LeRoy Pennysaver & News - page 11

Last weekwe had a request for
information about the date of the
first train which came through
LeRoyon the “Peanut Line.”This
line was originally known as the
Canandaigua and Niagara Falls
John Sheret haswritten a couple
of articles in theCrookedLakeRe-
viewandhewrites that,“ThePeanut
Line had its genesis at a meeting,
held in Lima, NY, on March 4,
1851, relative to the construction
of a six-foot gauge railroad from
Canandaigua toNiagaraFalls,adis-
tance of ninety-eight and one-half
miles. The first Board of Directors
City in addition to Isaac Seymour
of Peekskill; the noted surveyor,
BenjaminPringleofBatavia; Sam-
uel Rand of Mendon; Francis Paul
of Canandaigua; GeorgeWright of
East Bloomfield; and Ira Godfrey
of Lima. The estimated cost of
construction was two million five
hundred thousanddollars.”
The LeRoyGazette
had a small
article about the first train which
came through LeRoy on January
1, 1853: “The first train through
fromCanandaiguapassed through
LeRoy on Saturday at about 12
o’clock but one passenger car
accompanied by the locomotive
and tender on this experimental
trip. A large number of our citi-
zenswere at thedepot space (The
station hadn’t been built yet.)
to welcome this very welcomed
pioneer Messenger and did so
withheartycheerswhichwere re-
sponded toby thoseonboard.On
thereturn trip theamateur travelers
came fromStafford, fivemiles in
timeconsidering the rapiditywith
which the line has been brought
into use. Much of the work is
only temporary –
the bridge across
the creek in this
The work of grav-
eling and leveling
proceed with all
dispatch . . .”
The Historical
Society has a di-
ary of a farmer
in Stafford who
writes about the
early railroad. On
June 1, 1852 he
wrote: “Good deal
talkabout rail road southof here.”
AndonJanuary1,1853hesaw the
first train: “CanandaiguaRailroad
go west at 2 o’clock for the first
time.” R.A.Murphy remembered
the trainson theCanandaigua line:
“We had the old six-foot gauge
on the Canandaigua & Niagara
Falls Railway. They had engines
called the Niagara, Sam Brown,
Ben Pringle, Elmira and others,
all inside connected engines. ... I
remember twobrothers,Mikeand
Pat Dwyer, who ran engines on
this old road. I often rodedown to
LeRoywith them.”
It seems that regular traffic on
the railroadwas delayed until the
turntable inBataviacouldbecom-
pleted. But eventually the trains
ran regularly. But apparently the
company went bankrupt and in
1858, the Canandaigua Niagara
Falls Railroad was acquired by
theNewYorkCentral andbecame
known as the Batavia Branch.
The six-foot gauge tracks were
converted to thestandard four-foot
eight inchwidth. DeanRichmond
of Batavia, who was President of
theNewYorkCentral, was asked
about the Canandaigua andNiag-
araBranchLine, and replied that it
was “only a littlepeanut line” and
the name stuck.
ThePeanutLinecrossed theOat-
ka Creek in theVillage of LeRoy
onabridgenorthof theEriebridge.
According to the 1888 Railroad
Journal, theNewYorkCentralbuilt
an iron bridge across theOatka in
LeRoy in the spring. Neither the
iron bridge of the NY Central or
theErie bridge remain today. The
bridge thatcrosses theOatka today,
is the old Buffalo, Pittsburgh and
Rochester Railroad bridge. As far
asIknow, therearenophotographs
of the railroad bridges, but I am
still looking.
ThePeanut line,west ofLeRoy,
is known for a spectacular train
accident on February 7, 1885. In
Cut in thecurbon thewest sideofLakeStreet
where the Peanut line of the NY Central
crossed the road.
Limestone bridge abutment on the west side of Oatka Creek
which is probably thePeanut line.
LeRoys three railroad bridges. Top to bottom: NY Central
“peanut line”; Erie; Buffalo, Pittsburgh and Rochester. The
top two are gonenow.
themidst of a raging snow storm,
three west-bound engines pulling
twobaggagecarsattempted tobust
through the snowdrifts, headed to
Batavia.Notknowing if theywould
be successful, the railroad men
had dropped off the passengers in
LeRoy to fend for themselves.The
locomotives lost their battle with
foot off toBatavia, to get help. A
massive snowplow headed east to
rescue the stranded train. Luckily
the stranded crew had gotten off
the engines and were waiting out
their rescue away from the track
because what ensued would have
meant death.
The information that was given
theengineerof thesnowplowwas
wrong. The stranded train was at
theBatavia city line, not the town
line, and instead of slowing down
tomeet thestranded train, theplow
was going at full throttle when it
met thestranded trainheadon.The
trains remained in this spectacular
position for awhile, andbecamea
photoopportunity. P. B.Hausenk-
necht’sphotographbecame legend.
(Ithasbeenused to illustratemany
Gradually sections of the Pea-
nut line were abandoned through
Bloomfield, Holcomb, Caledonia,
Ionia, Stafford, LeRoy, Getzville,
Amherst, and Batavia, and like
other railroad history, it will soon
be forgotten.
On July 21, 1946, a special
excursion left Buffalo’s Central
Station inTonawandaand traveled
along the old Peanut line toCale-
donia. (Icouldnotfindanarticle in
about this excursion.)
On that trip, Earl Bloss, a railroad
fan, carried an unused excursion
ticket for the Canandaigua-Niag-
ara Fall Railroad from LeRoy to
the Falls, dated August 24, 1853.
(Wonderwhere that ticket isnow?)
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