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Because the Erie Railroad, in its drive across the southern tier of New York State, managed to miss every major population center, it was necessary to rely on a network of branches to reach key cities. So, in 1880, the New York, Lake Erie & Western Railroad (NYLE&W) leased the Buffalo and South-Western Railroad (B&S-W), in order to gain access to what, at that time, was the second largest railroad center in the United States, and an important industrial city: Buffalo.
Running in an easterly direction from Jamestown, the B&S-W paralleled the Atlantic & Great Western to Waterboro, where it swung to the north towards Buffalo via Dayton, NY, (passing under the original NYLE&W main from Salamanca to Dunkirk) Gowanda and Blasdell. At Blasdell, the location of GB "tower", the lines of both the Pennsylvania (PRR) and New York, Chicago & St. Louis (NKP) railroads were crossed. Buffalo was finally accessed via trackage rights over the Buffalo Creek Railway.
Thus, the B&S-W, gave the NYLE&W (and later the Erie and Erie-Lackawanna, E-L) a direct route into Buffalo for its trains coming from Chicago and other mid-western points.
The B&S-W was famous for having the steepest grade and shortest tunnel on the later day Erie. The grade, at 2.5%, extended from Gowanda, southward to Dayton (OM tower). Near the summit of this grade, it passed through a tunnel that pierced a large earthen fill which carried the NYLE&W's Salamanca-Dunkirk line over the top of the B&S-W line.
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This page is current as of 11.5.2007.