History

The Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh Railway was primarily a coal hauling railroad which ran from the coal fields of central Pennsylvania to the ports of Rochester and Buffalo. In Western New York, the lines formed a "Y" shape connecting Buffalo, Rochester, and Salamanca. The line ran north from Salamanca to Ashford Junction where it split and continued to Rochester and Buffalo. The company also operated the seven mile long Silver Lake branch from Silver Springs to Perry.

An 1897 BR&P pass and 1900 BR&P ticket

The predecessors of the BR&P in Western New York began on October 6, 1869 when New York State granted a charter to the Rochester & State Line Railroad from Rochester south through Scottsville, Caledonia, Perry, Castile, Portageville, Belfast, Belmont and Wellsville on its way to the Pennsylvania state line. Shortly after it was chartered, vast coal deposits were discovered near Ridgeway, Pennsylvania. In 1872 the Rochester & State Line changed its charter to make Salamanca its southern terminus. In nearby Carollton it would connect with the Buffalo, Bradford & Pittsburgh Railroad which came north from the coal fields.

On January 20, 1881 the Rochester & State Line Railroad was sold to a New York syndicate which incorporated the Rochester & Pittsburgh Railroad on January 29, 1881. The Rochester & Pittsburg Railroad ambitiously began building a number of linked railroad companies extending south from Salamanca with the ultimate goal of reaching Pittsburgh. The company was short lived and by 1885 was bankrupt.

A 1920 BR&P Stock Certificate

The Rochester & Pittsburg Railroad was purchased on October 16, 1885 by Adrian Iselin, one of the Directors of the R&P, and was broken into the Pittsburgh & State Line Railroad Company, which operated in Pennsylvania, and the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh Railroad Company which operated the New York sections. On March 10, 1887 the two companies were reunited as the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh Railway Company. The BR&P continued until January 1, 1932 when it was purchased by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad.

The BR&P was a major hauler of coal and operated the car ferries Ontario No. 1 and Ontario No. 2 to haul coal to Cobourg, Ontario, Canada.

Much of the BR&P is still in use today in Western New York.  The Buffalo and Pittsburgh Railroad operates from Buffalo to Machias using trackage rights over the Norfolk Southern (for Pennsylvania Railroad) line.  The B&P then operates over their own from Machias to Pennsylvania via Ashford Junction and Salamanca.  The B&P also operates over the former BR&P from Buffalo to Orchard Park and from Ashford to West Valley.

A 1912 check issued by the BR&P
A 1908 pass.
A 1932 pass for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad

The Rochester and Southern Railroad, a sister to the Buffalo and Pittsburgh, operates over the former BR&P from Rochester to Silver Springs where it operates using trackage rights over the Norfolk Southern (former Erie) line to Buffalo. 

Stations

PA Line to Ashford Junction

 

Ashford Junction To Buffalo

 

Ashford Junction To Rochester

 

Silver Lake Branch

 

Stations taken from an 1891 system map.

Major WNY Facilities

Annual Reports

The annual reports are from the Stanford University library and were found on Google Books.  Thanks to Todd Blide from the BR&P Yahoo mailing list for finding and preparing them.

Photographs

Newspaper and Magazine Articles

Rosters

Preserved Equipment

Related Items

Timetables

Resources

There are are number of good resources of information on the Buffalo, Rochester and Pittsburgh. Paul Pietrak's 1979 book "Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh Railway" is a great reference and the source of most of my information.  The 2004 book "Buffalo, Rochester and Pittsburgh Railway In Color, Volume 1: New York" by Mike Zollitsch has some great pictures of the BR&P in WNY. 

William Fries has two books of interest to the BR&P fan.  His "Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, Stations and Towers along the Niagara Division" has many pictures of BR&P stations and other buildings in WNY.  His "Train Wrecks & Disasters, A Pictorial & Chronological History As Reported by the Press" contains newspaper articles on various wrecks on the BR&P and predecessors.

There have been a few articles on the BR&P in various magazines, including:

  • Rothfus, Robert. 1968. "More About Locomotive of the Buffalo, Rochester and Pittsburgh Railway" Railway and Locomotive Historical Society Bulletin Number 119.
  • Allen,  C.F.H., Unknown. Article on the history of the BR&P. Railway and Locomotive Historical Society Bulletin Number 81.
  • Fisher, C.E. Unknown. Roster of BR&P Locomotives.  Railway and Locomotive Historical Society Bulletin Number 84.

There is an active email discussion group on the BR&P with almost 150 member in Yahoo. It includes files and discussions on the railroad. For more information and to subscribe to this group,  go to http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/BRPRy/

References

  • Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh Railway. Annual Reports. From the Stanford University collection digitized on Google Books.
  • Pietrak, Paul. 1979. Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh Railway. Boston, NY: Self Published.