Railroad Collection


Diesel Locomotives

Diesel or, more accurately, diesel-electric locomotives were introduced to American railroads in the late 1920's. Their popularity grew gradually through the 1930's and 1940's, but did not become commonplace until after the Second World War. During the period of 1946-1958, diesel locomotives virtually wiped out steam locomotives on America's railroads. The age of steam was dead. The diesel was now king.

Diesel electric locomotives use one or more diesel engines to turn a generator that creates electricity to power electric traction motors connected to the wheels to move the locomotive.

The museum currently rosters nine different diesel electric locomotives from three different manufacturers and five different railroads. All of our locomotives operate regularly on museum trackage during the summer months, and some of them have antifreeze for coolant so they can run year round.

Eastman Kodak

Eastman Kodak

Lehigh Valley

Nickel Plate Road


Rochester Gas & Electric

Rochester Gas & Electric

Rochester Gas & Electric

United States Army

Steam Locomotives

The first steam locomotives in America came from England to power the railroads of the late 1820's and early 1830's. However, it was not long before the building of steam locomotives became one of America's first boom industries. Initially, these locomotives were wood-burning. However, the conversion to coal took place on most major railroads in the wake of Civil War. As American industry grew so did the demand for ever larger, even more powerful steam locomotives. The steam locomotive reached its zenith of size and power in the 1930's and 1940's. However, after the Second World War, diesel electric locomotives began a serious challenge to the steam locomotive.

When most Americans think of steam locomotives, we think of large road locomotives, but other types of steam locomotives existed in large quantities. In railroad yards, switch engines moved cars back and forth making up trains for the larger locomotives to haul across the land. At large industrial complexes, small industrial locomotives placed and removed cars at factories, chemical plants, steel mills, etc.

The museum has two of these small industrial locomotives: one which is capable of generating its own steam and one which required an external boiler to charge the locomotive with steam to make it operate. We are currently evaluating both engines for a possible return to operation.

Brooklyn Navy Yard

Connecticut Light & Power

Gas-Mechanical Locomotives

Gas mechanical locomotives are another interesting class of locomotives. Where diesel-electrics use diesel engines that turn electric generators to create electricity to power electric motors in the trucks that move the locomotive, gas-mechanical locomotives use gasoline powered engines and mechanical transmissions to link the output of the engine to the wheels. Most gas mechanical engines were small industrial type locomotives used in factories, mines, and other locations to move a small number of cars a small distance.

The museum rosters one true gas-mechanical locomotive, a Plymouth Model BL. The museum also rosters several Trackmobiles. These unique "gas-mechanical" locomotives are a small locomotive with a set of rubber tires which can be deployed so the Trackmobile can drive over the road to reposition itself over the rail. We have listed our Trackmobiles here since they use gas engines and mechanical/hydraulic transmissions. Some larger Trackmobiles use diesel engines, so they are not all gas-mechanicals, but this was the best fit for these neat little "engines".

Plymouth Model BL

Whiting Trackmobile


Filled with bunks, running water, a toilet, a stove for heat and for cooking, and table for the conductor to do his paperwork and for the crew to eat, the caboose was the traveling home and office of the train crew. In the early 1980's, modern technology and relaxed government regulations permitted the elimination of the caboose on most mainline freight trains, replacing it with an electronic device that monitors brake line air pressure, emits a flashing light, and signals the engineer in case of trouble.

The museum currently has seven cabooses from seven different railroads, many of which served part of their active lives in and around the Rochester area. The museum's seven cabooses represent both wood and steel or all-steel construction and include examples of cupola, bay window, and transfer type cabooses.

Baltimore & Ohio

Buffalo, Rochester, & Pittsburgh


Lehigh Valley #95100

New York Central

Penn Central


Passenger Cars

Baltimore & Ohio

Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western


New York Central
"Empire State Express"


"Pine Falls"

Electric Cars

Rochester Subway

Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western

Freight Cars

Eastman Kodak


Fruit Growers Express

New York Central

New York Central




Maintenance of Way

Burro Crane
Model 40

Wellsville, Addison, and Galeton