The New York & Lake Erie Railroad rail line dates back to the early 1850s. In fact on May 14th, 1851, the first through-train from Piermont-on-Hudson to Dunkirk, NY was run. It carried U.S. Senators, President Millard Fillmore, and the Famous statesman, Daniel Webster.
The line later became part of the giant Erie Railroad and was eventually part of the Conrail system. Today, our railroad is called the “New York & Lake Erie” a short line railroad which was formed in 1978.
The current line extends less than 50 miles of the former rail line. Like many of the short line railroads that were formed in the 70’s and 80’s, we served as a carrier of freight for the businesses along our line and, additionally provided many passenger excursions over a period of 40 years.
In the Movies
Robert Redford walked the streets of South Dayton for a few weeks in 1983 when The Natural was being filmed in Western New York rather than in Iowa. The locals are proud to say that he was given his space while he was in the village. The baseball/carnival scenes were filmed north of the railroad depot, a farmhouse was used for some scenes and local adults and kids got to be part of history by being extras in the movie.
John Candy and Steve Martin hung around the train station in South Dayton to film scenes for Planes, Trains and Automobiles in 1987. These two movie stints have definitely made South Dayton The Movie Capital of Cattaraugus County!