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The Lehigh Valley Railroad was the chief line serving Ithaca, home of the Cornell Railroad Historical Society
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The Cornell Railroad Historical Society became a chapter of the National Railway Historical Society in 1981. In the 30 years since that time, we have grown and prospered. With recent membership levels of nearly 130, while we may be one of the smaller NRHS chapters, we are an active one, with great enthusiasm for the subjects of railroads, rail history, rail photography and other aspects of the railroad hobby.
        The City of Ithaca lies at the foot of Cayuga Lake, and is surrounded  on three sides by steep hills. It is also home to Cornell University and Ithaca College, meaning its population practically doubles when school is in session. In former years, most of these students arrived by train, but with the changes seen in the 20th century, the two main railroads serving the area, the Lehigh Valley and the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western, faded away. Nonetheless, our chapter holds both dear, especially the Lehigh Valley, sometimes known affectionately as the "Leaky Valley", which is also the name of our newsletter

The Cornell Railroad Historical Society Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month at the History Center, 401 East State Street, Gateway Plaza, Ithaca, NY. From NY Route 13, take Green Street (NY 79 East), three traffic lights to East State Street. After third light, turn hard right into Gateway Plaza parking behind 401 (large building with two pizza shops on ground floor). If westbound on Rt. 366 or 79, make left at foot of hill to 401 (Gateway Plaza). Doors open at 7:00 PM, meetings begin at 7:15 PM, and generally last until about 9 PM We have other yearly activities, most notably our RailFair, and meetings are open to anyone. Our mailing address is :

Check out our links to available books in the list at left!

Cornell Railroad Historical Society
c/o Ron Koger 116 Candor Hill Road
Candor, NY 13743



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Cornell Railroad Historical Society


Frank Barry to Show His Historic Steam Photos at January Meeting

The January, 2018 meeting of the Cornell Railroad Historical Society will have Frank Barry, noted photographer and honoree of the Center for Railroad Photography & Art in Illinois, showing his historic and recent prints of his quest for steam locomotives in the US, Canada and Mexico during the 1950s and 1960s. The meeting will be held at the History Center, foot of State Street in downtown Ithaca. The date is January 9, 2018 and the doors of the Center will be open at 7 PM with the meeting beginning promptly at 7:15 PM. We will also hold the election of officers and Board members during the meeting. Voting is only for members of the National Railway Historical Society, but all are welcome for the meeting.
December Auction Featured Many Books, Other Items
The December 2017 meeting of our Cornell Railroad Historical Society had a large number of rare books from the collection of William (Bill) Caloroso, who has been ill. In addition, a number of interesting models wer placed on the block, though few sold, since times have been tight and fewer members are working in the fields of HO railroading. It was a successful evening for the chapter, with several hundred dollars raised.
November Meeting: A Hair-Raising, Bear-Raising Trip on Alaskan River

The November 2017 meeting of the Cornell Railroad Historical Society had our president, Steve Peck, returned from one of his adventures in Alaska to show a non-rail but terrifying video of a unique trip up the Newhalen River from Lake Illimani. This stream, flowing out of rugged mountains near the Alaskan Coast, has a whole series of "Class 5" rapids and has never been paddled or kayaked successfully (read: fatalities). Steve remarked that he was grateful to be alive. The vessel used in this stream is a powerful motorboat run by a man whom Steve has gotten to know while working on building structures in far northern Alaska.

While Steve felt imperiled during the first trip, he actually agreed to do it again, but still felt that death lurked around every corner of the stream.. The video made it clear that what are called "rapids, are more like waterfalls, and the fact that the boat could make it either up or down this thundering cascade was something like a miracle of daring and skill.

Bruce Tracy Showed New Photos and Research along the Route of the Auburn Short Line at September Meeting
Armed with new photos discovered during his research and from aerial drone shots along the long-abandoned right-of-way, Bruce Tracy gave a talk on September, 2017, on the remnants of the Auburn Short Line (otherwise known as the Central New York Southern) at the CRHS September meeting. The line was known for operating one of the first McKeen motor cars in this part of the world, but their deficiencies helped the line to its demise in the 1920s.  
No August Meeting for August, 2017
For most years, there has no meeting by meeting meetings during August.This was true for August, 2017, with most members taking the summer meeting to have other activities during the late summer meeting.

July Picnic at Clyde, New York

July 15, 2017

Our annual picnic, held again this year at Clyde, New York, on the CSX main line, featured more trains than ever, and possibly longer ones. Amtrak provided two passenger trains, and there were mixed freights, long double stacks, a couple of eastbound tank trains (one with UP and another headed by rival NS power) and even a couple of mixed trains with lots of stinky garbage.
The May 9 meeting of the Cornell Railroad Historical Society featured the video, from National Geographic, "Inside Grand Central". It showed some of the hidden places the public never visits in the gem of our national rail stations.
May 2017 Meeting Explored "Inside Grand Central" Video
March/April 2017 Meeting: Moving the Station at Aurora
Our March meeting at The History Center (March 14, 2017) had to be canceled on account of winter weather. The April meeting then showed the program originally scheduled for March: Moving the Aurora Station, about moving and rotating the Aurora railroad station on the Cayuga Lake line and turning it into a private residence.
February 2017 Meeting of CRHS Showed Buster Keaton "Railrodder"
At The History Center on February 14 we viewed the humorous and informative adventure of Keaton as he journeys across Canada by handcar in "The Railrodder". In addition, we watched a National Film Board of Canada docmentary on how the Keaton movie was made, which also included many aspects of Keaton's life as a silent film star.
January 2017 Meeting Was Canceled Because of Dire Weather Forecast.
Actual storm predicted for the evening of January 13 turned out to be less severe, but with the possibility of snow, icing and other effects threatening to make driving hazardous, it seemed the best idea to cancel the meeting.


Reports on CRHS Meetings of 2017 and previous years

Page revised by Gene Endres, January 9, 2018