This is a small section of a topographic map from a land survey of Buffalo done in 1965. Even though by the late 1960s railroad operations were beginning to deteriorate throughout the Buffalo and Western New York area, this map shows tremendous detail about the railroads.
The green dot is Tower 50, the red dot is Tower 49-A.
Marker 1 shows the remnants of the Erie railroad's facilities at the corner of Exchange and Michigan Avenue. The long black line indicates where the Erie's passenger station was situated, but by 1965 the property was being used as trucking operation. The yard tracks were still in place. Today, the old passenger sheds have been filled in and are used for a private transportation company. All of the railroad tracks have been removed.
The photograph below shows the section of Exchange Street between Michigan Avenue and Louisiana Street. The sheds for the Erie Railroad's passenger station are on the left and the station itself can be seen in the back of the photo. The boxcars parked on the right are sitting in the yard of the Central's Carroll Street freight station.
Marker 2 shows the New York Central's Carroll Street freight station. This building, along with the surrounding rail yard, served as the Central's downtown freight hub. The building has since been demolished and the property has been developed. In fact, this entire area is going to re a new growth as Buffalo is desperately trying to bring back the industrial base it once had down on Exchange Street. Funny. Perhaps the city should have just left everything the way it was and found new uses for its old buildings.
Marker 3 is the Erie Railroad's freight station at Louisiana and Exchange Streets. The building was constructed of red brick but was later painted a horrible green color. A few years ago, the building repainted a subdued gray. It is privately owned by the Stetson Chemical Company. This photographs show the freight station right next to the Louisiana Street overpass bridge which is shown under reconstruction. The small building in the back is the original freight station owned by the Pennsylvania Railroad at Seneca and Louisiana Streets.
The Erie freight station is an important land mark because it is just beyond the limits of the building's property that the New York Central's Niagara Branch ran behind and crossed Exchange Street to join the main line at Tower 50. However, instead of four tracks crossing Exchange Street, there is only one.
The photograph below shows the back of the Erie Freight Station with the one remaining track from the Niagara Branch crossing Exchange Street. This track will meet up with one remaining track from the Chicago Branch at Tower 50's old location -- guarded by a typical Conrail shack.
Marker 4 shows the Pennsylvania Railroad's Alabama Street facilities. The Pennsy's first freight station was later replaced by this more modern structure. The building was "U" shaped and had yard trackage entering the center of the complex with tracks extending across Alabama Street. By the end of the 1940s, the Pennsy, along with many other railroads across the country, were beginning to feel the sting of the trucking industry. In order to compete, the PRR began carrying more and more LCL (Less Than Carload) type of freight. If you had a package you wanted to send out, drop it off at this station and the Pennsy would take it for you.
On the map, the large black icon to the right of the freight station is the Keystone Warehouse. The PRR's tracks join with the New York Central's before they swing across to the Pennsy's own tracks at Marker 5. Tower 49-A controlled the switching from the PRR's Alabama Street yard, the New York Central tracks, and the Pennsy's tracks.
Marker 5 shows the junction between the Pennsylvania's tracks and the New York Central's tracks. It was here that Pennsy trains would arrive in Buffalo, be switched onto Central trackage, then back down the main line and into Central Terminal. Prior to 1929, when the Central Terminal was completed, the PRR used the old Exchange Street Station -- which is just out of the map's range to the far left. So there was never an easy option for getting PRR trains into and out of Buffalo.
The photograph below shows PRR Train #574, "The Downtown Express" getting ready to leave the New York Central tracks and proceed down the Pennsylvania tracks. This train was billed as a night train to Washington and Philadelphia from Buffalo. It should also be noted that when this picture was taken in June of 1952, it was the last year for steam on the PRR.
Marker 6 shows the Central Terminal.
When you are finished looking at the map, simply close this window.