The Cornell Railroad Historical Society is open to anyone with an interest in railroads, whether historical, modern, or model trains. Our meetings are general in nature and the public is always welcome!
The CRHS meets monthly except July at the the History Center (a Tompkins County museum), located at the foot of East State Street in downtown Ithaca. Parking available behind the building. From Route 13, take Route 79 East (E. Green Street) just past the fourth traffic light, and make left turn before proceeding up the hill. From Route 79 West turn right just before the traffic light at the bottom of the hill.Our July meeting is usually a picnic gathering at a location announced in our newsletter.
The society was formed in 1978 and became a chapter of the National Railway Historical Society (NRHS) in 1983. It was chartered as a non-profit, educational organization in 1998 by the Regents of New York State. Members are invited to join the national organization, or can also take out a local membership only, but membership is not necessary for attending meetings.
Monthly meetings: On the second Tuesday of the month. Doors open for meetings at 7:00 p.m., with the program scheduled from 7:15 - 9:00 p.m. Programs range from talks with color slides/computer projections of rail trips to movies to videos from throughout the country, even around the world. Guest speakers have included local authors of rail history, members from other organizations as well as other NRHS chapters, even a Washington lobbyist! Meetings aim to inform and entertain members, guests, and visitors. Magazines, books, railroad memorabilia, and other items are available free, and at raffle. Stop by and enjoy a meeting! All members of the public are welcome.
Summer meetings: Our July meeting is generally a family picnic at locations where real trains go by. CRHS has also coordinated rail excursions as well as visits to smaller and tourist railroads in our part of the country.
What else do we get for our membership?
A sprightly newsletter: CRHS publishes its own newletter 8 - 10 times a year, the Leaky Valley, which was a term of affection for the old Lehigh Valley Railroad that served the Ithaca area. The newletter goes to all members, either electronically via e-mail or on paper delivered by US Postal Service. It is also exchanged with more than twenty other organizations. By exchanging news and information, we keep members in touch with railroad happenings throughout the region and country.
Our mailing address is: Cornell Railroad Historical Society Attn.: Ron Koger, 116 Candor Hill Road, Candor, NY 13743. We also have a website on Society doings & the Lehigh Valley RR: http://www.lehighvalleyrr.com
Model railroaders: Many members are modelers, some very expert and others new to the hobby. They help one another enjoy building and operating models and modular layouts in several gauges. Hooked together, our portable HO modules can make a layout as big as 30x70' at shows locally and around the state. Look for us at the Central New York Railfair in November.
Rail history: We maintain a collection of books and articles on the Lehigh Valley, DL&W, and other lines at the Tompkins County Museum, 401 E. State St., Ithaca NY 14850 (607) 273-8284, and answer railfan questions on local railroads.
National railfanning: As the Cornell Chapter of the NRHS, our members are able to belong to the NRHS as well. NRHS is a well respected organization of more than 17,000 members in the U.S. Chapters operate museums, run rail excursions, publish books and periodicals, and own hundreds of pieces of railroad rolling stock, from steam engines to track cars. NRHS members receive its quarterly journal, The Bulletin. To Join the NRHS, you need to contact them directly via their web page.
What else? The list is long. Individual members have a fair number of accomplishments. Several are well known for their photography of trains. Members published Lehigh Valley Memories in 1998 and reissued A History of RRs in Tompkins County in 1996. Most recently, a member wrote The Gangly Country Cousin, the Lehigh Valley's Auburn Division. Others write for magazines and speak. As a result, the CRHS newsletter runs lots of railroad news, occasionally before other publications.
The annual NRHS & chapter dues are $50; chapter only $15 for he electronic newsletter delivered via e-mail; for the printed newsletter (mailed to your address) $25; . Make checks to: CRHS. Mail $15 along with your e-mail address and we'll start sending your Leaky Valley right away.
Information supplied by John Marcham and Gene Endres