New York, Lake Erie & Western Railroad


The New York, Lake Erie and Western Railroad Company (NYLE&W) was incorporated on April 26, 1878 as the successor to the Erie Railway Company and was the third incarnation of the company commonly known as the Erie Railroad. In many ways, it was during this period that the Erie matured from small railroad connecting New York City with Buffalo into a major eastern trunk railroad.

A significant achievement of the New York, Lake Erie & Western was the conversion from 6 foot gauge to standard gauge (4 feet, 8 1/2 inches). The entire main line from New York to Buffalo was converted on Sunday, June 22, 1880. A newspaper article from the period describes how this was accomplished.

In 1880, the Chicago and Erie Railroad was completed from Hammond, Indiana on the outskirts of Chicago to a connection with the New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio Railroad at Marion, Ohio. This allowed the NYLE&W a route from New York to Chicago, via its connection with the New York, Pennsylvania & Ohio at Salamanca, New York. On March 6, 1883 the NYLE&W leased the New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio Railroad, giving it complete access to the Windy City.

This pass was issued to Mrs. C. L. Shafer, wife of Engineer Shafer on August 12, 1883 to travel from Dunkirk to Friendship.

The NYLE&W also saw the institution of the its first limited express from New York to Chicago. In July, 1885 the NYLE&W began it's limited service in competition with the New York Central and Pennsylvania railroads. It was slower than its rivals, 28 hours versus 26, and left New York City in the evening instead of the morning. Though slower than its rivals, it is substantially better than the 36 hours the "Day Express" from New York to Chicago was scheduled for in 1884.

This 1884 NYLE&W pass was good for passage between Buffalo and Portage.
This 1880 NYLE&W pass has a nice engraving of the bridge at Portage.

The New York, Lake Erie and Western Railroad Company, along with many others, was a victim of the 1893 depression and went into receivership in May of that year. On November 3, 1895 the company was purchased by the Erie Railroad Company.

Lines and Stations


Newspaper Articles

Other References




  • Carleton, Paul. 1988. The Erie Railroad Story.
    Comments: This focuses mainly on Erie locomotives.
  • Hungerford, Edward. 1949. Men of Erie. New York, NY: Random House
    Comments: A very good history of the Erie Railroad.
  • Westing, Frederick. 1970. Erie Power. Medina, OH: Alvin F. Staufer.
    Comments: A great book on Erie locomotives.