Livonia, Avon & Lakeville

The Livonia, Avon and Lakeville Railroad, headquartered in Lakeville, New York is a Class III shortline carrier which serves, in conjunction with subsidiaries Bath & Hammondsport Rail Corporation and Western New York & Pennsylvania Railroad western New York state and northern Pennsylvania. The LA&L has been in operation since the days of the Erie-Lackawanna Railroad when the EL threatened to abandon a 13-mile branch reaching south from Avon connecting Lakeville and Livonia. And so, in 1964 the LA&L was born. Since that time the railroad has since its major connection points change from the Erie-Lackawanna to Conrail, and finally today CSX, Norfolk Southern, and Canadian Pacific. Today, the LA&L's traffic base is primarily based in food products (such as grains, corn, and syrups).

Livonia, Avon & Lakeville C425 #428 (ex-Spokane, Portland & Seattle #320) leads a northbound local freight at South Loma Road in Livonia, New York during August of 2015. Matthew Langworthy photo.

The Livonia, Avon & Lakeville's (reporting marks, LAL) original 13-mile line dates back to the Erie Railroad's route between Lakeville, Avon, and north of Industry. The route was saved in the early 1960s by the Livonia community for $13,000. What became the LA&L originally started out as a tourist railroad in 1964 but later began to offer freight service as well. Today, the LA&L also extends to Henrietta (via ex-Lehigh Valley trackage) and Genesee Junction (via ex-New York Central trackage) with the railroad obtaining trackage rights as far south as Silver Springs giving the railroad interchange points with CSX, Norfolk Southern, and Canadian Pacific (overall the LA&L operates a little over 20 miles of its own rails). Interestingly, the community of Livonia which started it all no longer carries rail service as its part of the line is now abandoned.

The same train seen above is at Genesee Junction Yard in Chili, New York on a bright summer's day in August of 2015. Matthew Langworthy photo.

The Livonia, Avon and Lakeville Railroad's other operations include the aforementioned B&H Rail Corporation and Western New York & Pennsylvania Railroad. The B&H operates a little over 40 miles of track (originally owned by the Champagne Railroad) between Painted Post and Wayland with a spur running between Bath and Hammondsport. The railroad currently has interchange connections with the Norfolk Southern's Southern Tier Route at Painted Post. The LA&L acquired the B&H line in 1996 from the Steuben County Industrial Development Agency.

Livonia, Avon & Lakeville C425 #425 (ex-New Haven #2557) exits from the engine house in Lakeville, New York during August of 2015. Matthew Langworthy photo.

The final, and largest subsidiary of the the LA&L is the WNY&P. This shortline operates more than 145 miles of former Conrail trackage in extreme western New York and northwestern Pennsylvania connecting communities such as Hornell, Olean, Jamestown, Emporium, Oil City, Meadville, and many others. The railroad interchanges with Norfolk Southern at a number locations as well as regional Buffalo & Pittsburgh Railroad at Driftwood and Corry. The LA&L acquired the WNY&P lines in 2001 from Norfolk Southern and today they are still able to handle train speeds between 25 and 40 mph. Currently, the WNY&P has a traffic base that includes feed & fertilizer, timber products, coal, sand, and other commodities.

B&H Rail Corporation Diesel Locomotive Roster

Builder Model Type Road Number Date Built Quantity
AlcoS14, 51950 (Ex-NKP and Ex-NYC)2
AlcoC424M421-4221963 (Ex-RDG and Ex-EL)2

Livonia, Avon and Lakeville Railroad Diesel Locomotive Roster

Builder Model Type Road Number Date Built Quantity
AlcoRS1201949 (Ex-LEF&C)1
AlcoC424319-3211963 (Ex-PRR and Ex-EL)3
AlcoC4204201963 (Ex-LIRR)1
AlcoC424m421-4241963 (Ex-RDG and Ex-EL)4
AlcoC4254251964 (Ex-NYNH&H)1

Western New York & Pennsylvania Railroad Diesel Locomotive Roster

Builder Model Type Road Number Date Built Quantity
AlcoC4244261966 (Ex-BRC)1
AlcoC425550, 42641966 (Ex-SP&S)2
AlcoC430430-4331967 (Ex-NYC)4
MLWC630M6301968 (Ex-CP)1
MLWM6306311969 (Ex-CP)1
MLWM636636-6381970-1973 (Ex-CN)3

Livonia, Avon & Lakeville C425 #425 and a mate switches the yard in Avon, New York on December 19, 2014. Matthew Langworthy photo.

The Livonia, Avon and Lakeville Railroad is best known in the railfan community as operating an all-Alco fleet of diesels, dating back to when it acquired its first in 1972, an RS-1 #20 which remains in operation on the fleet (ex-Lake Erie, Franklin & Clarion). Since that time the railroad has grown its fleet to an S2 switcher and several four-axle road-switchers. Included below is roster information for each of the railroads in the LA&L system. Also, to learn more about the Livonia, Avon and Lakeville Railroad please click here to visit their official website which gives further information about its subsidiaries and overall operations.

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Header Photo: Drew Jacksich

Researching Rights-Of-Way

A popular pastime for many is studying and/or exploring abandoned rights-of-way.  Today, there are tens of thousands of miles scattered throughout the country.  Many were pulled up in the 1970's and 1980's although others were removed long before that.  If you are researching active or abandoned corridors you might want to check out the United States Geological Survery's (USGS) Historical Topographic Map Explorer.  It is an excellent resource with thousands of historic maps on file throughout the country.  Just type in a town or city and click on the timeline of maps at the bottom of the page!

Studying Diesels

You will be hard pressed at finding a better online resource regarding diesel locomotives than Craig Rutherford's  The website contains everything from historic (fallen flags) to contemporary (Class I's, regionals, short lines, and even some museums/tourist lines) rosters, locomotive production information, technical data, all notable models cataloged by the five major builders (American Locomotive, Electro-Motive, General Electric, Fairbanks-Morse, and Baldwin), and much more.  A highly recommended database!

Electro-Motive Database

In 1998 a gentleman by the name of Andre Kristopans put together a web page highlighting virtually every unit every out-shopped by General Motors' Electro-Motive Division.  Alas, in 2013 the site closed by thankfully Don Strack rescued the data and transferred it over to his site (another fine resource).  If you are researching anything EMD related please visit this page first.  The information includes original numbers, serials, and order numbers.