Erie, PA Union Station

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Oreius

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I went to Erie this past weekend to visit family, and I stopped by Union Station. This had to really be grand back in the day. I’m not sure if this is even a staffed station, considering both Lake Shores stop in the morning (49 at 2 am and 48 at 710 AM). But, it’s the only stop between Cleveland and Buffalo, so it does have potential for a corridor service should one be started. It is even possible, though very very remotely, that a tourist excursion could run from here to Hornell, NY via Corry, PA during the autumn…
 

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neroden

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The heyday of Erie's railroad activity was WAAAAY back, in the 1850s-1860s. For a long time everyone had to change trains here: the railroads east of Erie were different from the railroads west of Erie. After the mergers which formed the NY Central System and the Pennsylvania Railroad system, trains ran through and it never again needed the number of platforms it was originally built with.

The current station is a 1927 replacement, done when the tracks were elevated, and it was oversized when it was built; it had about 25 trains a day, which does not require the EIGHT platform faces which were originally built. They must have expected expanded service.
 

fdaley

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When I stopped there in 2018, there was a restaurant/bar operating in the old waiting room and concourse, which was quite a nice space with many original details preserved. I had dinner there and enjoyed it. The Amtrak waiting area was in a much more utilitarian room with a separate entrance from the street. There was no agent, but there was a very helpful caretaker who kept us informed of the eastbound train's status and got everyone positioned on the platform at the right time.
 
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Twice I have gotten off the eastbound LSL at ERI early in the morning (about 7AM). The station/waiting room closes within a half hour after the train arrives. I waited out on the bench outside until I could call for my Enterprise rental car to pick me up.
On the return trip I dropped of the rental car after hours and walked north past the station to the McDonalds and hung around until shortly before the waiting room was to open at midnight. I waited several hours with about 15 Amish people and a few others for the westbound train.
 

TC_NYC

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The heyday of Erie's railroad activity was WAAAAY back, in the 1850s-1860s. For a long time everyone had to change trains here: the railroads east of Erie were different from the railroads west of Erie. After the mergers which formed the NY Central System and the Pennsylvania Railroad system, trains ran through and it never again needed the number of platforms it was originally built with.

The current station is a 1927 replacement, done when the tracks were elevated, and it was oversized when it was built; it had about 25 trains a day, which does not require the EIGHT platform faces which were originally built. They must have expected expanded service.
Different gage track? Interesting as this is the first time I've heard of that.
 

neroden

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Different gage track? Interesting as this is the first time I've heard of that.
No, it wasn't different gage -- just different companies. No shared operations, no shared ticketing. Different company owned the track, different company operated the train. Get off of the Rochester to Erie train owned and operated by one company, get on the Erie to Cleveland train owned and operated by a different company.

Even today, you have to change trains to change from a Metro-North train to a Shore Line East train.

The result was that for every Cleveland to Rochester or NY to Chicago trip you ended up with two trains blocking two platform faces for many minutes as people transferred; you need a lot of platforms to do that.
 

jis

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There was a break of gauge between Erie and North East Railway and Abraham Canal Company requiring transshipment of freight and passenger at Erie. This was resolved in 1854 at the end of the so called Erie Gauge War. There is a brief mention of this in the Wikipedia article on the Erie AP Union Station.

 

NorthShore

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No, it wasn't different gage -- just different companies. No shared operations, no shared ticketing. Different company owned the track, different company operated the train. Get off of the Rochester to Erie train owned and operated by one company, get on the Erie to Cleveland train owned and operated by a different company.

Even today, you have to change trains to change from a Metro-North train to a Shore Line East train.

The result was that for every Cleveland to Rochester or NY to Chicago trip you ended up with two trains blocking two platform faces for many minutes as people transferred; you need a lot of platforms to do that.

What train did I need to transfer for if I wanted to ride east of Rochester?
 

neroden

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It is hard for me even to keep track of the number of different railroads during the early period. Between 1841 and 1844 you had to change stations from the Tonawanda Railroad to the Auburn and Rochester Railroad in Rochester (get a carriage across town!)

In 1848 the Albany and Schenectady Railroad started buying up all the railroads from Albany to Buffalo to start assembling the NYC system.
 

neroden

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There was a break of gauge between Erie and North East Railway and Abraham Canal Company requiring transshipment of freight and passenger at Erie. This was resolved in 1854 at the end of the so called Erie Gauge War. There is a brief mention of this in the Wikipedia article on the Erie AP Union Station.

I stand corrected!
 
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