FROM BROAD GAUGE TO NARROW GAUGE
"The Erie was built as a broad-gauge line, having 6 feet between the rail as opposed to the standard 4 feet 8 1/2 inches. This enabled the Erie to carry wider and larger items than it's standard-gauge competitors, but made it difficult to interchange with them. In 1880 the entire mainline of the Erie was converted to standard-gauge in a single day."
The Erie Third Rail - In 1876, the standard gauge Lehigh Valley advanced the Erie Railroad some $2 million to lay a third rail from Waverly to Buffalo so that freight no longer had to be broken at the former point and transferred to wide gauge cars. This view, discovered by the late Joseph Boyd of Elmira, shows Erie engine 199 on the mainline next to the gravel pit at Cameron Mills, which may have been a source for stone ballast. There is evidence that Lehigh Valley locomotives pulled through freights to Buffalo this way before it opened its own main line west of Waverly in 1893.
Thanks to Richard Palmer for the research and submittal of the information below extracted from local area newspapers of the time period.
Cincinnati Commercial, Jan. 4, 1879
Last summer the laying of the third rail was continued to Binghamton, connection being there made with Albany by the Susquehanna Railroad. The work was completed last when the additional rail was finally laid to Jersey City, and yesterday the first train passed over to Port Jervis, the end of the Eastern Division. Hereafter it will be in constant use.
Cuba Patriot, March 23, 1883 Researched & Submitted by Richard Palmer
The Erie and the Narrow Gauges
The statement that the R.G. Taylor system of narrow gauges has been leased outright to the Erie road is both reported and denied. It is probably an error. However an arrangement has been entered into which brings these small roads into even closer communion with the Erie than has been.
They have at all times been favored by the Erie, sing at points of junction their depots, having switch room furnished, and working together in the control of freight and passenger traffic as though under one management.
The treasurer of the Erie road, B.W. Spencer, is treasurer of the narrow gauges, and officials of the former have been among the directors of the latter. They have been emphatically "Erie roads," and it is hard to see how they could be more intimately-connected, except under positive leases.
It is said that the new arrangement definitely provides for the transfer of traffic between the two, and that the Erie guarantees the outstanding bonds of the various narrow gauges o the amount of $1,500,000. This will raise them to the rank of prime securities.
The system includes 157 miles of road, made up of the Tonawanda Valley & Cuba, Bradford, Eldred & Cuba, the Bradford, Bordell & Kinzua, and the Bradford & Smethport road.