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The Lehigh Valley Railroad was the chief line serving Ithaca, home of the Cornell Railroad Historical Society
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The Cornell Railroad Historical Society became a chapter of the National Railway Historical Society in 1981. In the 30 years since that time, we have grown and prospered. With recent membership levels of nearly 130, while we may be one of the smaller NRHS chapters, we are an active one, with great enthusiasm for the subjects of railroads, rail history, rail photography and other aspects of the railroad hobby.
        The City of Ithaca lies at the foot of Cayuga Lake, and is surrounded  on three sides by steep hills. It is also home to Cornell University and Ithaca College, meaning its population practically doubles when school is in session. In former years, most of these students arrived by train, but with the changes seen in the 20th century, the two main railroads serving the area, the Lehigh Valley and the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western, faded away. Nonetheless, our chapter holds both dear, especially the Lehigh Valley, sometimes known affectionately as the "Leaky Valley", which is also the name of our newsletter
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The Cornell Railroad Historical Society Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month at the History Center, 401 East State Street, Gateway Plaza, Ithaca, NY. From NY Route 13, take Green Street (NY 79 East), three traffic lights to East State Street. After third light, turn hard right into Gateway Plaza parking behind 401 (large building with two pizza shops on ground floor). If westbound on Rt. 366 or 79, make left at foot of hill to 401 (Gateway Plaza). Doors open at 7:00 PM, meetings begin at 7:15 PM, and generally last until about 9 PM We have other yearly activities, most notably our RailFair, and meetings are open to anyone. Our mailing address is :

Check out our links to available books in the list at left!
 

Cornell Railroad Historical Society
c/o Ron Koger 116 Candor Hill Road
Candor, NY 13743

 

 

We welcome your comments and suggestions.
Cornell Railroad Historical Society

E-Mail: CRHS@lightlink.com

December Meeting Brings the Excitement of Our Annual Auction
At our December meeting, persuasive auctioneer Steve Peck will sell of a variety of rail-interest items. Some will come from hidden attics and basements, others are being flown in especially from secure vaults in the mountains of Colorado and Outer Mongolia. This is everyone's chance to acquire things they never thought they would need, or to finally buy items they have desired all their life. In either event, make sure to join the CRHS Auction on December 9, 2014 at The History Center in downtown Ithaca. Doors open at 7 PM and the auction will begin by 7:15 PM.

 

John Taibi Took Us on a Trip from His New Book on "The D&H - Oneonta to Binghamton" at Our November Meeting
The November meeting of the Cornell Railroad Historical Society convened on November 11 at 7 PM at The History Center in downtown Ithaca. John Taibi, noted central New York rail author talked about his new book in the Roads, Rivers and Rails series from Depot Square Publishing. The Delaware and Hudson's Susquehanna Division Heritage Trail; Volume 2: Oneonta to Binghamton. Taibi personalized his story of the D&H and its connection to all of the towns served between the "City of the Hills" (Oneonta) and the "Parlor City" (Binghamton) in the form of a drive along the railroad. The book contains more than 600 first-generation color, sepia, and black & white illustrations - from vintage stereoviews and post cards to color photographs of current owner Canadian Pacific Rail sharing the steel ribbons with Norfolk Southern. John proved an exciting and engaging speaker and we excitedly await his next visit, probably about the next work he is researching: the Adirondack Railway.
October Return to the Bath and Hammondsport
The October meeting of the Cornell Railroad Historical Society welcomed back Greg Dickinson, our member/expert on all things rail equipment and history. Greg has been photographing the resurrected Bath and Hammondsport in its new incarnation serving the Steuben County Industrial Development Area and other industries along the line north and south of Bath. He showed us slides taken a few years ago of operations on the B&H, including what must have been the final freight run from Rheims and the last remaining wineries on the line. It was just one freight car, but he caught the turn on a beautiful fall day, just appropriate for our October meeting.
Steve Peck Toured Our Chapter Over the Alaska Railroad in September
At the September 8, 2014 meeting of the Cornell Railroad Historical Society, our vice-president Steve Peck spoke and showed a video of his trip along the Alaska Railroad in June. Peck spent part of the month working on the construction of a fishing camp north of the Arctc Circle, and then returned to Fairbanks and took the train south to Seward. He also had a stop-off in Denali National Park, but did not go into that in detail. His video, shot on the train, showed many aspects of the trip and gave our members a good idea of what the trip was like. Some will be booking for next summer shortly!
No Meeting Scheduled for August
The Cornell Railroad Historical Society will not be having a meeting in the month of August. This is our usual time to relax and recuperate from the labors of the past year. Like our esteemed Congress, we repair to various hideouts to raise money, talk to friends who know nothing about trains, and prepare for the coming busy fall season. In reality, we usually cannot convince anyone to come and present a program in August, so some members merely head for the nearest railroad line to see what's passing by.
July Picnic Meeting Held in Fine Weather
On a bright, relatively mellow and sunny morning of July 12 in Weedsport, New York, the Cornell Railroad Historical Society gathered for their annual picnic. The spot is an overpass of the CSX main line across central New York. Members arrived shortly before 11:00 AM, and already spotted a couple of trains before the official start time. A gas gril was set up, and picnic foods put out around noon. One unusual train was a welded rail train heading west at fairly slow speed. It stopped with the Fred end in view, apparently waiting before the crossovers west of Town Line Road, so that other freights could get around it. Once it moved on west, there was a lull, allowing time for the linch. Later operations saw the eastbound Lateshore Limited, running some 3 hours behind time, and the westbound Empire Service, just about spot on time. The group later adjourned to the Town Line Road crossing, and enjoyed several more freights passing.
CSX eastbound freight rolls past the Town Line Road crossing, while CRHS members (behind crossing gates) catch the action. (Photo: Endres) CRHS picnic attendees line the Oakland Road overpass to catch a westbound CSX manifest. (Photo: Endres)
June 10 Meeting: Greg Dickinson Explains It All

 

We had hoped that John Taibi, noted rail author with many books to his credit on the railroads of the central New York region, would visit the Cornell Railroad Historical Society for our June meeting. He has recently released his second volume in the Roads, Rivers and Rails series on the Delaware and Hudson. These books, sumptuously printed by Depot Square Publishing of Ohio, cover the history and operations of the D&H from Oneonta to Binghamton. Unfortunately, due to editorial confusion and absence from the meeting, we instead had Greg Dickinson, our member noted for his detailed knowledge of operations in and around Elmira, giving a presentation with numerous photos on the railroads in that area. Greg, as usual, did a great job in providing information no one else has such a grasp on.

 

May Meeting Viewed Photos of the Current Bath and Hammondsport
Our May meeting, held at the History Center on May13, was conducted by Steve Peck and Greg Dickinson. They showed photos of the current short line, Bat and Hammondsport, which operates a portion of the old Lackawanna line between Bath and Cohocton. The original line ran from Hammondsport, on Keuka Lake, to Bath, connecting with the Erie and the Lackawanna. THAT was the "Champagne Trail" but with the demise of the wineries, much of the line's business evaporated, like the bubbles in a glass of champagne. We did get to see a video of current operations, and Greg also showed some somewhat related slides, since his main presentation was inadvertently left behind.
Reports on CRHS Meetings of 2011 and previous years

Page revised by Gene Endres, November 4, 2014