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Late in the Nineteenth Century (1882 to be exact), the Lehigh Valley Railway (LV) completed its extension to Buffalo, New York. The Valley's original main line ended at the Louisiana Street Yard, with the passenger terminal just beyond, facing west, on Main Street. In 1901, the railroad purchased the Tifft Farm property located in South Buffalo. This piece of land was bounded by the railroad mainlines of the….
- Lake Shore & Michigan Southern (to New York Central, 1914)
- New York, Chicago & St. Louis (Nickel Plate Road)
- Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh (to Baltimore & Ohio, 1932)
- Pennsylvania (formerly Western New York & Pennsylvania)
- Buffalo Creek Railway
...making it the perfect location for interchange with all the major railroads entering Buffalo, as well as providing waterfront access to Lake Erie's shipping lines.
To access its property, the Lehigh Valley created the Lehigh and Lake Erie Railway to construct a line from a location called Tifft Junction (located 3.5-miles east of the LV downtown passenger terminal and a half-mile east of its East Buffalo engine terminal complex). The route went south, west, and back-north-again to get to the new Tifft Yard! From 1910 onwards, improvements were made almost non-stop to Tifft Yard:
- 1913 - Ore dock rebuilt and enlarged (Buffalo and Susquehanna Iron Company, B&S Iron - later Bethlehem Steel - was a next-door neighbor.)
- 1914 - Automatic block signals installed on L&LE
- 1916 - New, more efficient dock facility for trans-loading coal into lake boats from hopper cars constructed
- 1939 - First diesels, numbers 106 and 107, appeared at Tifft Yard
- 1948 - Small engine-house and diesel servicing and fueling facilities built at Tifft Yard
- 1951 - East Buffalo roundhouse closed and razed with the end of steam
Although the L&LE Branch has been gone for almost a quarter-century, Tifft Yard survives. The remains of Tifft Junction are visible on the southwest side of the bridge carrying Harlem Road over the Norfolk Southern's reincarnated ex-E-L / NKP Bison Yard. South of the I-190 highway, paralleling the west side of the New York State Thruway (I-90), is a high embankment visible almost to Ridge Road in Lackawanna, with several steel bridges still in place. This was the location of the L&LE main.
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This page is current as of 01.21.2012.