The Buffalo & Niagara Falls Railroad

The Buffalo & Niagara Falls Railroad was incorporated on May 3rd, 1834. The Legislature of the State of New York passed a law to empower the railroad to construct a single or double track railroad between the City of Buffalo and the Village at Niagara Falls. The railroad had a mandate to operate for a 50 year term and was empowered to absorb all rights, privileges and franchises belonging to the Buffalo and Black Rock Railroad Company, which had been built and was being operated by horse power.

The Buffalo & Niagara Falls Railroad began operating in 1845. The 28 mile trip from Buffalo to Niagara Falls was a three hour journey being pulled by a wood stoked steam locomotive.

The wooden railroad ties were laying loosely on the rail bed. The track consisted of half inch thick iron straps being 10 to 12 feet in length. They were cut at angles at the joints and spiked to a square piece of wooden ties at six foot intervals.

The straps were very dangerous as the nails that were used to secure them would work themselves loose under the weight of the locomotives and cars. In the summer, the heat would bend and distort them out of shape so that they would pop out of place and punch through the bottom of the cars.

In addition to the rail dangers, passengers had to contend with the chance of a boiler explosion on the locomotive. In order to prevent serious injury, a flat car was placed behind the locomotive loaded with bales of cotton as a protective cushion.

In 1852, the Buffalo & Niagara Falls Railroad relocated their tracks to the west side of the Erie Canal.

On December 22nd 1853, the Buffalo & Niagara Falls Railroad was leased to the New York Central Railroad.

On April 23rd 1869, the New York Central Railroad began operations within the Niagara escarpment.

Lewiston Railroad – 1836

On May 6th 1836, The Lewiston Railroad Company was incorporated. The two mile long railroad was built to connect with the existing horse-drawn cars of the Lockport and Niagara Falls Railroad. The Lewiston Railroad began operation in 1837.

On September 30th 1855, the Lewiston Railroad Company was merged with the New York Central Railroad Company.

Niagara Falls & Lake Ontario Railroad – 1875

On December 24th 1875, the Niagara Falls & Lake Ontario Railroad Company was incorporated. A railroad line was built from the Village of Niagara Falls to the shores of Lake Ontario.

On November 16th 1880, the Niagara Falls & Lake Ontario Railroad was leased to the Rome, Watertown and Ogdensburg Railroad Company.

On September 21st 1881, the Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg Railroad Company was taken over by the New York Central Railway.

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