on the buttons
Today, with the NY&P Railroad having permission from the Commerce Commission to again quit business, recalls the history of the 54 mile road. This little railroad has played quite a part in the development of this section.
Joseph B Rumsey of Oswayo was the father of the road. Known in early years as the Olean, Oswayo and Eastern Railroad, the building began at Genesee, where connection was made with the Buffalo and Susquehanna railroad.
The road was opened from Genesee to Rose Lake in 1893, and into Oswayo a year later. Work begun in the opposite direction and was completed as far as Rexville in 1895 and connected with the Erie at Cannisteo in september 1896. Construction was delayed year but completed from Oswayo to Millport in 1899, and into Shinglehouse the next year. Final construction was halted in 1901 when connection was made at the Shawmut line in Ceres.
Business was good in the early days when there were few motor cars and everyone went by train.
Excursion trains with several passenger coaches were run on the average of every week or so, bring thousands of people into Shinglehouse to see the wonderful glass plant. Excuration trains run to Rose Lake in the summer time, to the Hornell Fair in the fall, and into Hornell and Olean (over the Shawmut) when some special attraction appeared at a theater.
However, in September 1916, the railroad applied for permission to quit business as it had not been a paying proposition for years.This request was finally granted, and operation from Genesee to Cannisteo ceased in december 1917.
A movement was begun to save the railroad from the scrap heap, the owner offering to sell for $325,000. 20 men were found who agreed to take $5,000 each in stock, and by August 1919 the necessary capital was raised to purchase the road. W.W.Crittenden of Oswayo was the leader in this work.
In 1919 the following directors were named in the reorganization . John F. Stone of Coudersport, John Troy of Olean, N.E. Coaster of Greenwood and Churchill Cobb of Spring Mills. Stock subscriptions were taken by nearly all the manufacturing concerns line, farmers and business men.
Eight miles of track had been taken up near Whitesville before the deal had been completed, but was at once re-laid and the entire line put in good shape, once more. Passenger train service was discontinued in 191?, but passengers were carried in the coach of a freight train, and later in the caboose for a few years.
The little railroad has taken much abuse from the jokesters. About the best one was the story of Guy M. Beasor, General Manager, attending a meeting of the railroad magnates. In the course of talk the snow removal problem came up. In the conversation were head men of railroads operating thruout the Rocky Mountains.
Mr. Beasor stated that the snow bothered his railroad, too. One of the men politely asked the length of the railroad to which Mr. Beasor replied " 54 miles". A hem snorted the Santa Fe man, " build a shed over it!"
In 1923 the road was operated at a loss of $9,000, according to reports, and at that time regular freight train service was discontinued, and the road operated as now , only when business warranted.
During the past few years business of this railroad was fairly good. Much macadam road was being built in the Oswayo valley and many car loads of crushed rock were hauled the length of the valley, from Ceres to Genesee. Then came the extension of the deep sand gas field to Ellisburg and Andrews Settlement. Much of the big heavy casing and pipe for pipe lines were carried in over the railroad.
But a disastrous blow struck this little railroad last July when a flood swept the Hornell-Cannisteo district and wiped out a large trestle near the terminal town and destroyed several miles of track. A freight train is now operated once or twice a week between Whitesville and Ceres.
In some places you can still see evidence of a railroad long forgotten, and If you look hard enough , you might even find an old railroad spike or a tie laying about in the woods which have grown in the areas where the railroad once traveled between these towns, and through the Oswayo Valleys here in :
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Last Update December 21, 2002
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