1825 
- The first railroad is organized in Rochester. Hoping to connect the Erie Canal downtown with the lake port at Charlotte.
              This was the "Rochester Canal and Railway company" This rail line was powered by horses, the steam locomotive
               had not yet arrived. Construction did not begin until 1832.

1832  - The first rails are laid for the horse-drawn "Rochester Canal and Railway company". Three miles of rail were laid
              between Rochester and Carthage,
along the east side of the Genesee.
              Carthage was a port at the Lower Falls, today where Driving Park ave and St. Paul street intersect,
              at Kodak's Hawkeye plant. This line was only used until 1839, when it was abandoned.

1837
- May 11, The first steam powered train leaves Rochester, bound for Batavia, on the Tonawanda Railroad.

            (future NYC mainline West of Rochester.) The first locomotives for the Tonawanda had to brought in via the
            Erie Canal, since this first railroad was not yet connected to any other outside railroad.

1840 - Auburn & Rochester Railroad arrives. (future NYC Auburn Road)

1840-1844 - The Tonawanda and the A&R have their stations a few blocks apart in downtown Rochester,
                       but they are not physically
connected! finally, in 1844, the two railroads connect, making,
                       for the first time, a continous rail network between
Buffalo and Albany.

1850 - The Auburn & Rochester and The Auburn & Syracuse combine to form the Rochester, Auburn & Syracuse RR.

1850 - The Rochester & Tonawanda and The Buffalo & Attica combine to form the Buffalo & Rochester RR.

1853 – Rochester, Auburn & Syracuse RR builds a second line East out of Rochester, following the Erie canal directly to 
             Syracuse, (later NYC mainline east of Rochester)

1853 – Rochester & Lockport RR builds from Rochester to Lockport (later NYC Falls Road)

1853 – Line built north to Charlotte. (NYC)

1853 – The five lines radiating out from Rochester are part of the consolidation of  ten New York state lines that are combined
              into one New York Central Railroad.
              By the end of 1853, every Railroad line in Rochester is the New York Central Railroad.

1853 - The Buffalo, Corning and New York Railroad builds through Avon, opening the Erie line between Painted Post and Avon,
             and westward toward Batavia. 

1853 - The "Canandaigua & Niagara Falls Railroad." is constructed through the the southern Rochester region,
              between Canandaigua and Batavia. This later is know as the New York Central "Peanut" line.

   1853 was a very busy year!

1854 – Rochester merchants fear a NYC monopoly, and a connection with another railroad is desired.
             The Rochester & Genesee
Valley Railroad is built south to Avon to connect with the Erie. The line south
             of Rochester is built to 6’ gauge to
interchange with the Erie. This line was essentially always under Erie
             control. (future Erie line into Rochester)

1854 – NYC builds its 1st Rochester passenger station, between Mill and State streets, on the West side of the river.

1858 – New York Central takes over the Canandaigua & Niagara Falls Railroad, this is the NYC Peanut line.

1872 – NYC builds new roundhouse off Atlantic ave, near east end of future Goodman St. Yard

1873 - Lake Ontario Shore Railroad arrives in Charlotte,  building westward from Oswego. (later NYC Hojack)
            crosses the Genesee in 1873 and keeps building west.

1873 - Rochester & State Line Railroad begins construction toward Leroy. (future BR&P)

1874 – Rochester & State Line Railroad opens for business. (future BR&P)

1874 – Original NYC Brown Square yard (downtown) outgrown, construction begins on Goodman Street Yard.

1874 – The Rochester & State Line builds along the southern edge of the NYC from Lincoln Park toward downtown, builds a
              passenger station at Saxton & Maple streets. (not the BR&P station that survives today)

1875 - Lake Ontario Shore RR taken over by the Rome, Watertown and Ogdensburg. (later NYC Hojack)

1881 – Rochester & State Line RR becomes Rochester & Pittsburg RR (future BR&P)

1881 – Rochester & Pittsburg Railroad (later BR&P), extends its line again, and builds it’s final terminus and passenger
             station on
West Main St. (The station still stands today, (2006), The BR&P station, now "Nic Tahou's Hots")

1882 - RW&O builds the Ontario Secondary from Irondequoit to downtown.
            the line to BeeBee station, later known as the NYC State St. branch.

1882 - Genesee Valley Canal railroad built along abandoned Genesee Valley Canal. (later PRR)

1882 – NYC is elevated through downtown Rochester, eliminating many dangerous grade crossings.

1883 – NYC builds its 2nd Rochester passenger station at St. Paul street, on the East side of the river.
             1st NYC passenger station (west side of the river) is torn down.

1884 - The New York, West Shore & Buffalo Railroad builds through the south side of Rochester. (NYC West Shore)

1885 – NYC gains control of the West Shore RR.

1887 - Rochester & Pittsburg absorbed into the final Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburg Railway.

1887 – Erie builds its Passenger station on the West side of the river at Court Street.

1889 – BR&P completes it’s Lincoln Park & Charlotte Railroad, extending the BR&P up to Charlotte to interchange with the 
             RW&O, and begins its Genesee Docks operations on the river.

1891 – The Lehigh Valley Railroad builds its new mainline to Buffalo across the landscape south of Rochester.
             The last of
the 20th Century Class-1’s to enter the region. the LV's Rochester branch, which left the mainline
              at Rochester Junction
  to enter the city from the south, officially opens on September 1, 1892.

              The LV's other branch leaving the mainline at Rochester Junction, the Hemlock branch to the south, was supposed
              to open
to Honeoye Falls the same day, but could not because of the bridge over Honeoye Creek had settled.
              That line was not
opened until late in 1893, after the bridge was completely rebuilt.      

              Today, the LV's downtown Rochester station still stands, and is the home of Dinosaur BBQ.
              And the LV mainline and Rochester branch have become excellent railtrails in the Rochester Junction area.

1893 – the Lima & Honeoye Falls Railroad opens between the two villiages.

1892 – West Shore RR and Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg RR  formally merged into NYC.

1894 - Genesee & Wyoming Railroad opens between Retsof and Caledonia.

1895 - The LV extended its line past Lima, through the valley below Livonia Center and all the way to the shore of Hemlock Lake.

1896 – Lehigh Valley Railroad introduces The Black Diamond Express.
   
             "In conjunction with the inauguration of the Black Diamond Express, the LV opened a fanciful two-story Victorian style
             depot at Rochester Junction (the standard wooden line depot was dismantled and moved to Lima) 
             A look-alike RJ depot was opened about the same time at Livonia Center - far too grandiose for such a rural site!"
             - Paul Warboys

1898 – After being inactive for 2 years, the Lima & Honeoye Falls RR is converted to an electric trolley line,
             named the Lima-Honeoye Electric Light & RR Co.

1899 – The Lehigh Valley is forced to remove it's Hemlock Lake terminal on the lake shore when the city of Rochester
              takes over the lake for its water supply. The LV removes one mile of track to now terminate in the town of Hemlock.

1900 – WNY&P Railroad (former Genesee Valley Canal Railroad) is absorbed by the PRR, becomes PRR Rochester Branch.

1900 - At the beginning of the 20th Century, Rochester is served by 5 railroads:

            New York Central
            Erie
            Lehigh Valley
            Pennsylvania Railroad
            Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh

            This 5-railroad network will remain essentially unchanged for the first half of  the 20th Century.

1902 – NYC introduces The 20th Century Limited.

1905 - Hojack swing bridge built at Charlotte. (bridge still exists today. (2006)

1907 – LV builds its passenger station on the East side of the river at Court St. 
             (station still stands today, (2006),  as Dinosaur BBQ)

1907 - Kodak Park Railroad opens.

1913 – NYC builds its 3rd (and largest, and last) Rochester passenger station. The “Bragdon station”

1913 – BR&P builds Brooks Ave yard.

1915 - The last trollies run on the "Lima-Honeoye Electric Light & RR Co" 
            the line is sold at auction in 1916 and scrapped... the electricity producing part of the business continues
            and is today part of Niagara Mohawk.

1932 - BR&P becomes B&O 

1935 – NYC ends passenger service on the Hojack.

1938 - NYC Peanut abandoned between Holcomb and Caledonia.

1941 – Erie ends passenger service out of Rochester, on its electric commuter lines.

1947 - Kodak Park Railroad expands West of Mount Read Blvd.

1950 – September, LV ends doodlebug passenger service out of Rochester.
             But LV passengers can still take a Valley Lines bus between the LV Rochester station and Rochester Junction
             until 1957, and taxi service until the final run of the Black Diamond in 1959.

1953 – B&O ends passenger service out of Rochester.

1958 – NYC ends passenger service on the Falls Road and Auburn lines.

1959 – NYC’s 3rd (and largest, and last) Rochester passenger station. The “Bragdon station”, is torn down.
             (todays “AmShack” occupies the site)

1960 - Erie becomes Erie Lackawanna.

1960 - NYC Auburn Road abandoned between Pittsford and Victor.
1960 - NYC West Shore abandoned east of Fairport.
1963 - NYC West Shore abandoned west of Churchville.

1963 - PRR abandoned from Wadsworth Junction south to Hinsdale.

1964 - The Livonia, Avon & Lakeville is born. (The LAL reaches Rochester in 1997)

1968 - NYC and PRR become Penn Central.

1968 - LV removes Hemlock branch between Hemlock and Lima.

1970 - October 7, EL begins using LV between Mortimer Junction to Erie/LV interchange just north
            of UofR. Erie tracks between Mortimer and this point soon removed.

1972 - LV abandoned between downtown terminus and UofR. (River Junction, between Erie & LV, alongside UofR)

1971 - PRR Rochester branch removed between downtown and the Erie interchange.

1972 - B&O becomes Chessie system.

1973 - The LV's Rochester Junction station burns to the ground on Easter Sunday. arson is suspected.

1974 - Genesee coal dock torn down. 

1976 - March 31, Last day of operations for the LV, EL and PC. Last revenue run is made over the LV Mainline.

1976 - April 1, Conrail is formed. Former LV, EL and PC lines in the Rochester area are all now Conrail.

1976 - NYC Auburn road abandoned between Victor and Canandaigua.

1976 - Conrail never operated the former EL between Avon and Leroy.
            LAL wanted the line, but was denied. Rails removed around 1981.

1977 -  LV Mainline is removed from Victor to Buffalo. (Conrail never actually operated any of the LV mainline
              between Van Etten and Buffalo..it was formally abandoned on April 1, 1976, the day Conrail came into
              existance.)

1977 -  PRR from Wadsworth Junction (junction of LV and PRR) north to Genesee Junction is removed.
             (this line was abandoned in 1973, but not removed until 1977)
             removed by the same train that dismantled the LV Mainline.
             (Conrail never owned these sections of LV mainline and PRR)

1979 - Conrail removes the Hojack from Webster west.

1979 - October 1, Ontario Central begins operation of the former LV main between Manchester and Victor.

1979 - October 5, Ontario Midland begins operation of former Hojack between Webster and Sodus.

1981 - Conrail abandons the LV Rochester branch between Lehigh station Road, south through Rochester Junction, to Lima.
            (rails removed in 1984.)

1982 - Abandonment of Auburn Road between Brighton & Pittsford.

1982 - Conrail abandons former NYC Peanut between Caledonia and Batavia.

1982 - Conrail abandons the former Erie between River Junction (UofR) and downtown.

1984 - PRR removed between Erie interchange (near Flint street) south to the PRR Scottsville Road Yard (the yard was east of
            the airport, between Scottsville road and the river, where Scottsville road today runs alongside the airport)

1985 - LV torn up between  River Junction (UofR) and Mortimer Junction. Was in use into the 80's by Conrail to supply coal to
            the UofR/Strong Hospital powerplant.

1985 – Chessie System sells the former BR&P/B&O/Chessie lines in Rochester to the Rochester & Southern RR.

199(?)- PRR tracks removed between Scottsville Road Yard and the BR&P/PRR interchange. (was not in use for many years)

1995 – Conrail removes Falls Road line between Rochester & Brockport. 

1996 - Conrail sells the Falls Road between Brockport and Lockport to the Falls Road RR. (GVT)

1997 – Conrail removes BeeBee station line. (State Street Branch)

1997 - Conrail sells Avon branch to the Livonia, Avon & Lakeville. LAL arrives in Rochester.
             (originally Erie between Mortimer Junction and Avon)

1998 - Work begins on the Genesee Valley Greenway Trail. The first "rail-trail" in the region. The Greenway trail is built
            upon the former PRR Rochester branch and extends 90 miles from Rochester all the way to the Pennsylvania
            state border!

1999 - Conrail lines around Rochester become CSX.

2000 - CSX abandons the Genesee Falls trackage to the Genesee Brewery. (east side of the river, High Falls area downtown)
              switch to the mainline removed around 2002 or 2003. tracks still in place along the gorge. (2006)

2000 - The Genesee & Wyoming (between Caledonia and Dansville) is formally merged into the
             Rochester & Southern system.

2004 - The former Lehigh Valley Mainline is opened as the new Lehigh Valley Trail between Victor and the Genesee
             River, where it meets with the Greenway trail.  Work is also underway to also open the LV Rochester branch
             as a new Railtrail.

2007 - Livonia Avon & Lakeville sells the Ontario Central, which ran from Shortsville to Victor, to the Finger Lakes Railway.
            ONCT no longer exists as an independent shortline, the former ONCT trackage is now part of the FGLK system.
             Former ONCT Alco RS36  moves to Lakeville to become LAL 418, and  GSRX EMD SW9 No. 708 remains in Victor,
             its lease continued by FGLK.

2007 - RG&E annouces they are shutting down Russel Station, the coal powered powerplant up on the lake shore in Greece.
            CSX trains still deliver coal to this plant. when the plant closes, this will probably mean the end of the Charlotte Branch
            north of Turning Point Park.

2008 - February, the last CSX coal train is delievered to Russel station.

2008 - April, Russel Station shuts down,

2008 - September, RG&E donates the two Russel Station switchers to the RGVRRM.

"Old Yellow" is:
RG&E GE 45 ton, no RG&E road number.
Builder's #30487
Built April 1950
nee Quebec Iron & Titanium #3 (Allard Lake Mine, Havre St. Pierre, Que)

The Red engine is:
RG&E #8.
Ex-Berkshire Scenic #8, nee-GE Pittsfield MA #8 (2nd).
Built 10/67. Builder's number 36324.
110 ton GE centercab, phase IV-B1.

The locomotives are stored for a few months at Kodak Park, then move south to the Museum in December 2008.

2009 - Rails are still intact on the Charlotte Runner..CSX uses the small yard to store surplus freight cars due to the 2009 recession.

2012 - An iconic Rochester Railroad structure is demolished! The "Hojack Swing Bridge" over the Genesee River in Charlotte,
            where the Genesee River meets Lake Ontario on the north side of Rochester, is finally dismantled and removed in 2012.
            The bridge stood for 107 years! 1905 to 2012. But it was last used in 1995, and while some preservation groups attempted
            to save it, in the end the bridge simply no longer had any purpose, and the Coast Guard wanted it removed, as they claimed
            it was a hazard to navigation. The bridge was inherited by CSX when they took over the Charlotte Runner from Conrail in
           1999, and in October of 2012, CSX finally hired out the job, and demoloition began. By the end of the year, the bridge was gone.
           See this thread on railroad.net for all the details and sad photos.



 
 

Slideshow of Maps:
The slideshow will start and run automatically when you press "start".
you can also scroll forward and backwards with the arrows.



A note about the maps..
The base map (everything except the railroads) is a modern base map, circa 2006.
Obviously the thruway and routes 390, 490 and 590 didnt exist in 1837! ;)
The city grew with the railroads, and the 1837 base map should show MUCH less city
if it matched the 1837 railroad!
But the base map is intended for reference only, so the different railroad lines can be seen in
a modern context and location.
The black dots . are junction points or crossings of two different railroads.
 
 
 

In 2006, Three Railroads serve Rochester proper:
CSX (the only Class 1 railroad today.) - operating the ancestral New York Central mainline,
          and the Charlotte branch up to the Russell station.

Rochester & Southern - operating the ancestral BR&P between Rochester & Silver Springs.

Livonia, Avon & Lakeville - operating ancestral Erie branches  between Lakeville and Rochester.

and three other shortlines operate nearby:
Ontario Midland - opearting whats left of the Hojack between Webster & Sodus, then south on the PRR Elmira branch to Newark.
Ontario Central (operated by LAL) - opearting a section of the former LV main between Victor and Shortsville.
Falls Road Railroad (a GVT Family line) - operating the former Falls Road between Brockport and Lockport.

Going out slightly further, (off the map) other railroads operating nearby.
Norfolk Southern - Operating the former Erie Southern Tier Main between Binghamton & Buffalo.
Canadian Pacific - trackage rights on the NS Southern Tier Main.
Finger Lakes Railway - a shortline based in Geneva.
Bath & Hammondsport - operated by LAL.
WNY&P - operated by LAL.
 
 
 
 
 

Timeline compiled by Scot Lawrence, Rochester, NY - October 2006.
Sources:

Rochester History -  Edited by Blake McKelvey, City Historian, Volume XXX, No. 4, October 1968.
                                       an on-line copy of this book can be found here.

The Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh Railway - by Paul Pietrak. published 1979.

Paul Worboys gave some clarifications and new details for the timeline. thanks!
           - Paul is the author of a book about the Lima & Honeoye Falls Railroad.

And as always, much help comes from the crew of the NY forum at www.railroad.net.
check this thread for a discussion on Rochester railroad dates and events.

thank you everyone!
 
 

Scot Lawrence
Rochester, NY
Page started October 25, 2006.

Last updated May 5, 2013.

for comments, corrections, additions, etc. please email me at:
sscotsman@yahoo.com
or leave a message on the discussion thread.

thanks!
Scot
 

back to Scot's main page.