Report on the Penn Central Railroad Historical Society’s 2016 Convention

I’ve been a member of the PCRRHS for a few years now, but I had never attended their annual convention. That changed this weekend, and I’ll be attending many more conventions in the future.

The Western New York Railway Historical Society hosted the convention at their Heritage DiscoveRY Centre project. Fittingly, Joe Kocsis presented an overview of the HDC project and other WNYRHS initiatives. The HDC project has a bold vision to transform a vast swath of brownfield lands on the Buffalo River into an educational/recreational site. Among their impressive artefacts, WNYRHS is restoring Buffalo Creek Alco HH-660 #43 and the control board for the Frontier Yard hump tower.

 

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Buffalo Creek Alco HH-660 #43 is owned by the WNYRHS and was recently started for the first time in well over a decade.

 

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Buffalo Creek #43 has been mechanically and cosmetically restored by volunteers at WNYRHS.

 

The control boards were salvaged from the Frontier Yard hump tower and are protected by the WNYRHS for future exhibits.

 

In typical fashion, there were presentations each evening by knowledgable locals. John Spring presented an overview of the TH&B that the members appreciated. Penn Central was 75% owner of the TH&B, so the presentation was deeply relevant to the members’ interests. Chris Martin presented an investigation into some interesting Penn Central rolling stock, including company service cars. Neal Keirn presentated on the Falls Road during the PC/CR transition period, Gary Sample paid tribute to Conrail, and Ken Kraemer provided an overview of the entire Buffalo and Western New York area during the Penn Central era.

The daytime itinerary combined a self-guided tour and a guided bus tour. Some highlights included the Model Railroad Club of Buffalo and a visit to the Buffalo Southern Railroad in Hamburg.

 

 

A coal train passes through the Pennsylvania hills on the Model Railroad Club of Buffalo's layout.
A coal train passes through the Pennsylvania hills on the Model Railroad Club of Buffalo’s layout.

 

A freelanced steel industry scene greats visitors at the entrance to the Model Railroad Club of Buffalo.
A freelanced steel industry scene greats visitors at the entrance to the Model Railroad Club of Buffalo.

 

During the self-guided portion of the convention, Buffalo Southern Alco S2 #100 moves a tea-kettle steamer to their shops in preparation for a future excursion on their line.

The bus-tour part of the convention had us visiting Buffalo Central Terminal, the WNYRHS’s Lehigh Valley depot in Williamsville, the Railroad Museum of the Niagara Frontier in North Tonawanda, and the BR&P depot in Orchard Park.

 

Central Terminal, Buffalo NY.
Central Terminal, Buffalo NY.

 

Some railfanning at the Depew Amtrak station produced this shot of BNSF 4677 leading an oil train.
Some railfanning at the Depew Amtrak station produced this shot of BNSF 4677 leading an oil train.

 

The dispatcher's desk and model board, on the third floor of Central Terminal.
The dispatcher’s desk and model board, on the third floor of Central Terminal.

 

Central Terminal's ticket wickets, under that giant arches of the main concourse.
Central Terminal’s ticket wickets, under that giant arches of the main concourse.

 

The station name board at the former Lehigh Valley station, Williamsville NY.
The station name board at the former Lehigh Valley station, Williamsville NY.

 

Our attentive group, listening to the introduction to the restored station site at Williamsville NY.
Our attentive group, listening to the introduction to the restored station site at Williamsville NY.

 

Lehigh Valley's first steel caboose, assembled by LV at Sayre PA.
Lehigh Valley’s first steel caboose, assembled by LV at Sayre PA.

 

EL2 stood guard at the crossing of the former NYC Lockport Branch and the Erie's Niagara Falls Branch in North Tonawanda.
EL2 stood guard at the crossing of the former NYC Lockport Branch and the Erie’s Niagara Falls Branch in North Tonawanda.

 

The bus tour's last stop was the Former BR&P depot in Orchard Park NY.
The bus tour’s last stop was the Former BR&P depot in Orchard Park NY.

 

CN 2606 approaches the back fence of the Heritage DiscoveRY Center.
CN 2606 approaches the back fence of the Heritage DiscoveRY Center.

Overall, it was an excellent event, and I took advantage of the opportunity to make new friends, get back in touch with a couple of old friends, and have a few laughs. If you’re a prototype modeller, I highly recommend joining the historical society for your prototype. Even if you’re into freelance modelling, I expect you could gain great insight by being a member of a society that covers a prototype that is similar to your imagined road.

 

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