It's funny how you can live in a neighborhood for many years and take your surroundings for granted. You could walk or drive by a local landmark day in and day out and ignore the fact that it's there until one day it disappears. Such was was case of the double set of railroad bridges that crossed Colvin Avenue in North Buffalo between Taunton Place and Saunders Road.
The photograph above shows the Erie Railroad bridge from the corner of Taunton. the view is looking toward Kenmore Avenue. This viaduct carried the Erie Railroad's Black Rock Branch that ran directly behind the homes on Taunton all the way out to its small freight yard on Military Road. I've talked with many people who have said that "wash day" was a nightmare in the summer months when an Erie steam engine went pounding down these tracks. The residents of Taunton had their back yards end right at the railroad tracks so it was impossible to keep the soot from the steam engine's smoke stacks from covering clean laundry hanging out to dry! The Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad bridge can be seen just behind the Erie's bridge.
The photograph above shows the counterpart to this area of bridge-work; the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad bridge. Very similar in design, this bridge carried the D.L.& W.'s Black Rock branch to their classification yard in Black Rock -- located near the International Railway Bridge.
This photograph was taken between the two bridges and is again looking toward Kenmore Avenue. Note the old style gas street lamps that were in use when this photograph was taken in the early 1920s. Both bridges were built by the John Johnson Construction Company of Buffalo and were a welcome addition to the area because prior to their construction, both the Erie and Lackawanna tracks ran at grade! Good thing there wasn't nearly as much automobile traffic back then as there is today on Colvin Avenue. Both of these railroad lines were extremely busy in their prime.
The Erie Railroad merged with the Lackawanna in 1963 and their Black Rock branch was abandoned shortly thereafter. The Lackawanna hung on to its own until 1983 when it succumbed to the merger that ultimately created Conrail. The line was abandoned in 1983 and the D.L.& W.'s tracks and both bridges were removed a short time after that. Today, the section of tracks between Delaware Avenue and the foot of Taunton serve as a bike and hike trail. If overzealous developers will just leave it alone, it will continue to be a quiet and enjoyable stretch of trail to be enjoyed by many (unlike what happened to the stretch between Delaware Avenue and Military Road).