1852 was a banner year for the Buffalo and Niagara Falls Railroad. After much argument and debate, the railroad decided to relocate their outbound tracks to the west side of the Erie Canal. The railroad also found that it had advanced enough to have the need for a grand depot. Located on Erie Street, the enormous Italian style brick structure ran parallel to the Erie Canal and featured an enclosed train shed -- something new to the industry.
It was a very elaborate building for what had become a serious railroad. The Buffalo and Niagara Falls was no longer the horse-car line its ancestor had been. Its route was heavily used on a daily basis and it was making money. Ed Patton strengthens this point by saying; "The railroads as a whole between 1850 and 1870 were starting to generate significant amounts of money and anytime you have a place where the public gathers for transshipment, or meeting and greeting people, you will see large buildings."
"That's why these elaborate railroad depots were being constructed. Commerce was power and money, and the outgrowth of that fact was the building of larger and larger buildings that the railroads could use to give the public confidence in investing their hard earned money in shipping on the railroads."
Since the route of the Buffalo and Niagara Falls ran directly parallel to the Erie Canal from Buffalo to Tonawanda, travellers were more apt to ride the railroad and arrive at their destination in a few short minutes rather than hours. When the B.& N.F. was absorbed into the New York Central railroad in 1855, freight transference began at the station. This was the beginning of the end for the Erie Canal in the Buffalo area.
The Grand Trunk railroad, a Canadian run company, took over operations of the station and continued to use it for many years. However, the Erie Street station had the proud distinction of being Buffalo's first elaborate passenger stations. Many more would follow.