Our innovative use of the railroad, trolley, subway, and the Erie Canal helped develop the Rochester area as a center of manufacturing & commerce. Rochester railfans are incredibly lucky that passionate preservationists before us saw the value in retaining structures we can still appreciate today.
Train Depots: Places for Rochester Railfans to eat
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 then as a night club. 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 above the Johnson-Seymour mill race and the Genesee River on massive rock-faced limestone piers. It reflects late Victorian period taste with its picturesque massing, the use of 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]
Nick Tahou Hots
The perfect destination for Rochester railfans, Rochester enthusiasts, and foodies alike.
Formerly the Rochester terminal of the Buffalo, Rochester, & Pittsburgh Railway on Main Street West (now part of NY-33) at Oak Street. [source]
Today, you can dine there at Nick Tahou Hots, home of the Garbage Plate.
D&R Depot in LeRoy
The former Buffalo, Rochester, and Pittsburgh Depot, which now houses the D&R Depot Restaurant, was built in 1901.
The brick building with moon-shaped windows was constructed to replace a wooden structure that burned down in 1899 as well as to better accommodate the heavy railroad traffic that came through the town of Le Roy, New York.
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 that has a long tradition of food innovation (after all, Le Roy is the place where JELL-O was invented) and provides delicious traditional American-style food.
Their homemade Chicken Pot Pie and French Onion soup (complete with complementary scissors to cut the thick, creamy cheese on top) are sure to make your mouth water. [source]
Ember Wood Fire Grill
Erie Railroad (used as headquarters of the Livonia, Avon & Lakeville from 1964-1980s). Ember serves Pizza, Tapas, Steaks, Seasonal menu’s, Local ingredients, Craft Beer and more in a casual dining restaurant, occupying the old historic train station in the quaint village of Livonia NY, nestled in the Finger Lakes Region between Conesus Lake and Hemlock Lake.
Gatherings at the Depot Cafe
Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad. Leicester Station is a historic railway station located at Leicester, New York in Livingston County, New York. It is a 1-story, two-by-four-bay brick building surmounted by a hipped roof with broad overhanging eaves. It was built in 1915 in the Arts and Crafts style. [source]
Located in the Village of Leicester in a historic train depot, Gatherings at the Depot is committed to showcasing original art and also accommodate arts education and outreach activities.
While Gatherings at the Depot features original artworks and distinctive gifts, it also offers a full espresso bar, specialty coffees, teas, smoothies, soups, sandwiches, salads and delicious pastries. [source]
Riley Street Station in East Aurora
Pennsylvania Railroad (last passenger train was 1971, freight only until 1973).
Riley Street Station operated as a Buffalo commuter train station from 1867-1973. However, the history of the commuter rail industry within East Aurora dates further back. Initial proposals for a rail line from Buffalo to East Aurora began in April of 1832 by the Buffalo and Aurora Railroad Company.
By 1884, Buffalo had become one of the most important railroad centers in the world and one of the Pennsylvania Railroad’s biggest hubs. For the next 13 years, the station turned into various small businesses like an ice cream parlor and a toy store.
None lasted until founder David Neff opened the restaurant in May 1987. [source]
Vacant, previously Roc Harbor Clam Company
New York Central (Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg). Located at 490 River Street at corner of Latta Rd. is where you will find our unique outdoor dining experience with views overlooking the area’s marina’s.
At the Clam Co. we create great seafood dishes that will please your palate. Clams, Oysters, Shrimp, are just some of the house favorites enjoyed by Rochester railfans.
We also have salads, burgers, chicken, seafood mac/cheese, taco’s and many dishes to please everyone! With a full service bar which includes Wine, Frozen Drinks and Craft Beers we have all the bases covered. [source]
Genesee Country Village & Museum
The Freight House Pub (from Phelps) and Depot Restaurant, which are part of our 1849 railroad complex, are located right along the Great Meadow. [source]
The complex also includes the Whistle Stop and the Stuart B Bolger Library, a Lehigh Valley Railroad “Pittsburgh & Lehigh Junction” depot from Caledonia where the Lehigh Valley crossed the Baltimore & Ohio (former Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh).
Depot 25 Restaurant in Shortsville
Serving a menu of fresh and local ingredients in an authentic New York Central Railroad Depot built in the late 1800’s. Serving the finest Black Angus Steaks, Seafood and Italian specialties. [source]
CJ’s Mint City Station
Rochester railfans will enjoy this historic old trolley station located in Lyons. [source]
Barnard Crossing Bar & Grill
A New York Central passenger station. CSX continues to roll by with freight trains headed up to the box factory off Boxart Street.
The district was named after the Dewey Avenue railroad crossing south of the town line, which cut through the property of Mrs. Thomas Barnard. Her son, Charles Barnard, became the first flagman in the area, which hence became known as Barnard’s Crossing (later shortened to Barnard by postal authorities). [source]
Avon is a historic railroad station in Avon, New York. It opened in 1865 and the existing structure was completed in 1879.
Passenger service was provided by the Erie Railroad and from 1907 until 1941; this included electric passenger trains which traveled to Rochester station. [source]
Battle Street Brewery
In 1870, the Dansville & Mount Morris Railroad began operation, a 15-mile standard-gauge short-line that ran independently until it was 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 in need of restoration, the depot has re-emerged as the Battle Street Brewery.
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, in 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.
It was their custom 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 properly received. [source]
Whistle Stop Inn
A hotel has been on that Alden, NY site since the Erie Railroad came through in 1843. It has changed names—Swyers Hotel, Kuhn’s Hotel, the Depot Hotel—and owners over the years.
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 in the floor of the dining room.
The Erie Depot, across the tracks from the Whistle Stop, was once a busy place with a number of trains each day delivering not only goods, but also patrons of Alden’s famous Blackwater Baths.
The depot closed in 1963. The building still stands, now being used as the Wood Depot. [source]
Railway Station Diner
Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh. Greece.
Ellicottville Depot Restaurant
Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh. Ellicottville.
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 1960’s, the depot was repurposed as a furniture store and a popular pub and eatery. [source]
Train Cars: Places for Rochester Railfans to Eat
A great spot in Lyons for both Rochester railfans and Erie Canal buffs. Featured on a Bizarre Foods (Travel Channel) episode entitled The Mighty Erie Canal.
Lil Red Caboose
Restaurant in Clyde, NY.
The main restaurant is in the old coal silo, while Perry’s Ice Cream is served from the boxcar out front.
Our story begins in the 1930’s, back when this area was referred to as 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 played an important role in housing the fuel that kept the waterfront alive.
In 2010 Alan Hastings set sights on an old run down retired train caboose. Originally built in 1890 as a old wooden boxcar for The Canadian National Railroad, it was then converted into a caboose in the 30’s having said to have derailed in the 70’s.
Alan Hastings saw both a great 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]
Katherine founded Deviant Desserts to combine her love for art, anatomy and science, and desserts. Her work typically elicits strong emotional reactions from her customers and fans – from adoration and love 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
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.
As late as the 1950s mail was drawn by hand cart from the station up the hill to the Post Office located on South Main Street.
In 1963 the abandoned structures were joined by a contemporary link and converted into a restaurant. Freight rail service was entirely discontinued in the mid-1980s and the railroad tracks were removed. [source]
New York Central (Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg). In 1876, the RW & O locally referred to as 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, a string of 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 main commercial development from 1876 forward was now in North Parma, which was later renamed Hilton in 1896. [source]
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]
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 consignment and from artists and artisans. [source]
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 underwent construction in 1991 and east and west wings were added which are 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]
Railroad Junction Summer Day Camp
New York Central (Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg) The biggest and most important activities of the railroad took place what was to become the Village of Webster.
Just north of the Ridge Road and the “Four Corners” and along the tracks, many early Webster industries and businesses had their beginnings in the 1880’s and ’90’s.
The Webster Station also had four passenger trains a day, two each way one in the early morning and another in the late afternoon. This made it possible for workers as well as shoppers to ride the rails to Rochester every day.
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 made its run 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 Jamacian Restaurant and closed as the Pufferbelly. Today it is a child care center. [source]
Nacy 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.
Carl’s Barber Shop
New York Central (Batavia Branch). Caledonia.
Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh. We specialize in growing a wide variety of really nice perennials. Located on the pristine Spring Creek in Mumford, NY, we feel strongly about being good stewards of the environment.
Utilizing ecologically safe and sustainable practices, we strive to produce the most healthy and beautiful plants available. [source]
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 Falls Branch of the New York Central with stations in both Spencerport and Adams Basin. The rail line was used to ship produce and other local goods anywhere from Rochester to Buffalo. [source]
Barker Public Library
New York Central (Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg).
Antiques & Rusty Relics
New York Central (Falls Road). Established in 2014, Antiques & Rusty Relics is a quaint country antique shop located in beautiful Western New York; half way between Rochester and Buffalo, Route 31 or Million Dollar Highway.
Owners Ken and June Chippendale have been collectors and “pickers” for over 20 years. The store runs out of a charming old train depot that has been converted into a beautiful antique and furniture showroom. Train runs on Friday. [source]
Cayuga Village Clerk
New York Central (Auburn Branch). In 1832, the Village again saw great changes in transportation. The Cayuga branch of the Erie Canal was built.
The railroads were the last change to take place 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.
Roberts Roofing & Siding Co Inc
New York Central Falls Road. Lockport.
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 of 1976, the Depot made its journey to Highland Park in Geneseo as a meeting place and recreation facility. [source]
Located in the center of Jamesville, this station is owned by the Town of Dewitt. Originally 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]
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; the design was 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 allowed passengers cover from sun, rain or snow. The roof rafters are curved to lift the eaves as they go 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
Avoca. We have 17 conventional rooms all with fridges, micros, cable t.v., internet that are open year round. We also have 5 fully restored train caboose rooms, the caboose rooms have a bathroom, sitting area, 2 upper berths and 2 lower berths.
The train rooms are only available April thru October (weather permitting). Onsite we have a play area, gas grills, picnic areas and campfire pits all for guests to use. [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 then one round trip daily. [source]
At this sleepy outpost in the Finger Lakes region, guests can get cozy in one of five cabooses, dating to 1916, on tracks dating even further back, to 1896. [source]
Heritage Railroad Day Trips:
All Aboard, Rochester Railfans!
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 largest collection of historic railroad equipment.
Enter through the restored 1930’s 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 many times as you’d like.
For an additional $5.00 donation, patrons ages 4 and up can ride round-trip with the engineer in the locomotive!
The old Erie Railroad depot at Industry has a long history stretching back to 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 at the same time.
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 resort to using 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 own village, the R&GV depot became less attractive to the local citizens. Usage dropped off considerably at this time. [source]
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 businessmen along the B.A.& A. were very concerned. The Merrell-Soule Company of Arcade (predecessor of the Borden Co.) operated a large milk processing plant and they along with others needed rail service.
Facing closure, interested parties began to raise money needed to purchase the section of line. Stock was sold to farmers, merchants and anyone else who was interested. 365 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
Enjoy a scenic 2-mile round-trip ride on an 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 surrounding area, to delight, inform and educate our visitors about their 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 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 itself was built in 1905, and is one of the largest (301ft. by 34ft.), last surviving wooden freight depots in the United States. Featuring the largest collection of artifacts and memorabilia known to exist 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 included with train ticket when scheduled. Museum is open year round Tuesday thru Sunday. Right from the start in 1905, the New York Central Railroad Falls Road Freight Depot was utilized by the numerous local manufacturing companies; most notably the Heinz Pickle Factory right down the road.
In fact, four out of the original twenty-two freight doors were devoted specifically to exporting Medina made pickles. In 1937, Heinz expanded their factory to include a loading dock of their own, however the Freight Depot was still a central point of distribution for regional products for the next three decades. [source]
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]
Adirondack Scenic Railroad
Utica. An ambitious day trip, but enjoyable nonetheless! It is a 2-hour drive to Union Station and the Utica to Big Moose Adventure itinerary, for example, runs 9:30am-6:30pm.
Starting in Remsen, the line travels up 1,135 feet to its highest point at Big Moose Lake, at 2,035 feet. The line itself includes 17 bridges over several bodies of water as well as a large number of 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 4-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 along with the New York State Register of Historic Places.
In July of 1994 the Adirondack Centennial Railroad became the Adirondack Scenic Railroad, which is 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.
Currently the Adirondack Scenic Railroad carries passengers between Utica, NY and Big Moose, NY, and between Saranac Lake, NY and Lake Placid, NY. The remaining section of track between Big Moose and Saranac Lake needs rehabilitation in order 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
Leatherstocking Railway Historical Society. Ride into history and beautiful scenery. Built in 1869, visitors can experience what was once the primary form of transportation throughout the country – rail travel. Special 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 the discontinuance of 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
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. In 1881, a narrow gauge branch was built from Phoenicia up to Hunter.
The connecting Kaaterskill Railway was acquired in 1892, extending the line to Tannersville. in 1895, the eastern terminal of the railroad was extended 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 it 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; all of which are sure to make memories to last a lifetime. [source]
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 and relax on an open-air car and bask in the lush Catskill Mountain 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, NY and Roxbury, NY. Special events include: Train Robberies, Twilight Rides and Dining Options for Group Visits. [source]
Train Depot Museums
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.
The building fell into disrepair after the discontinuation of trolley service and it was moved and turned into a private home. In 2002, Maxine Davison bought and donated the building to the Village of Spencerport with the stipulation 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, Village of Spencerport and Town of Ogden.
The depot is one of the selected cultural heritage sites in the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, as well as an Affiliate Site in their Partnership Program. The museum also acts as a visitor center for those traveling along the Erie Canal.
Stop in for recommendations on places to eat and visit in Spencerport or enjoy our shower and bathroom facilities. The museum operates with the canal season and is run primarily through the efforts of volunteers. [source]
Lehigh Valley Railroad Museum
The Lehigh Valley Railroad Historical Society Station Museum is housed inside a wooden New York Central Railroad freight station located 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 on 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 existence 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 main line 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 important feeder to the main line for more than a century.
Timetables showed that at its peak in the early 20th Century, seven passenger trains in each direction 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 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
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 up to the point of reaching Niagara Falls.
Through powerful imagery and content, the “Network Wall” communicates that this historic 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 basic human rights that compelled freedom seekers to leave at great 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 provides a connection to NFTA Route 50 and the Discover Niagara Shuttle buses. The facility consists of a complex built around the historic U.S. Customhouse, originally designed 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 Historical Society
Restored 1907 New York Central Railroad depot, housing local historical artifacts and research collection.
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
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 which include 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, (277 Steuben Street 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 Painted Post Depot was built by the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad. It provided passenger and freight service in the Southern Tier. The pre-fabricated building was delivered on rail and erected on its current site in Painted Post in 1881-1882. The depot was used by the railroad until 1954.
In 1991, the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. It has served as the Painted Post branch of the Corning-Painted Post Historical Society since 2000. [source]
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 many 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 operation of the short line. In order 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, which was completed by 1909. [source]
Western New York Railway Historical Society
The Western New York Railway Historical Society is proud to own two excellent examples of railroad station heritage. 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.
The Williamsville, New York depot became Society property in 1990.
Both towns, embrace our efforts and are in full support of the historical heritage that they bring to their communities. As our restoration work progresses, we hope that in the near future both will be prime examples of railroad transportation history.
There were thousands of small town and village passenger and freight stations at the turn of the last century. Today, there are only a handful of these Depots that 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 is not your average small town railroad station. Built 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 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 and allowed Niagara Falls bound passenger and freight trains to bypass the railway congestion in Buffalo. From Tonawanda Junction, the Lehigh Valley utilized New York Central trackage rights to continue to their own station and their yard at Suspension Bridge. [source]
Historical Society of the Tonawandas
The Tonawanda Railroad was a railroad company established in Rochester, New York in 1832. It was eventually absorbed by the New York Central. [source]
The first railroad between Buffalo and Niagara Falls was laid down relatively early in the railroad era, 1836. Constructed in a style of architecture called “Steamboat Gothic” the first Tonawanda depot continues today to be a useful 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 a 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 piece of 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, horse and buggy, and later motorists became intolerable.
Train speeds were also unacceptable to the railroad as the line had became 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 every year during the 13 days of the New York State Fair, and sometimes during select events at the fairgrounds. [source]
One of the most popular historic attractions at the State Fair is the Train-Railroad Exhibit behind the Horticulture Building. The exhibit is open and free throughout the Fair.
Visitors can relax in seated comfort in the restored vintage 1920s era passenger cars or browse through the classic 1916 model restored wooden New York Central caboose.
These hidden gems look as they did when they first went on line, with authentic, original colors. Volunteers are on hand to answer questions while visitors can view the restored historic equipment. [source]
Find these locations and more on our Google Map
Hojack Trail – Webster
El Camino Trail – Butterhole-Seneca Park Trail / Hojack Line
Find these locations and more on our Google Map
Model Railroad Clubs & Displays
Find these locations and more on our Google Map
Local Clubs & Organizations
Train Stores & Shows
More Resources for Rochester Railfans
Trainspotting: You’ll find a wealth of information on Rochester Railfan for locations for Rochester railfans to watch for passing trains.
These websites below offer additional railroading history information and resources:
- Abandoned Rails – New York
- Depot Maps
- Railroads of New York
- Existing Stations
- Rochester Subway
- A History of Rochester, NY Railroads
- Railroads in Rochester History
- Poor’s Manual of Railroads – BR&P map
- Wiki – Rochester Railway Company
- Wiki – New York Central Railroad
- Wiki – Rochester & Syracuse Railroad
- Wiki – Rochester & Lake Ontario Railroad
- Wiki – Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh Railroad – also operated the “Ontario” car ferry from Charlotte
- Wiki – Rochester & Southern Railroad
- Wiki – Livonia, Avon & Lakeville
- Wiki – Buffalo & Rochester Railroad
- Wiki – Rochester Lockport & Niagara Falls Railroad
- Wiki – Canandaigua & Niagara Falls Railroad
- Wiki – Baltimore & Ohio Railroad
- Wiki – Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad
- Wiki – Lehigh Valley Railroad
- Wiki – Erie Railroad
- Wiki – Erie Lackawanna Railroad
- Wiki – Auburn & Syracuse Railroad
- Wiki – Auburn & Rochester Railroad
- Wiki – Rochester & State Line Railroad
- WIki – Scottsville & LeRoy Railroad
- Wiki – Charlotte Branch Line
- Wiki – Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg Railroad
- Wiki – List of New York Railroads
Research credit is due is special part to an article by Life in the Finger Lakes entitled Whistle Stop Tours – Railroad Depots, whose link to depotmaps.com completely expanded my research one-hundred fold! 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 that might be near you, visit depotmaps.com.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.
We’d love to hear from you, Rochester railfans!
Share your thoughts with us in the comments. Your insight and experience is invaluable!
We dug pretty deep to find this information, but know there is more out there, known especially to folks who are incredibly passionate about our transportation history. We’d love to hear your ideas and suggestions, either in the comments below or contact us directly.