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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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CRHS Badges and Memorabilia

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

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.
Special Date for April Meeting: APRIL 1
In cooperation with our host venue, The History Center of Ithaca, New York, the April meeting of the Cornell Railroad Historical Society was held on April 1 instead of our usual second Tuesday. We enjoyed a new video on the Lehigh Valley Railroad. The date change was to allow the museum time to mount their ambitious new display on the creation of the Moog Synthesizer in Trumansburg, NY: "Switched On"
The Hard Coal Roads — What Went Wrong?
For the March meeting of the Cornell Railroad Historical Society, we viewed a new video on the "Anthracite Roads" — the coal-hauling railroads operating out of the area of Pennsylvania where the rocklike, hot-burning fuel was mined. The Lehigh Valley, Reading, Erie, Lackawanna, Delaware & Hudson, as well as short lines like the Lehigh and Hudson River and Lehigh and New England were made wealthy by their coal business and then were impoverished when that business disappeared. It was a well-photographed and colorful look at the trains on these lines, though the analysis of how things went bad was on the thin side.
Rail Photographer Frank Barry Returned in February
The February meeting of the Cornell Railroad Historical Societywelcomed back Frank Barry, who is working on a book of photographs of his marvelous work following steam in Mexico during the 1950s. Barry was able to document the last days of steam on the federally-owned Mexican railroads during that time. His unique pictures have been honored by the Center for Railroad Photography and Art, and his stories of how he came to obtain the images make for fascinating story-telling. It was a special evening of rarely seen pictures and stories of the little railroads that were hardly noted in their day and are virtually forgotten now. Frank managed to catch the last mainline operations of steam in Mexico on the oddly double-track but separated line between Mexico City and Queretaro.
January Meeting:How Central New York Was Populated by Rail
In January our editor and historian Gene Endres presented his Powerpoint program on how people arrived in central New York via the railroads. The presentation included a thumbnail history of railroads and steam locomotion, and contained several startling revelations from the US Department of Commerce about how little the population of rural New York counties changed over the railroad era. The meeting was on January 14 at The History Center in downtown Ithaca.
Reports on CRHS Meetings of 2011 and previous years

Page revised by Gene Endres, July 31, 2014