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Erie Lackawanna Railroad-Anatomy of The Friendly Service Route
Brief History,Timeline, Presidents, etc. of the Erie Railroad Company
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Development of the Lackawanna Railroad
Erie Railroad Company and its development.
Decline and Fall of the ELRY
Why the Erie Lackawanna Failed
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Friendly Service Route Overview

Here, we list, in condensed form, a timeline of the development of the Erie Railroad, its struggles, the men who served in the HOTSEAT as company president, etc. It IS NOT, nor meant to be a complete timeline of the Erie's development, only list many of the more important events in the Erie Railroad's life before merger with the Lackawanna Railroad.

The Erie Railroad, originally known as the New York and Erie Railroad, was chartered on April 24,1932 to connect the Hudson River (Piermont) with Lake Erie(Dunkirk) and construction began in 1836. What follows is NOT meant to be a complete timeline, but only a listing of some of the more important events in the life of the Erie Railroad.
February 16,1841, The Erie Railroad is authorized to cross into the Northeastern corner of Pennsylvania to facilitate construction of its line.
September 23,1841. The Erie Railroad opens from Piermont to Goshen,NY.
August, 1846, Construction resumes after reorganization.
January 7,1848. Erie Railroad opens to Port Jervis. Also in 1848, the Paterson and Ramapo,along with the Union Railroad, opens for business.
December 27,1848, the Erie Railroad opens to Binghamton,NY. It opens to Owego 5 days later.
May 19,1851, the Erie Railroad opens its full length to Dunkirk,NY on the shore of Lake Erie.
November 17,1852, the Attica-Hornellsville extension is opened to traffic. Also in 1852, the Paterson and Ramapo and Union railroads are leased by the Erie .
August 1859, the Erie goes into receivership and is reorganized as the Erie Railway on June 25,1861.
1863. Erie leases Buffalo,New York and Erie together with the Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad.
1868. Suspension Bridge and Erie Jct. RR is chartered, opened in 1871.
1871. Lockport and Buffalo RR chartered.
1879 Lockport and Buffalo RR opened.
1875. Erie Railway is reorganized as the New York, Lake Erie & Western Railway as a result of bankruptcy No.2.
1893. NYLE&W goes into bankruptcy and reorganizes as the Erie Railroad Company.
1944. First EMD FT Road freight diesel locomotive is placed in service on the Erie.
September 15,1948. Erie Railroad passenger trains begin using Cleveland Union Terminal.
1951 Erie Railroad celebrates the centennial of the completion of its original line from Piermont to Dunkirk.
1953. Erie Railroad is completely dieselized as the last steam locomotive in commuter service is retired.
1956. Erie begins moving its passenger operations from Jersey City to DL&W's Hoboken Terminal. Merger talks with the Lackawanna begin. Talks at first involved Delaware and Hudson, which soon dropped out.
1957. Move of east end passenger trains into Hoboken Terminal is completed.
1959. Erie and DL&W file joint application for merger of the two railroads into one. Both railroads agree to joint use of the Erie tracks between Binghamton and Corning,NY, marking the end of the former Lackawanna main line as a through route. Erie stations at Endicott, Owego,Waverly, and Elmira become known as ERIE-LACKAWANNA stations in DL&W public timetables.
Sept. 13,1960. Application of the Erie-DL&W merger is approved by the Interstate Commerce Commission.
October 17,1960. The Erie Railroad and Lackawanna Railroad are merged to form the Erie Lackawanna Railroad Company.
ERIE RAILROAD PRESIDENTS
Of all the men (and women) who worked on the Erie Railroad during its life and times, perhaps none were more important than the President of the railroad. In the Erie's final decades, he was generally a man who rose through the ranks and knew the operation intimately. Others, such as Eleazer Lord, Benjamin Loder, and James King, to name three, were venturing into uncharted territory as far as running a railroad was concerned.The following is the complete list of men who served in the Erie's HOTSEAT over the years and their terms of office:
1.Eleazer Lord (1833-1835)
2.James Gore King, (1835-1839)
3.Eleazer Lord, (1839-1841)
4.James Bowen, (1841-1842)
5.William Maxwell, (1842-1843)
6.Horatio Allen, (1843-1844)
7.James Hooper, (2 months in 1845)
8.Benjamin Loder, (1845-1853)
9.Homer Ramsdell, (1853-1857)
10.Charles Moran, (1857-1859)
11.Samuel Marsh, (1859-1861)
12.Nathaniel Marsh, (1861-1864)
13.Samuel Marsh (4 months in 1864)
14.Robert H. Berdell, (1864-1867)
15.John S. Eldridge, (1867-1868)
16.Jay Gould, (1868-1872)
17.John A. Dix, (4 months  in1872)
18.Peter A. Watson, (1872-1874)
19.Hugh J. Jewett, (1874-1884)
20.John King, (1884-1894)
21.Eben Thomas,(1894-1901)
22.Frederick C. Underwood, (1901-1927)
23.John J. Bernet, (1927-1929)
24.Charles E. Denney, (1929-1939)
25.Robert E. Woodruff,(1941-1949)
26.Paul W. Johnston, (1949-1956)
27. Harry Von Willer,(1956-1960).
 
As can be surmised, the presidency of the Erie was a high stress job that many of these men did not seem to want for very long. Fred Underwood, a caring man and a refugee super, served a 27 year term.

PROFILE OF THE ERIE RAILROAD AS OF DECEMBER 31,1952
The following constituted the ingredients of the Erie Railroad as of December 31,1952:
1.21,463 employees
2.25,835 shareholders
3.Terminal facilities
4.$477,780,512 investment in transportation property
5.467 Diesel Units
6.45 steam locomotives
7.22,933 freight cars
8.612 passenger cars
9.241 boats ( in the Marine Department)
10.5368 miles of all tracks, including main tracks, sidings, yard tracks, etc. Distributed among the New York,Wyoming,Delaware, Susquehanna, Buffalo-Rochester,Allegheny, BSW,Bradford,Meadville,Mahoning,Kent, and Marion divisions, which were divided into Eastern and Western Districts, with Hornell,NY as the dividing point, since this location was the geographical heart of the railroad. The main system diesel shop was located here and it serviced all passenger diesel power as well as other diesels in need of servicing,while the Marion Shop was primarily concerned with freight service diesels. In addition, the Erie had a freight car shop at Dunmore,Pennsylvania as well as one at Meadville, PA and the system passenger car shop was at Susquehanna, PA. Through passenger service on the railroad consisted of the following trains: Nos.1 and 2, The Erie Limited, Nos. 5 and 6, The Lake Cities, No.7 The Pacific Express, and No.8 The Atlantic Express. The Cleveland-Youngstown Line hosted joint services with the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie and Baltimore and Ohio railroads, with such trains as The Steel Kings, to name an example. There was also local service between Cleveland and Youngstown as exemplified by trains 628 and 629, which, as Trains 28 and 29, lasted until January 14,1977. Service between Port Jervis and Jersey City (Hoboken) was basically commuter in nature with trains 54 and 57 being named The Tuxedo. On the freight side of the coin, Trains 99 and 100,nicknamed "The Flying Saucers" were the hottest trains on the railroad, second only to passenger trains 5 and 6. As H.Rogers Grant wrote in his excellent book, ERIE LACKAWANNA, DEATH OF AN AMERICAN RAILROAD, the Erie Railroad was a railroader's railroad, for railroaders had what they thought was a railroad with the best working conditions of any railroad and they could get their jobs done safely and with less hassle than seems to be the case today. More than just a beloved carrier was lost when the Erie disappeared into railroad history, a way of working life went along with it, along with service performed the way it was meant to be performed, with people, not robotization as seems to be becoming rampant today. For what is a railroad without the people needed to properly run it?