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Buffalo, Rochester and Pittsburgh Railway

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Title: Buffalo, Rochester and Pittsburgh Railway  
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Subject: Timeline of Class I railroads (1930–76), Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh Railway Indiana Passenger Station, Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad Station, Coke (fuel), WikiProject Trains/ICC valuations
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Buffalo, Rochester and Pittsburgh Railway

Buffalo, Rochester and Pittsburgh Railway
BR&P system map, circa 1907
Reporting mark BR&P
Locale New York
Dates of operation 1869–1932
Successor Baltimore & Ohio Railroad
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Length 602 miles (969 kilometres)
Headquarters Rochester, New York

The Buffalo, Rochester and Pittsburgh Railway (reporting mark BR&P)[1] was a former Class I railroad that operated in the northeastern United States. It operated independently until 1932, when it was acquired by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad.


In 1869, Rochester, New York had a well-developed flour-milling industry. The Genesee River furnished power to drive the mills; wheat came from the fertile Genesee Valley south of Rochester in boats on the Genesee Valley Canal. To provide better grain transportation and, more important, to bring coal from Pennsylvania, the Rochester & State Line Railroad (R&SL) was incorporated in 1869 to build up the valley of Genesee to the Pennsylvania state line — the destination was later changed to the town of Salamanca, New York.[2][3] The railroad was completed in 1878. Most of its stock was owned by Cornelius Vanderbilt, of the New York Central Railroad (NYC). However, Vanderbilt lost interest in the railroad about the time it began having financial difficulties, and he sold his stock to a New York syndicate.[4]

The R&SL was reorganized as the Rochester & Pittsburgh Railroad (R&P) in 1881.[5] It extended its line south to Buffalo, New York, and several other railroads were chartered.[4][6]

In 1884 the R&P was sold to Adrian Iselin, a New York financier also connected with the Mobile & Ohio Railroad.[7] After some corporate manipulations he consolidated the railroads as the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh Railway (BR&P) in 1887. The BR&P built branches into the coalfields of western Pennsylvania and constructed a line north from Rochester to the shore of Lake Ontario to connect with a car ferry to Cobourg, Ontario.[8] In 1893 a branch was opened to Clearfield, Pennsylvania, where it connected with the NYC and, via the NYC, the westernmost part of the Reading Railroad (RDG). In 1898 the Allegheny & Western Railroad was incorporated to extend the BR&P from Punxsutawney west to Butler, Pennsylvania, and a connection with the Pittsburgh & Western Railroad, then owned by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad (B&O). Trackage rights from Butler to New Castle and Pittsburgh were included in the arrangement with the B&O. The new line was opened in 1899, and the BR&P finally linked the cities of its name.[4][9]

BR&P developed into a well-run coal hauler. After the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) merger plan of the 1920s was published, both Delaware & Hudson Railway and B&O petitioned for control of BR&P; the ICC approved B&O's application in 1930. Meanwhile the BR&P was sold to the Van Sweringen brothers (who owned the Nickel Plate and controlled the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway [C&O]) in 1928. B&O still wanted the BR&P, and the Van Sweringens wanted the Wheeling and Lake Erie Railway, in which B&O held a minority interest. They traded, and on January 1, 1932, B&O acquired the BR&P.[4]

B&O wanted to assemble a Chicago-New York shortcut (a railroad equivalent of Interstate 80) that would use BR&P from Butler to DuBois, the Buffalo & Susquehanna Railroad to Sinnemahoning, and a new line connecting with the RDG west of Williamsport. The Great Depression was not the time for such plans, and the project was shelved.[4]

C&O created the Chessie System in 1973, who then sold the Rochester branch to the Genesee & Wyoming Railroad (G&W) in 1986 to become the Rochester & Southern Railroad, and in April 1988 the remainder of the BR&P became the Buffalo & Pittsburgh Railroad, also a G&W subsidiary. Except for several branches, the lines of the BR&P of 1930 remain intact.[4]


The BR&P owned a large number of freight cars, with more than 16,000 in 1912, as was typical for a railroad of its size. The vast majority of its freight cars were coal hauling cars and boxcars. There were few stock car, refrigerator car, or tank cars on the roster, especially considering that its route traversed the Pennsylvania oil fields. When acquired by the B&O in 1932, most of the freight cars dated to before WWI.

Typical freight cars included Box cars built by American Car & Foundry

A large number of wood hopper bottom gondolas were owned by BR&P

Historic sites

The following BR&P stations are listed on the National Register of Historic Places:



  1. ^ ’’Railway Equipment and Publication Company’’ The Official Railway Equipment Register, June 1917, p. 404
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b c d e f Drury, George H. (1994). The Historical Guide to North American Railroads: Histories, Figures, and Features of more than 160 Railroads Abandoned or Merged since 1930.  
  5. ^ Buffalo Rochester & Pittsburgh Railway, Paul Pietrak, 1992
  6. ^ A History of Railroads in Western New York, Edward T Dunn, Canisius College Press, 2000, p.88
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ A History of Railroads in Western New York, Edward T Dunn, Canisius College Press, 2000, p.89
  10. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places.  

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