that's the one most of us are familiar with. It was reached by the BR&P's own tracks and movement over the Central (and Yates Dock itself) was no longer needed.

I WILL note that because the Yates Dock was physically accessed by the Central, it's possible - actually I'd say likely - that SOME of the coal handled there arrived over the NYC&HR and was set into the yard by them. So far, all information I have seen indicates the BR&P "operated" the dock, and presumably did all the switching. Pietrak's book on the BR&P, page 110, states "By 1896 the BR&P was loading 4,000 tons of coal a day from their dock (my italics) to ships and barges." Until some new information surfaces to the contrary, the Yates Dock should be considered to have been operated by the BR&P.

It's an exciting "find" and I am very grateful to whoever shared the pic for us all to see. It is important, however, to keep history straight lest over the years the incorrect information becomes "fact"

As a PS - 2 or 3 years ago, about a half-dozen of us, including several members of this forum, met in early spring and hiked the area where Yates Dock used to be. Many of the embankments are still visible, and in one spot we actually found the remains of a few ties - over 100 years after the facility shut down! There is a topo map circulating which shows the area, and perhaps next spring another hike will be in order.