RAILFAN GUIDES of the U.S.

 

Todd's Railfan Guide to
ELMIRA NY

In General
Getting Here
Map
Sights
Signals
Bridges
Pictures
History
Floobydust
Historical & USGS Maps

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In General

Location / Name:
Elmira NY, mid state

What's Here:
Former Erie Depot
Small NS Yard
Lackawanna Trail
Signals

Data:
GPS Coordinates: 42.093530, -76.808336 (at the depot)
ZIP: 14901

Access by train/transit:
None

The Scoop:
It looks like there were four railroads that used to come thru Elmira: 1) The Northern Central, later the Pennsylvania RR, 2) The Delaware, Lackawanna & Western RR, 3) The Lehigh Valley RR, and 4) The Erie RR.  The first railroad to actually make it to Elmira was the New York and Erie RR, which later became the Erie RR.

Today, the only thing running through Elmira is the Norfolk Southern, which used to be the Erie.  They have a small yard in town.

There is one depot still standing, which is the former Erie depot.  The foundation remains for the Lackawanna depot along the Lackawanna Trail.

Websites and other additional information sources of interest for the area:
http://www.chemunghistory.com/railroadfacts.html
http://www.abandonedrails.com/Cortland_Branch
http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/rspicture.aspx?id=809012

Aerial shots were taken from either Google Maps or Bing Maps as noted.  Screen captures are made with Snagit, a Techsmith product... a great tool if you have never used it! 

Getting Here

Coming from Rochester?  It's about 113 miles.  Take I-390 south to I-86 (at Avoca, about 43mi to go) east, go past Corning NY (about 16mi to go), till it gets you to Elmira at exit 56, Church St.  Go west into town.

Coming from Buffalo (or Batavia)?  It's about a 150 mile drive from downtown.  I would probably take I-90 east till you hit Batavia at exit 48, then take NY 63 thru Batavia to just south of Genesco where you will finally hop on I-390 at exit 7.  Finish up by following the directions above.

Coming from Syracuse?  It's about a 122 mile drive.  Head down I-81 to Binghamton (about 69 miles) and then head west on I-86 another 53 miles or so to Elmira at exit 56.

How bout Albany and Schenectady?  About a 181 mile drive from Albany.  Take I-88 from Schenectady to Bingo (about 125 miles), and then take I-86 west like above.

From Scranton PA, it's about 107 miles via I-81 north to Bingo, and then west on I-86.

If you're coming from NYC, try I-80 to I-390 (just south of Mt Pocono), and then on up to Scranton.  It's about a 216mi drive.

If you're coming up from Baltimore MD (~290mi), York PA (~242mi) or Harrisburg (~216mi), it's via I-83 and I-81 thru Scranton.

From anywhere else, you have to go pretty much thru the above towns, except for Philly, where you would want to come up via I-476 to Scranton.  It's about a 220 mile trip.


Map







Sights


  Former Erie Depot

GPS Coordinates: 42.093514, -76.808328
This station, although constructed by the New York & Erie RR, was also used by the Pennsylvania RR.  The tower has disappeared, but the station remains.  Not sure if there was a track where the curved portion of the brickwork is.













  NS Elmira Yard





  former Lehigh Valley Depot

We're not 100% sure this is a photo of the station..... but it is what I came up with when doing a search on the internet... any corrections welcomed.  Also do not know where the station used to be located.





  former Lackawanna Depot

GPS Coordinates: 42.100026, -76.806047
Looks like the second depot was built in 1913, according to the history below.  The station was abandoned in 1959 according to one source.  Looking for info on when it was razed.  The foundation is still around.

  Postcard, earlier station

  Same postcard, different paint on #386

The Lackawanna Depot in 1967.









 


  Lackawanna Trail

Pretty much follows the former DL&W right-of-way between E. Thurston St on the north end to below E. Water St on the south end.  The old DL&W bridge pictured above is part of the trail.





Signals


  Northern set of  Colorlights - NB & SB

Appears to be a newer set of signals on a cantilever bridge, because the signals are not in the Bing aerial view.  The Google streetview was taken 8/2013, so the signals are at least that old.











  NB Colorlights







Bridges


  DL&W Bridge

GPS Coordinates: 42.089461, -76.783158
This bridge is now part of the Lackawanna Trail, as can be seen from the photo below.









  Water Street - former Erie bridge







  Norfolk Southern over the Chemung River (former Erie bridge)





  E McCanns Blvd







  E 13th St





Pictures


 


History

A brief history of rail service in Elmira NY (from one of the sources above, modified):

1835 - Construction for the New York and Erie Railroad began in Deposit, NY.  It would be 16 more years until the line was completed (all the way to Dunkirk, NY.

October 2, 1849 - the first NY&E train arrived in Elmira.  Regular passenger service began 6 days later with two trains each way per day.

1849 - The Elmira Depot was built.

1850 - The Canandaigua & Corning Railroad changed its name to the Elmira, Canandaigua & Niagara Falls Railroad.

1854 - The Elmira & Williamsport Railroad opened - moving lumber, coal, and iron between Pennsylvania and the Feeder Canal, the Junction Canal, and the railroad in Elmira.

1861 - The NY&E RR changed its name to New York & Erie Railway.

1863 - The Northern Central took over the Elmira & Williamsport line - the Pennsylvania RR had become the principal shareholder in the NC in 1861.

1867 - Fire damaged the original Elmira Depot and a new one was built (opened 1868).  No reference to which railroad's depot tho.....

1870 - The Lehigh Valley Railroad opens an office in Elmira.  Needed, earlier history of the LV in Elmira!

1872 - Utica, Horseheads & Elmira (later the Utica, Ithaca, & Elmira). Construction between Erin and Van Ettenville necessitated building two curved trestles - the Deep Gorge trestle and the Blockhouse Ravine trestle.

1875  - The New York and Erie Rwy became the New York, Lake Erie, and Western.

1882 - The New York, Lackawanna & Western was completed to Elmira, soon became the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western.

1884 - Elmira, Cortland & Northern service to Syracuse.

1895 - The New York, Lake Erie, and Western becomes the Erie Railroad.

1913 - New Lackawanna station just west of the original.

1932 - Raising of the Lackawanna tracks through Elmira completed.

1934 - Raising of the Erie tracks through Elmira completed.

1956 - Pennsylvania Railroad ended passenger service in Elmira.

1957 - The last PRR steam locomotive rolls through Elmira.

1960 - The Erie and the DL&W merge into the Erie-Lackawanna RR.

1961 - Last passenger train for the Lehigh Valley.

1970 - The Erie-Lackawanna discontinues passenger service.

1976 - The Erie-Lackawanna gets absorbed into Conrail, along with the Penn Central, the CNJ, the Raritan River, and the Lehigh Valley.

1998 - Norfolk Southern takes over Conrail.

 


Floobydust




 

 

For comparison purposes, here are views of Water Street from Google Streetview.  The railroad is above us, and all of the commerce on the river side of Water Street is gone.





 







Historical Maps


Courtesy of the University of Texas Library, click here for their index page.



The following map was found here on the University of Minnesota's website while looking for something from the Northern Pacific....... good stuff!





Disclaimers:

I love trains, and I love signals.  I am not an expert.  I do these pages because I love spending my time doing them - although I do a reasonable amount of research to make sure the information presented is accurate! :-)  :-)

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, oooooooops, oh well! :-)  

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.

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.

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 10/10/2016
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