This year marks the 180th anniversary of the beginning of the first railroad that linked Erie, Pa., via Westfield to Buffalo. A convention was held in Fredonia during 1831 to arrange to build a railroad from Erie to Buffalo. Construction began on July 26, 1849 and on Jan. 10, 1852 the Erie and North East Railroad opened from Erie to the New York state line where connections were made to the Buffalo and State Line Railroad to Buffalo. This line later became part of the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway which was merged into the New York Central Railroad during 1914. Railroad passenger service peaked in the United States in 1916. The coming of the automobile, growth of airline service, and completion of the interstate highway system resulted in a decline in passenger service and most passenger stations were abandoned. The Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway passenger train station in North East was saved from being demolished. Volunteers of the Lake Shore Railway Museum refurbished the station in 1970 and will be conducting “Christmas at the Station.” In commemoration of that train anniversary, I will be doing a book signing on ten train and trolley car books I have written at the Lake Shore Railway Museum located at Robinson and Wall Streets in North East, Pa., on Nov. 26, Nov. 27, Dec. 3 and Dec. 4 from noon to 4 p.m. each day. Admission to the museum is free, and there are many locomotives and rolling stock on display. It is a great place to learn about railroad history and view modern railroading with about 60 daily freight trains passing by the station.
Ken Springirth, rail transportation author