Established in 1971, the Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum is home to the largest collection of historic trains and operating vintage diesel locomotives in New York State! The majority of our collection is connected to railroads or specific trains that served the Rochester area. Please note not all items are on public display, as exhibits change seasonally.

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 1930s and 1940s, but did not become commonplace until after the Second World War. During the period of 1946-1960, diesel locomotives virtually wiped out steam locomotives on America’s railroads. 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.

Rochester & Genesee Valley 54

General Electric 80-ton Switcher

Lehigh Valley 211

American Locomotive Company RS-3m

U.S. Army 1843

Fairbanks-Morse H12-44

Livonia, Avon & Lakeville 20

American Locomotive Company RS-1

Livonia, Avon & Lakeville 72

American Locomotive Company S-2

Nickel Plate Road 79

American Locomotive Company S-4

Rochester Gas & Electric 41

General Electric 45-ton Switcher

Rochester Gas & Electric 1950

General Electric 45-ton Switcher

Rochester Gas & Electric 8

General Electric 110-ton Switcher

Eastman Kodak 9

American Locomotive Company RS-1

Eastman Kodak 6

General Electric 80-ton Switcher

Steam Locomotives

The first steam locomotives in America came from England to power the railroads of the late 1820s and early 1830s. 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 1930s and 1940s. 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.

While we have two small industrial steam locomotives in our collection, they are currently not on public display, but are being evaluated for future cosmetic restoration.

Connecticut Light & Power 2

Hiesler 0-4-0F

Despatch Shops, Inc. 5

Vulcan 0-4-0T

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.

R&GV 1

Plymouth Model BL

R&GV L-3

Whiting Trackmobile


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 collection of cabooses represent different styles of construction and include examples of cupola, bay window, and transfer type cabooses.

Erie Railroad C254

Dunmore Shops, Dunmore, Pa.

Penn Central 18526

Despatch Shops Inc., East Rochester, N.Y.

New York Central 19877

Oswego Shops, Oswego, N.Y.

Lehigh Valley 95100

Sayre Shops, Sayre, Pa.

Livonia, Avon & Lakeville 2603

Mt. Vernon Car Co., Mt. Vernon, Ill.

Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh 280

Standard Steel Car Co., Butler, Pa.

Baltimore & Ohio C2493

Keyser Shops, Keyser, W.Va.

Pennsylvania Railroad 477822

Altoona Shops, Altoona, Pa.

Passenger Cars

Railroads have carried passengers since the 1830s, in cars of various configurations and purpose. We have several examples in our collection spanning various eras of construction.

Delaware, Lackawanna & Western 2078

American Car & Foundry, Baggage Car

Baltimore & Ohio 633

Bethlehem Car Co., Baggage Car

Pennsylvania Railroad 61950

Railway Post Office/Baggage Car

Pennsylvania Railroad “Pine Falls”

Pullman-Standard, Pullman/Lounge

Erie Railroad 2103

Standard Steel Car Co., Coach


Electric Cars

Electricity has been used in railway applications since the 1880s. The first use was for local city streetcars and trolleys, and soon expanded to the world of mainline railroading.

Rochester Subway Car 60

Single-Ended, Round Roof, Electric Trolley


Freight Cars

Each freight car is built for a specific purpose or to haul a specific commodity.

Eastman Kodak 52

Tank Car

Erie Lackawanna 6603

Insulated Milk Car

Fruit Growers Express 50220

Ice-Cooled Refrigerator Car

Lehigh Valley 62300


Lowville & Beaver River 23

Open-Air Rider Flatcar

New York Central 506102


Merchants Despatch Transport 12549

Ice-Cooled Refrigerator Car

Merchants Despatch Transport 14053

Ice-Cooled Refrigerator Car

Pennsylvania Railroad 747803

Hopper Car


Maintenance of Way

This specialized equipment helps keep the railroad in a good state of repair.

Livonia, Avon & Lakeville 4410

Snow Plow, Milwaukee Shops

Wellsville, Addison & Galeton X-3710

Snow Plow, Russell

R&GV TJ-7085

Tamper, Jackson


Fairmont Track Car


Fairmont Track Car