Freight on the FJ&G (Fonda, Johnstown & Gloversville Railroad)


Some great stuff from the FJ&G Group on YAHOO

Neat picture complements of Gino DiCarlo
A lot more on his blog and see his WebSite:
 The Fonda, Johnstown and Gloversville Railroad (FJ&G) was at one point a 132 mile steam engine and electric interurban railroad that connected its namesake towns in east central New York State to Schenectady, New York. It had a successful and profitable transportation business from 1870 until the 1980s carrying workers, salesmen, and executives of the very large number of glove manufacturing companies in the area to the New York Central (NYC) station at Schenectady. From here they could catch trains south to New York City (NYC) or west to Chicago. It also handled freight and had freight interchange with both the NYC and the Delaware and Hudson railroads. Passenger business declined starting before the Great Depression and particularly during it. Following a determined and expensive effort to recapture passenger business by acquiring five ultra modern high-speed Bullet interurban cars in 1932, the FJ&G abandoned passenger service in 1938. Freight business continued on for a few more decades, was later taken over by the Delaware-Otsego Railroad management and then eventually abandoned.
Now for the comments:
Next from Saul B. Kalbfeld
Here are odd some sightings on the line. Some, I’ve mentioned before. I once saw a long string of PFE mechanical reefers in the Gloversville yard. I don’t remember the year but they were probably loadings for the MCA plant. In 1955, the railroad built a temporary siding where Rt. 30A crosses the ROW in Gloversville during highway construction, originally state route 147, now 30A. Many covered cement hoppers were spotted there. Too bad I didn’t have a camera then, but I was only 13. Supposedly the original broadcast tower for WTEN in Broadalbin came in on 50′ flats, but this has not been documented.

Cars used to be regularly spotted along the team track along Fulton St. in Gloversville, next to the Daniel Hayes building. There was also a busy team track where the line crossed Rt. 30 in Vail Mills.

For those of you who don’t know me, I’ve been away from the Gloversville area since 1969, moving from Albany to Ann Arbor, Michigan. I am a member of GHS class of 1960. I remember the post war golden age when the mills and shops were busy. Considering how busy the line was then, I’m now amazed how poor the physical condition of the railroad was. Light rail, worn ties, no tieplates, bad drainage, no ballast. The seeds of doom were sown for when heavier cars became common.

Also, I read with amusement, an article in the newspaper a couple of weeks ago regarding a proposal to revive the line to Johnstown.  This is some kind of fanciful dream. For starters, the deck truss over the creek outside Fonda is 113 years old and would not pass any inspection. I can only see this happening if customers in the Johnstown Industrial Park were ready and waiting for service.

Now a summary from Paul Larner
 The FJ&G served two  small cities a few villages with a full service, meaning to say any type of car in general service for any particular time period might be found on the FJ&G.  The most common obviously were box cars and coal hoppers in the hey day years, followed by gondolas, tanks, flats, B&O auto carriers, reefers, stock cars.  Hides were hauled in low grade XM boxes; glue stock in equally low grade gondolas.  Tanks carried fuel oil, gasoline and liquefied gases; covered hoppers had been on the line since their inception carrying cement, then feed products and later plastics and fertilizer components; flats carried gas or chemicals in cylinders, lumber, poles, farm equipment, steel.  And so it goes.
Now some facts from John:
 I can’t speak for the pre DO years, but during the DO years I followed the FJ&G closely and kept a log book of cars at industries whenever I saw them. I will try and put a list together at some point in the next month or so. But as a quick example…The Gville coal shed got salt hoppers from Sterling Salt (Retsof)that consisted of both Sterling Salt cars and plain IMCX and GNWR cars. It also got both green Cargill Salt covered hoppers and yellow Cargill hoppers. Once I saw a Southern covered hopper with clay unload at the Gville coal shed and once I saw a D&H hopper with coal unload at the Gville coal shed, I might have seen a second D&H coal hopper unload there.

Fairbanks Feed got both boxcars and covered hoppers. I recall an Illinois Terminal covered hopper and some NW covered hoppers. There was also at least one NW boxcar and a Buffalo Creek boxcar to name just some of the cars that came there. Near the end there was a PC and LV covered hopper delivered to Fairbanks.

You could see any of the classic modern 50ft paper cars at the Leader Herald. CN, CV, DWP, MEC, CP green, and most versions of BAR scheme including the Red white and blue vertical scheme showed up.

The various hide unloading spots would typically get 40ft and 50ft Midwestern cars. UP, BN, GN, SP&S,CB&Q, FRISCO, IC, ICG, GM&O, ATSF. These were all classic cars, most with the various slogans on them.

Hussmann got great looking 50ft or 60ft boxcars. For a long time they got mostly those great looking bright red ATSF rib side plug door cars, many in fairly fresh paint. Later on they got BN, WP, SP, SSW, and Rio Grande cars so the source of the inbound shipments must have changed.

Coleco got a lot of those great looking bright red Dupont Alathon (polyethylene)center flow covered hoppers and lots of grey ACFX center flow covered hoppers (pool PVC). They got other hoppers but the 2 listed were the main types. Outbound they used exclusively FJ&G boxcars after those ex PC cars arrived.

The lumber place in Broadalbin used the DO and CACV all doors for the brief time they were loading. Broadalbin got a lot of 50ft Southern waffle side cars. I assume they were for Fiber Conversion based on the volume but they could have had furniture for Mohawk. The sawdust place also exclusively used the FJ&G ex PC cars for outbound loads after those cars arrived.

More comments from John
This stuff is incredible. As a kid I spent a lot of time near the Kingsboro Ave crossing. Actually seeing what that siding looked like with coal cars is really neat. In the later years there was an occasional lumber or insulation car spotted there for Northville Building Supply.
Hussmann’s previous name was Mohawk Cabinet. Mohawk also made commercial refrigeration units as a predecessor to Hussmann. The units in the grocery store had “Mohawk” on the nameplates. So did Mohawk originally make furniture and then evolved into refrigeration units hence the name cabinet? Or was that a completely different company in your picture?
Is the successor Mohawk Cabinet Company that came after Hussmann still in business? I see they have a website and were or are using the Hussmann building. I thought that venture never got off the ground.
 Comment from Gordon Davis
Having been on the raw-material end of the tanning industry a comment on cars used in  hide & skin transport.
These were almost always nearly life-expended stock for they were used only for that traffic which tended to be a bit oderifrous and salt impregnated.  They were returned empty.  If I needed something for an outbound shipment (processed bovine hair) I had to order ‘clean’ stock.
WTEN Tower: The July 2, 1965, and the August 20, 1965 editions of the Leader-Herald state that the tower was shipped out by rail in thirty-foot sections when it was dismantled.  This must have been some accomplishment, as the tower was 1,340 feet high and contained a 60-foot antenna on its top.  That leaves 1,280 feet to be shipped by rail.  In thirty-foot sections, that’s roughly 43 sections.


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