Sunday, May 29, 2011

Niagara Falls Railroads

Back in the days when rail travel was the norm, Niagara Falls had many railroad lines and yards, which today are easily forgotten. The city was served by the New York Central RR, Erie RR (and others) as well as the Niagara Junction RR which serviced our industries. 
Today what are left of the rail lines and yards are but a glimmer of what once was. What with the talk of a new passenger station being built in the north end of the city one might reflect on what a tourist attraction our old station at 2nd St and Falls St would have been if it had been restored, instead of torn down. One of the main rail lines came in from Buffalo along the right-of-way paralleling Buffalo Ave/Erie Ave. After discharging passengers at the station it continued alongside Falls St and hooked a right up along the gorge towards the north end basically following what is now the Robert Moses Parkway. Another rail line ran north up what is currently an empty space between 8th and 9th St to a freight yard located approximately where the Harry Abate School is located. There were bridges over the tracks on Walnut, Ferry, and Pierce Avenues.
Prior to and during urban renewal the city put a priority to eliminate and/or relocate the rail lines that ran through the city. Everyone couldn’t wait until the tracks were eliminated from downtown so we wouldn’t have to wait an hour for a long freight to clear the crossings at 3rd St and others. The fire department even had to have fire halls only a couple blocks from each other in case there was a train blocking the streets. How many of us remember driving up Niagara St to try and find an unblocked path across the tracks?
During the 1960’s, before the tracks were removed, a “high-speed” passenger rail car was running between Buffalo and Niagara Falls, with the intention to bring rapid transit between the cities, but it never was profitable. There were industries where the Aquarium now stands which were serviced by the trains, and there was several businesses around Michigan Ave & 11th St served by the yards there.
Railroads were a large part of making Niagara Falls a tourist and industrial giant and they still provide necessary service to our community. Of course, should we ever get the high-speed rail line between Albany and here in these days of high gasoline prices, perhaps some of the glory may return.






















(Click any of the images for larger photos)





Sumbitted by Jim Brunn

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2 comments:

Amy H. said...

Can anyone tell me more about when and where the photo of the men with stovepipe hats was taken? Thanks! -Amy

D.R. Wagner said...

I've been looking for photos of the old, high-sided bridge that crossed the NY Central yard from Niagara Falls to the Town of Niagara on Hyde Park Blvd. Does anyone know where I could find such as photograph?
drwagner. http://drsspoon.blogspot.com