Falls Road Railroad
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|Dates of operation||1996–present|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
|Headquarters||Batavia, New York|
|Website||Genesee Valley Transportation, FRR Subsidiary|
The Falls Road Railroad (reporting mark FRR) is a Class III short line railroad owned by Genesee Valley Transportation. The railroad operates in Niagara, Orleans, and Monroe counties in New York. The railroad's right-of-way consists of 41.69 miles (67.09 km) of track, known as the Falls Road Branch, that were acquired from Conrail on October 15, 1996. A yard and engine house are maintained in Lockport, NY, where the railroad interchanges with CSX. The railroad is known for its use of Alco locomotives.
Falls Road Branch
The name Falls Road originates from the Lockport and Niagara Falls Railroad. The term Falls Road Branch was adopted by New York Central, and later Conrail, to refer to the section of railroad track between Lockport and Rochester, New York. In 1994, Conrail abandoned twelve miles (19 km) of track between Rochester and Brockport, New York; the Falls Road Branch now terminates in Brockport, east of Owens Rd at Mile Post 16.60. The Falls Road provides rail service to the Western New York Energy, LLC, ethanol plant near Medina, New York. This is the first such plant in the state.
The Falls Road Railroad, like all other GVT properties, is Alco-powered. The railroad uses one New York Central vintage RS32 (2035) as well as one Nickel Plate vintage RS-11 (1802). The 2035 is the primary engine; however, 1802 will be used on days when an extra train, such as a passenger excursion or snowplow, is needed.
In 2000 the Falls Road was operating locomotives #1802 (RS-11) and #1804 (RS-11). By 2006 #1802 still remained, but #1804 was long gone and on another Genesee Valley Transportation shortline. #334 (C420) came to take #1804's spot. By the year 2008 #1802 continues to serve the FRR; however, #334 was shipped out and sold to another company who repainted her on another shortline that's not GVT owned. #2035 (RS-32) came to take #334's place. Ever since #334 was replaced by #2035, the power has remained the same. #1802 is still on the FRR, and since the words FALLS ROAD RAILROAD are painted on her side, there is no sign of her leaving anytime soon. #2035 is also still on the FRR; however, with #2035 having GENESEE VALLEY painted on the side, it is only a matter of time until #2035 ends up leaving the FRR once more. Nothing can predict the future of the FRR power. Exact years not listed. Just time frames.
Excursions and extra trains
The current two locomotives, RS-32 #2035 and RS-11 #1802, are the only two locomotives currently operating on the Falls Road Railroad. #2035 is the primary locomotive, because it is a Low Hood. It has more visibility. #1802 is used on extra trains when 2035 is busy. This can include an excursion, corn train, ethanol train, or snow plow. 1802 is a High Hood, so the visibility is a bit less than 2035. The FRR regularly runs excursions for the Medina Railroad Museum, and if the freight local is busy being worked by 2035, 1802 is put in for the excursion. Also, sometimes corn trains are needed to go to Medina for the ethanol plant, or an ethanol train needs to go from Medina to Lockport for CSX to pick up. If the train is long enough, 1802 will help 2035 running double teamed. If 2035 is on the local, 1802 will step in to take the corn or ethanol train where it needs to go. Even though snowfall heavy enough to make the FRR break out their big plow is rare, sometimes it has to be done. In that case, if 2035 is going to be busy, 1802 will do the plowing. If the snow happens to be too dense, 1802 will team with 2035 to do the plowing together.