Origins of the Troy Union Railroad Company

Extracted from History of Troy, New York (part 2)



Organization of the Troy Union Railroad company. As we have seen, the first tracks of the Rensselaer & Saratoga railroad, which were also used by the Schenectady & Troy Railroad company, were laid from the Green Island bridge down River Street to First and thence to the front of the Athenaeum building. Soon after the opening of these roads the business men of Troy and others began to complain of the inconvenience caused by running cars on these streets, particularly on River Street, the principal business thoroughfare. This feeling finally culminated in a general desire that the tracks be taken up and removed to some other street where the running of the cars would not so seriously interfere with local street traffic and general business. Consequently, on petition of the citizens of Troy, the Legislature, June 20, 1851, authorized the city and the different railroad companies to form a stock company for the construction of a railroad through a part or the whole of the city. In accordance with this permission the Troy Union Railroad company was organized July 21 of the same year. The work of construction was delayed some time for the purpose of determining-the streets which might best be set apart for the new railroad, and it was not until December 3, 1852, that the city authorities granted the company a franchise to use each side of Sixth street, between Fulton and Albany streets, for a passenger depot, and to change the course of Sixth Street at that point if necessary. Soon after this the work of construction was begun. March 14, 1853, the company purchased of Orsamus Eaton his property, located on the site chosen for a depot, and the erection of that structure was begun. New tracks connecting with the Troy & Greenbush railroad were laid on Sixth street, and another line was laid to the Rensselaer & Saratoga railroad bridge.

Meantime other plans for the betterment of Troy’s railroad facilities were in progress. The ownership of the Schenectady & Troy railroad, and its operation and maintenance, had proven a heavy burden for the city and soon after the organization of the Troy Union Railroad company a number of citizens petitioned the Common Council to sell the Schenectady & Troy railroad for as large a sum as it would bring. Six months afterward the committee to whom the matter had been referred for investigation reported in favor of selling the road for not less than $200,000. January 24, 1853, a committee consisting of Mayor George Gould, Recorder Gilbert Robertson, jr., Alderman Jonathan Edwards, Alderman Foster Bosworth, Russell Sage and D. Thomas Vail were appointed a committee to make the sale at not less than the price mentioned. In accordance with its instructions the committee contracted to sell the road to B. D. Morgan for $200,000, March 1, 1853, who was to pay $50,000 cash upon that date and the balance in fourteen years, with six per cent, semi-annual interest after March 1, 1858. The new owner entered into an agreement with the city to keep the road in good condition and to fulfill the agreement between the city and the Troy Union Railroad company. The sale was immediately confirmed by the Common Council and the necessary papers signed by the mayor.The Troy Union railroad and its large new depot were opened for business February 22, 1854, when a banquet was given on the upper floor of the building. Five new passenger cars brought from Albany, by way of Greenbush, 425 invited guests, including 125 members of the State Legislature, then in session, several of whom made addresses speaking in most flattering terms of the great enterprise of the people of Troy. From this time on the interests of the various railroads centering in Troy were indissolubly linked together, and it may be said that on February 22, 1854, a new era of prosperity opened, not only for Troy’s railroads but for all its diversified interests.

Find out more about the Troy Union Rail Road

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