The Cornell Railroad Historical Society is open to anyone with an interest in railroads, whether historical, modern, or model trains. Our meetings are general in nature and the public is always welcome!
Meetings are held the second Tuesday of each month at The History Center, 110 N. Tioga Street, just off the Ithaca Commons, Ithaca, NY. Parking is available on surrounding streets. From north and east, take Seneca Street (bear left at the bottom of the hill) and seek parking in the Ithaca Seneca Street Parking Garage or on surrounding streets. There is a charge for parking in the garage until 11 PM. There are some free parking spaces near The History Center, used for bank customer parking during the day, but not enforced in the evenings.
From South and west, take Green St. (NY 79 E.), go around “tuning fork” onto Seneca Street. Doors open at 7:00 PM. Meetings start promptly at 7:15 PM.
Our July meeting is usually a picnic gathering at a location announced in our newsletter.
The society was formed in 1978 and became a chapter of the National Railway Historical Society (NRHS) in 1983. It was chartered as a non-profit, educational organization in 1998 by the Regents of New York State. Members are invited to join the national organization, or can also take out a local membership only, but membership is not necessary for attending meetings.
Monthly meetings: On the second Tuesday of the month. Doors open for meetings at 7:00 p.m., with the program scheduled from 7:15 - 9:00 p.m. Programs range from talks with video projections, PowerPoint talks, even color slides for older material of rail trips to movies to videos from throughout the country, even around the world. Guest speakers have included local authors of rail history, members from other organizations as well as other NRHS chapters, sometimes rail professionals. Meetings aim to inform and entertain members, guests, and visitors. Magazines, books, railroad memorabilia, and other items are available free, and at a monthly raffle. Stop by and enjoy a meeting! All members of the public are welcome.
Summer meetings: Our July meeting is generally a family picnic at locations where real trains go by. In the past CRHS has also coordinated rail excursions as well as visits to smaller and tourist railroads in our part of the country.
What else do we get for our membership?
A newsletter: CRHS publishes its own newsletter 8 - 10 times a year, the Leaky Valley, which was a term of affection for the old Lehigh Valley Railroad that served the Ithaca area. The newsletter goes to all members, either electronically via e-mail or on paper delivered by US Postal Service. The electronic version is in full color, delivered as a PDF file. It is also exchanged with more than twenty other organizations. By exchanging news and information, we keep members in touch with railroad happenings throughout the region and country.
Our mailing address is: Cornell Railroad Historical Society, Attn.: Ron Koger, 116 Candor Hill Road, Candor, NY 13743. We also have a website on Society doings & the Lehigh Valley railroad: http://www.lehighvalleyrr.com
Model railroaders: Many members are modelers, some very expert and others new to the hobby. They help one another enjoy building and operating models and modular layouts in several gauges. Look for us at the Central New York Railfair in November.
Rail history: We maintain a collection of books and articles on the Lehigh Valley, DL&W, and other lines at the Tompkins County Museum, 401 E. State St., Ithaca NY 14850 (607) 273-8284, and answer railfan questions on local railroads.
National railfanning: As the Cornell Chapter of the NRHS, our members are able to belong to the NRHS as well. NRHS is a well-respected organization of more than 17,000 members in the U.S. Chapters operate museums, run rail excursions, publish books and periodicals, and own hundreds of pieces of railroad rolling stock, from steam engines to track cars. NRHS members receive its quarterly journal, printed on glossy paper and often running to 100 pages: The Bulletin. To Join the NRHS, you need to contact them directly via their web page: https://nrhs.com/
What else? The list is long. Individual members have a fair number of accomplishments. Several are well known for their photography of trains. Members published Lehigh Valley Memories (author David Marcham, 1998) and reissued A History of Railroads in Tompkins County (by Hardy Campbell Lee, Winton Rossiter, edited by John Marcham, 1996). Most recently, a member wrote The Gangly Country Cousin (Author Herbert Trice, 2004), about the Lehigh Valley's Auburn Division. Others write for magazines and sometimes give talks for either historical societies or other chapters.
The annual NRHS dues are $50; for our local chapter only, $15 (the electronic newsletter delivered via e-mail); for the printed newsletter [not in color] mailed to your address: $25. Make checks to: CRHS. Mail $15 along with your e-mail address and we'll start sending your Leaky Valley right away.
Information supplied by John Marcham and Gene Endres