Flying the Rails

Here are some pictures I took on November 13, 1999 while flying over the Buffalo Line, Olean Yard, Olean Secondary, Letchworth Park, American Rock Salt Mine Spur, and the CSX Mainline.  Pictures were taken with a Kodak FunSaver outdoor camera.  Withouth the benefit of a telephoto lens, I couldn't get very close detail and we could only go down so far because of the number of radio and cellular telephone towers that now dot the landscape.

The plane parked in it's hangar
Fueling up
Arcade NY - A&A passenger coaches parked alongside the depot
Olean Yard
Olean Yard - Panoramic Shot
Dan the pilot - note roundhouse at Dresser Rand in Olean in the distance
Tank car facility in Hornell
Alstom in Hornell - note the turntable
Another shot of Alstom
Shot of Southern Tier Line trestle over the Genesee River in Letchworth State Park
Another shot of the trestle in Letchworth
The pilot at the controls - Dan
Genesee & Wyoming line, Mt Morris Depot, Spur to Mine
New bridge to the American Rock Salt mine
View of the line going north along I-390 to the mine
Freight on the CSX Mainline near Batavia
Final Approach to Akron Airport

Interested in Flying the Rails?

Flying costs the pilot $58/hour (wet tach which is more economical for those who are familiar with plane lingo) to rent the plane, and that cost is split between the pilot and passengers (works out to $29/hr for 1 passenger, $19.33/hr for 2 passengers, and if the weight limits aren't exceeded, for 3 passengers its $14.50/hr - costs are for each passenger) .

Dan Syrcher, the plane's pilot, has logged over 500 hours as a pilot, and over 300 hours in the same plane - a Cessna 172, which is a single engine, 4 passenger plane. The plane itself was built in 1983 and has been very well maintained. It's stored inside a hangar at the Akron Airport when not in use. The ride is fairly smooth and everyone gets a window seat! It's not first class on a 747, but the big difference is that Dan will take you where you want to go!

The plane is availble until the end of this year, and will available in the Spring of 2000. 

If you're interested, give Dan an e-mail at

Flights subject to aircraft availability and weather.

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UPDATED: February 20, 2005


Copyright 1999 by Les Wilson - all rights reserved