Submitted to ACHS, with our thanks, by Richard Palmer.


Annual Report of New York State Railroad Commissioners, 1885, Vol. 1 PP 331-332

Inspection of Tonawanda Valley and Cuba Railroad
A three-feet gauge railroad, fifty-nine miles in length, extending from Attica to Cuba.

Early in December of last year the joint management, under one supervision, of this and of the Bradford, Eldred and Cuba railroad was discontinued, and both properties passed into-the hands of receivers.

Thus far this season the Tonawanda Valley and Cuba railroad, between Attica and Arcade, the oldest portion of the line, has not received the repairs and renewals that a careful inspection finds to be necessary.

Between Arcade and Cuba, thirty-three miles, the road is of later construction, and the material in bridges and superstructure has not deteriorated to an extent that would cause apprehension of failure, and may generally be reported as in good condition, and the line and surface of track in reasonable maintenance.

On this section of the road there are but few bridges beside the long trestle over the Rochester and Pittsburg railroad near Rushford, and that over the Buffalo, New York and Philadelphia railroad at Cuba. All of these trestles are in good life of timber, ample in size of members, and have a flooring of large ties, closely spaced, and a ribbon at ends to hold them in place.

Considerable ditching and ballasting of road-bed have been done this season, and the roadway has a neat appearance ; but of fencing there is yet only a very few scattered short stretches.

Between Attica and Arcade, a distance of twenty-six miles, and particularly from Attica ten miles south, the sleepers are entirely too low in strength, rendering the condition of track unfit to enter upon the winter now near at hand, and when so little can be done to improve its condition. The ties are of hemlock timber, sawed, six inches square and six feet in length. At many points four successive ties were noticed as unable to hold the spike, and they were found often broken in two under the rail. It was stated that 5,000 ties would at once be renewed between Attica and Arcade, but that number will certainly be inadequate to properly tie that portion of the line. At least twice that number could be advantageously used.

Many of the cuttings require extensive ditching. The material could be used to widen narrow embankments, a number of which slope directly from the under side of the ends of ties. he short sags in road noted last year have been taken out, and now the general plan of road-bed is uniform.

Of ballast, there is very little under the superstructure. The surfacing of track is mostly done with material from sides of road-bed, which is of a clayey nature mixed with some stone. The general surface and line of track is fair, particularly from a point ten miles south of Attica to Arcade, but it could be greatly improved if the ties were of sufficient strength to allow of their being disturbed.

There are forty trestle bridges, from one to five or more spans, between Attica and Arcade. They are constructed of hemlock timber, of ample size, but occasionally show decay, and while they have watchful care, many renewals having been made this season, there remains yet old timbers in them that should be replaced. Nearly all these trestles have old ties too widely-spaced, and no guard-rails or spacing ribbons are used.

As there is very little fencing, cattle-guards are used at property lines as well as at highways. They all have the fails directly upon the stringers. Stub switches are used, and in one or more instances open cattle-guards are located not more than thirty feet from them. It would be advisable at such points, at least, to provide a good floor for these more than ordinarily exposed openings.

This part of the road passes through a farming district, stocked more or less with cattle. Derailment is said to have lately occurred, caused by running over farm stock, the danger of which would be largely removed if a proper fence was maintained.

The end braces of the truss bridge near Attica have not as yet been braced to prevent undue flexure, as advised by the Commissioners. At Arcade there is a through Howe truss about ninety feet span, crossing the Cattaraugus creek, and a pile bridge approach at the south end. The whole is in good condition, has a standard floor, and was constructed for a standard gauge road.

At Attica and Cuba the depots of the New York, Lake Erie and Western railroad are used, and a transfer of standard gauge bodies, to narrow gauge trucks, is made, making it the more necessary to keep up a strong, narrow gauge superstructure.

Johnsonburgh, Java Center, Curriers, Arcade and Sandusky have good, modern style, combined passenger and freight depots. They are small, but ample for the business done, neatly kept and well furnished. Rushford is still destitute of a regular depot building, and the village being somewhat remote from the road, a good passenger station is very much needed.

There are now but two passenger cars and two engines in use upon the road, beside two baggage and other freight cars. The passenger cars need repair, and the engines are only in ordinary condition.


New York, November 13, 1885
Wm. C. Hudson, Esq.,
Secretary Board of Railroad Commissioners :


DEAR SIR— Yours 10th received. We admit the correctness of the report of your Inspector, and can only say that we have been and will continue to put the road in safe condition just as fast as our resources will permit. We had hoped to issue some receiver's certificates to this end, but after they were authorized by the court an appeal was taken, and is now pending. I am, however, endeavoring to do what is absolutely necessary, and rely on earnings to pay for it.

Yours truly,
B. W. SPENCER, Receiver.