The home of the Railway
Historical Society of Northern New York (RHSNNY) was once the Croghan Depot for the Lowville-Beaver River
Railway (L&BRR). In 1903 a group of men at the Lowville Club discussed the possibility of building a railroad
from Lowville to Croghan. They thought it would be beneficial to the area as dairy, log, lumber, and paper
mill products could be shipped by rail.
Construction began in the summer of 1904. On January 13, 1906, an excursion train left Lowville with 300
people on board. On Monday, January 15, 1906, the first paying passengers were carried, and the Lowville and
Beaver River Railroad started business.
People found the train more comfortable and faster than the stage. Quite a number of children from Beaver Falls
and Croghan attending Lowville Academy used the train.
Business for the railroad showed a reasonably steady growth through the years, except for the depression period
in the early 1930's. Eventually much of the freight business was lost to truckers, and in 1938 the train was
abandoned. By the middle 50's it became evident that something should be done, and various plans were discussed.
In January 1960, negotiations were started with the J. P. Lewis Company for the purchase of all the railroad
stock. By the end of August 1960, the purchase of stock was complete and the J. P. Lewis interests took over the
The railroad is now owned by Genesee Valley Transportation of Batavia, NY. It is used to haul feed, waste paper,
and pulp and operates on an as needed basis. The railroad is 10.9 miles long, which includes 1,100 feet of trestle
across the Black River Flats.
After Livingston Lansing's death, his 1918 Shay Steam Engine, which he had owned and refurbished, was given to
the Railway Historical Society of New York. The Lansing estate made a financial commitment for the maintenance
of the Shay and to build an engine house to provide shelter for the Shay. The engine house property was purchased
in 1995, and the house itself was built in 1996. The engine house is located behind Beaverite Products', Inc.
In 1998 Lewis County Opportunities purchased the depot for storage. Presently, the RHSNNY leases part of the
depot and plans to operate limited passenger service out of Croghan along the Lowville and Beaver River Railroad,
one of the oldest operating shortlines in America. A vast collection of North Country railroad memorabilia and artifacts will be on
display at our museum.
Membership in the Railway Historical Society of Northern New York is open and encouraged to all that share an
interest in railroads and local history. Help us bring our plans to reality.
Courtesy of the Lewis County Chamber of Commerce.