Rolling On: a photographic gallery of Rochester’s storied railroad lines

Wisdom cannot come by railroad or automobile or aeroplane, or be hurried up by telegraph or telephone.

John Burroughs

Photo by George Payne


The Hungerford Building is by the Goodman Street Yard, at the very end of North Goodman Street. In the early-to-mid 1900s, it was a major manufacturing plant for the J. Hungerford Smith Company, who made “True Fruit” flavored syrups, as well as the flavor syrup for A&W Root Beer.

I took this photo on the tracks behind the building. I only had about 10 seconds before one of the railroad workers shooed me away.

Photo by George Payne


The Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh railroad line began unloading coal along the Genesee River in 1889, loading coal into ships for transport across Lake Ontario to Canada. Eventually a huge steel trestle was built along the river shore at the end of Boxart street.

The B&O took over the BR&P in 1932. The steel trestle was demolished and removed in 1974.

The remaining BR&P -B&O tracks in Rochester are today operated by the Rochester & Southern Railroad.

Today, the site of the docks is part of Turning Point Park, and the right of way of the main tracks to the docks has been turned into paved trails.


Boxart Tracks

Photo by George Payne


Board Walk at Turning Point Park


The newly renovated Erie-Lackawanna railroad bridge spans the Genesee River approximately 1.5 miles south of downtown Rochester, linking the east and west banks of the Genesee Riverway Trail and establishing a new access point between the University of Rochester River Campus and the Southwest Rochester neighborhoods-including my home on Exchhange street in PLEX.

This railroad bridge is quite amazing. Besides the rare views of egrets, herons,  osprey, eagles, other features of the renovated bridge include:

  • ADA compliant ramp access
  • Railings on the bridge and approach
  • Replacement of existing timber bridge deck ties with new structural concrete deck
  • Landscaping, including new trees

According to the city’s website, this project was funded in part by a grant under Title 11 of the New York State Environmental Protection Fund Local Waterfront Revitalization Program of the New York State Department of State, Division of Coastal Resources.

Photo taken near the old Erie-Lackawanna railroad line by George Payne



Site of the old Lehigh Valley Railroad

The Lehigh Valley trail system is a 15 mile linear trail park located in the southern most portion of Monroe County, beginning at the Genesee River and extending through the towns of Rush and Mendon to the Ontario County Line. With the completion of the Lehigh Valley bridge connection, travellers on the Genesee Valley Greenway can now extend their travels to eastern Monroe County close to Mendon Ponds Park, and connecting with the Auburn RR Trail near the town of Victor.




Austin Steward


I was the conductor of the Underground Railroad for eight years, and I can say what most conductors can’t say; I never ran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger.

Harriet Tubman


A Symbol of Rochester’s Wealthy Past


A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car; but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad.

Theodore Roosevelt



Friends overlooking one of my favorite views of downtown.

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