Train Depot

Rochester Railfans

Trains, Depots, Rail-Trails, Models, and Clubs

Rochester’s transportation history is a fascinating story of innovation and progress that has played a vital role in the city’s development and prosperity. The city’s integration of various modes of transportation, such as railroads, trolleys, subways, and canals, was a revolutionary feat that transformed how people and goods moved in and out of the city. This transformation turned Rochester into a pivotal hub for commerce and manufacturing.

Amidst modern-day Rochester’s evolution, historic structures are reminders of the city’s rich past. Thanks to the tireless efforts of preservationists, these structures have been lovingly restored, and they stand as a testament to the city’s history, waiting to be explored and appreciated by future generations of transportation enthusiasts.

Check out the train viewing platform in Fairport, one of the best places for trainspotting.

2023 Best of Rochester Award Winner

Day Trips Around Rochester, New York

Best of Rochester Award-Winning Book for Best Published Literary Work of 2023.

Train Depots: Places for Rochester Railfans to eat

Rochester Railfans - Dinosaur Bar B Que
Dinosaur Bar B Que

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

Lehigh Valley Railroad Station is a historic railway station located at Rochester in Monroe County, New York. The Lehigh Valley Railroad built the station in 1905 but stopped using the station for passenger service in the 1950s.

Later, the station was used as a bus terminal and a nightclub. In the 1980s, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places, and today, it houses the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que restaurant. [source]

Designed by F.D. Hyde of New York City and completed in 1905, the Lehigh Valley Railroad Station is the only surviving structure inside the Inner Loop, which recalls the importance of rail transportation in the growth and development of Rochester.

The station is dramatically situated on massive rock-faced limestone piers above the Johnson-Seymour mill race and the Genesee River. It reflects late Victorian period taste with its picturesque massing, colorful materials (two-tone brick walls, copper gutters and flashing, and originally a red tile roof), asymmetrical tower, and stylistic references to the French Renaissance in its detailing. [source]

Rochester Railfans - Nick Tahou Hots Depot
Nick Tahou Hots

Nick Tahou Hots

The building on West Main Street at Broad Street was once the Rochester terminal of the Buffalo, Rochester, & Pittsburgh Railway. Today, the building houses Nick Tahou Hots, home of the original Garbage Plate—the perfect destination for Rochester railfans, Rochester enthusiasts, and foodies alike. [source]

Rochester Railfans - D and R Depot LeRoy

D&R Depot in LeRoy

Constructed in 1901, the former Buffalo, Rochester, and Pittsburgh Depot now houses the D&R Depot Restaurant.

The brick building with moon-shaped windows was constructed to replace a wooden structure that burned down in 1899 and to accommodate better the heavy railroad traffic that came through Le Roy. Passenger service boomed and continued at the depot until the late 1950s, after which the depot was abandoned, and only freight trains passed on the nearby tracks.

In 1991, the depot was revived with the establishment of the D&R Depot Restaurant. The D&R rests in a location with a long food innovation tradition, providing delicious traditional American-style food. [source]

Rochester Railfans - Ember Wood Fire Grill night
Ember Wood Fire Grill

Ember Wood Fire Grill

Ember is a casual dining restaurant that occupies the old historic train station in the quaint village of Livonia. The train station was previously used as the Erie Railroad‘s Livonia, Avon & Lakeville headquarters from 1964-1980s. The restaurant in the Finger Lakes Region between Conesus Lake and Hemlock Lake offers an excellent environment to enjoy delicious food.

Rochester Railfans - Gatherings at the Depot Leicester Station interior
Gatherings at the Depot in Leicester Station

Gatherings at the Depot

Operated by the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad, Leicester Station is a historic railway station in Livingston County. Constructed in 1915, this historic station features a one-story, two-by-four-bay brick building design with an Arts and Crafts style. The hipped roof is covered with broad overhanging eaves that add to the building’s charm. [source] Today, the restaurant specializes in burgers and fries.

Rochester Railfans - Riley Street Station
Riley Street Station in East Aurora

Riley Street Station in East Aurora

The Pennsylvania Railroad operated its last passenger train in 1971 and only carried freight until 1973. The Riley Street Station was a Buffalo commuter train station from 1867 to 1973. However, the history of the commuter rail industry in East Aurora dates back even further. The Buffalo and Aurora Railroad Company proposed a railway line from Buffalo to East Aurora in April 1832.

Buffalo had become a vital railroad center by 1884, one of the Pennsylvania Railroad’s largest hubs. After that, for the next 13 years, the station was used for different small businesses, such as an ice cream parlor and a toy store. None lasted until founder David Neff opened the restaurant in May 1987. [source]

Rochester Railfans - Train Depot Roc Harbor Clam
Roc Harbor Clam Co

Vacant, previously Roc Harbor Clam Company

New York Central (Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg). Located at 490 River Street at the corner of Latta Road.

Rochester Railfans - Genesee Country village freight house west
Freight House
Rochester Railfans - Genesee Country village P and L Junction Bolger Research Library
Bolger Library
Rochester Railfans - Genesee Country village small depot west
Whistle Stop
Rochester Railfans - Genesee Country village depot
The Depot

Genesee Country Village & Museum

The Phelps Freight House Pub and Depot Restaurant are part of the 1849 railroad complex above the Great Meadow. The complex also includes the Whistle Stop and the Stuart B Bolger Library. The library is a former Lehigh Valley Railroad Pittsburgh & Lehigh Junction depot from Caledonia, where the Lehigh Valley crossed the Baltimore & Ohio (formerly Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh) railway. [source]

Rochester Railfans - Depot 25 Restaurant in Shortsville
Photo from Depot 25 website

Depot 25 Restaurant in Shortsville

Depot 25’s menu features Black Angus Steaks, fresh seafood, and Italian dishes made with local ingredients, served in a historic New York Central Railroad depot built in the late 1800s [source]

Tokarz Family Diner Lyons Trolley Station
Photo from Google Maps

Tokarz Family Diner and Deana’s Delights

Rochester railfans will enjoy dining in this historic Lyons Trolley station on Montezuma Street. It was previously home to CJ’s Mint City Station.

From the Lyons Trolley Station website: (Source: TravElectric, The Story of the Rochester, Syracuse & Eastern Railroad and Associated Lines, by James R. McFarlane, bulletin 143 of the Central Electric Railfans’ Association, 2009):

The Lyons Trolley Station, located at 1 Montezuma Street, in Lyons, New York, was built as a combined passenger and freight station for the Rochester, Syracuse & Eastern Railroad(RS&E), an electric trolley car service from Rochester to Syracuse, in December 1922. However, the RS&E had been running through Lyons since 1905, when the trolley line started service.

The trolley line predominantly used the old Erie Canal route from Rochester to Syracuse. In Lyons, it snaked its way through the village, sharing the roadbed with wagons and horses. The RS&E entered the village of Lyons from the west via a metal bridge, which exists today, carrying a pipeline over the barge canal. The trolley traveled along Water Street, turning a sharp corner onto William Street and then turning again onto Canal Street before exiting Lyons to the east.

By 1909, the trolley line was completed in Syracuse, and numerous branch lines were added over time. The RS&E (and its successor, Empire United Railways) ceased operation in 1930, when the system was declared bankrupt, primarily due to the advent of the automobile.

In the fall of 1922, to shave four minutes from its schedule, the RS&E straightened out the route through Lyons by utilizing the old canal bed, routing new tracks starting at Water Street, and then curving slightly to traverse the current parking lot behind the Wayne County Social Services building, crossing Montezuma Street, and then continuing across the current parking lot behind Dobbins Drugs.

At that spot, the RS&E built a new type “A” combined passenger and freight station, completed in December 1922 (the Trolley Station). The Trolley Station appears today, much as it did in 1922. The freight portion of the station, encompassing the current diner counter and kitchens, was 50 feet long, while the passenger waiting area and the ticket counter (in the bay window) were 18.5 feet long. The windows and the large front door are mostly original.

So what remains today of the original Trolley Station? The raised freight floor has been lowered to provide more dining space, and the ceiling dropped to provide for modern utilities. The exterior of the building is original, including the cement “trolley stop” where the trolley. Would park to dispense its passengers and freight.

I purchased the Trolley Station in June 2022. My vision is to preserve a vital piece of Lyons history, restore the building to health, provide a gathering space for Lyons residents and visitors that is comfortable, safe, and enjoyable, with good local freshly prepared food. We will be a bike friendly business, with custom bike racks outside, bicycle touring information inside, and useful resources for bicycle tourists. Further, I wish to provide a space where two new food-related businesses (Tokarz Family Diner, and Deana’s Delights Bakery) can get a start by working cooperatively, sharing the physical space and expenses, while they learn and grow. I am sure you will enjoy the setting, the history, the food, and the camaraderie that you will find in the Lyons Trolley Station.

Rochester Railfans - Barnard Crossing Bar Grill
Barnard Crossing Bar & Grill

Barnard Crossing Bar & Grill

Previously a New York Central passenger station, CSX continues to roll by Barnard Crossing with freight trains destined for the box factory off Boxart Street.

The district got its name from the Dewey Avenue railroad crossing that ran through the property of Mrs. Thomas Barnard south of the town line. Her son, Charles Barnard, was the area’s first flagman, which became known as Barnard’s Crossing. Later, the name was shortened to Barnard by postal authorities. [source]

Rochester Railfans - Duffys Avon depot
Duffy’s Tavern

Duffy’s Tavern

Duffy’s Tavern is located in a historic railroad station in Avon, New York. The station was originally opened in 1865, and the current structure was completed in 1879. The Erie Railroad provided passenger service from 1907 until 1941, which included electric passenger trains that traveled to Rochester station. [source]

Rochester Railfans - Battle Street Brewery

Battle Street Brewery

In 1870, the Dansville & Mount Morris Railroad began operation, a 15-mile standard-gauge short-line that ran independently until sold in 1985.

Since then, the Dansville Mt. Morris depot has remained unused, a priceless historical building and a repository of local history and tradition. Long needing restoration, the depot has re-emerged as the Battle Street Brewery.

Peacemaker Brewing Co Bee Hive Brew Pub depot Canandaigua NYCRR

Peacemaker Brewing Company + Bee Hive Brew Pub

At its peak, 36 passenger trains entered and departed Canandaigua in a single day. In 1890, the New York Central Railroad Depot was built in Canandaigua.

It was held to be the most beautiful depot on the Main Line or any of its branches in its architectural design, equipment, and layout of the large waiting room and the attractive flower beds in the rear.

It was through the efforts of Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Ferris Thompson, who built their summer residence of Sonnenberg in Canandaigua, that the depot got built.

Their custom was to entertain guests of prominence from their main home in New York City. Before the depot was built, the station and the waiting room were located in the basement of the Canandaigua Hotel.

Since Mr. and Mrs. Thompson were people of considerable influence, they convinced the owners of the New York Central, the Vanderbilts, to build a depot in keeping with the beauty and dignity of Canandaigua, where guests could be appropriately received. [source]

Rochester Railfans - Whistle Stop Inn
Image from Google Maps

Whistle Stop Inn

A hotel has been on that Alden, NY, site since the Erie Railroad came through in 1843. Over the years, it has changed names—Swyers Hotel, Kuhn’s Hotel, the Depot Hotel—and owners.

The building has burned and been rebuilt a couple of times. When it was rebuilt in 1934 after a fire, bowling alleys were added. Another fire destroyed parts of the alleys. The remnants can still be seen on the floor of the dining room.

The Erie Depot, across the tracks from the Whistle Stop, was once busy with several daily trains delivering goods and patrons of Alden’s famous Blackwater Baths. The depot closed in 1963. The building still stands, now being used as the Wood Depot. [source]

Rochester Railfans - Railway Staton Diner in Greece
Image from Google Maps

Railway Station Diner

Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh. Greece.

Rochester Railfans - Ellicottville depot
Ellicottville Depot

Ellicottville Depot Restaurant

Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh. Ellicottville.

Rochester Railfans - Coldwater Station
Coldwater Station

Vacant, previously Coldwater Station, MacGregor’s

New York Central. Built by the Buffalo, Rochester, and Pittsburgh Railroad, the station at 607 Coldwater Road in Gates became the property of the New York Central in 1873. When the NYC folded in the 1960s, the depot was repurposed as a furniture store, popular pub, and eatery. [source]

Train Cars: Places for Rochester Railfans to Eat

Rochester Railfans - Caboose Lyons NY
The Caboose in Lyons NY

The Caboose

Featured on a Bizarre Foods (Travel Channel) episode entitled The Mighty Erie Canal, The Caboose has since closed.

Rochester Railfans - Lil Red Caboose restaurant Clyde
Lil Red Caboose

Lil Red Caboose

Restaurant in Clyde, NY.

Rochester Railfans - The Silo in Lewiston
The Silo

The Silo

The main restaurant is in the old coal silo, while Perry’s Ice Cream is served from the boxcar.

Our story began in the 1930s when this area was called the ”Hojack Country.” The waterfront was bustling and alive, with tourists visiting by the thousands, traveling the Great Gorge Railway. The Lewiston Silo was home to the coal that fueled these steamers and was crucial in housing the fuel that kept the waterfront alive.

In 2010, Alan Hastings set sights on a retired train caboose. Initially built in 1890 as an old wooden boxcar for The Canadian National Railroad, it was converted into a caboose in the 30’s and said to have derailed in the 70’s.

Alan Hastings saw both an excellent opportunity to recycle and preserve a piece of historical significance with the old box car, and he knew it had to join The Silo as a “piece of history, allowing visitors to remember the waterfront as it once was.”

The boxcar has been restored and is now known as The Silo’s Ice Cream Caboose, featuring a weekly custom custard and housing over 40 flavors of ice cream! [source]

Rochester Railfans - Boxcar Deviant Desserts

Deviant Desserts

Katherine founded Deviant Desserts to combine her love for art, anatomy, science, and desserts. Her work typically elicits strong emotional reactions from her customers and fans – from adoration and devotion to repulsion and disgust.

Located on Railroad Street in Victor, in the blue box car previously occupied by Blue Toad Hard Cider. [source]

Train Depots: Other Businesses

Rochester Railfans - Del Monte Spa Auburn Line Depot
Del Monte Spa

Del Monte Lodge & Spa

These fine twin structures served Pittsford until 1959, when passenger service was discontinued, and this rail line became a freight spur.

The hipped roof brick building served as the passenger terminal and was constructed in 1860 following New York Central’s standard terminal design.

This structure retains many original elements of its beaded board interior. The gabled wood frame freight terminal was constructed at the turn-of-the- century after an earlier building collapsed during a heavy snow.

Auburn Line Park historic marker Pittsford
Auburn Line and Stagecoach Stop

As late as the 1950s, mail was drawn by hand cart from the station up the hill to the Post Office on South Main Street.

In 1963, the abandoned structures were joined by a contemporary link and converted into a restaurant. Freight rail service was discontinued in the mid-1980s, and the railroad tracks were removed. [source]

Railroad Avenue Hilton
Railroad Avenue in Hilton

Mixed Retail

New York Central (Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg). In 1876, the RW & O, locally called the “Hojack” railroad, was rerouted through the sleepy village of Unionville, two miles north of Parma Centre. When that happened, that small community, later renamed North Parma, became a bustle of commercial activity.

New stores opened, new homes were built in the 1880s on West Avenue, and local farms thrived. Good economic times were enjoyed by many. 

Parma Centre, however, remained static. It was still the town’s center, the Town Hall remained, the general store continued, and there were blacksmith shops and other small cottage industries operating, but the leading commercial development from 1876 forward was now in North Parma, which was later renamed Hilton in 1896. [source]

National Comedy Center Park
Comedy Center Park
National Comedy Center Erie Railroad depot
Historic Erie Railroad
Jamestown Gateway bridge
Jamestown Gateway bridge

National Comedy Center

The acquisition of the Gateway Train Station in Jamestown, NY (formerly Erie-Lackawanna Train Station) and its surrounding property by the National Comedy Center in 2017 was the culmination of a 25-year renovation and development effort that featured a combination of public and private investment, as well as coordinated efforts on several local fronts. [source]

Auburn Line Depot Sequels Victor

Sequels Home Furnishings

New York Central (Auburn Branch). Located in a charming, historic railway station at 5 Railroad Street in Victor, NY, Sequels sells quality, previously-owned furniture, decorative accessories, and artisan hand-made crafts to consumers, designers, home stagers, and set decorators. Sequels sources products from U.S. estate sales and auctions, showrooms, local consignments, and from artists and artisans. [source]

Train Depot
Clifton Springs Library
Clifton Springs Library
Clifton Springs Library
Clifton Springs Freight Depot
Clifton Springs Freight Depot

Clifton Springs Library & Freight Depot

New York Central (Auburn Branch). Our 5000-square-foot facility incorporates a late nineteenth-century passenger train station. The building was constructed in 1991, and east and west wings were added, now the Children’s Room and Meeting Room.

Many original features remain, including the ticket window, decorative archways, and loft. The renovation won the Landmark Society of Western New York’s Award of Merit that year. [source]

Train Depot Webster Hojak

Railroad Junction Summer Day Camp

New York Central (Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg) The most significant railroad activities took place in what was to become the Village of Webster. Just north of the Ridge Road and the “Four Corners” along the tracks, many early Webster industries and businesses began in the 1880s and ’90s.

The Webster Station also had four passenger trains daily, two each way, one in the early morning and another in the late afternoon. This made it possible for workers and shoppers to ride the rails to Rochester daily.

In the early days, travelers would catch the New York Central branch at Charlotte, and later, they could ride the trolley from the Sea Breeze Station into the city.  In 1929, the last trolley ran from Sodus to Rochester, and in 1964, the depot at Webster closed its doors.

1972 saw the station moved from its original site west of North Ave. to its present location as part of the Hojack Restaurant, which opened in 1974. Later, the restaurant under different management became the Loose Caboose, the Webster Town Lounge, a Jamaican Restaurant, and closed as the Pufferbelly. Today, it is a childcare center. [source]

Scottsville train depot

Nancy Jurs Studio

Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh. The Scottsville depot is Nancy’s studio, while the larger warehouse structures on the property were her late husband, Wendell Castle’s woodworking facilities.

Carls Barbershop Caledonia train depot
Carl’s Barbershop in Caledonia

Carl’s Barber Shop

New York Central (Batavia Branch). Caledonia.

Mumford Depot
Zantopia Gardens in Mumford

Zantopia Gardens

Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh. We specialize in growing a wide variety of charming perennials. Located on the pristine Spring Creek in Mumford, NY, we feel strongly about being good stewards of the environment. We strive to produce the most healthy, beautiful plants using ecologically safe and sustainable practices. [source]

Spencerport Depot
Spencerport Rail Station

Vacant, previously Expressions of Dance by Lisa

New York Central Falls Road. Spencerport Rail Station at 131 Martha St. The first railroad built through Ogden and Spencerport was the New York Central Falls Branch, with Spencerport and Adams Basin stations. The rail line was used to ship produce and other local goods anywhere from Rochester to Buffalo. [source]

Old Train Depot - Barker Free Library
Image from Google Maps

Barker Public Library

New York Central (Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg).

Antiques Rusty Relics
Juxtapose Depot

Juxtapose Depot

New York Central (Falls Road). 3570 Fancher Road in Holley.

Image from Google Maps

Cayuga Village Clerk

New York Central (Auburn Branch). In 1832, the Village again saw significant changes in transportation. The Cayuga branch of the Erie Canal was built. The railroads were the last change, with the first train passing through Cayuga in 1842. Since that time, both the Lehigh Valley, New York Central, and currently, the Finger Lakes Railroads have been active in the area. This depot was built by the New York Central in 1910.

Old Train Depot - Roberts Roofing and Siding Co
Image from Google Maps

Roberts Roofing & Siding Co Inc

New York Central Falls Road. 6279 Ridge Road in Lockport.

Genseo Depot

Highland Park

Geneseo’s Railway Station, once located at the foot of Court Street, was built in 1875. This station served a short branch of the Erie Railroad that ran from Mt. Morris, where connections could be made to New York, Buffalo, or Olean, to Avon, where connections could be made to Rochester, Attica, or Corning.

Privately owned, this Depot, with a waiting room heated by a pot-bellied stove, a baggage room, and a ticket office, was cozy and friendly and served the community well for many years.

Rail service was abandoned in 1940, and the tracks were taken up soon after. Sometime later, the Depot became the property of Champion Products, Inc. and was used as a warehouse.

In November of 1975, Champion announced that it planned to raze it to make room for a parking lot. In February 1976, the depot was moved to Highland Park in Geneseo as a meeting place and recreation facility. [source]

Jamesville Depot front
Jamesville Station

Jamesville Station

Located in the center of Jamesville, this station is owned by the Town of Dewitt. Initially built in 1876 by the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad, today it sits alongside the tracks of the New York, Susquehanna & Western Railroad. The building is available to rent for small gatherings. [source]

Fairport Depot 23 N Main
23 Main St Fairport Train Depot

Lift Bridge Yarns

The Rochester, Syracuse, and Eastern Trolley Station at 23 North Main Street, constructed in 1911, was designated a Village Landmark by the Fairport Historic Preservation Commission (FHPC) in 2011. This building is one of 11 designed by Gordon A. Wright, and of the eleven, it is in its most original condition.

Gordon Wright developed a new design for trolley stations, a significant departure from the Victorian style used in the late 1800’s.

There is a feeling of openness in the wide eaves with 36 decorative brackets, which allow passengers to be covered by sun, rain, or snow. The roof rafters are curved to lift the eaves as they extend away from the building. There is a broad hip roof.

The exterior is stucco with decorative bands of wood on top. The lower sides have vertical siding of Georgian pine. Wright’s new style was influenced by the Prairie style, which became popular in the United States from 1900 to 1920; it is reminiscent of the work of Frank Lloyd Wright during this time. [source]

Train Cars: Other Businesses

Photo from Facebook

Caboose Motel

Avoca. We have 17 conventional rooms with fridges, micros, cable TV, and internet open year round. We also have five fully restored train caboose rooms; the caboose rooms have a bathroom, sitting area, two upper berths, and two lower berths.

The train rooms are only available from April through October (weather permitting). Onsite, we have a play area, gas grills, picnic areas, and campfire pits for guests. [source]

Railroads past Hotel:  B&H Rail Corp. (formerly the Bath and Hammondsport Railroad) is now leased and operated by the Livonia, Avon & Lakeville Railroad.  This is a shortline railroad; expect rail traffic to be minimal, likely not more than one round trip daily. [source]

At this sleepy outpost in the Finger Lakes region, guests can get cozy in one of five cabooses dating back to 1916 on tracks dating back to 1896. [source]

Additional photographs can be found here and here.

Heritage Railroad Day Trips:
All Aboard, Rochester Railfans!

Rochester and Genesee Valley Train Ride
Photo courtesy of Rochester and Genesee Valley Railroad

Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum

Once a month, between June and October, you can spend the day riding the train at the Rochester Genesee Valley Railroad Museum. Volunteers actively acquire, restore, and preserve New York’s most extensive collection of historic railroad equipment.

Enter through the restored 1930s depot (Scottsville Depot, later Industry Depot) to purchase your timed train ticket, with departures every half-hour. Once on board, you can ride up to the restoration shop and back to the depot as often as you’d like.

For an additional $5.00 donation, patrons ages four and up can ride round-trip with the engineer in the locomotive!

The old Erie Railroad depot at Industry has a long history from the late 19th century. The tracks in front of the depot were laid in 1853 by the Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad, and the first depot on this site was built simultaneously.

From 1853 to 1874, this stop served the village of Scottsville, some three miles away to the west. The depot provided the village with daily mail, express, and passenger service. An omnibus ran from the village and connected with all trains.

In the early years before the Mount Morris Dam was constructed, the Genesee River would inundate the flood plain between the village and the depot. Towns folks would have to use a rowboat to reach the depot.

In 1858, the Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad was leased to the Buffalo, New York & Erie Railroad, which in turn was controlled by the Erie Railway. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Genesee River, the Rochester & State Line Railroad reached the village of Scottsville proper in 1874. Now that they had a depot right in their town, the R&GV depot became less attractive to the local citizens. Usage dropped off considerably at this time. [source]

Rochester Railfans: Arcade and Attica Railroad
Arcade & Attica Railroad

Arcade & Attica Railroad

Arcade and Attica Railroad offers a 2-1/2 hour train experience, including a 30-minute layover at Curriers Station, where you can explore the train yard and grab a bite to eat.

The rails you ride on today were first spiked down in 1881 and standardized in 1895 to connect with the Pennsylvania Railroad. By 1917, the Buffalo, Arcade & Attica Railroad was being operated by the Buffalo and Susquehanna Railroad, which was thinking of closing down this section of the line.

The business people along the BA&A were very concerned. The Merrell-Soule Company of Arcade (predecessor of the Borden Co.) operated a large milk processing plant, and others needed rail service.

Facing closure, interested parties began raising money needed to purchase the line section. The stock was sold to farmers, merchants, and anyone interested. Three hundred sixty-five people raised $79,000 and formed the Arcade and Attica Railroad Corporation, and our story begins. The small corporation still owns the railroad today. [source]

New York Museum of Transportation trolley interior
New York Museum of Transportation Trolley Car

New York Museum of Transportation

Enjoy a scenic 2-mile round-trip ride on a 90-year-old electric trolley car at the New York Museum of Transportation and themed events during the year. The museum equipment includes fourteen trolley cars, a steam locomotive, emergency and other antique motor and horse-drawn vehicles.

They also house a robust collection of historic photographs, a gallery of artwork, documents, maps, posters, advertisements, brochures, letters, news stories, and postcards.

The mission of the New York Museum of Transportation is to collect, preserve, display, interpret, and operate artifacts and information from the transportation history of Upstate New York and the surrounding area to delight, inform, and educate visitors about our transportation heritage.

The electric trolley operation at the New York Museum of Transportation offers the only trolley ride in New York State! Aboard 87-year-old Philadelphia & Western cars 161 and 168, visitors can re-live the interurban era of long ago as the traction gears rumble and the trolley wheel sings on the overhead wire.

Watch the conductor reverse the poles at the end of the line, and be amazed as the powerful electric motors accelerate the heavy car up the grade on the return trip! [source]

Medina Railroad Museum train ride
Medina Railroad

Medina Railroad Museum & Train Rides

Located in the old New York Central Railroad Falls Road freight depot in Medina, NY, the Medina Railroad Museum is the largest freight depot museum in the country.

The building was built in 1905 and is one of the largest (301ft. by 34ft.) and the last surviving wooden freight depots in the United States. They house the most extensive collection of artifacts and memorabilia under one roof. Also, see the longest HO scale layout and diorama all on one floor, an immense 14ft. by 204ft, currently under construction. [source]

The museum is open year-round, Tuesday through Sunday, and admission is included with a train ticket when scheduled. Right from the start in 1905, the New York Central Railroad Falls Road Freight Depot was utilized by numerous local manufacturing companies, most notably the Heinz Pickle Factory right down the road.

Four original twenty-two freight doors were explicitly devoted to exporting Medina-made pickles. In 1937, Heinz expanded their factory to include a loading dock. However, the Freight Depot was still a central distribution point for regional products for the next three decades. [source]

Buffalo Cattaraugus & Jamestown Scenic Railway
Image from Google Maps

Buffalo Cattaraugus & Jamestown Scenic Railroad

Hamburg. Steam Engine & Diesel Engine Train Rides. This Steam Locomotive train ride lasts between 1 and 1-1/2 hours. The train route is about 6 miles. You will depart from 4 Scott Street and travel to Eden Valley and back. [source]

Union Station in Utica

Adirondack Scenic Railroad

Utica. It’s an ambitious day trip, but enjoyable nonetheless! For example, it is a two-hour drive to Union Station, and the Utica to Big Moose Adventure itinerary runs from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Starting in Remsen, the line travels up 1,135 feet to its highest point at Big Moose Lake, at 2,035 feet. The line includes 17 bridges over several bodies of water and many buildings constructed along the line to support rail operations, many of which are still standing or in use today.

In 1992, a group of devoted rail enthusiasts banded together and proposed to operate a short section of the line from Thendara south to Minnehaha. New York State approved the four-mile train ride, and on July 4, 1992, the Adirondack Centennial Railroad ran its first train out of Thendara station.

By the end of the season, the railroad carried over 55,000 passengers. With such a positive response from the public, New York State allowed the railroad to operate in 1993, distinguishing the entire rail line from Remsen to Lake Placid as part of the National Register of Historic Places and the New York State Register of Historic Places.

In July 1994, the Adirondack Centennial Railroad became the Adirondack Scenic Railroad, operated by the Adirondack Railway Preservation Society, Inc. (ARPS). ARPS is a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit corporation and is run by a staff of 150 volunteers and a few full and part-time employees.

The Adirondack Scenic Railroad currently carries passengers between Utica, Big Moose, Saranac Lake, and Lake Placid. The remaining section of track between Big Moose and Saranac Lake needs rehabilitation to make it suitable for carrying outdoor enthusiasts of all ages and abilities on our passenger trains.  [source]

Heritage Railroad Multi-Day Trip

Cooperstown & Charlotte Valley Railroad
Cooperstown & Charlotte Valley Railroad

Cooperstown & Charlotte Valley Railroad

Leatherstocking Railway Historical Society. Ride into history and beautiful scenery. Constructed in 1869, visitors can experience what was once the primary form of transportation throughout the country – rail travel. Unique train rides throughout the year. [source]

Work on this railroad started after the blizzard of 1888. By 1889, “the track of the new C&CV progressed eastward for only 6 miles to West Davenport, though graders built culverts, fills and rock cuttings up the valley of Charlotte Creek beyond Davenport, well into Harpersfield Township, before the winter of 1889-90 set in.”

For several years, there was a “Tally Ho” stage between Bloomville and Davenport Center for those who wished to travel from Kingston to Cooperstown. In 1934, the New York State Public Service Commission permitted discontinuing passenger service on the C&CV.

The last scheduled passenger train left Cooperstown on June 24. The Leatherstocking Railway Historical Society (Leatherstocking Chapter NRHS) purchased the line from Delaware Otsego Corporation in 1996. [source]

Catskill Mountain Railroad

Catskill Mountain Railroad

Kingston. The tracks you will be riding on are rich in history, having connected and shaped our communities for almost 150 years.

Shipping magnate Thomas Cornell made his fortune operating a fleet of steamboats along the Hudson River, providing vital transportation services for a growing region. Cornell envisioned a railroad connecting the Great Lakes with the Hudson River, carrying passengers and cargo year round and opening up the interior of New York State.

The Ulster & Delaware Railroad took over in 1875 and immediately looked towards expansion. A narrow gauge branch was built from Phoenicia up to Hunter in 1881.

The connecting Kaaterskill Railway was acquired in 1892, extending the line to Tannersville. In 1895, the eastern terminal of the railroad was opened from Rondout to Kingston Point, allowing for a direct connection with the boats serving New York and Albany on the Hudson River.

The railroad completed construction to its western terminal and finally reached Oneonta and a connection with the Delaware & Hudson Railway in 1900.

As one of the first all-weather routes into the Catskills, the railroad enjoyed considerable success, bringing vacationers to the grand hotels and boarding houses by the thousands. In 1913, more than 676,000 passengers rode the U&D to the Catskills.

The U&D was purchased by New York Central in 1932 and became the Catskill Mountain Branch. After a period of abandonment, an agreement was reached, and Ulster County purchased the 38-mile segment from Kingston to Highmount in 1979 to preserve the corridor for future rail use. [source]

We look forward to welcoming you aboard the Catskill Mountain Railroad’s boutique excursions, sure to make memories to last a lifetime. [source]

Rochester Railfans: Delaware and Ulster Railroad
Delaware & Ulster Railroad

Delaware & Ulster Railroad

When you’re in the Catskill Region, you won’t want to miss a trip back in time on the Delaware & Ulster Railroad in Arkville, NY.  

Sit back, relax in an open-air car, and bask in the lush Catskill Mountains scenery as the scenic rail ride takes you at a measured pace through two hours of delightful sightseeing mixed with some tidbits of local history.

The D&U’s season runs from Memorial Day through the end of October. Trains depart on round trips between Arkville and Roxbury, NY. Special events include Train Robberies, Twilight Rides, and Dining Options for Group Visits. [source]

Train Depot Museums

Spencerport Depot and Canal Museum

Spencerport Depot & Canal Museum

The Depot served as the only stop in Spencerport on the Rochester Lockport and Buffalo interurban trolley line from 1908 to 1931.

After discontinuing trolley service, the building fell into disrepair and was moved and turned into a private home. In 2002, Maxine Davison bought and donated the building to the Village of Spencerport, stipulating that the building “be used for the good of the community.”

On May 23, 2005, with the help of many volunteers, the building was moved to its current location on the bank of the Erie Canal. [source]

The Spencerport Depot & Canal Museum houses many historical items from the Erie Canal, Ogden Telephone Company, the Village of Spencerport, and the Town of Ogden.

The depot is a selected cultural heritage site in the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and an Affiliate Site in their Partnership Program. The museum is also a visitor center for those traveling along the Erie Canal.

Please stop in for recommendations on places to eat and visit in Spencerport or enjoy our shower and bathroom facilities. The museum operates during the canal season and is run primarily through the efforts of volunteers. [source]

Lehigh Valley Railroad Historical Society
Lehigh Valley Railroad Historical Society

Lehigh Valley Railroad Museum

The Lehigh Valley Railroad Historical Society Station Museum is housed inside a wooden New York Central Railroad freight station along the old “Auburn Road” line in Shortsville, New York.

The freight station was built around 1900 and was used as a church and a machine shop before the Society purchased it in October 2001. Many volunteer hours have been spent developing the current displays of railroad artifacts at the museum.

The Shortsville freight station is located along a portion of one of the oldest and most historic railroads in New York State, known as the “Auburn Road.” This section of what is now the Finger Lakes Railway started in the 19th Century as the Auburn & Rochester Railroad. It was chartered in 1836.

Construction work was started in 1840 and was finished in 1841. The Auburn & Rochester Railroad was conceived as a link in the chain of eight railroads that eventually joined Albany and Buffalo.

In 1850, a new company named the Rochester & Syracuse Railroad merged the Auburn & Rochester and the Auburn & Syracuse Railroads, and work began on a new mainline called the Direct between Syracuse and Rochester.

The eight individual railroads between Albany and Buffalo were consolidated into the New York Central Railroad in 1853. The “Auburn Road” was then relegated to branch line status, although it continued as an essential feeder to the main line for more than a century.

Timetables showed that at its peak in the early 20th Century, seven passenger trains operated over the line daily. Many sections were double-tracked, thus allowing for easy passing of trains.

Scores of freight trains served a multitude of local industries along the line. [source]

Salamanca Station
Salamanca Station

Salamanca Rail Museum

A fully restored passenger depot in Salamanca constructed in 1912 by the Buffalo, Rochester, and Pittsburgh Railway and the hub for three railroads serving the region, the Salamanca Rail Museum presents an authentic recreation of an early 20th-century depot.

From the brick-walled baggage room to the multi-windowed “Ladies Retiring Room,” everything in the building is either a restored original or an exact duplicate based on the original architectural plans. [source]

Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Museum
Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Museum

Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Museum

As if walking into the 1850s, visitors meet representations of individuals from the period in Niagara Falls at the historic train station near Falls and Mechanic Streets. Visitors can interact with the scene, activating scenarios or revealing details that reveal the purpose and role of individuals in the Underground Railroad in Niagara Falls.

Upon arrival, visitors are greeted with an exhibit section in the atrium of the Amtrak Station that, moving left to right (south to north and slavery to freedom), expresses the long and tumultuous journey of the Underground Railroad to the point of reaching Niagara Falls.

Through powerful imagery and content, the “Network Wall” communicates that this historical phenomenon was neither a railroad nor underground, but rather a network of people, routes, and means of transport and that it also serves as a metaphor for human movement and that slavery removed fundamental human rights that compelled freedom seekers to leave at significant risk. [source]

It is the western terminus of Amtrak’s Empire Corridor and serves two Empire Service trains in each direction (terminating westbound) and one Maple Leaf in each direction daily.

The station also connects to NFTA Route 50 and the Discover Niagara Shuttle buses. The facility consists of a complex built around the historic U.S. Customhouse, designed initially to service the U.S. side of the Niagara River border crossings from Canada.

Completed in July 2016, the facility replaced Amtrak’s former Niagara Falls station for passenger rail service on December 6, 2016. [source]

Murray-Holley Depot
Murray-Holley Depot

Murray-Holley Historical Society

The structure is a restored 1907 New York Central Railroad depot, housing local historical artifacts and research collection.

Hornell-Erie Depot Museum
Hornell-Erie Depot Museum

Hornell Erie Depot Museum

Erie Railroad / Erie-Lakawanna Railroad. The Hornell Erie Depot Museum was established in 2005 by the City of Hornell to preserve the history and mementos of the men and women of the Hornell area and of the Hornell area railroad industry and to educate the public on the history of the people and of the industry which formed the backbone of the Hornell community. [source]

Painted Post Erwin Museum at the Depot
Painted Post Erwin Museum at the Depot

Painted Post Erwin Museum at the Depot

In 1976, the Society acquired and restored as a Bicentennial project the dilapidated 1796 structure once known as the Painted Post Tavern.

Located at 73 West Pulteney Street, Corning, it oversees today the Heritage Village of the Southern Finger Lakes, including the Benjamin Patterson Inn and other buildings, moved to the site for restoration as the museum grew. [source]

Located in the restored Painted Post Depot at 277 Steuben Street in Painted Post, NY, the Painted Post-Erwin Museum interprets the history of the Village of Painted Post and the Town of Erwin through exhibits and programs.

The Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad provided passenger and freight service in the Southern Tier and built the Painted Post Depot. The pre-fabricated building was delivered on rail and erected on its current site in 1881-1882. The depot was used by the railroad until 1954.

The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1991. It has served as the Painted Post branch of the Corning-Painted Post Historical Society since 2000. [source]

Martisco Station Museum
Martisco Station Museum

Martisco Station Museum

Martisco Museum is a restored former New York Central Railroad station listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is a two-story Victorian brick structure constructed in 1870. The first floor is reminiscent of a small town railroad station. The second floor contains railroad exhibits.

The station is located on the Finger Lakes Railway, formerly the Auburn branch of the New York Central. In 1905, the Marcellus and Otisco Lake Railway was formed to take over the operation of the short line. To avoid the confusion of two stations bearing the name Marcellus, the New York Central renamed its station “Martisco” as a contraction of Marcellus and Otisco. 

In 1964, the Central New York Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society learned that the Martisco Station was scheduled for demolition. Early in 1965, a lease was obtained from the New York Central, and the station was purchased the following year. [source]

Central Square Museum

The Central Square Museum was once jointly operated as a depot for the New York, Ontario & Western, and New York Central railroads. The New York, Ontario, and Midland Railroad built the original station in 1868. A few years later, the Syracuse and Northern Railroad crossed the “Midland” at the depot.

The original depot was destroyed by fire in 1903 and replaced by the present structure, completed by 1909. [source]

Wlilliamsville Depot
Williamsville Depot

Western New York Railway Historical Society

The Western New York Railway Historical Society is proud to own two excellent examples of railroad station heritage. It is located in the northern and southern regions of Erie County, New York.

Our first acquisition, in the town of Orchard Park, was deeded to the society in July of 1995 after leasing the depot for over 13 years. Williamsville depot became Society property in 1990.

Both towns embrace our efforts and fully support the historical heritage they bring to their communities. As our restoration work progresses, we hope both will be prime examples of railroad transportation history soon.

There were thousands of small town and village passenger and freight stations at the turn of the last century. Only a handful of these Depots still exist in their original locations. We are very fortunate to have two fine examples of days gone by.

Buffalo Rochester & Pittsburgh Railroad – Orchard Park

The Orchard Park railroad depot at Highland Avenue and South Lincoln Street differs from your average small-town railroad station. Constructed in 1911 by the Buffalo, Rochester Pittsburgh Railway, it was uncommonly substantial thanks to the railway president, Harry Yates, who lived in the village of Orchard Park.

The depot is an exact replica of a stone H.H. Richardson depot in Auburndale, Massachusetts. The only difference is the Orchard Park depot is made of “Tapestry Brick.” [source]

Depew & Tonawanda RR. ( LV ) – Williamsville

The Depew and Tonawanda Railroad, a subsidiary of the Lehigh Valley Railway, was incorporated to construct a line north from the Lehigh Valley’s main line at Niagara Junction in Depew to connect with the New York Central’s “Peanut Line” near Ellicott Creek at a location to be identified as Tonawanda Junction.

The line was double-tracked, allowing Niagara Falls-bound passenger and freight trains to bypass the railway congestion in Buffalo. The Lehigh Valley utilized New York Central trackage rights from Tonawanda Junction to continue to their station and yard at Suspension Bridge. [source]

Historical Society of the Tonawandas
Historical Society of the Tonawandas

Historical Society of the Tonawandas

The Tonawanda Railroad was a railroad company established in Rochester, New York, in 1832. The New York Central eventually absorbed it. [source]

The first railroad between Buffalo and Niagara Falls was laid down relatively early in the railroad era, in 1836. Constructed in a style of architecture called “Steamboat Gothic,” the first Tonawanda depot continues today as a helpful structure, housing the Historical Society of the Tonawandas.

Intricate wooden gingerbread details under the end roof gables depict squirrels and ivy. On one end of the building’s roof, fastened to a post, was the whimsical figure of a man playing the flute, with squirrels running around his feet. Wood carvers from the carousel works of the Alan Herschell Company in North Tonawanda were employed to accomplish this unique folk art.

The station is located on its original site, on a triangular property bounded by Main, Fletcher, and Grove Streets. The New York Central Railroad‘s tracks were situated on the east side of Main Street in Tonawanda and Webster Street in North Tonawanda.

This arrangement became increasingly congested as the communities grew around the turn of the century. Long freight trains and frequent passenger trains clogged the many crossings. Danger to pedestrians, horses, buggies, and later motorists became intolerable.

Train speeds were also unacceptable to the railroad as the line had become a vital artery between the Buffalo and Niagara Falls industrial complexes. In 1917, work was initiated to relocate the Central’s tracks from the city streets. [source]

State Fair Exhibit

The Central New York Chapter, NRHS, maintains a display of historic railroad locomotives, passenger cars, and cabooses at the New York State Fairgrounds.

The cars are open for visitors annually during the 13 days of the New York State Fair and sometimes during select events at the fairgrounds. [source]

One of the most visited historic attractions at the state fair is the Train-Railroad Exhibit behind the Horticulture Building. Visitors can relax comfortably in the restored vintage 1920s-era passenger cars or browse the classic 1916 model restored wooden New York Central caboose.

These hidden gems with authentic, original colors look as they did when they first went online. Volunteers are on hand to answer questions while visitors can view the restored historic equipment. [source]

Vacant Depots

Rochester Railfans - Buffalo Central Terminal
Buffalo Central Terminal
Warsaw Depot
Warsaw Depot
Silver Springs Depot
Silver Springs Depot

Buffalo Central Terminal

Union Station, Lockport

Darien Center


Warsaw BR&P Train Station


Silver Springs

Find these locations and more on our Google Maps


Keuka Outlet Trail
Seneca Mills Falls on the Keuka Outlet Trail
Lehigh Valley Trail Rochester Junction
Lehigh Valley Trail Rochester Junction
Ontario Pathways trail head NY-20
Ontario Pathways
Erie Attica Rail Trail
Erie Attica Rail Trail in Rush
El Camino Trail Wall Therapy street art woven blanket
El Camino Trail

Erie-Attica Rail Trail

Genesee Valley Greenway Rail Trail

Lehigh Valley Rail Trail

Keuka Outlet Trail and Preservation Area

Ontario Pathways Rail Trail

Auburn Rail Trail

Auburn-Fleming Rail Trail

Perinton Trolley

Pittsford Rail Trail Loop

Cato-Fair Haven Rail Trail

Rochester, Syracuse, and Eastern Rail Trail

Great Gorge Rail Trail

Hojack Trail – Webster

El Camino Trail – Butterhole-Seneca Park Trail / Hojack Line

Find these locations and more on our Google Maps.

Model Railroad Clubs & Displays

Finger Lakes Live Steamers ride
Finger Lakes Live Steamers open house

Finger Lakes Live Steamers

Egerton Model Railroad Club

Rochester Model Railroad Club

Medina Railroad Museum

December display at the Garden Factory

Central New York Model Railroad Club and Historical Society Inc.

Find these locations and more on our Google Maps.

Local Clubs & Organizations

Edgerton Model Railroad autumn display
Edgerton Model Railroad

Edgerton Model Railroad Club

Rochester Model Railroad Club

Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum

Medina Railroad Museum

Rochester Area S Gaugers

Flower City Tinplate Trackers

National Railway Historical Society

Lakeshores Division NFR NMRA

Niagara Frontier Region NMRA

Genesee G Gauge Railway Society

Genesee N’ Ontario Model Engineers

Genesee Society of Model Engineers

Train Stores & Shows

Despatch Junction Penfield Station
Despatch Junction – Penfield Station

New York Central System Historical 2019 Convention Train Show

Despatch Junction in East Rochester & Gates

Great New York State Model Train Fair

GarGraves Trackage Corporation / Gardner the Train Doctor In North Rose

The Great Batavia Train Show

RIT Tiger Tracks Train Show & Sale

Greeberg’s Great Train & Toy Show

Dan’s Crafts & Things Rochester

Aurora Rails & Hobbies East Aurora

D&L Toy Trains Darien Center

Artcraft Toy Trains Hamburg

Jr Junction Train & Hobby in Syracuse

More Resources for Rochester Railfans

Norfolk-Southern Geneva
Norfolk-Southern through Geneva

Trainspotting: You’ll find a wealth of information on Rochester Railfan for locations for Rochester Railfans to watch for passing trains.

Rochester NY Erie Canal Aqueduct and Subway
Abandoned Erie Canal Aqueduct and Subway

The websites below offer additional railroading history information and resources:

The research credit is due to an article by Life in the Finger Lakes entitled Whistle Stop Tours – Railroad Depots, whose link to expanded my research one hundredfold! To quote the article,

There are dozens of other historic railroad depots dotting Finger Lakes country. To preserve central New York’s rich railroading history for future generations, public support for those sites converted to museums is critical to their survival. To view a map of station locations near you, visit

Life in the Finger Lakes

Additional credit and sincere thank you to Otto Vondrak, President of the Rochester and Genesee Valley Railroad Museum, for offering to help identify the railroad operations for several depots.

Roadside Lionel Train
Lionel Train car in Wayne County

We’d love to hear from you, Rochester railfans!

Your insights and experiences are valuable. Please share them in the comments.

Debi Bower, Day Trips Around Rochester NY

Debi Bower is the founder and creative director of and author of the award-winning book Day Trips Around Rochester, New York.

People often ask me if I get free access to places while exploring. The answer is no unless I’m invited to previews or granted behind-the-scenes access as part of my media role. Generally, I don’t mention my project, Day Trips Around Rochester, NY, because I want the same experience you would have. I create and share content simply because it brings me joy. I would appreciate your support—a cup of coffee or two to help fuel future field trips—if you have found valuable information here that has helped you explore the Rochester area.

We have done extensive research to uncover the information presented here. However, we know that there is still more to discover, particularly among those who are deeply passionate about transportation history. We welcome any thoughts, ideas, and suggestions you may have, so please feel free to share them in the comments section below or by contacting me directly.

2 thoughts on “Rochester Railfans”

  1. good Job about collecting information. I am a member of The Rochester Model Railroad , New York Museum of Transportation, Rochester and Genesee Valley Railroad Museum,Lakeshore Division of the Northeast Region Nation Model Railroad Association. If you need more pictures please advise me.

    1. Those are a lot of great organizations to be associated with! Thank you for the offer and for your kind words. I’m always open to more information, too.

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