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Train Rides on the Old Lehigh Valley Railroad
By Laurence H. Beach
Moving to Dryden in the 1920's, our transportation back to Peruville, to my grandparents Farm (which I called Beachtown), was the passenger service of the Lehigh Valley Trains.
The Station Depot was called Peruton and consisted of a building in which the station agent and family lived. It was not a regular stop, as such, but with a passenger stopping, the Conductor would signal the Engineer to stop. When returning, the Station Master would put up the flags which showed a passenger waiting. When the train didn't need to stop for passengers, mail sacks for Peruville were kicked out of the train. Then Bill Beardsly would pick them up and place them on his horse cart to deliver to the Peruville post office.
The last Post Mistress at Peruville was Mabel Shaw. She had the post office in her home at the Village Corners. When trains weren't scheduled to stop, outbound mail sacks were placed on a pole and snatched by a metal arm on the passing train. Why the rail station was called Peruton is not known. The next stop north was Groton.
To visit Mom's family, we traveled as a family to Auburn, then by trolley to Skaneateles, and out Franklin Street Road past the Owls Nest, to Soules Crossing. Other times, we traveled south from Dryden to Owego, and transferred to a train for Sidney and Sidney Center, to visit my Uncle DeForest Lormore, Mother's brother. At Sidney Center there was a long trestle across the valley that we walked for fun a few times.
Some times we would go to Cortland or Ithaca, transferring at Freeville station. The Ithaca trains stopped at East Ithaca, where we took the trolley (run by old Gramp Freer, and later by his son, Ray) downtown to State Street for shopping, visiting, or to Stewart Park.
At Dryden, our home was one lot removed from the railroad. On the back of the house was an indoor/outdoor convenience station, other wise known as the outhouse. As a young boy, I used to sit inside (as needed), with the door open, and watch the trains go by.
I remember the passenger trains, and cars with freight, coal, milk and also work trains. During Dryden Lake Ice Harvesting, trains picked up workers at every railroad crossing to and from Dryden.
Before World War II, unemployed men used to ride the rails in empty box cars or coal cars, traveling from place to place with no particularly destination, but hoping the next village might provide work. World War II saw the last major use of trains and rail services.
We, my wife and I, lived in the "Old Dryden Home" on Mill Street when the last trains went through in late 1970's. Gone, but not forgotten, are the days when trainmen returned our excited waves. How we still miss the clickety clack, clickety clack as the wheels rolled over the joints of the rails, and the whistle call of the steam locomotive, woo-woo, woo-woo, woo-woo, as the trains traveled down the road out of sight and hearing.....The End
Thank you Laurence Beach
"Beachy" for sharing this story with the
Tompkins Co., NYGenWeb Site.
Thank you, Beachy, for these memories!
You are our
visitor since January 29, 2004.
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