In General
Getting Here
Maps
Pictures
Bridges
Signals
Fire & Police
Floobydust
 


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In General

Location / Name:
Batavia NY, Genesee County

What's Here:
Remnants of the old New York Central RR station
the Depew, Lancaster & Western RR
CSX, ex New York Central, comes through on their 3 (formerly 4) track mainline
Classic NYC style searchlight signals (for now)

Data:
GPS Coordinates: 42.998981, -78.189533 (dntn)
ZIP: 14020 (dntn)

Access by train/transit:
None

The Scoop:

This page is as much about the history of Batavia as it is about what is here today.  Like many towns, the history of Batavia is deeply intertwined with that of the railroads.  I hope you enjoy it.

Batavia was at the crossroads of many railroads, and is about halfway between Buffalo and Rochester.

The "biggest" of the classic railroads was the main line of the New York Central coming up from New York City on it's way west to Chicago via Buffalo.  In addition, back in pre-merger days of the 60's Batavia also hosted the Erie RR and the Lehigh Valley RR.  The Delaware, Lackawanna &Western RR didn't quite make it into Batavia, it came as close as Mt Morris-Wayland.

In one of those "I wish....." categories, I lived in Batavia for about 18 months back in 1964-1965 and wish that either 1) I was into taking pictures then, or, 2) my father was into trains and photography.  He was into photography, but not trains :-(  In the summer of 1966, after moving away, I had the opportunity to ride the Central from NYC to Batavia and back so I could go to summer camp.  Even back then, I remember the fare was $75 one way!  The station in Batavia was in it's waning days by then, but at least I got to see it (even tho I don't remember it :-(

Today, CSX has taken over the former Conrail operations of the NYC mainline, barely noticing Batavia as their freights speed through.

I'm sure at some point, CSX will replace the old NYC signals, but for now, go out and enjoy the searchlights.  They started in early 2016.

Batavia also supports a shortline, the Depew, Lancaster & Western.  More info below

Websites and other additional information sources of interest for the area:
Photos from around Batavia can be found here
Another fellow that is into maps and is a good source of NY RR maps is here
http://www.american-rails.com/black-diamond.html
http://russnelson.com/unfinished-railroads.html interesting reading, and great pictures
http://www.lvrr.com/lv-stations/
http://www.crookedlakereview.com/articles/136_167/142springsummer2007/142sheret.html
http://gold.mylargescale.com/scottychaos/maps/ New York state RR maps

Aerial shots were taken from www.bing.com/maps.  The snap-shots from Bing are made with Snagit, a Techsmith product... a great tool if you have never used it!  Give it a try!

Acknowledgements:
Chuck Barnard, Theo Cherry, and Ira Silverman for additional information and photographs.

Please Note:  Since the main focus of my two websites is railroad signals, the railfan guides are oriented towards the signal fan being able to locate them. For those of you into the modeling aspect of our hobby, my indexa page has a list of almost everything I can think of to provide you with at least a few pictures to help ya'll.

Pictures are always needed if anyone feels inclined to take 'em, send 'em, and share 'em, or if you have something to add or correct.... credit is always given!  Contact info is here



Getting Here

Batavia is an easy spot to get to.  It's at exit 48 off the New York State Thruway, I-90.

From Buffalo, you can take NY 33, which more or less follows the CSX tracks.

From the Binghamton/Elmira/Corning area, cruise west on I-86/NY 17, the Southern Tier Expressway.  About 24 miles west of Corning you'll come to the Genesee Expressway/I-390 - take that north to exit 7, Mt Morris Geneseo Road/408.  When you hit Main Street in Mt Morris, hang a right onto NY 36, Mt Morris Rd.  Above Leicester, it's York Rd.  About 6-7 miles north of Mt Morris, take a left onto NY 63, Genesee St.  This will take you into Batavia after a couple of name changes.


Maps


The collection of maps below come from a variety of sources, and I have incorporated much of the information into my map.  The USGS topo maps were found at the University of New Hampshire page: http://docs.unh.edu/nhtopos/Batavia.htm .  They have a most complete set of topo maps from all over New York, and generally, they have sets from several dates.  The ones for Batavia are from 1904 and 1950.  It appears that the maps from 1904 are not especially to scale, as there was no way to superimpose it on my map.  I use either Bing or Google maps as the basis for my maps, and they both overlay well on each other.  I have superimposed the old maps onto my map below.  The New York Central branch to Attica is on the 1904 USGS map, but not the one for 1950.  From the info I can find on the internet, the current ex NYC mainline was built in the mid 50's.  Before that, I betcha the residents of Batavia hated having the NYC come through town with four tracks, especially in the peak year of 1945.

The map excerpt below was taken from a Buffalo Division PRR map

Above is a 1904 USGS topo map, and below, one from 1950.  These were both used to make my map above.
The map below also appears on one of the above websites, marked with the current and abandoned lines.


A Conrail era map of the west side of Batavia.




Map showing the active rail lines in western NY as of 2007


Pictures


   The ex New York Central Station

GPS Coordinates: 42.984756, -78171969

The building is in OK shape.  When I stopped by in 2006, at least some of the letters were still on the building.... I wonder where the rest of the sign has gotten to?  In looking at the Bing Snag below, and in listening to the chatter on various blogs, the rest of them disappeared around 2008.  I was lucky to catch a signal maintainer while here, and he quickly showed me around, I wish I had taken pictures inside :-(  Nothing of the platform up at trackside remains.

         

The aerial view from Bing shows the relationship between the ex NYC and LV right-of-ways, and where the old Sylvania siding is.




Conrail freight with dimensional cars in train heading thru siding at Batavia NY summer 1976
  Photo by Robert Seemueller

  At least someone got to save one of the signs! :-)



  The DL&W - Depew, Lancaster & Western

The Depew, Lancaster & Western RR serves around a dozen local customers. 

They use 160.290MHz on the radio, but 160.800 to talk to CSX when entering the Batavia yard and anything else related to moving on CSX. 

The DL&W runs on about 5 miles of track, and they have trackage rights on the CSX line between mileposts CP402 and CP406. 

The owner of the railroad has quite a collection of railroadiana in his office, including a former NYC semaphore.  More info can be found on the following pages:
          http://www.rochester-railfan.net/dlwr.htm  general DL&W info
          http://railroad.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=128&t=60786
  pictures of the DLW roundhouse
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depew,_Lancaster_and_Western_Railroad

Their website is at: http://www.gvtrail.com/dlwr.php

           

           
Pix on right is crossing the ex NYC mainline bridge over the Tonawanda Creek.

 


The picture above comes from their website showing their new Transload Facility that offer shippers a more convenient and less costly method of transferring shipments to trucks for local delivery.

     
This was where their headquarters used to be located at 8364 Lewiston Road.
 


   CSX Batavia Yard


 


   The ex New York Central Batavia Yard

An open and level spot still exists where the former New York Central Batavia Yard used to be.


 


   The ex Lehigh Valley RR Depot

GPS Coordinates: 42.984132, -78172085

All that remains today is some of the platform and footing for the depot.  Below is a postcard of the station.




 


   The Sylvania Siding

Back in the 60's, Batavia was home to Sylvania Electronics, which made TV's and stereos.  Since my father worked there, I used to come over on a regular basis and got to see how an early assembly worked.  No machines around to do assembly work then!  :-)  I still have the stereo system we got then, and a huge 2x3ft sales book showing the offererings.  According to Theo, who worked for the Lehigh Valley back in the 60's, remembers that train BJ-4 from the Erie was for delivery to Sylvania full of TV and stereo consoles (when they were made out of real wood!)

                  

The three pictures on the right come from Chuck Barnard, whose father worked there in the 50's and 60's - the left two were taken by his grandfather in the early 50's while and after construction of the plant.  A picture looking west shows the ex Lehigh Valley R-O-W and the old Sylvania siding.

 


   Where the Lehigh Valley crossed the New York Central


 


   Where the Lehigh Valley crossed over the Erie

This was a grade separated crossing.... Interesting solution!
The pictures can be found here at the Library of Congress: https://www.loc.gov/item/ny0225/ , the website allows for slight magnification, and that's how I grabbed the "close-up" shot....

 




 


   Interchange between the Lehigh Valley and the New York Central

Sometime between 1904 and 1950, this interchange was removed.  In the two map inserts below, the 1904 map is on the left.  In the right map, although the track is gone, you can see the ground contour where the track used to be (blue arrow).  The two aerial shots show where the tracks used to be, but in the 60+ years since the track was removed, barely a trace remains.

 


 


   Takeoff point for the old NYC main line

The dashed red line is the old main line, the white dashed line is the current CSX main.  If you go hiking, and digging, you can still probably come up with small souvenirs.

 


Bridges


  Ex Erie Railroad bridge over the New York Central (CSX) mainline


  ex NYC Bridge

As can be seen, this one was built for the four tracks that used to come through.


  ex NYC Bridge

This bridge used to be the old New York Central's mainline when it went through town.  The DL&W now uses it.  If you look closely, you can see that there is room for another span on the abutments.  Wouldn't it have been great to see four tracks of steam going thru town back in the 40's?

           


  CSX (ex NYC) over the old Erie RR R-O-W

Since the "bypass" was built after the NYC tracks heading to Attica were removed, it was only necessary to construct this small bridge over one track.


  CSX bridge over Cedar St


  CSX bridge over Ellicott St


  CSX bridge over Lehigh Ave


  ex Lehigh Valley Bridge over the Tonawanda Creek

The thumbnailed pictures are from 1982 and courtesy Chuck Barnard.  The railroad bridge, the road bridge, and the bracket post were all removed later in the 80's.  The signals had disappeared long before that.

The three large photos below are courtesy Ira Silverman.

Many thanks to both of the gentleman for sending in their pictures.

The three pictures illustrate that there was an interlocking here - one track going west, two tracks going east.  From the 1900 map above, the aerial view of the bridge at Alexander Rd, and these pictures, we can see that at some point, the LV removed one of the tracks.  Don't have any info at hand to tell me when.

In the aerial view below, the colored dot indicates the signal location, the blue line is the old South Jackson overpass, and the yellow, of course, is the Lehigh Valley R-O-W.  Notice how close the two right-of-ways were... must have been a great scene with steam on both lines at the same time!

 I would love to know why the Lehigh Valley removed this bridge, but they did not remove the highway overpasses on Ellicott St and Alexander Rd?  Interesting.

 

  Looking east, you can see the track curving off to the south in the distance



  Looking west


  CSX bridge over Alexander Rd


 


  ex Lehigh Valley Bridge over Ellicott St




 


  CSX grade crossing at Seven Springs Rd

Very good sight lines in both direction here, as the track is pretty much straight.


 


  CSX over Prole Rd

  CSX over I-90

 


  Where the Lehigh Valley and Erie crossed each other

According to the one map above, the Lehigh Valley went over the Erie, and I'm guessing the New York Central, for at this point around the turn of the century (1900), the Erie and NYC paralleled each other heading southwest out of town.  However, from what we can see today, it looks like there would have been grade level crossings here.


 


  ex Lehigh Valley bridge over Alexander Rd



 


  ex Lehigh Valley bridge over Cedar St

Another double track girder type bridge, with only one track on it now, and still in service used by the DL&W.  Back in 2013, it was raised 36 inches so trucks wouldn't hit it.
I know I spent a lot of time on this stupid little bridge, but it's not often that anyone goes to this much trouble on a little used bridge.











 


  Where the Lehigh Valley used to cross NY-5, Main St

Nothing remains today, but from the air, you can plainly see where the R-O-W used to be.



Signals


  CSX at MP 400

There's no real good access to this set of signals, but good shots of EB's framed by the signal bridge can be had from the Clinton St overpass.


 


  CSX EB at MP 402

A couple of WB signals and a dwarf for the DL&W line.  One of the few signal locations around that does not employ a signal bridge.  The yellow arrow points to the dwarf signal.


 


  CSX EB at MP 402

Easy access through the baseball field, and not a bad spot for pictures in either direction.

   


 


  CSX EB/WB at MP 402


 


Fire and Police



I wasn't into taking massive amounts of pictures back in 2006, so I didn't snap one off of the station house :-(  We'll have to settle for Google streetview.....


One of the Batavia Fire stations at 8382 Lewiston Rd. 
The red, white and blue arrow points to where the picture at the top of the page used to be.
The old DL&W HQ building is just off the bottom right corner of the picture.


Found this patch on EBay.


Floobydust


Here are some additional notes on Batavia I have come across while searching for info....

From http://railroad.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=128&t=58585&start=15 :

The reason for the route change was "grade crossing elimination".  The city, residents and politicians "railed" for years that it was an unsafe situation; the reason why firehouse #2 was built south the old main.
When passenger trains stopped at the station (in the day) 3-5 streets were blocked.  And, there were some derailments in the city over the years.

The new bridges were in and panel track was being put down in late summer of 1956.  Lehigh Ave was the best location for the new design depot with its underpass and platform between the two southernmost tracks(#s???).  Route 98 was too high for the freight elevator designed (read costly) and too many stairs.

The design was almost identical to the Dunkirk station, done in the same time frame. A man I knew that worked on the design as a college intern said that design was to have been used at two other
sites between Erie Pa and Chicago.  Standard replacement design ???

The connection on the west side was made to the West Peanut as that line still served East Pembroke , Akron Jct. and beyond.  There was a wye at the crossing with Rt 33.

It wasn't to long after the new route was opened that CTC was installed and the line was reduced to two tracks. At the station the northernmost track became a very long running track/yard lead.

Stainless steel was the sign artists material back then as aluminum coatings that would endure the elements were not commercially feasible.  It was amazing that the sign remained on the wall all that time.
I believe it remained as long as it did, merely because it could not be seen from any inspection trains and no m-o-w foreman ever received orders to remove it.  It came down the last week of August,08.
The signal maintainer was nearly struck by one of the letters in a brisk wind the week before. He decided that the rest should be removed for safety reasons.

The NYC "new" ROW was built starting in 1951 and ending in 1957.  The line officially opened on April 2, 1957.  The "old" line running through downtown officially had its last train on April 12, 1957.

To find the abutments of the original NYC Mainline bridge over the Tonawanda creek, walk East from NY-98 along the NYC Peanut (still existing track). Once you reach the creek, look South and you will see the abutments.

Is the existing "peanut" line bridge over the Tonawanda creek actually one of two NYC mainline bridges (pre realignment)? Based on the old mainline ROW and the alignment of the existing bridge it seems likely. The "peanut" line appears to diverge from the 2 tracks on the bridge just prior to crossing Walnut St. (Rt. 98). I seem to recall from my childhood (early 80's) that the southern most track on the bridge also connected with the northern track just east of the divergence northwest.


Some timeline dates of the New York Central's Peanut Line":
(gathered from: http://www.crookedlakereview.com/articles/136_167/142springsummer2007/142sheret.html )

March 4, 1851 - the railroad was formed in Lima NY, built to a gauge of 6ft
January 1, 1853 - Opening day for the line between Canandaigua and Batavia, free rides offered
July 1st, 1853 - Line extended to Niagara Falls
July 28th, 1853 - first passenger train runs on extension as excursion train
1855 or 1857 - the line is acquired by the NYC, re-gauged shortly thereafter to standard gauge
Became known as the "Peanut Line" after Dean Richmond, a company vice-president, referred to the acquisition as "only a peanut of a line."
The NYC calls it the Batavia Branch
February 18th, 1885 - head on collision between stalled freight and snowplow train, picture below
1933 - with only 2 or 3 passengers per trip, the NYC discontinued service
January 15th, 1939 - NYC discontinued freight service between Holcomb and Caledonia, this eliminated the stations at Ionia, West Bloomfield, Honeoye Falls, West Rush, and Golah
June 1st, 1939 - bridge at Honeoye Creek removed

  Yikes!

  https://www.loc.gov/item/99401037/

           
Misc scenes around town.

 
The two houses we lived in, 42 Ellicott Ave on the left, 9 Washington Ave on the right./font>

     
Along Main Street today.  The hobby shop where I bought my first GP-30 for $9 is long gone.

 
Caught this huge wind power blade coming thru town, it seems that the locals did not want the windmill farm to go in, signs were everywhere protesting it.


A Batavia Bus.


Here is a sampling of postcards n stuff I have come across on EBay:

   
A couple of scenes looking up/down Ellicott Ave.


For the first few months in Batavia, we lived a few houses away on Washington Ave.

         

         
Scenes from Main Street, they are almost all from the same vantage point.  The 2 on the right are front/back.

   
At one time, this was the Batavia High School, when I was there, it was a Junior High, now, it's a "middle" school as seen in my current picture.


The old YMCA building which was still in use when I was there.

Somewhere I have a collection of postcards depicting the "old" NYC station on the old main line that used to go through town...... somewhere....



Disclaimers:

I love trains, and I love signals.  I am not an expert.

Please Note:  Since the main focus of my two websites is railroad signals, the railfan guides are oriented towards the signal fan being able to locate them.  For those of you into the modeling aspect of our hobby, my indexa page has a list of almost everything railroad oriented I can think of to provide you with at least a few pictures to help you detail your pike.

If this is a railfan page, every effort has been made to make sure that the information contained on this map and in this railfan guide is correct.  Once in a while, an error may creep in :-)

My philosophy: Pictures and maps are worth a thousand words, especially for railfanning.  Text descriptions only get you so far, especially if you get lost or disoriented.  Take along good maps.... a GPS is OK to get somewhere, but maps are still better if you get lost!  I belong to AAA, which allows you to get local maps for free when you visit the local branches.  ADC puts out a nice series of county maps for the Washington DC area, but their state maps do not have the railroads on them.  If you can find em, I like the National Geographic map book of the U.S..... good, clear, and concise graphics, and they do a really good job of showing you where tourist type attractions are, although they too lack the railroads.  Other notes about specific areas will show up on that page if known.

Pictures and additional information is always needed if anyone feels inclined to take 'em, send 'em, and share 'em, or if you have something to add or correct.... credit is always given! BE NICE!!! Contact info is here

Beware: If used as a source, ANYTHING from Wikipedia must be treated as being possibly being inaccurate, wrong, or not true.

BTW, floobydust is a term I picked up 30-40 years ago from a National Semiconductor data book, and means miscellaneous and/or other stuff.

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