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From:  John S. Minard, Allegany County and Its People.  A Centennial Memorial History of Allegany County, New York. W. A. Fergusson & Co., Alfred, N.Y., 1896, P. 909 (Chapter on Bolivar)

This material was researched and submitted by Richard F. Palmer - 2007

 

    RAILROADS. - Only one of the many railroads once  known to Bolivar now exists. During 1882, '82 and '83 it was not a surprising thing to waken in the morning and find a new railroad in town. They were all of the narrow gauge order, the rails being but three feet apart. The trains were remarkable for ability in climbing hills and rounding  the astonishing curves with which the roadbed abounded.

    It cannot be said that much attention was paid to the time scheduled on the time-table, but the passengers were repaid for time lost in the beauty and scenery and the novelties displayed by this style of railroading. During 1881 the Olean and Friendship railroad (P. 910) was built. This was afterward extended to Angelica. The road is now in operation between Bolivar and Olean, running two trains each way daily.

     This railroad has been burdened with a great number of names - enough to swamp anything but a narrow-gauge railway. It was first known as the Olean and Friendship, then as the Allegany Central, the Lackawanna and Pittsburgh, then the Lackawanna and South-Western, and now rests under the title of Central New York and Western.  The president of the road is John Byrnes of Wall Street, New York City, who is also supposed to own a controlling  interest in the stock; Frank S. Smith of New York City is vice president; M. S. Blair, superintendent; C.H. Hammond, passenger and freight agent.

     The gentleman in charge of the Bolivar office is Barney S. Dunn, who has been in the employ of the company many years; he has been in charge at Bolivar and Richburg during the past 8 years. There is every reason to suppose that the road will be made standard gauge the coming season and be extended  and be extended to Hornellsville, such at least seems to be the opinion of Supt. Blair.

     During 1881 the Bradford, Eldred and Cuba road was built. The termini were Wellsville and Eldred. this road was operated until 1888 when it was abandoned. In 1884 came the Tonawanda Valley and Cuba road with the terminal points at Bolivar and Attica. This road never paid running expenses. It soon passed into the hands of a receiver, Hon. T.C. Platt being appointed. It was in this road that Gen. U.S. Grant owned stock.

     The narrow gauge road is an institution peculiar to the oil country, and, as a rule, a ride over any branch is a novelty worth trying. The time,  owing to the steep grades and sharp curves, is necessarily slow. Between Olean and Bradford is a road running in connection with the C.N.Y. & W., which for wild and picturesque scenery is equalled by few roads in the East.

 

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