WELLSVILLE, ADDISON & GALETON   
(including the Coudersport & Port Allegany)  

 

Built in the late 1800's, the lines of the WAG began as the Buffalo & Susquehanna and served the logging and coal interests of the Goodyear brothers (Frank and Charles). With 2.5% grades and switchbacks south of Galeton, PA the line was an operational nightmare and the ill-fated Buffalo extension was abandoned in 1916 just 10 years after having been built. The remaining lines were acquired by the B&O, along with neighboring (but profitable) Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh in 1932. Severe flooding in 1942 severed the line south of Galeton, isolating the rest of the old B&S from the B&O. This led the B&O to sell the lines radiating out of Galeton, to Wellsville, NY (northwest) and Addison, NY (northeast) as well as the branch to the NYC connection at Ansonia, PA to the Salzberg family who incorporated the WAG and took over operations on January 1, 1956. The WAG gained noteriety among railfans for it's power, first the GE "Ford" centercabs, then the F7's and for it's charming, backwoods flavor. It was also known for it's large fleet of second hand, wooden, outside braced boxcars that carried the slogan "The Sole Leather Line" in reference to the number of tanneries served (the northern PA forests contained large stands of hemlock trees, whose thick bark was used in the leather tanning process). This car fleet brought in substantial per diem revenue, but in the late 1960's the ICC changed the per diem rate to a variable scale depending on the cars age, capacity and condition. The WAG cars being old and small were not earning their keep anymore and were withdrawn from service. This forced the railroad to exist using only on-line traffic for revenue, and when this proved deficient, the line began to be abandoned in stages. First to go was Elkland to Addison, folllowed by the line to Wellsville in 1972 which had few on-line customers and whose interchange with the E-L at Wellsville was shifted to the Penn Central at Ansonia.

The Coudersport & Port Allegany was built in 1882 as a narrow gauge line, and was later standard gauged and extended, running from the PRR at Port Allegany, PA to the NYC at Ulysses, crossing the WA&G at Newfield Junction. In 1964 the remaining 26 miles from Coudersport to the WA&G at Newfield Jct. was sold to Salzberg and the C&PA engines were sent to the WAG shops at Galeton for repainting and their regular maintanence. As traffic dwindled, the line was operated less and less frequently, with the last revenue run occurring on 12/8/70.

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F7 #2200 is started up for a morning run over to Ansonia, PA on a hot and muggy July 24, 1975. This unit was the ex-SP #6443 and was bought from GE in 1969 where it had been traded-in by the SP on new U33C's.

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F7 #2200 and caboose #C103 with a cut of cars for the Penn Central at the interchange in Ansonia, PA. The PC line was an ex NYC route from Lyons, NY to near Williamsport, PA where a connection was made with the Reading. After the Conrail merger, this line lost it's importance and it too was torn up south of Wellsboro Jct. in 1988.

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The WAG train waits at the interchange for the PC local to show up with their inbound cars. Today the PC line is a bike/hiking trail that follows Pine Creek through the 'Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania'.

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On another day in late fall, we follow F7 #2200 eastward again running from Galeton to the PC at Ansonia (by this time the line to Wellsville was already abandoned). Here the train is just leaving Galeton on November 24, 1976.

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The train crosses Pine Creek with it's short 3 car plus caboose train. This is the same Pine Creek that cuts through the Grand Canyon of PA south of Ansonia.

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The eastbound train skirts a frozen pond east of Gaines Jct, PA, 11/24/76. The final revenue run of the WAG occurred on 3/16/79, while the last run of any kind to remove equipment was on November 17, 1979.

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At the PC interchange in Ansonia a crew member exits the cab to uncouple the engine which will then run around the train.

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In the enginehouse at Galeton, PA on July 24, 1975 are F7 #2300 and GE 132T #1700. The shop building dates from 1894 for the Buffalo & Susquehanna RR.

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The year after the WAG was abandoned, both F7's, #2200 & 2300 are sitting outside of the GE shops in Hornell, NY on April 30, 1980. Here the units would be overhauled and repainted for PAT commuter train service in Pittsburgh.

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GE 132T #1800 sitting in the weeds outside of the shops in Galeton, PA on July 24, 1975. The WAG acquired 7 of the units, built for the Ford Motor Co to switch their River Rouge, MI plant.

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Two of the Ford's, #1500 & #1800 at Galeton were being used as parts units. The stylized units sported chrome grillework and handrails, painted over by the WAG, and were powered by twin Cooper-Bessemer engines and rated at 1,000 hp per unit.

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GE 132T #1700 (built in 1940) was still running and in service as a backup unit as seen here in the shop at Galeton on July 24, 1975. This unit was luckily preserved by the Lake Shore chapter of the NRHS in NorthEast, PA.

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Wood cabooses C2654 & C2640 were inherited from the B&O when Salzberg purchased the railroad in 1956. They were out of service in July of 1975, having been replaced by 2 more modern, ex Erie cars (see below).

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Caboose C104, along with C103 were in service until the abandonment of the railroad. These were ex-Erie RR cars built at the lines Dunsmore, PA shops.

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WAG snowplows, X3710 and X3708, here at Galeton on July 24, 1975, came from the B&M (thanks to Scott Whitney for the info).

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The Coudersport & Port Allegany RR dieselized with two new GE 44 tonners. After Salzberg bought the C&PA in 1964, the two little units were repainted into the Salzberg orange-cream colors. Here is the D-2 in the WAG carshops at Galeton on 7/24/75 almost 5 years after the C&PA had been abandoned.

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The C&PA also had this sharp looking snowplow....note the bowed out operators cab and porthole windows. The modern WAG carshop replaced the original building which burned in 1971.

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The C&PA station and general offices in Coudersport, PA are today the town's police station. The brick and sandstone structure was completed in 1900 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. It is the only remaining structure of the C&PA railroad in existence today.

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This C&PA wood sided, 4-wheel bobber caboose is on display in downtown Coudersport, PA as seen on May 17, 2009.

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Two other gems found in the WAG carshops were Southern New York gas/battery/electric GE 50T #300 (left, built in 1936) and 40T #5 (built in 1922 !). The SNY was another Salzberg line running out of Oneonta, NY and after it ceased running in 3/71 these 2 units were moved to Galeton for storage. Unfortunately both were cut up on the premises in 1989.