This line was abandoned in 1979.
Buffalo to Victor
— User Comments —
The Lehigh Valley main, originally constructed in 1890, was the result of the LV wanting its own access across Western NY versus interchanging with the Erie in Waverly, NY, right across the state line from Sayre. It went north from Sayre to Van Etten Jct, where the original passenger main split off to Ithaca, NY, and the Freight Main continued via Ovid, NY to Geneva where the two mains rejoined at Seneca Jct. The portion between Geneva and the Seneca Army Depot is still in place, now used as Car storage by the Fingerlakes Railway, with eventual prospects of industries opening in the now re-zoned army depot, but gone from that point south to Van Etten, and North, from the FGLK Yards in Geneva to just outside of Clifton Springs, NY, where the former Ontario Central (Now FGLK) operates through Manchester (including the old yard) on to Victor, where the tracks are severed just a few hundred feet from the Rt 251 road crossing in Victor.
The Lehigh Main was deemed redundant as part of the Conrail organizaion in the early 70s, as they would be acquiring more than enough routes across central, upstate and western NY to Buffalo and points west. However, the section between Buffalo and Batavia was kept in decent shape after March 31st 1976, with the prospect that the Delaware and Hudson was to acquire it for their own route into Buffalo, but due to the poor maintenance done in the waning years of the LV's existence, it was deemed too costly to overtake operation, and thus abandoned like the rest of the LV main across Upstate and Western NY, in 1979.
This line was not included in Conrail and remained with the LV estate. Victor to Caledonia never saw a train after C-day. A short segment east of P&L Jct. at Caledonia remains (about one mile of mainline plus interchange tracks to G&W) used for car storage. From here to Batavia also was not used after C-day except for a short segment at Rochester Jct - the branch which crossed here outlived the mainline by several years, served out of Rochester.
Batavia to Buffalo remained as a subsidized line to serve industries in Batavia. In 1979 a bridge over the former Erie branch was removed and ramp constructed to allow a connection (a switchback) from the former NYC to reach the remaining industries. This track today is operated by GVT along with former NYC tracks in Batavia.
There is a trail on the ROW in Buffalo, where it passed to the south of the Erie Bison Yard.
I've never heard the D&H thing, nor does it make any sense since the D&H was given trackage rights via the former Erie/EL Southern Tier Line to reach Buffalo. How would the D&H have reached Batavia?
In Lehigh Valley in Western NY Vol 2. Theres a section that describes post 76 C-day, that this line was to be retained for the D&H, for whatever reason. I don't have the book infront of me to provide a full answer.
I remember the LV in Buffalo. Lehigh Valley trackage did not fair well after the Conrail merger--I believe most in Buffalo was removed. Part of their trackage removed was the section through West Seneca that entered the Tift Street yards.
Regarding D&H, if you dig through the customer list on the LVRR modellers very good web site http://www.anthraciterailroads.org/lvrr/, you can see as late as 1972 LV and D&H were exchanging 30,000 (!) cars a year at Owego (not Oswego) NY. D&H had long-standing trackage rights on the Erie from Binghamton (I think) to Owego, where they could connect to LV.
By 1972, this 30,000 cars probably was not LV coal going to New England and Canada on the D&H. My guess is a lot (most?) of it was D&H traffic to Buffalo and points west from there.
So perhaps the idea was for D&H to take over the LV west of Waverly/Sayre to get to Buffalo (still using some rights post-Conrail from Binghamton to Owego.
Based on photos of the D&H trains much of the Owego interchange were CN boxcars of paper going to Mehoopany, PA and the big Charmin plant.