The Harrisburg-Buffalo Buffalo Day Express at Buffalo Central Terminal in Buffalo, New York on July 20, 1969. Click to enlarge.

(Photo by Roger Puta, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)



Dominion Express redirects here.

The Buffalo Day Express was a long-distance north–south Pennsylvania Railroad passenger train from Washington, D.C. to Buffalo, New York. It had a second branch that originated in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and at times, from New York, New York. In the southbound direction, the train ran by the name, Washington Express. It was the longest running of trains on the Washington-Buffalo route, north through central Pennsylvania on the Buffalo Line, operating from 1900 to the latter years of the 1960s, with a shortened segment until 1971.

Route and equipment

Pennsylvania Railroad 1955 Washington - Harrisburg schedule Buffalo Day Express (No. 571) and Dominion Express (No. 575)
From Washington, the train's route went northeast to Baltimore on the Pennsy's electrified Washington–New York mainline. At Baltimore, the train diverged to the PRR's Northern Central Railway subsidiary line north to York and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Because of the way the tracks were aligned at Baltimore Penn Station, it was necessary for the train's cars to face rearward for the short 40-mile (64 km) journey between Washington and Baltimore, where a steam locomotive (and later diesel) would be coupled to what now became the train's front end. Arriving in Harrisburg, it picked up equipment from Philadelphia's 30th Street Station. From there it continued north to Williamsport, from where it shifted northwest to Emporium, Pennsylvania; from which it headed north to Olean, New York, and then to Buffalo, New York.

In the early 1940s it carried coaches from Washington to Buffalo and from Philadelphia to Buffalo. Both branches also carried parlor cars. From Washington to Harrisburg it had cafe coaches; and from Philadelphia to Harrisburg it had a dining car, and from Harrisburg to Buffalo it had a separate dining car. In the early the 1950s, the Philadelphia service was extended to New York City. However, by 1957, the eastern trains only originated in Philadelphia, and they ended in Harrisburg. Passengers would transfer trains to continue to Buffalo. Throughout its lifetime, the train's consist included considerable head end equipment carrying mail and express.

Nighttime counterpart

The Pennsylvania railroad also operated the Dominion Express over these Washington-Buffalo and Philadelphia-Buffalo sections. The Dominion Express, for both north and south directions had coach, cafe coach and sleeper equipment. Even in the 1950s period of origin from Philadelphia to New York, the southbound Dominion Express ended in Philadelphia, not New York. Northbound, the Dominion Express afforded connection at Williamsport with a local PRR train to Elmira, New York and then Rochester, New York. Southbound, the train from Rochester would meet up with the Southern Express at Williamsport.

In February, 1958 the Dominion Express ended, and the overnight service was picked up by the Washington, D.C. -- Erie, Pennsylvania Northern Express, No. 575 (Southern Express, No. 574, when heading south-bound). The Erie and Buffalo originating branches of that train would converge at Emporium, Pennsylvania, and continue south to Washington. A supplemental set of through sleepers operated from Buffalo to New York and back. By this time, the train's sleeper equipment eliminated open-sections and consisted only of roomettes and other private rooms.

Baltimore Day Express

From 1958 to 1968 the southbound version of the train, No. 570, was called the Baltimore Day Express. Excepting on Sundays, passengers bound east of Harrisburg would need to transfer at Harrisburg.


The Buffalo Day Express as a named train ended upon the 1968 merger of the Pennsylvania Railroad with the New York Central Railroad into Penn Central. The Penn Central ran the train as a multi-segment overnight train. The train ran as No. 575, departing at 11:35 pm from Harrisburg to Buffalo. It picked up passengers from No. 3 (the Penn Texas) from New York to Harrisburg. There was no Washington-originating train synchronized to meet the train in the Penn Central years. This train also dropped sleeper car service.

Amtrak dropped the line altogether, when it began on May 1, 1971, thus ending decades of service north of Harrisburg to Buffalo, leaving medium-sized cities such as Williamsport outside of the national passenger train network.


Pennsylvania Railroad 1955 Washington - Harrisburg schedule Buffalo Day Express (No. 571) and Dominion Express (No. 575). Click to enlarge.

(Image: self-scanned from the collection of JGHowes, the original uploader at en.wikipedia, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)



Service type: Inter-city rail
Status: discontinued
Locale: Northeastern United States/Mid-Atlantic States
First service: 1900
Last service: 1968
Former operator: Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR), Penn Central Railroad (PC)
Route Termini: Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania / Buffalo, New York
Distance traveled: 435.4 miles (700.7 km)
Service frequency: Daily
Train numbers: 571 (northbound), 570 (southbound)
On-board services
Seating arrangements: coach
Catering facilities: dining car, cafe coach
Observation facilities: parlor car


The Buffalo Day Express at Port Allegany, Pennsylvania in July 1969. Click to enlarge. (Image: Roger Puta, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

PC E8A No. 4274 with train 575, the Buffalo Day Express, at Williamsport, Pennsylvania on July 20, 1969. Click to enlarge. (Photo by Roger Puta, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

The Buffalo Day Express baggage car at Renovo, Pennsylvania in July 1969. Click to enlarge. (Photo by Roger Puta, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

The Rear of the Buffalo Day Express at Williamsport, Pennsylvania in July 1969. Click to enlarge. (Photo by Roger Puta, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)