Buffalo Line

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The Buffalo Line is a railroad line owned and operated by the Norfolk Southern Railway in the U.S. states of New York and Pennsylvania. The line runs from Buffalo, New York southeast to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania along a former Pennsylvania Railroad line. Its north end is at Seneca Yard in Buffalo, with no direct access to the Lake Erie district, and its south end is at the Pittsburgh Line at Rockville, Pennsylvania.


The Sunbury and Erie Railroad opened from Williamsport, Pennsylvania south to Milton in 1854,[1] Northumberland in 1855,[2] and Sunbury in 1856.[3] Extensions west from Williamsport opened to Whetham in 1859,[4] Keating (as the Philadelphia and Erie Railroad) in 1862, reorganize in 1895 to Western New York and Pennsylvania Railway,[5] and finally reaching Emporium (also as the P&E) in 1863.[6] A cutoff bypassing downtown Williamsport to the south, from Allen's west to Nisbet, opened in the early 1870s,[7] and is now part of the Buffalo Line.

The Northern Central Railway opened a line from Dauphin, Pennsylvania north to Millersburg in 1856,[3] extending it north to Herndon in 1857[8] and Sunbury in 1858.[9] In 1882, the Pennsylvania Railroad opened their Rockville Branch from Rockville (on their main line) north to Dauphin on the Northern Central.[7]

From the Buffalo end, the Buffalo and Washington Railway opened its line to East Aurora, New York in 1868[10] and South Wales in 1870.[11] In 1871 its name was changed to the Buffalo, New York and Philadelphia Railway,[12] and it was extended to Emporium, Pennsylvania in 1872, completing the line between Buffalo and Harrisburg.[13] The newest piece of the Buffalo Line, opened in 1909, is at Buffalo, running from the old main line at Gardenville southwest to Seneca Yard.[14]

The line became part of the Pennsylvania Railroad and Conrail through leases, mergers, and takeovers. In the 1999 breakup of Conrail, it was assigned to Norfolk Southern. By 2008 Norfolk Southern no longer used the line and leased it to the Buffalo & Pittsburgh,[15] who now use it to reach their Main Line in Machias, NY; this allowed the B&P to abandon and remove their old Third Subdivision (ex B&O) line between Orchard Park, NY and Ashford Jct. By 2009 NS had taken the portion from Gardenville Junction to Seneca Yard out of service, this left their Ebenezer Running Track from CSX's Buffalo Terminal Subdivision to Gardenville as the only connection between Buffalo and the line. [16]

Named passenger trains[edit]

When passenger trains ran on the line Lock Haven (west of Williamsport) was a transfer point for trains to Pennsylvania State University 38 miles to the southwest of Lock Haven. The Pennsylvania Railroad ran several trains on this run between Buffalo and Washington, with major intermediate stops being Emporium, Williamsport, Harrisburg, York and Baltimore.

  • The Buffalo Day Express / The Baltimore Day Express[17] (Last train on the Buffalo Line, concluding service in 1971.)[18][19]
  • The Dominion Express[20]


  1. ^ PRR Chronology, 1854 PDF (79.1 KiB), March 2005 Edition
  2. ^ PRR Chronology, 1855 PDF (47.0 KiB), March 2005 Edition
  3. ^ a b PRR Chronology, 1856 PDF (52.4 KiB), March 2005 Edition
  4. ^ PRR Chronology, 1859 PDF (60.9 KiB), March 2005 Edition
  5. ^ PRR Chronology, 1862 PDF, March 2005 Edition
  6. ^ PRR Chronology, 1863 PDF, March 2005 Edition
  7. ^ a b PRR Corporate History, Development of Fixed Physical Property
  8. ^ PRR Chronology, 1857 PDF (54.1 KiB), March 2005 Edition
  9. ^ PRR Chronology, 1858 PDF (56.8 KiB), March 2005 Edition
  10. ^ PRR Chronology, 1868 PDF (93.8 KiB), June 2004 Edition
  11. ^ PRR Chronology, 1870 PDF (57.0 KiB), January 2005 Edition
  12. ^ PRR Chronology, 1871 PDF (72.9 KiB), January 2005 Edition
  13. ^ PRR Chronology, 1872 PDF (86.1 KiB), February 2005 Edition
  14. ^ PRR Chronology, 1909 PDF (56.8 KiB), March 2005 Edition
  15. ^ Norfolk Southern Harrisburg Region Timetable 1, August 4, 2008
  16. ^ Norfolk Souther Harrisburg Region Track Charts, 2009
  17. ^ 1957 Pennsylvania Railroad schedules reprinted at http://www.therailwire.net/forum/index.php?topic=17913.15
  18. ^ Last Passenger Trains From Buffalo http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=128&t=60449
  19. ^ http://cs.trains.com/ctr/m/last-runs-before-amtrak/2085652.aspx http://cs.trains.com/ctr/m/last-runs-before-amtrak/2085652.aspx
  20. ^ 1957 Pennsylvania Railroad schedules reprinted at http://www.therailwire.net/forum/index.php?topic=17913.15