Niagara by Train
Modern day tourists to Niagara usually arrive quite comfortably by car, but of course, the story was very different in the 19th century. Prior to the modern automobile, many tourists came to see the Falls via at least one railroad connection. Not intending to give all railroads a bum rap, I think most would agree that the earliest rail cars lacked in most creature comforts taken for granted today.
We find this to be the case in an early narrative that described one man’s travel to take in the splendor of Niagara Falls. It is listed here as it appeared in the “New York Mercury” before 1878.
“I went by the way of Lockport, on the Erie Canal, at which place I left those “raging waters” and took passage on one of the “everlastingist” railroads anywhere on top of the earth. Would you believe it, those cars, only two, one for passengers and one for baggage, and jack-screws, levers and handspikes, to “straighten-up” the train when we ran off the track. And that was often enough, just seven hours and twenty-six minutes going from Lockport to Niagara Falls, a distance of only twenty-one miles. Well, we got there, at last, and I stopped at the Falls a day or two to see the rushing fluid, and then took a hack for Lewiston.”
Douglas Farley, Director
Ann Marie Linnabery
Erie Canal Discover Center
24 Church St.
Lockport NY 14094