History

The Buffalo & Jamestown Railroad company was organized on March 4, 1872 with the aid of one million dollars from the city of Buffalo and another million dollars donated by towns along the line. Work commenced rapidly and the road was completed from Buffalo to Gowanda by October 20, 1874. At Dayton, the track passed under the tracks of the Erie main line from Salamanca to Dunkirk and continued south to Jamestown. The road was opened in sections and was completed in July 1875.

The road was never financially successful and was sold at auction in Buffalo on September 11, 1877 by George S. Wardell, the referee in the suit of "The Farmers' Loan and Trust Company against the Buffalo and Jamestown Railroad Company and others" A bid of one million dollars (the only bid) was accepted and on December 11, 1877 the Buffalo and Southwestern Railroad was incorporated.

The line was leased by the New York, Lake Erie and Western (Erie) on August 1, 1880 for an annual rental of 35 percent of the gross earnings for the line. On November 19, 1895 the Erie officially merged the line by virtue of owning 100 percent of the B&SW stock.

Much of the line still sees use. The Buffalo Southern Railroad operates the portion from Buffalo to the Erie County line at Gowanda and the New York and Lake Erie operates the line south from Gowanda to South Dayton, including an excursion train that runs in the summer. This line has been made famous by Hollywood in two feature films. In "The Natural", the restored South Dayton depot is where Robert Redford embarks on the train at the beginning of the movie. In the film "Trains, Planes and Automobiles" the New York and Lake Erie is repainted as the fictional "Contrak" ridden by Steve Martin and the late John Candy.

Maps

Timetables

Roster

  • Buffalo & Southwestern #1, 4-4-0, built November 1872 by Brooks Locomotive Works. Originally Buffalo & Jamestown #1 renumbered Erie #41. Scrapped July 1896.
  • Buffalo & Southwestern #2, 4-4-0, built November 1872 by Brooks Locomotive Works. Originally Buffalo & Jamestown #2, renumbered Erie #42. Scrapped December 1902.
  • Buffalo & Southwestern #3, 4-4-0, built December 1874 by Manchester. Originally Buffalo & Jamestown #3 renumbered Erie #108. Scrapped October 1901.
  • Buffalo & Southwestern #4, 4-4-0, built April 1875 by Manchester. Originally Buffalo & Jamestown #4. Scrapped October 1891.
  • Buffalo & Southwestern #5, 4-4-0, built November 1872 by Hinkley. A second-hand locomotive (origin unknown). Retired December 1880.
  • Buffalo & Southwestern #6, a 4-4-0, built January 1878 by Brooks Locomotive Works. Renumbered Erie #109. Scrapped July 1899.
  • Buffalo & Southwestern #7, a 4-4-0, built April 1878 by Brooks Locomotive Works. Retired November 1894.
  • Buffalo & Southwestern #8, a 4-4-0, built July 1878 by Brooks Locomotive Works. Renumbered Erie #110. Scrapped October 1902.
  • Buffalo & Southwestern #9, a 4-4-0, built July 1878 by Brooks Locomotive Works. Renumbered Erie #111. Scrapped November 1899.
  • Buffalo & Southwestern #10, a 4-4-0, built October 1878 by Brooks Locomotive Works. Retired by February 1893.
  • Buffalo & Southwestern #11, a 4-4-0, built November 1878 by Brooks Locomotive Works. Renumbered Erie #112. Rebuilt July 1897 to class D-6, Erie #335.

References

  • L. H. Everts. 1879. History of Cattaraugus Co., New York with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers. Philadelphia.
  • Railway and Locomotive Historical Society. 1974.  An Outline History of the Erie.  Railroad History number 131.
  • Minor, George. 1911. The Erie System. New York, NY: Erie Railroad Company.