RAILFAN GUIDES of the U.S.

Todd's Railfan Guide to
BUFFALO NY
East - CSX's Frontier Yard

In General
Getting Here
Map
Sites
Pictures
Signals
Bridges
Floobydust
 

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Buffalo Railfan Guide Homepage
Map 1 - Downtown
Map 2 - East - CSX's Frontier Yard and NS's Bison Yard - You're on it
Map 3 - Seneca
Map 4 - South
Map 5 - North

Light Rail guide

Depew Railfan Guide
 


In General

Amtrak, CSX, NS, and CP can all be found on the east side.

CSX rides on the old New York Central mainline to New York City, which a good portion of used to be a four track line.  Amtrak shares the road.

At one time, the Erie, Lehigh Valley, and the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western all had parallel tracks with the NYC heading east.  NS and CP uses the old Erie tracks to get to Binghamton NY via Hornell, Corning, and Elmira on what is known as the Southern Tier Line.  The LV which was the southern most of the four, crossed the Erie and DL&W to run parallel to the NYC..... this line is all gone, and the DL&W tracks only go a few miles east of Depew before coming to an end.

The old New York Central Depot is on the left side of the map.

Down towards the bottom of the map, you have one of NFTA's bus yards.  It is next to what remains of SK yard.

Signals

The great majority of signals around here are ex New York Central searchlight signals.  Most are on signal bridges that span all of the tracks, sometimes as many as 5 tracks - the last one being off the right side of the map adjacent to Union Ave.  CSX plans on replacing the searchlights with colorlight signal over the summer of 2016.

Across from Lemoine Ave on Broadway is a great old cantilever with two sets of WB signals on it.


Getting Here

From downtown, Broadway might take longer, but it's more interesting. 

From anywhere else, use I-90 and get off at exit 52E or 52A,  or get on I-190 and take exit 1.


Map


The above map in PDF form is here



Sights


  Buffalo Central Terminal

This station was in use between June 22th, 1929 through 1979.  It was built by the New York Central starting in 1927.  It is in pretty bad condition, and ownership has been taken over by the Central Terminal Restoration Company.   The station opened just prior to the start of the Great Depression.

Come 1968 and the formation of the Penn Central, they operated the station until Amtrak started in 1971.  Penn Central and then Conrail maintained offices in the building until 1980.

The last train to leave the station was on October 28th, 1979, when Amtrak opened the current Depew station.

The station also served the Pennsylvania RR, the Canadian National Rwy, and the Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo.

Here is an accounting from KJP found at http://www.urbanohio.com/forum2/index.php?topic=21124.0:

Once upon a time there was an active, magnificent train station called Buffalo Central Terminal which served tens of thousands of people per day and more than 200 daily trains at its peak.  It housed hundreds of employees for the New York Central Railroad Co., one of America's largest companies, in a landmark 17-story tower above the terminal, as well as in adjoining buildings.

But there was a problem -- several, actually.  The station was built where the railroad needed it, not where the public wanted it.  It was built at the junction of railroad lines that allowed easy access for trains.  But it was two miles east of downtown Buffalo in a working-class Polish neighborhood. And since local mobsters controlled taxi cab companies, they kept a proposed streetcar line from being built into the station making it less accessible.  And, worst of all, the station opened on June 22, 1929, four months before the stock market crash and the start of the Great Depression.  The massive, ornate and very expensive Buffalo Central Terminal would never reach its full potential.

Just 30 years later, as governments built airports and highway and rail passenger traffic went into a severe decline, New York Central began closing sections of the terminal to save money.  NYC merged with its rival Pennsylvania Railroad in 1968.  Amtrak took over passenger operations in 1971 and relocated its eight daily trains to/from Buffalo in 1979 to the old but cozy Exchange Street station downtown and the new and suburban station in Depew.  By the early 1980s, there was nothing left at Buffalo Central Terminal but vagrants, vandals and memories.... Read more: here

More info at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffalo_Central_Terminal

         

         

 

 


  CSX's Frontier Yard

This was the New York Central's main yard in the Buffalo area.

 


  NFTA's Bus Yard


  Norfolk Southern's Bison Yard


  NS and CP's SK Yard






Area 1 of the map

Here we can see how the layout of certain buildings was influenced by the right-of-ways of days gone by.



Area 2 of the map

Here we can see how the DL&W crossed the old New York Central yard, with a number of the old pylons for the bridge still in place.

 

  


Area 3 of the map

As the DL&W headed NW, we can still see ample evidence of the former tracks R-O-W.  This continues way up north.





Area 4 of the map

Here is the south end of the abandoned DL&W R-O-W where it joined in with the current trackage.




Pictures


These pictures from around Frontier Yard are all from 2006, if anyone has new ones, please send em on in....

   


Signals


  MP 434.2 - WB Searchlight Signals

Along Broadway St, directly across from Lemoine Ave, is this very cool cantilever signal bridge.

             

  These four pictures are courtesy Scott H.

 

 


  At the throat of the Yard ~435.0

Various signals at the east end of Frontier Yard



           

      These are GRS Type-P switch position indicator two light units

  These 3-aspect dwarf type signals have replaced the GRS units above, maybe homemade? - Thanks to Scott H for the pictures!



  Reiman St - 436.0





  Thanks to Scott H for the pictures!













  Sycamore St



  North BCT Wye

The view below is stitched together from two Snags, if it does not show up as one picture, adjust your monitor resolution.



Bridges


Very early on, because of the number of trains navigating through Buffalo, it was decided to do a grade separation between train traffic from vehicular traffic, and in some instances such as the DL&W, trains from trains.  Although most of the bridges are nothing more than overpasses and therefore not very significant, there are plenty to enhance photo opportunities (as long as trees don't get in the way :-).


    1          2       CSX/ex Erie going over Box Ave and French Street.


    3          4       CSX/ex Erie going over Urban & Fougeron Streets.


    5       CSX/ex Erie going over Genesee St.


    6       CSX/ex Erie going over Walden Ave.


    7       CSX/ex Erie going over Sycamore St.



    8       CSX/ex Erie going over Broadway St.





    9      Bailey Ave going over the southwest leg of Frontier yard.  Might be good for pictures, but there is no real close by parking.







    10      Bailey Ave going over the west end of Frontier yard and Shore Ave.





    11      Tracks crossing over Walden Street.

 



    12      Tracks crossing over Gennesse and Doat Streets.

 



    13       Western end of the CSX yard crossing over Broadway.







    14      Harlem Rd over the CSX/ex NYC mainline.  Good spot for pictures.








    15      Broadway over the Thruway.


 



    16      The tracks going over Clinton St.







    17      The tracks going over Bailey St.

 



    18         The tracks going over William St.







    19      Harlem Rd going over the railroad yard.

 





    20      The New York State Thruway going over the railroad yard.

    


Floobydust




         Equipment cabinet adjacent to the cantilever signal bridge

          Old NYC telephone box

 This was in 2006, I wonder what he would put on there today???



  R&R Salvage


Disclaimers:

I love trains, and I love signals.  I am not an expert.  My webpages reflect what I find on the topic of the page.  This is something I have fun with while trying to help others.  My webpages are an attempt at putting everything I can find of the subject in one convenient place.  There are plenty of other good websites to help me in this effort, and they are listed in the links section on my indexa page, or as needed on individual pages.  Please do not write to me about something that may be incorrect, and then hound the heck out of me if I do not respond to you in the manner you would like.  I operate on the "Golden Rule Principle", and if you are not familiar with it, please acquaint yourself with how to treat people by reading Mathew 7:12 (among others, the principle exists in almost every religion).  If you contact me (like some do, hi Paul) and try to make it a "non-fun" thing and start with the name calling, your name will go into my spambox list! :-)

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, especially if restaurants or gas stations open, close, or change names.  Most of my maps are a result of personal observation after visiting these locations.  I have always felt that a picture is worth a thousand words", and I feel annotated maps such as the ones I work up do the same justice for the railfan over a simple text description of the area.  Since the main focus of my website is railroad signals, the railfan guides are oriented towards the signal fan being able to locate them.  Since most of us railheads don't have just trains as a hobby, I have also tried to point out where other interesting sites of the area are.... things like fire stations, neat bridges, or other significant historical or geographical feature.  While some may feel they shouldn't be included, these other things tend to make MY trips a lot more interesting.... stuff like where the C&O Canal has a bridge going over a river (the Monocacy Aqueduct) between Point of Rocks and Gaithersburg MD, it's way cool to realize this bridge to support a water "road" over a river was built in the 1830's!!!  

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.

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

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.

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NEW 03/27/2012
Last Modified 15-Mar-2016