Trestle, Tunnel & Trainwrecks

Before there was a tunnel into the glen the railroad was carried over Allens Creek by a 1/8 mile long, 70 ft. high wooden trestle. The trestle was built in 1853 as part of a “Direct Line” from Syracuse to Rochester, parallel to the Erie Canal. Actually much of the trestle is still there – buried in the sand of the embankment.

A drawing of what the trestle may have looked like – using a surviving 1856 description.

No photo or drawing of the trestle has been found. A description of the structure has survived however in the 1856 Annual Report of the New York Central Railroad Company. That report tells us that the bridge over Allens Creek consisted of;
five spans, each of 110 ft. clear, supporting two tracks of 14 ft. width and employing Burr trusses with the track bearing on the upper chords.”
Using this information, the above drawing was made of what the Allens creek crossing may have looked like.

Photo of a “Burr truss” commonly used in the period for both railroads and covered bridges.

Frequent floods of the creek made maintenance of the trestle a constant burden so In 1879 sand from the Sand Cut just to the east was used to begin a “Great Embankment” with a tunnel made from dry fitted limestone blocks, quarried from a nearby outcropping, to carry the creek and Glen Road under it.

A drawing – not of the Glen – but showing the construction of an embankment and culvert.
View looking into the Glen from 1914. The Corbett house is visible.
A similar view as it looks today.

Trainwrecks and accidents in the Glen


Lyons Gazette & The Utica Daily Gazette 07-17-1854-the flagman, Jacob Rivenburgh, at the Al1en’s Creek bridge was killed when a piece of wood fell from the tender, was hit by a wheel and was thrown at great speed striking the flagman in the head as he stood in his house.


Buffalo Daily Courier -Solomon Graves, a brakeman from Marcellus NY was killed a few days earlier at the Allen Creek Bridge. The live stock train consisting of 29 empty cars and 22 platform cars was drawn by two locomotives. As the train passed Brighton, the platform cars disconnected and were left behind and they continued forward on the downgrade toward Allen’s Creek. As the engineer was approaching Allen’s Creek, he discovered some cars were missing and slowed down. The detached cars picked up speed and crashed into the cattle train throwing two cars off the bridge and smashing many others. Mr. Graves was on one of the platform cars and was fatally injured when throw to the Creek below, a height of over 60 feet. No cattle were injured.


Daily Union & Advertiser -At 4:45 pm today, the eastbound STEAMBOAT EXPRESS consisting of an engine and nine passenger cars containing 400 passengers ran into a switch which had been left open for a westbound train leaving the Sand Cut just before the high bridge over Allen’s Creek. The engine left the track and rolled over as did the tender and the baggage car. The second of the passenger cars, the smoking car, came to an immediate halt but the next car did not stop and was driven over the smoking car cutting the car off at the bottom of the windows. Five persons were killed and over 60 injured. Due to the back up on the main line, it took over three hours to get the injured to the main station in downtown Rochester.


Syracuse Daily Journal-The wreck at Allen’s Creek of cars and rolling stock, including two coaches which telescoped and the damaged engine, have been cleared.


Fairport Herald -16 cars of a 65 car eastbound freight derailed near Allens Creek blocking all four tracks for several hours. The train carried perishables.


D&C-A train derailment took place when 17 cars of an eastbound “fast freight” jumped the tracks at Allens Creek. The cars contained general freight and food. An ad in the D&C classifieds of 06-09-1918 read -For Sale-Potatoes, A-I stock from the wreck at Corbett’s Glen; 63 cents per bushel – come today.”(see photo below)

Photo of 1918 train wreck. Note railroad car in the creek.