October 25, 1981: Riding the Arcade and Attica

Arcade and Attica Railroad Steam Locomotive in 1981Today my family went down to Arcade, New York, in the southwestern corner of Wyoming County, to ride the historic Arcade and Attica Railroad.  Today was my very first time ever riding on a train and it was a real, working steam engine.

We rode the railroad with our friends the Hobbs.  Amy Hobbs is one year older than me and we pretty much grew up together.  I was five and she was six when we went on this train ride.

The ride on the train goes through a very rural piece of western Wyoming County.  It is actually not far from Buffalo but far enough out that the route is nothing but countryside.  You can learn more about the railroad on the Wikipedia: The Arcade and Attica Railroad.

Scott Alan Miller and Amy Hobbs Disembarking TrainIf I remember correctly the train still traveled up to North Java at the time that we road in in 1981.  It is 2009 as I write this “Looking Back” and I am not sure how far the train ran in my childhood.  Today it runs only to the very first station only a few country “blocks” away to Curriers, New York which is nothing but a country crossroad with an old train depot sitting along the tracks for the tourist excursions.  The train no longer even runs between two villages for passengers which is quite sad.  The line stopped running between Arcade and Attica in 1957 due to flooding so even though Attica is in the railroad’s name the village itself has not seen the train arrive in fifty-two years (in 2009 and twenty-four years in 1981.)

The line is still used for freight today hauling mostly agricultural products from the Arcade area up to North Java where it hands them off to Norfolk Southern to take out of the county.  The line was first formed in 1917 and was only used for freight until 1962 when passenger excursion service was begun.  So in 1981 when I first rode on the ARA line it has been taking passengers for only nineteen years.

The steam engine, shown above, is ARA #18 and is an ALCO 2-8-0.  In 2002 it would be taken out of service but returned again in 2008 on Memorial Day.

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