Arcade and Attica Railroad, Arcade NY. Train Rides, Excursions, Local Train Memorabilia




Our passenger excursions are also powered by one of our two World War II era diesel-electric locomotives,which are also used weekly in our freight operations. Both engines were built by General Electric at their locomotive facility in Erie, PA. The 44-ton centercab No111 was built in 1947 and delivered new to the Arcade & Attica Railroad. No112 was built in 1945 and delivered to the United States Navy. The A&A purchased the engine from the City of Colorado Springs Railroad in 1988 to supplement the ailing engine No111.



. . . enjoy yourself listening to the click of the rails and the steam whistle echoing off the rural hillsides on this little journey into the past. May it revive pleasant memories of by-gone days for you and give to today's generation, many of whom have never seen a steam locomotive, a window into transportation history.
As railroads were stretching across the country, the farmers of Western New York saw the perfect opportunity for a link to the big cities. Many small organizations formed that began building railroads throughout the countryside. Despite many stops and starts, railroads were built stretching across the picturesque Allegheny River valley. When the Pennsylvania Railroad wanted to connect to Buffalo they found the best way to do so would be to purchase all the small incomplete railroads and link them together. As a result the Buffalo, Attica & Arcade Railroad was formed.

The narrow gauge line would connect Attica, through Arcade, to the Pennyslvania state line then onto Pittsburgh. In 1880 the line officially opened between Attica and Curriers Corners where our excursion stops today. The rails you ride on today were first spiked down in 1881 and standardized in 1895 to connect with the Pennsylvania Railroad.

By 1917 the B.A.& A. Railroad was being operated by the Buffalo and Susquehanna Railroad which was thinking of closing down this section of the line. The businessmen along the B.A.& A. were very concerned. The Merrell-Soule Company of Arcade (predecessor of the Borden Co.) operated a large milk processing plant and they along with others needed rail service. Facing closure, interested parties began to raise money needed to purchase the section of line. Stock was sold to farmers, merchants and anyone else who was interested. 365 people raised $79,000 and formed the Arcade and Attica Railroad Corporation - and our story begins. The small corporation still owns the railroad today.
This railroad has never been blessed with a lot of luck. In addition to many bankruptcies, numerous washouts have taken their toll on the tiny railroad. The largest of these washouts occured in January of 1957 when the Tonawanda Creek flooded its banks taking several hundred feet of track with it. At that time it would have cost $72,000 to repair the amount the stockholders could not afford. In an emergency session the Board of Directors voted to suspend all operations between North Java and Attica on January 25th. Nearly all of the freight business was between Arcade and North Java anyway so it was not a difficult decision. Permission was granted from the ICC and the line from North Java to Attica was abandoned.

The railroad has an active freight service which has transported milk, cheese, grain, cattle, gasoline, coal and mail. Thirteen boxcars were purchased especially for carrying "Cremora" all over the nation while the Arcade Borden's plant was in opertaion. The longest train ever operated by the A.& A. occurred in the 1920's when the line handled 50 cars of "New Improved Michigan Limestone" out of Attica. With engine #5 in the lead, cars were set off at each station along the way until the train arrived at Arcade with two engines and twenty five cars. The conductor on the special was Gus Berwanger, engineer - Simeon Kilton and Rube Roblie - fireman. One of the more interesting operations of the railroad was service to the Attica State prison. The Erie Railroad serviced that area but their engines were too big to get inside of the prison so the job came to the A&A with its smaller engines. No "extra" passengers ever took the train out of the prison due to the watchful eyes of the inspectors.
The 1930's were boom years for the Arcade & Attica, so when the depression hit, they were able to stay afloat without laying off a single employee. Quite an enviable record!

In 1941,with the advent of the diesel locomotive and the need to reduce expenses, the railroad purchased #110, a 44Ton General Electric diesel engine. The A.& A. became one of the very first railroads in the nation to conduct operations with diesel power! #110, the first new locomotive ever owned by the company, performed so well and cut expenses so drastically, that it literally saved the A.& A. in 1941. She became "famous", becoming the subject of numerous ads in the trade papers.

In the late 1950's, freight business began to slide and something had to be done in order to save the short line. The decision was made to try steam powered passenger excursions. #18, a 1920 2-8-0 American locomotive, was purchased in 1962 from the Boyne City Railroad in Michigan along with two Delaware, Lackawanna and Western coaches. The inaugural run was on July 27 1962 for railroad officials and the press. Regular summertime excursions began in August of the same year. During that first season of only 27 days, 17,000 paying passengers were carried in only two cars. The trains ran from morning to night. In 1963 #14, a Baldwin 4-6-0 was purchased from the Escanaba and Lake Superior Railroad and more Delaware, Lackawanna and Western coaches were purchased. The line came to be known as the "Grand Scenic Route".

Today, the railroad is still "Comin' on Strong". We run regular freight service and passenger excursions that include special events such as Civil War Days, Murder Mystery Rides, Fall Foliage Tours, Halloween Rides, and Santa Express Trains!
THANK YOU. 1962-2012 Fifty Years of Passenger Excursions!
The staff of the Arcade & Attica Railroad wishes to thank Richard Cartwright for being the visionary that he was back in 1962. Thanks to him, we are all still able to perpetuate the dream to keep steam alive for our children and our children's children to experience!
Thanks to our many generations of customers, who continue to ride, year after year, for supporting us. We can't do this without you in our family. Hope to see you all in 2014!

"All things must pass . . .
but not this train . . . and not on our watch."

Clipping above from The Arcade Herald, shows R.I.Cartwright in his office. Watching for the train.
Mixed Train No.2 arriving at Arcade in March,1943

". . .engine #110 performed so well,she became the subject of numerous ads in the trade papers of the day. By cutting expenses so drastically she literally saved the Arcade & Attica in 1941!"

With the purchase of it's new 1941 44 Ton GE Centercab Switcher #110, the A & A Railroad received the distinction of being one of the very first railroads in the nation to be "Dieselized". This photo shown here,taken by General Electric, shows #110 coming into the station with freight & a passenger coach bringing up the rear. Eight years later in 1951 passenger service was discontinued.
Note:The original station on the left in the background.

#110 still stands proudly and welcomes visitors at our static display.
Images Of Rail
Arcade & Attica Railroad

Latest history on the A & A, written by Ken Springirth -
200 vintage photos/128 pages


ON SALE NOW in our souvenir shop!
Makes a great gift.
Only $23.75/tax included.

Photo Top Right Page: "Bud & The Boys" early excursion
crew pictured left to right-
Cecil(Zeke)Lester, Emmett(Bud)King, Tom Gainey & Howard Hopkins
with assorted "crew" helpers.
Photo taken July 24, 1964 at Arcade, NY
by Hud Balogh of Ohio.

278 Main Street...Arcade, NY 14009
Phone: (585) 492-3100

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