Lost Railroads of Western New York Vol 2  Lehigh Valley from Depew-Niagara Falls
Lost Railroads of Western New York Vol 2  Lehigh Valley from Depew-Niagara Falls
Lost Railroads of Western New York Vol 2  Lehigh Valley from Depew-Niagara Falls
Lost Railroads of Western New York Vol 2  Lehigh Valley from Depew-Niagara Falls
Lost Railroads of Western New York Vol 2  Lehigh Valley from Depew-Niagara Falls

Lost Railroads of Western New York Vol 2 Lehigh Valley from Depew-Niagara Falls

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Lost Railroads of Western New York Vol 2 Lehigh Valley from Depew-Niagara Falls
Lost Railroads of Western New York Volume 2 by Stephan Koenig Soft Cover Copyright 2011 112 Pages  130 black and white illustrations

Table of Contents
ChaptersMapsAcknowledgments 4The Niagara Branch 10Introduction 7Niagara Junction  24Railroad History of Niagara Falls 9Profile of Niagara Branch 461. Niagara Junction in Depew 19Westinghouse Plant 512.The Niagara Branch,Tonawanda Jct. and Tonawanda 47Signal Station E-L3 793. Niagara Falls and Suspension Bridge 83Second Street Station in Niagara 87Suspension Bridge 88Suspension BridgeYard 96

This is the second volume in a series covering historic railroad companies that once operated in Western New York. Specifically covered in this book is that portion of the Lehigh Valley Railroad from Depew (Niagara Junction) to Niagara Falls. This route allowed the LV access to Canada and a community which, because of its wonders of nature, is often referred to as "the Honeymoon Capital of the World."
The Lehigh Valley was a railroad whose leaders were visionary from the start. While Buffalo, New York, was the goal for building westward out of the coal regions of eastern Pennsylvania, the city of Niagara Falls was also a highly sought-after prize for the railroad. For the LV it meant another Canadian gateway that would offer seamless service between Detroit and Toronto. Before the Lehigh Valley arrived physically in the Buffalo area with its own line, it had ambitions to reach Buffalo another way. In 1885 it entered an agreement with the Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg Railroad (RW&O). The agreement, promoted by the Lehigh, was to jointly operate a line extending from Suspension Bridge, just north of Niagara Falls, to Buffalo, which in turn would facilitate desires by both railroads for access to the cities involved. In the years before, the LV had used both Erie and New York Central & Hudson River railroad connections from downtown Buffalo to reach Niagara Falls. Still, it always desired its own line. The formal agreement was filed as the Buffalo, Thousand Islands & Portland Railway (BTI&P) in 1890, and construction was to have begun soon after.
The New York Central Railroad feared the direct competition this line would have created and, ultimately, the possibility of the Lehigh Valley extending all the way to Chicago. In 1891, the NYC managed to take control of the RW&O and then threatened to end the agreement allowing the Lehigh Valley to reach Suspension Bridge. However, the LV demanded that it be allowed to build the new BTI&P line anyway. Following successful negotiations with the New York Central, it was agreed that the NYC would host the LV on NYC-owned lines to Niagara Falls and Suspension Bridge. The LV would otherwise use the RW&O yard in Suspension Bridge under a lease agreement. Even though it was all agreed upon in 1891, the actual mechanics of the deal were not completed for several years. The LV had looked to access Buffalo by the north-south route that paralleled what became the Niagara Branch of the NYC. The NYC refused this plan and instead offered a connection via its Canandaigua & Niagara Falls Railroad (C&NF) subsidiary line from Batavia. Though the LV could have easily connected there, with both roads having their tracks next to each other in that city, it would have put Buffalo out of reach by 60 miles for the Canadian traffic. This of course was unacceptable if the LV was to be competitive in such markets.
Finally, agreements were made to connect the Lehigh Valley with the New York Central via the C&NF line at Tonawanda. The Depew & Tonawanda Railroad Company (D&T) was chartered July 16, 1895. Construction took place on the LV from Niagara Junction to Tonawanda by the end of 1895, and was completed and operating in 1896. The LV had no real intention of building stations on its Niagara Falls Branch as it was merely a means to an end. But, in 1896, the village of Williamsville successfully petitioned the LV to erect the line's only intermediate station facility. The D&T was merged into the Lehigh Valley on Aug. 3, 1903, and ten years later, the RW&O was fully integrated into the New York Central. The Lehigh Valley would go on to serve the Niagara Falls area for several more decades. However, it never fully achieved its ambitions to drive westward to Chicago.
This volume is by no means a complete account of LV operations in the Depew-Niagara Falls region. It instead hopes to serve as a brief look at the road's former territory here and what remains of the Lehigh Valley today -- in use and not.

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