THE ARCADE AND ATTICA RAILROAD

THE ARCADE AND ATTICA RAILROAD

Step back in time aboard the last operating steam train excursion in New York State . . . we are an authentic operating short line railroad. We hold the distinction of being one of the last “common carriers” – running freight and passenger trains weekly. “Welcome Aboard The Train To Yesterday . . .”

Your journey aboard the Arcade & Attica Railroad begins even before you board the train. As you enter the historic station, you are surrounded by the history of railroading in America. Tour our historic station and view all the exhibits, from antique railroad lanterns to switch locks, even to an old switch stand. Nostalgic original photographs depict an era of days gone by. Next, you pass our authentic ticket office, where the ticket master will be glad to sell you tickets for the day’s train trip. Tour our small gift shop and snack bar while waiting to board your train. With an “All Aboard”, the whistle blows, and the whoosh of the air brakes releasing can be heard. Very soon, the engineer has gotten the train up to speed and you are on your way, enjoying your 90-plus minute ride through history. Along the way, you will see a few random appearances of today; for the most part though, the trip is through the countryside and farmlands that have remained virtually unchanged since the line was originally laid in the 1880’s.

The journey into the Curriers Depot is quite enjoyable, as there is no ride like that behind a steam engine. Once at the depot, the locomotive uncouples from the train, and moves onto a siding, and stops, where you are free to look at the engine, take pictures, and talk with the crew as they prepare #18 for her return journey. As the engine begins to move once more, moving tender first, the engineer blows the whistle for the crossing. The Conductor throws the switch, and the engine moves forward once more to couple up with the end of the train.

Watch as the crew couples up the engine, and then runs the brake test.

 

With three sharp reports on the whistle, the engine slowly backs up, for the return trip to Arcade. Whistling once again for the crossing, the engine picks up speed, and before you know it, you are once again “buried” in nature. This time, ride on the open gondola, which is now directly in front of the engine. As the train climbs the hill, coming out of Curriers, listen to the enchanting sounds of the exhaust steam, as the engine chugs on. Finally, arriving back in Arcade, watch as they uncouple the engine from the train.

Through out the year, we offer special excursions, some powered by our steamer, others by our vintage World War Two-era diesel engine. Our regular excursions run every weekend from Memorial Day Weekend until the last full weekend of September. The month of October is Fall Foliage month and we will be operating on an extended schedule which includes Fridays and 2 trains each day on the weekends.
Our passenger excursions are powered by one of our two World War II era diesel-electric locomotives,which are also used weekly in our freight operations. Both engines were built by General Electric at their locomotive facility in Erie, PA. The 44-ton centercab No111 was built in 1947 and delivered new to the Arcade & Attica Railroad.

 

No112 was built in 1945 and delivered to the United States Navy. The A&A purchased the engine from the City of Colorado Springs Railroad in 1988 to supplement the ailing engine No111.

 

 

OPENING HOURS

 

MONDAY-FRIDAY

9:00 am – 5:00 pm

​SATURDAY-SUNDAY

9:00 am – 6:00 pm

ADDRESS

 

278 Main Street

Arcade, NY  14009

aarailroad@yahoo.com

585-492-3100

 

 

Our History

. . . enjoy yourself listening to the click of the rails and the steam whistle echoing off the rural hillsides on this little journey into the past. May it revive pleasant memories of by-gone days for you and give to today’s generation, many of whom have never seen a steam locomotive, a window into transportation history.

 

As railroads were stretching across the country, the farmers of Western New York saw the perfect opportunity for a link to the big cities. Many small organizations formed that began building railroads throughout the countryside. Despite many stops and starts, railroads were built stretching across the picturesque Allegheny River valley. When the Pennsylvania Railroad wanted to connect to Buffalo they found the best way to do so would be to purchase all the small incomplete railroads and link them together. As a result the Buffalo, Attica & Arcade Railroad was formed.

The narrow gauge line would connect Attica, through Arcade, to the Pennyslvania state line then onto Pittsburgh. In 1880 the line officially opened between Attica and Curriers Corners where our excursion stops today. The rails you ride on today were first spiked down in 1881 and standardized in 1895 to connect with the Pennsylvania Railroad.

By 1917 the B.A.& A. Railroad was being operated by the Buffalo and Susquehanna Railroad which was thinking of closing down this section of the line. The businessmen along the B.A.& A. were very concerned. The Merrell-Soule Company of Arcade (predecessor of the Borden Co.) operated a large milk processing plant and they along with others needed rail service. Facing closure, interested parties began to raise money needed to purchase the section of line. Stock was sold to farmers, merchants and anyone else who was interested. 365 people raised $79,000 and formed the Arcade and Attica Railroad Corporation – and our story begins. The small corporation still owns the railroad today.

This railroad has never been blessed with a lot of luck. In addition to many bankruptcies, numerous washouts have taken their toll on the tiny railroad. The largest of these washouts occured in January of 1957 when the Tonawanda Creek flooded its banks taking several hundred feet of track with it. At that time it would have cost $72,000 to repair the damage…an amount the stockholders could not afford. In an emergency session the Board of Directors voted to suspend all operations between North Java and Attica on January 25th. Nearly all of the freight business was between Arcade and North Java anyway so it was not a difficult decision. Permission was granted from the ICC and the line from North Java to Attica was abandoned.

The railroad has an active freight service which has transported milk, cheese, grain, cattle, gasoline, coal and mail. Thirteen boxcars were purchased especially for carrying “Cremora” all over the nation while the Arcade Borden’s plant was in opertaion. The longest train ever operated by the A.& A. occurred in the 1920’s when the line handled 50 cars of “New Improved Michigan Limestone” out of Attica. With engine #5 in the lead, cars were set off at each station along the way until the train arrived at Arcade with two engines and twenty five cars. The conductor on the special was Gus Berwanger, engineer – Simeon Kilton and Rube Roblie – fireman. One of the more interesting operations of the railroad was service to the Attica State prison. The Erie Railroad serviced that area but their engines were too big to get inside of the prison so the job came to the A&A with its smaller engines. No “extra” passengers ever took the train out of the prison due to the watchful eyes of the inspectors.

 

The 1930’s were boom years for the Arcade & Attica, so when the depression hit, they were able to stay afloat without laying off a single employee. Quite an enviable record!

 

In 1941,with the advent of the diesel locomotive and the need to reduce expenses, the railroad purchased #110, a 44Ton General Electric diesel engine. The A.& A. became one of the very first railroads in the nation to conduct operations with diesel power! #110, the first new locomotive ever owned by the company, performed so well and cut expenses so drastically, that it literally saved the A.& A. in 1941. She became “famous”, becoming the subject of numerous ads in the trade papers.

 

 

 

 

In the late 1950’s, freight business began to slide and something had to be done in order to save the short line. The decision was made to try steam powered passenger excursions. #18, a 1920 2-8-0 American locomotive, was purchased in 1962 from the Boyne City Railroad in Michigan along with two Delaware, Lackawanna and Western coaches. The inaugural run was on July 27 1962 for railroad officials and the press. Regular summertime excursions began in August of the same year. During that first season of only 27 days, 17,000 paying passengers were carried in only two cars. The trains ran from morning to night. In 1963 #14, a Baldwin 4-6-0 was purchased from the Escanaba and Lake Superior Railroad and more Delaware, Lackawanna and Western coaches were purchased. The line came to be known as the “Grand Scenic Route”. Bestes Online Casino

Today, the railroad is still “Comin’ on Strong”. We run regular freight service and passenger excursions that include special events such as Civil War Days, Murder Mystery Rides, Fall Foliage Tours, Halloween Rides, and Santa Express Trains!

 

 

The Arcade & Attica

by Pete Swanson

The yard scene at Arcade on June 17, 1990, with 2-8-0 18 firing up in front of the three-stall wooden enginehouse produced a timeless shortline image. Photo: Pete SwansonThe Arcade & Attica is a 15-mile short line in western New York State that offers both steam-powered passenger excursions and diesel freights on a line that is colorful and rich in history. It had its beginnings back in the mid-1800s as a number of failed railroad companies attempted to make a go of a three-foot gauge railroad between Attica and Arcade and extensions south of Arcade. Initial connections were made with the Erie at Attica and at Cuba, N.Y. The key route up the Tonawanda Valley between Arcade and Attica saw the names of several unsuccessful companies: the Attica & Allegheny Valley; the Attica & Arcade; the Tonawanda Valley; the Tonawanda Valley & Cuba and then the Buffalo, Attica & Arcade. kolikkopelit

Under the Buffalo, Attica & Arcade, the railroad was converted to standard gauge in 1895. By 1896 a two-mile connection was built from Arcade to Arcade Junction to establish an interchange with the Pennsylvania Railroad, and lines south of Arcade were later abandoned. In 1917 the Buffalo, Attica & Arcade failed and entered receivership. Since many local businesses depended heavily on the railroad for service, the line was purchased by local interests, and the Arcade & Attica Railroad was incorporated. (The one other railroad in Arcade was the Wellsville & Buffalo line of the ill-fated Buffalo & Susquehanna, which was built in 1906, only to withdraw in 1916 to the Wellsville-Galeton segment that surv*ed into the 1970s as the Wellsville, Addison & Galeton. The B&S interchanged with the BA&A near today’s Arcade enginehouse.)
The Arcade & Attica’s first diesel, 1941 44-tonner 110, was crossing Cattaraugus Creek bridge in Arcade in 1967 with some now-classic box cars in tow.  Photo: Ed Wojtas

The Arcade & Attica

The new Arcade & Attica served the local communities tapping the farm industry and even attracting new freight customers over the years. Passenger traffic, important in the early years during the infancy of the automobile, dwindled by the 1940s and in 1951 ceased altogether. The freight traffic increased during the Second World War and was aided most by A&A’s decision to dieselize. The railroad purchased its first diesel 44-tonner, number 110, in 1941 from General Electric. They say it literally saved the railroad that year, and the line enjoyed a period of prosperity in the following years. In 1947 a second 44-tonner, the 111, was purchased following a wreck of the 110. The 110 was soon repaired, and the two diesel units spelled the end to the A&A’s steam era with the retirement of the last old steamer, 4-6-0 number 6. new online casino

In 1957 the A&A experienced several washouts on the line along Tonawanda Creek between Varysburg and Attica, and the railroad, not able to afford repairs, decided to abandon the line north of North Java, since most of the freight traffic existed on the south half of the railroad. The Arcade & Attica remained in name only, no longer serving Attica. Also lost when this part of the line went was A&A’s unique switching operation at the Attica State Prison, where tight clearances discouraged the Erie’s road locomotives but readily accommodated the A&A’s ‘tonners.
The 65-ton 112 had a short freight northbound over the new box culvert at North Java on September 2, 1994. Photo: Pete Swanson

Return to steam

By the early 1960s freight traffic had dropped significantly, and the railroad began looking for a serviceable steam locomotive and passenger equipment to operate summer excursions to increase the A&A’s profits. In 1962 it purchased 1920-built Alco/Cooke 2-8-0 18 from the Boyne City Railroad in Michigan and then two ex-DL&W coaches to inaugurate the passenger excursions. Later in 1963, Baldwin 4-6-0 14 was purchased from the Escanaba & Lake Superior. She was built in 1917 and was a gem, having been built with a superheater unit. Since the 1960s, the two steamers have alternated in service with only one in operation at a time due to the costs of keeping them maintained. More passenger cars were added to include a total of six ex-DL&W Boonton coaches and two rare Boonton combines. An open gondola was also added to the regular passenger consist. Arcade & Attica’s passenger excursions became very popular throughout the 1960s and 1970s, and many thousands of people rode the line during each season. The one millionth passenger was recognized during the 1992 season; that year also saw the 30th anniversary of the excursions and the 75th anniversary of the incorporation of the Arcade & Attica. cassino online

Today’s Arcade & Attica is well worth a trip to ride and photograph and just plain experience the atmosphere of this rural and pastoral railroad. The A&A has survived for more than 75 years through thick and thin, and its existence today is owed to its employees, patrons and local supporters over the years.

Arcade, N.Y., is the headquarters for the railroad and is located on Route 39 and Route 98, about 40 miles southeast of Buffalo and 74 miles southwest of Rochester. The A&A’s general offices are located inside the Arcade depot accessible right off of Route 39 in the center of town. An equipment display is a short walk south of the depot. On an isolated siding is a small 0-4-0 fireless cooker owned by the A&A, along with the wooden observation car Warwick built in 1886 for the New York, Ontario & Western and reportedly used by President Grover Cleveland on his honeymoon. This car is open from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. for tours on excursion days. The A&A’s enginehouse is just to the south of the depot area off Mill Street, as well as the unused old sandhouse. The three-stall enginehouse is an ancient wood structure which sits off the east side of the wye where the freight line to Arcade Junction and the Conrail connection swings to the west. This two-mile segment of the A&A is normally freight-only and crosses Route 39 just west of the center of town with a traffic light used as crossing control. Just east of here at Bixby Hill Road are A&A cabooses 303 and 304 on display. Between the Route 39 crossing and the junction, the tracks parallel Route 39 on the north side for another mile before ducking back under Route 39 and into the Conrail interchange yard. On the east end of the overpass is Arcade’s McDonalds restaurant for quick food between train times! The stretch between Arcade and Arcade Junction for many years was the source of much revenue for the A&A, with many freight customers. Today, it generates only a trickle of business. The local Agway still receives shipments, and John Sixt Lumber Company in Chaffee gets its lumber delivered to a dock located near the wye in Arcade. The small interchange yard at Arcade Junction is adjacent to Conrail’s ex-Pennsy Buffalo-Harrisburg line. Two or three times a week a Conrail local makes an interchange for the A&A. The large feed mill at the south end of the yard is switched by Conrail. Conrail recently sold the coal country branches south of Keating to R.J. Corman, and the Buffalo line is also on the list for sale, so the future interchange partner for the A&A may not be Conrail but some other regional operator.

The line north of the depot sees both passenger trains and freights, and after crossing Route 39 near the depot, also protected by a traffic light, the line crosses the bridge over Cattaraugus Creek. This is the scenic highlight on the passenger runs. The line then passes through the northern outskirts of town in sight of Route 98 for a few miles. A few road crossings are encountered before the line disappears into the valley along Monkey Run Creek. From this point to Curriers, the line is very isolated and only accessible from farm roads. At Curriers (located on Chaffee Road, off Route 98) is the small bright orange A&A depot and passing siding, the turn-around point for the regular passenger excursions. Northward from Curriers, the A&A crosses Route 98 and passes through the town of Java Center. Another The mixed train at Curriers depot created another timeless shortline image on October 13, 1993. Photo: Pete Swanson

Ten-wheeler 14 is presently out of service pending overhaul, but back on June 25, 1966, she was northbound on the Cattaraugus Creek trestle at Arcade. Photo: Fred M. Springer
orange A&A depot is located here but is unused. North of Java Center, the line traverses a small trestle over Beaver Meadow Road and Beaver Meadow Creek. Just north of this bridge is a very photogenic pond next to the east side of the line immediately south of the Welch Road crossing. At North Java, the current end-of-the-line, the A&A’s prime freight customer, Reisdorf Brothers feed mill, dominates the landscape and is the only source of freight traffc keeping the north end of the railroad alive. The Curriers to North Java segment is primarily freight-only, but occasional special passenger trains and mixed trains with steam and diesel power have ventured up this end of the A&A.

Regular passenger operations on the A&A run weekends and holidays from Memorial Day weekend right through to the last weekend in October. Steam power is almost always used, and trips leave the Arcade depot at 12:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. each operating day for the round trip to Curriers. There is an extended schedule for July, August and October that includes two round trips added on Wednesdays in mid-summer and three round trips to Curriers during October on weekend days, plus a 1:00 p.m. train on Fridays. Each weekend throughout the season special events are held at the Curriers depot for the passengers’ layover mid-way on the excursion. On a few occasions during the year, special passenger trips have operated on some of A&A’s freight-only trackage, especially on the line up to North Java. Special weekend railfan excursions and even weekday mixed trains have traveled the entire length of the A&A. Steam or diesel, or both, have powered these interesting trips. Other destinations for certain trips north of Curriers are to the Sad Dog Saloon in Java Center and the Beaver Meadow Audubon Center on Welch Road near North Java. Annual December “Christmas in
Today’s steam excursions are handled by ex-Boyne City 2-8-0 18, which was reflecting in the pond near Java Center on a special to North Java on May 22, 1993. Photo: Pete Swanson

Curriers” trips operate and are always diesel-powered because of the winter conditions. Charter trips occasionally run a few times a year also. School groups commonly take advantage of this. Even wedding ceremonies and receptions have been held on special A&A passenger trains. The railroad is very receptive to groups wishing to schedule a special train.

Steam power for the passenger trains during the 1990s so far has been 2-8-0 18. Ten-Wheeler 14 has been out-of-service since the end of the 1988 season with $95,000 worth of flue and boiler work needed, and a fund-raising campaign has been ongoing the past few years to generate money for its overhaul. Meanwhile, the 18 has been keeping the steam alive on the A&A.
The 65-ton 112 had just spotted a hopper at the Reisdorf feed mill in North Java on September 2, 1994. Photo: Pete Swanson

Freight on the A&A

Freight operations are two or three days a week, usually Monday, Wednesday and Friday — year around. Traffic is mostly inbound soy beans, corn and fertilizer destined for the Reisdorf Brothers mill at North Java. The usual freight power is GE 65-tonner 112, acquired in 1988 from a gravel company in Colorado. This brightly-colored yellow and orange unit retains its paint scheme from its previous owner. The 44-tonner 111, still in A&A’s traditional darker orange and black, is kept operational and is a standby unit for the 112. The old 110 is out-of-service and currently stored.

On a normal weekday freight run, the 112 is cranked up and runs light to Arcade Junction to pick up any loads dropped off by Conrail. Departure from the enginehouse is around 8:00 a.m. After cars are picked up at the junction, the trek up the line to North Java begins. The freight train will get to Reisdorf Brothers mill sometime in the late morning and arrival back in Arcade in early afternoon. A trip back to Arcade Junction is necessary if empties are brought back south. During the winter months, snow likes to pile up from the Lake Erie-enhanced squalls, and the Arcade & Attica fights back with frequent snowplow extras with a venerable wedge plow.

Railfanning the Arcade & Attica can be leisurely and very rewarding. A long weekend can be spent on the A&A photographing the freight on a Friday or Monday and enjoying the steam excursions on Saturday and Sunday. The early morning departure of the freights is excellent for good lighting both northbound and southbound. The slow track speed allows for a good photo at just about every scenic spot on the line. The regular steam passenger trains are a bit diffcult to photograph, however. Both steam locomotives are pointed in a northerly direction and are quite back-lit for photographing the smokebox end on a sunny day. Returning from Curriers, the engine runs tender-first with the open gondola next to the engine.

I suggest riding the 12:30 p.m. train, which can be fun for the steam fan, riding in the open car on the southbound leg of the trip, since you can stand just inches away from the smokebox and stack. After a good dose of soot and cinders, better photographs are possible with side views of the steamer on the northbound 3:00 p.m. train. The best lighting for shooting the steam engine is had by catching one of the special mixed trains to North Java which leave Arcade early in the morning. Other weekday charters using steam or diesel usually depart earlier in the morning also. The bridge over Cattaraugus Creek in Arcade is a must for pictures, as are the two ponds on the freight line north of Curriers (the small one off Route 98 just before Java Center and the large reflecting pond near the Welch Road crossing closer to North Java). There are enough intersecting crossroads along the line, and chasing is never a problem. I suggest using DeLorme’s New York State topographical map to find your way around the railroad.

For passenger train information call 800/841-2418, and to check on freight runs the number is 716/492-3100. For brochures and additional information write to the Arcade & Attica P.O. Box 246 at 278 Main Street, Route 39, Arcade, NY 14009.

After switching the Reisdorf Brothers feed mill at North Java, 65-tonner 112 is southbound over Beaver Meadow Creek and Beaver Meadow Road. Photo: Bruce Kelly

The A&A offers both short line diesel freight and steam era passenger photography for the visitor. The 2-8-0 18 had a passenger train at Arcade depot on September 11, 1988. Passengers run on schedule while freights run as needed. Photo: Pete Swanson
Future prospects

There have been some recent developments concerning the Arcade & Attica’s future operations in the village of Arcade. The A&A has owned a large parcel of land near its main line just north of the village for years, and a new roundhouse/depot/museum and a visitors center have been proposed for the site. The general offices would stay in the old station building downtown and everything else would be moved to the new location. The ex-CN turntable bridge from Fort Erie, Ontario, has already been purchased and moved to this site. The idea is basically on hold for now, and much more planning and a great amount of funding are needed to make any of this materialize. This could someday be an exciting new chapter in the Arcade & Attica’s future, but for now the railroad is concentrating its efforts on what it already has.

Some well-needed track rehabilitation is one of the next upcoming projects for the A&A, since some old 70-pound rail still exists up the line, and the roadbed and ties are in rough shape. Work on passenger car interiors and the Arcade depot are other projects currently in progress. Incidentally, the old enginehouse and Arcade depot, as well as the trackage itself, are listed in the National Historical Register, so work on these structures and track is essential.

The Friends of the Arcade & Attica Railroad is a not-for-profit group recently begun to ensure that funds are available for these improvement projects. A couple of new pieces of equipment has arrived in Arcade from the Western New York Railway Historical Society. In 1993 the ex-Erie caboose C216, owned by the WNYRHS, was brought in and moved to the enginehouse area for storage and future display. Arriving in 1994 was the WNYRHS’s ex-South Buffalo Alco S2 number 77. When more track work is completed, and if freight traffc increases, the Alco may be leased by the A&A, but current weight restrictions on the line prohibit its use.

With a few new things to see and the nostalgia of the railroad, which has never disappeared, the Arcade & Attica is a unique blend of old and new worthy of a friendly visit.

 

FAQ’S AND POLICIES

 

BASIC POLICIES

All tickets sold by the seat. “One ticket fits all”. Ages 1 yr – 100+. Children 1 year and younger sit free on a lap.
Luggage, strollers, coolers, backpacks and other assorted “freight” are not permitted on the passenger coaches.

Pre-paid tickets are good for the ride on the specific date and time the reservation was made for.

OFFICE HOURS MON.-THURS. 9AM-3PM.

 

REFUND / CANCELLATION POLICIES

Requests for Refunds will be handled on an individual basis. In most cases a replacement ticket for another ride will be issued dependent on the reason for the refund request.

All Refund Requests for “reservation only- limited seating events” such as MURDER MYSTERY DINNER THEATER or WINE TASTING SPECIALS must be received no later than TWO WEEKS prior to your trip. All sales will be final and no refunds will be granted after this point. For complete cancellations at any time a $10 processing fee will be retained.

Pre-paid Ticket Reservations for rides designated as SPECIAL EVENTS must be cancelled at least 48 hours in advance to receive a refund. After this point ALL SALES ARE FINAL and NO REFUNDS or CREDITS will be granted.

A $10 fee is charged to refund any reservation paid by Credit Card

No refunds will be given after the train has departed the station.

No refunds are given for group no shows.

We have never cancelled a scheduled train ride, however should there be the need to cancel a train ride refunds or exchanges for future rides will be gladly given.

 

DISCLAIMERS

Our Steam locomotive burns soft coal. Occasionally cinders and sooty water may spray from the smoke stack and soil clothing. The Arcade & Attica Railroad does not assume any responsibility for soiled clothing.

We reserve the right to alter schedules and substitute motive power as operating circumstances warrant.

 

 

Jamestown NY to Arcade & Attica Railroad Depot  69 Miles about a 1 Hour 10 Min. Drive

Hornell NY to Arcade & Attica Railroad Depot  60 Miles about a 1 Hour  Drive

Niagara Falls NY to Arcade & Attica Railroad Depot  60 Miles about a 1 Hour  Drive

Olean NY to Arcade & Attica Railroad Depot  35 Miles about a 35 Min. Drive

Rochester NY to Arcade & Attica Railroad Depot  80 Miles about a 1 Hour 20 Min. Drive

Buffalo NY to Arcade & Attica Railroad Depot  40 Miles about a 40 Min. Drive

 

 

*Arcade and Attica Railroad provides this Privacy Policy to inform you of our policies and procedures regarding the collection, use and disclosure of personal information we receive from users of our ticketing, patron management, marketing and fund raising services our website located at www.aarailroad.com and its subdomains (“Site”) and any other services offered by Arcade and Attica Railroad in connection with the Site (any and all of the foregoing the “Services”). This Privacy Policy applies only to information that you provide to us through the Services.

 

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