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Photographs by Charlie Erler

By | June 9, 2020

"Charlie’s Photo Album," an article in the Fall 2020 issue of Classic Trains magazine, presents the work of the late Charles A. Erler, who photographed trains in and around western New York during the 1940s. Enjoy 10 more of his photos in this online bonus gallery.

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Low-drivered 2-8-0 on a passenger train

Baltimore & Ohio 2-8-0 3130, a former Buffalo & Susquehanna engine, has arrived at Addison, New York, with train 78 from Galeton, Pennsylvania, on July 4, 1940. After a short layover, the consist will return to Galeton, 46 miles and 2 hours away, as train 77.
Steam locomotive stopped on tracks

Eight miles from Buffalo

Baltimore & Ohio 4-6-2 5191, built for the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh, splits the semaphores just north of Orchard Park, New York, on April 17, 1940. Pittsburgh–Buffalo train 52 train 52 is 8 miles from its destination.
Steam locomotive stopped on tracks
Train in a yard

4-4-0 on a fan trip

On Sunday, June 15, 1941, Coudersport & Port Allegany 4-4-0 No. 6 powered a railfan excursion over the entire 33-mile line, from Port Allegany to Newfield Junction, Pennsylvania. The 1911 Baldwin is seen with its consist of two bench-equipped gondola cars, two wooden combines, and a four-wheel caboose at Port Allegany.
 
Train in a yard
Train stopped as people unload from cars

4-4-0 with an Ithaca connection

Delaware, Lackawanna & Western 4-4-0 964 (Baldwin, 1904) stands at the station at Owego, New York, after bringing a connecting local down the 34-mile branch from Ithaca to the DL&W main line on August 25, 1941.
Train stopped as people unload from cars

Lackawanna Hudson on the move

Delaware, Lackawanna & Western 4-6-4 1152 kicks up the dust with the eastbound Lackawanna Limited at East Binghamton, New York. The date is July 21, 1940, and the Alco Hudson is just three years old.
 
Train pulling long line of cars

Heavy Pacific with heavy head-end

Erie heavy 4-6-2 2932 pulls away from its stop at Jamestown, New York, with the Pacific Express for Chicago on June 14, 1940. Note the eight head-end cars!
Train pulling long line of cars
Front of a train pulled up next to a building

Pacific on a freight train

Lehigh Valley 4-6-2 2055 is at Freeville, New York, at the head of the daily freight from Auburn, New York, to Sayre, Pennsylvania, on October 6, 1940. The railfans visible in the photo are off a special from Rochester, out of sight in order to clear the freight.
Front of a train pulled up next to a building

Hudson on the Water Level Route

New York Central J-1 4-6-4 5364 charges away from Buffalo at 80 mph with the eastbound DeWitt Clinton on April 28, 1940. The train is approaching Transit Road in the Village of Depew.

On the old O&W

New York, Ontario & Western 4-6-0 225 gets ready to depart Oneida, New York, with train 10, the daily local to Sidney, on April 23, 1940. By this time the freight house served as the O&W’s passenger station here.

Wabash Atlantic at rest

Wabash Railroad 4-4-2 602 is being serviced at Detroit on May 19, 1940, before departing with the fast Detroit Arrow to Fort Wayne, Indiana, and (via PRR) Chicago.
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