A Railway on Lake Ontario: The Grand View Beach Railway

The Grand View Beach Railway was an electric railway running between Ontario Beach and Manitou Beach, NY on the shores of Lake Ontario, beginning service in 1891. It ran adjacent to the roadway and also utilized trestles over water in spots. (Right of Way)

Image: Albert R. Stone Collection, Rochester Museum and Science Center, Rochester, N. Y

Compared to some other interurban lines of the day, it was built using above standard materials and used new equipment. Nevertheless, the line was not without its issues.

During construction of the last trestle over the Braddock's Bay, a sudden storm arose, and two men working in the middle of the bay on the trestle drowned before help could arrive.

Image via The Street Railway Review

The Street Railway Review of 1891 provided a summary of the road from that time period. "Along the shore of Lake Ontario from the village of Ontario Beach, a suburb of Rochester, there extends one of the most peculiarly scenic electric railway routes in the world. The road is 8 miles long, running to Manitou Beach through a land replete with the legends of the Iroquois and glistening in the beauty bestowed by the bountiful hand of Mother Nature.

For several miles out of Ontario Beach the road runs along a bluff close to and overlooking the placid expanse of Ontario and about 15 feet above the level of the water. From Rigney's westward to Manitou the track threads a sandy beach between the Great Lake and various little bays and ponds which seem as small children of the great parent, and there is room and are facilities for the thousands to spend a day in sport and pleasure, and all easily accessible on account of the electric line." (Street Railway Review, 1891)

A historical marker tells a (very) brief story of the line. Image: NY Historic

The right of way would be inherited by two other companies throughout its life, which lasted until 1925; the Rochester, Charlotte & Manitou Beach Railroad (1895-1908), and the Rochester & Manitou Railroad (1908-1925). After 1925, it was an early example of the abandonments of interurban railways that would occur over the next several decades.

Thanks as always for reading!


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