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BROAD GAUGE DAYS.

The Erie Railroad, chartered by the Legislature of New York in 1832 as the New York & Erie Railroad, began construction in 1836 and after a series of delays the road was opened from the Hudson River to Lake Erie on April 22nd, 1851. Although the original charter provided that the entire line was to be within the State of New York, this was later modified to permit the road to pass through a small portion of neighboring Pennsylvania.

Built in an era when the question of a general uniform gauge had not been settled, the Erie was constructed to the broad gauge of 6 feet between the rails. The rare old photo shown here was owned by Joseph Boyd and located by Julian Caster of Elmira, N.Y.; it was taken at Cameron Mills gravel pit in 1879 while the crews of the New York, Lake Erie & Western Railway were engaged in laying the Erie's second main track. Engine 199, an eight-wheeler, heads a string of ballast cars, and a steam shovel for loading them stands on the spur in the gravel pit at right.

The third rail visible within the 6-foot gauge tracks of the Erie was used by the standard gauge trains of the Lehigh Valley Railroad, the latter using a section of the Erie's trackage on the journey between Waverly and Buffalo, New York. (Courtesy of Erie Railroad Company)

from A Locomotive Engineer's Album by George B.Abdill


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This page is from Thomas Ehrenreich's Railroad Extra website, and is reproduced here as a memorial to him and his dedication to preserving the history of railroading in America. Please note I have no access to the original source material and cannot provide higher resolution scans.
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are 1996-2010 Timothy J. Mallery . The Railroad Extra pages are ©2001 Thomas Ehrenreich.