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New York Central Railroad of 1853 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Paul Marston   
Wednesday, 19 March 2008 16:12


Albany & Schenectady 1849 0.06 -0.06 0.06 0.06
Attica & Buffalo RR 1842 31.95
32.00 +0.05 31.95 -21.57 10.38
Auburn & Rochester RR 1841 78.00 78.00 78.00 8.00
Auburn & Syracuse RR 1838-1839 26.00 26.00 26.00 26.00
Buffalo & Black Rock RR 1834 3.00 -3.00 3.00 3.00
Buffalo & Lockport RR 1852-1854
12.25 12.25
Buffalo & Niagara Falls RR 1837 19.00 -19.00
19.00 19.00
Buffalo & Rochester RR 1853 26.00 +26.00 26.10 26.10
Mohawk & Hudson RR 1831-1849 16.91 17.00 +0.09 16.91 16.91
Mohawk Valley RR
Lewiston RR 1837,1854 3.50 -3.50
6.25 6.25
Lockport & Niagara Falls RR 1838 22.00 22.00 22.00 22.00
Rochester & Lake Ontario RR 1853

6.88 6.88
Rochester & Syracuse RR 1852-1853
80.70 8.70
Rochester, Lockport & Niagara Falls RR 1852
53.00 +53.00 53.59 53.59
Schenectady & Troy RR 1842 20.50 20.00 -0.50 20.50 20.50
Syracuse & Utica RR 1839 53.10 53.00 -0.10 53.10 53.10
Syracuse & Utica Direct RR
Tonawanda RR 1837,1842 43.50 43.00 -0.50 43.50 43.50
Utica & Schenectady RR 1836 77.66 77.00 -0.66 77.66 77.66

------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------

395.18 447.00 +51.82 530.07 25.81 555.88


  • The first column gives the name of the railroad that actually built the miles of track that made up the New York Central when it was created by merging all of the companies shown up to 1853 under one company. There had been other mergers prior to creating the New York Central Railroad. The Buffalo and Black Rock Railroad had been acquired by the Buffalo and Niagara Falls Railroad who extended the former to Niagara Falls. The Mohawk and Hudson Railroad had changed its name to the Albany & Schenectady Railroad in 1847. The Attica & Buffalo Railroad and the Tonawanda Railroad had merged to form the Buffalo and Rochester Railroad in 1850. The Auburn and Rochester Railroad had merged with the Auburn & Syracuse Railroad to form the Rochester and Syracuse Railroad in 1850. For these last three new railroads any track constructed after the change was done by the new company. The Rochester and Lake Ontario Railroad was leased to the Rochester, Lockport and Niagara Falls Railroad immediately upon its completion in 1853 and brought the lease with it when merged into The New York Central which in turn acquired it outright in 1855.
  • The second column shows the years when these railroads were actually constructed. The Mohawk Valley Railroad and the Syracuse & Utica Direct Railroad are blank because they never built any track, but brought money to the merger instead.
  • The third column gives what we consider to be an accurate count of the mileage for 1850. Obviously, if the track was constructed after 1850, it cannot be counted in the mileage for 1850. Thus we only counted the railroads showing they were built by 1850 in the second column.
  • The fourth column shows the 1860 Census count for the year of 1850 according to on page 218. The Census bureau lumped all of these original railroads under the New York Central Railroad for a total of 447 miles as of 1850 even though there was no such railroad in 1850 and that was when they miscalculated.
  • The fifth column shows where they went wrong and by how much. The figure for the New York Central Railroad was 51.82 miles too high for the year of 1850. It appears that they counted the Buffalo & Rochester Railroad and the Buffalo, Lockport and Niagara Falls Railroad as being built by 1850 when that was not the case. They also failed to count the 25.5 miles of the line from Buffalo to Lewiston as being built by 1850 even though it became part of the New York Central Railroad shortly after the merger in 1853. The rest of the problems were simply due to rounding errors.
  • The sixth column shows the mileage at the time of the merger into the New York Central Railroad in 1853.
  • The seventh column shows the changes that the New York Central made to its system between the merger in 1853 and 1860.
  1. The Buffalo & Lockport Railroad was under construction at the time of the merger but that 12.25 miles was not finished until after the merger.
  2. It purchased the Buffalo and Niagara Falls Railroad (which included the 3 miles done by the Buffalo & Black Rock Railroad) and the Lewiston railroad for a total of another 25.5 miles.
  3. it extended the Lewiston Railroad another 2.75 miles to connect it to the Buffalo & Niagara Falls it had acquired. This gave it a through line from Buffalo to Lewiston of 28.25 miles in length.
  4. They bought the 6.88 mile Rochester and Lake Ontario Railroad which they were already leasing under the auspices of the Rochester, Lockport & Niagara Falls Railroad.
  5. It sold the 21.57 mile line from Depew to Attica that had been part of the old Attica & Buffalo Railroad keeping only the 10.38 miles from Buffalo to Depew. It no longer had a need for this line since the Buffalo & Rochester Railroad had constructed a direct line from Depew to Rochester bypassing Attica. It did keep the old Tonawanda Railroad portion of the Buffalo & Rochester Railroad as a branch line to Attica. The Depew to Attica line was sold to the Buffalo & New York City Railroad who was constructing a line from Hornellsville on the New York and Erie Railroad to Attica. This purchase allowed it to reach Buffalo via Depew and with the New York and Erie Railroad gave it a direct line from Buffalo to New York City.
  • The last column shows the mileage as of 1860 for the New York Central Railroad which exactly agrees with the 1860 Census count for it. This only reinforces our belief that our count for 1850 is correct since it all ties out.
Last Updated on Monday, 14 July 2008 13:12
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