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Monday, July 04, 2005


We dropped CLA off at camp, then continued on to Elmira to visit with T and S and their daughters, S and R. On the way back we stopped to investigate an accident scene for A. This is an old trolleycar electrical station located in Bolivar, New York. A truck took out that wall, but that's not the interesting part-- the interesting part is that there was a trolley car line in Bolivar, New York. It is as remote and empty a little town as you are going to find in New York State-- why was there a trolley line?

"In 1880 street transportation came to Olean, a year later than it had arrived at it’s neighboring city south, Bradford, PA. The horsecar line connected the downtown business district with the Erie Railroad Depot and was only 7,750 feet long. It was built to 3’6” gauge and operated until 1891 when a line was started on West State Street using standard gauge to prepare in advance for electric railway and connected Olean with Allegany. Permission to cross the Erie RR tracks was refused and the track ended opposite St. Bonaventure University. In 1893 the track was laid sufficiently to allow the first electric car to run and permission finally received to cross the Erie tracks and the service extended in 1894 to Allegany.

Three years later, in 1897 an inaugural run was made into Portville. In 1901 the railway proposed to extend this line to Bolivar in Allegany County. In 1902 construction started from Portville to Ceres and on to Bolivar. These extensions made it necessary to gain more electric power than the Olean plant could produce and a second electric generating station was built near Ceres. At this time, steam was furnished by a bank of boilers fired by natural gas. The Ceres plant was located adjacent to a 600 acre natural gas field owned by the railway. By 1908 a new station was built at the Ceres site to use the natural gas supply derived from the company’s wells and piped to the site. Power from this plant supplied direct current for the Bolivar & Shinglehouse branches. It is said that in 1904, service between Olean & Ceres was 40 minutes and 80 minutes to Bolivar from Olean."

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