Posts Tagged ‘New York & Lake Erie Railroad’

Disappointment Quickly Turned to Joy

June 15, 2021

On Sunday Marty Surdyk picked me up just after 9 a.m. at my house. Our quest for the day was to photograph the excursion on the New York & Lake Erie (ex-Erie trackage) out of Gowanda, New York.

In the 1980s we rode and chased trips often during our younger days. This was to be a reprise of that era.

The NY&LE always had a special connection to us. In 1983, former Grand Trunk Western 2-8-2 No. 4070 traveled from Cleveland to the NY&LE for an important role in scenes for The Natural starring Robert Redford.

In 1987 the railroad had a special role in the filming of the comedy Planes, Trains & Automobiles starring John Candy and Steve Martin.

Also in 1987 and 1988, we participated in photo charters on the railroad when the locomotive and passenger cars were still wearing the fictitious Contrack livery for Planes, Trains & Automobiles.

We arrived on the NY&LE before noon and scouted the line to plot our potential photo locations. After having lunch in Gowanda, we ventured to the station there. Passengers were beginning to arrive.

However, our excitement changed to disappointment. An Alco FA was attached to the train but with its back end forward. The other FA was in the engine house.

We were thinking of riding the train because we weren’t too excited about photographing what appeared to be a boxcar leading the train.

We decided to still chase since the lone FA would being facing the proper direction on the return even though the sun angles would not be ideal.

We set up at East Hill Street just around a curve from the station area. At 2 p.m. a horn blow for departure sounded. Oh well maybe another time we’ll come back to get the back-to- back FAs.

Shortly the train appeared and disappoitment turned to “Wow!” There was the other FA. We never heard it coming out of the engine house.

We have no idea how we did not hear anything since Alcos definitely are not quiet. We were extremely delighted.

And with that the chase was on from Gowanda to South Dayton.

In the top image is the excursion train at East Hill Street in Gowanda followed by images made at Church street in Dayton, Markhams Road and at the South Dayton station.

Also shown is what we thought would be the motive power for the trip and a depiction in the Gowanda station of John Candy and Steven Martin.

The South Dayton station was used in the filming of The Natural and Planes, Trains & Automobiles.

A group photograph of Akron Railroad Club and Railroad Enthusiasts members was made at the South Dayton depot in 1987.

Article and Photographs by Edward Ribinskas