Buffalo and Susquehanna Railroad

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Buffalo & Susquehanna Railroad
1901 Poor's Buffalo and Susquehanna Railroad.jpg
B&S system map, circa 1901
Reporting mark B&S
Locale New York
Dates of operation 1885–1979
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Length 254 miles (409 kilometres)
Headquarters Wellsville, New York

The Buffalo and Susquehanna Railroad (reporting mark B&S) was a former Class I railroad that operated in western and north central Pennsylvania and western New York states. It was created in 1893 by the merger and consolidation of several smaller logging railroads.[1] It operated independently until 1932, when a majority of its capital stock was purchased by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad.[2]


In 1885, Frank H. Goodyear, a fuel and lumber dealer in Buffalo, New York, bought a large tract of timberland in northwestern Pennsylvania. He organized the Sinnemahoning Valley Railroad to build a line from Keating Summit (on what later became the Pennsylvania Railroad line to Buffalo) to Austin, Pennsylvania, where he had a sawmill.[3] Goodyear formed a partnership with his brother Charles in 1887 and began to expand their empire.[4] By 1893 his railroad system reached east to Galeton and Ansonia, and the various railroad companies were consolidated as the Buffalo & Susquehanna Railroad (B&S). At the beginning of 1896 it extended northwest from Galeton to Wellsville, New York, and in 1898 the Goodyears purchased the Addison & Pennsylvania Railroad, a former narrow gauge line from Galeton to Addison, New York.[5][6] The Goodyears pushed their railroad southwest through DuBois to Sagamore, with the thought of continuing to Pittsburgh.[7] Coal became the mainstay of the south end of the railroad, and lumber and leather (many tanneries were located on the line) were the principal commodities carried at the north end.[8] This allowed him to benefit greatly by supplying one industry with the waste product of another.[1] The Goodyear lumber and railroad empire prospered, and by the early 1900s it included lumber mills in the South and the New Orleans Great Northern Railroad.[9][10]

In 1906 the Goodyears built the Buffalo & Susquehanna Railway from Wellsville to Buffalo, nearly 90 miles (140 kilometres). [11] A year later Frank Goodyear died; his brother Charles died in 1911, and the Goodyear empire began to fall apart.[12] The expense of construction the line to Buffalo began to cause financial difficulty, and the railroad laid aside plans to extend its line to Pittsburgh and to relocate its line to eliminate the four switchbacks over the mountains between Galeton and Wharton.[13] The Buffalo & Susquehanna Railway leased the Buffalo & Susquehanna Railroad, but that did not forestall receivership.[14] After a brief period of operation as the Wellsville & Buffalo Railroad, the Buffalo extension was scrapped in 1916. The remainder of the system was reorganized as the Buffalo & Susquehanna Railroad Corporation.[10][15]

B&S route in 1903, with planned expansion to Buffalo and Sagamore started

In 1932 the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad (B&O) purchased the B&S with the thought of using the DuBois-Sinnemahoning portion as part of a new freight line across Pennsylvania.[16] In July 1942 a flood washed out much of the line south of Galeton.[17] B&O abandoned the line between Sinnemahoning and Burrows, just south of Galeton, isolating the Wellsville-Galeton-Addison portion from the rest of the B&O.[18] Because of declining traffic and the problems of isolation, B&O considered selling or abandoning the northern part of the B&S. To simplify sale, in 1954 B&O merged the B&S and two smaller railroads that it had leased since the turn of the century. On January 1, 1956, B&O sold the northern portion of the former B&S to Murray M. Salzberg, who organized the Wellsville, Addison & Galeton Railroad (WA&G) to operate it.[10]

The WA&G was abandoned in stages, with the last piece dismantled in 1979. The last portion of the south end of the B&S, B&O's branch from DuBois to Weedville, disappeared from B&O's map in the 1970s. None of the B&S's lines remain in service.[10]


  1. ^ a b Pennsylvania State Archives http://www.phmc.state.pa.us/Bah/DAM/mg/mg457.htm
  2. ^ Western New York Railroad Archive - Roehm, Pete. 1985. "The Last Buffalo and Susquehanna Steamer", Railpace Newsmagazine, Piscataway, New Jersey: Railpace Company, Inc. http://wnyrails.net/railroads/bs/bs_last_steamer.htm
  3. ^ Allegany County, NY - Local History & Genealogy Site - SINNEMAHONING VALLEY RAILROAD
  4. ^ History of the lumber industry of America, Volume 2 by James Elliott Defebaugh 1907
  5. ^ Annual report of the Secretary of Internal Affairs of the COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, for the YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 1896. PART IV. Railroad, Canal, Navigation, Telegraph and Telephone Companies. p. 45.
  6. ^ A History of Buffalo by J. N. Larned; 1911 http://books.google.com/books?id=CsgBAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA130
  7. ^ Indiana University of Pennsylvania - Special Collections & Archives Coal Dust: The Early Mining Industry of Indiana County - Sagamore http://www.lib.iup.edu/spec_coll/articles/sagamore.html
  8. ^ Western North Carolina Nature Center - Eastern Hemlock
  9. ^ Report of the Department of Mines of Pennsylvania By Pennsylvania Dept. of Mines 1904 http://books.google.com/books?id=FPwVAAAAYAAJ&pg=RA1-PA194
  10. ^ a b c d Drury, George H. (1994). The Historical Guide to North American Railroads: Histories, Figures, and Features of more than 160 Railroads Abandoned or Merged since 1930. Waukesha, Wisconsin: Kalmbach Publishing. pp. 42–44. ISBN 0-89024-072-8. 
  11. ^ New York Times Archive; February 20, 1908 "Unions Plan to Fight; Railroads, However, Will Try to Make General Reduction of Wages. Roosevelt to Get Facts in Strikes", New York Times
  12. ^ "Charles W. Goodyear Dead; Active In Business Life, He Aided in Grover Cleveland's Nomination", New York Times April 17, 1911.
  13. ^ The Earning power of railroads By Floyd Woodruff Mundy 1914
  14. ^ Western New York Railroad Archive - Receiver in Charge of B. & S. Railroad
  15. ^ "Up-State Railroad Sold; New Yorker Buys the Buffalo and Susquehanna for Bondholders", New York Times September 14, 1915.
  16. ^ New York Times Archive August 3, 1929 "B&O Seeks to Buy 253-Mile Railroad; Offers Buffalo & Susquehanna $6,300,000 in Move for $2,000,000,000 Merger. I.C.C. Approval Sought. Proposal Viewed in Wall Street as Forestalling Acquisition by Pennroad Corporation. An Iron and Steel Carrier. View as Forestalling Rivals", New York Times August 3, 1929.
  17. ^ AccWeather.com The WeatherMatrix Blog http://www.accuweather.com/mt-news-blogs.asp?blog=weathermatrix&partner=netweather&pgUrl=/mtweb/content/weathermatrix/archives/2008/07/the_great_smethport_pa_rain_of_1942.asp
  18. ^ "To Weigh Rail Scrap Plan; Bondholders of the Buffalo & Susquehanna Meet Nov. 18", New York Times November 10, 1942.

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