Category Archives: Troy

Hoosac Tunnel to Troy

Penney Vanderbilt developed the map of Troy, including the Troy Union Railroad, when she was writing a blog about the Boston & Maine going through the Hoosac Tunnel to serve Troy. It shows important points like Troy Union Station, the Adams Street Freight House and the Green Island Bridge. Other blogs you might like include the

Troy Union Railroad Towers; abandonment of train service to Troy; and last but not least, the Troy Union Railroad.

Find out more about the Boston & Maine Railroad and Troy, New York


INFOWORKS Great Railroad WebSite: 1980 Olympics, Troy Union RR and MORE

It all started out when we got a note from Richard O. Aichele from Information Works Inc. in Saratoga Springs, NY. He commented on one of our WebSites about “Who Owns Grand Central” and then: “Back in 1980 I lived under GCT for several days between runs of the Irving Trust Winter Olympics Spacial.  I was the guy who had the fun of getting the five private cars together, dealing with the railroads and making the trips run as smoothly as possible.  I have some the details of it on my website
Still remember how different – quiet like a cathedral –  GCT was about 3 or 4 AM.

Took a look at his Website. Before I even got to the 1980 Olympics, I ran into a section on the Troy Union Railroad. (One of our favorites).

Then I got to his section on the 1980 Olympics and the Irving Trust Company special train. Great details, great pictures.

He also has a section on the Railroad Steam Era.

The World Of Videos

I usually do not watch videos because I “read speed” and can cover more stuff with words. But someone sent me a link for a video

“A great RR film from the early 1950s w/ a good amount on the Hudson Division.”
I watched it then looked at “upcoming” on the right hand side.  They had others that a NY Central fan could not ignore like the Century, the Empire, etc.
Then I spot the New Haven Railroad. Then I spotted one I would never miss: The Troy Union Railroad!
Great way to spend an evening!

Crossing The Northway (by Train!)

The branch line of the New York Central Railroad (referred to as the Troy & Schenectady) did something almost unheard of. It crossed an Interstate Highway at grade!

Now, the full facts on this highly  unusual event can be found from Gino DiCarlo.

The former Troy & Schenectady line was still operating when the Northway (I-87) was built (1960’s) and there still was a grade crossing on the Northway a short distance south of the “Twin Bridges” over the Mohawk River (this was probably one of only a very few grade crossings on an Interstate Highway in the United States). It wasn’t there long, as the line was cut back within a couple of years to an industrial site just east of Route 9. You can still see where the line passed under Route 9 perhaps a mile north of Boght Corners.

During the period that the line crossed Interstate 87 (ETT has a typo “89”) at Dunsbach Ferry, the following instruction appeared in the Employee Time Table under “special instruction 103 public crossings at grade: Manually controlled traffic signals:” “Trains or engine must stop in rear of stop sign and a member of crew must operate pushbuttons in manual control box. After traffic signals have been operating for at least twenty seconds train or engine may proceed over crossing, signals must be restored to normal position after movement over highway has been completed.”

See some photos from Google Earth of the crossing location.

The only interlocking on the T&S was NYCRR Signal Station 8 at Schenectady, which governed the junction of the T&S and the Mohawk Division Main Line, and the T&S crossing of the Delaware and Hudson. At Green Island, a signal governing movements on the switch that joined the T&S with the D&H Green Island Branch was controlled by Troy Union Railroad Tower 3 on River Street in Troy.
From Gordon Davids

Once we “designed” a fantasy model railroad. The highway crossing remained. we can only cross Interstate 87, the Northway, between the hours of 2 am to 5 am.

The Fabled Rutland Milk in New York State

As you know if you are a regular reader, we have covered the “Fabled Rutland Milk” a lot. We even named it “FABLED”.  But we  mostly talk about the era when it went through Troy.

The Rutland Milk started in Ogdensburg, went across the top of New York State, crossed into Vermont and turned over to New York Central at Chatham for trip to New York City.

Well , the New York Central ran it from Chatham to New York City:

In the Third Quarter 2015 publication of the New York Central Historical Society, Jack Shufelt supplied some comments regarding the “North White Plains: Equipment, Facilities, and Operations” article.

“F-Ms were not the only power used on the daily Rutland Milk train in the 1950s. Alcos and GMs were also used. It was all based on whatever 72nd Street had ready. In the old days, the Rutland Milk were trains #77 and #88, not #87 and #88. Both #77 and #88 were eliminated from the ETT by 1935. By the 1940s [they were] trains NK-1 and KN-2.

“[Regarding the] photograph of the 4525 at North White leaving or ready to leave with the Rut. Milk, [the] date of photo is 1950 and it is stated that this engine was a regular on that train. Page 95 of Lou Grogan’s book shows what I believe to be the same photograph after he began to move as it has the same locomotive and identical equipment up to the slide off tank car. That photo shows a date of 1948. The 1022 is [shown] doing that work in January of 1949. I think January 1950 may be more accurate. I know that the Rut was dieselized in the autumn of 1949 so that is why I think it was January 1950. I remember the first run as it stopped at Millerton to wait for, likely, No. 15 to clear the block at Hillsdale. Got to climb up and look around.

“Once the West Side was set up for electric the Rut Milk changed to electric at North White just like the freight trains did at Harmon destined to 72nd Street.


Norfolk Southern Corp.’s petition to acquire control of 282.5 miles of Delaware & Hudson Railway (D&H) track

The Surface Transportation Board (STB) has adopted a procedural schedule for Norfolk Southern Corp.’s petition to acquire control of 282.5 miles of Delaware & Hudson Railway (D&H) track from Canadian Pacific.DandHCar500

Any person who wants to participate in the proceeding as a party of record must file with the STB no later than Dec. 29. All comments, protests, requests for conditions, and any other evidence and argument in opposition to the primary application and related filings must be filed by Jan. 15, 2015; all responses to comments, protests, requests for conditions, other opposition and rebuttals in support of the primary application or related filings must be submitted by March 31, 2015.

NYS DOT POSTS Conditions to D&H, NS Merger

 NYSDOT has filed their letter of support with STB for NS acquisition of D&H South lines but with 2 conditions imposed on D&H which NYSDOT argues is a de facto applicant in this proposed transaction in addition to NS:

1.) NYSDOT believes that S&NC could be harmed by this transaction because S&NC can only interchange with D&H and D&H may be disinterested given their short haul participation. Proposed remedy is for D&H to grant S&NC direct interchange with NS at Saratoga. (Opinion: Given S&NC is currently trying to ship tailings to a Hudson River port near Albany or to CSX at Selkirk Yd, I’m not sure how direct interchange with NS really helps S&NC except to remove D&H from existing east/west/south routing options with NS that apparently aren’t in use today).

2.) D&H must submit to STB its intent wrt disposition of trackage rights over NS to Allentown, Oak Island, Philadelphia, and DC, which will likely be unused following NS acquisition of D&H South.


The STB expects to render a final decision on the transaction no later than May 15, 2015.

“The board finds that the application is complete and that the control transaction is a minor transaction based upon the preliminary determination that transaction clearly will not have any anti-competitive effects,” STB members said in a decision. “The board makes this preliminary determination based on the evidence presented in the application and the record to date. The board emphasizes that this is not a final determination, and may be rebutted by subsequent filings and evidence submitted into the record for this proceeding.”

NS in November announced plans to acquire the D&H line between Sunbury, Pa., and Schenectady, N.Y., from CP for $217 million. CP would retain ownership of D&H’s line from Montreal to Albany, N.Y.

The southern portion of D&H’s lines connect with NS’ network in Sunbury and Binghamton, N.Y., and would provide the Class I single-line routes from Chicago and the southeastern U.S. to Albany and its recently built intermodal terminal in Mechanicville, N.Y. NS also would gain an enhanced connection to its joint venture subsidiary Pan Am Southern, which serves New England markets, and acquire D&H’s car shop in Binghamton.

Find out about Fun and Fair Promise

Adams Street Freight House, South Troy and Troy History

The best spot to find out about railroads in South Troy, including the Adams Street Freight House is from the model railroad club at RPI:

NEB&W Guide to South Troy, NY – Not Modeled


Note ln their map (and ours too) how the Troy Union Railroad headed diagonally from 6th Avenue in downtown to River Street in south Troy.


 The Central had an engine facility at the foot of Adams Street. (Note the freight house extended all the way to Adams.) 
 The Central’s freight house still stands in south Troy. 
 There was a monumental structure that looked like a castle (or brewery), but it actually was Troy Waste. 

South End Tavern

  • This is at the extreme southern end of south Troy, just before the Menands bridge. This still stands and is notable for two things – they still have a “Ladies Entrance” (back when women couldn’t go in the bar area unescorted and now is not enforced but just a novelty). And they make excellent corn-beef and cabbage (and other food, large portions, cheap prices).
 There was a small airport up on the bluff which is now occupied by the Griswold Apartments. I understand the airport was only in operation from 1920 until 1927.

 Other sources claim it operated until the 1960’s.

It wasn’t shown on a 1928 topo, but was shown in a 1935 Regional Aeronautical Chart. It is likely to have been a Works Progress Administration project. It closed in 1964.
In Troy, there was the main Union depot downtown, one in Lansingburg at 114th St., “Ironworks” by the Burden plant, and one more, between Jefferson and Adams.
 The first Bessemer plant in the U.S. was built in south Troy. The Bessemer process was the early development of cheap steel made from iron. I’m not sure what happened to the Troy plant as it seemed that this area basically dealt with iron, not steel.

Original text: James S. Corsaro and Kathleen D. Roe

Updated and Revised for the WWW:
Dr. Gerald Zahavi and Susan McCormick, Department of History, University at Albany, SUNY

January 2000


A bus-train connecting Troy with Amtrak in Rensselaer?

Troy-based writer-publicist Duncan Crary has posted an interesting idea on his Facebook page: Why not use a hybrid of a bus and rail car to carry passengers between downtown Troy and the Albany-Rensselaer rail station?

He’s uncovered a vehicle that performs a similar function in Japan, and railroad maintenance crews in this country already use trucks that can travel on the rails or the highway.

The advantages: The lightly used rail line that runs as far north as Adams Street is about the most direct connection there is. You avoid the rush-hour congestion of I-787 across the river and you don’t get caught in local traffic, either. The tracks exist, and the vehicle Crary cites in his Facebook posting doesn’t look like it cost very much money. No doubt there’d be a fee for using the tracks, and concerns about keeping the bus and freight train traffic well separated. Staff and insurance would be the other costs.

A link to the post is here. And a link providing more details on the vehicle is here.

And here’s a follow-up note from Crary:

I think a bus-train would get better ridership than a normal bus for many reasons. The novelty would be one. Plus, though I ride the normal bus, many people have a stigma against it. But those same folks would ride a cool Transformer bus-train.

I also believe this bus-train option could end up being a huge benefit to the Burden Iron Works Museum and could lead to the restoration of a Visitors Center in downtown Troy, connected to the Burden.

Here’s the idea in a nutshell:

We get a dual mode bus-train that leaves the Alb-Ren train station.

The bus-train gets off the track at the Burden Iron Works Museum (good for the museum. Maybe even share the parking lot there for park and ride, or the city builds another lot close by).

Bus-train gets on the streets at Burden and continues to River Street near Hedley (where the Transit Center/Parking Garage is planned for the near future). People can use that Transit Center garage for a park and ride, too, and can also transfer to other buses if need be.

The RiversPark Visitors Center is revived and is located among the street-level retail spaces at the Transit Center, so tourists can actually commute between the Burden Museum and the Visitors Center, while getting a cruise through downtown.

This bus-train would get even more riders if the casino gets built in Rensselaer near the train station (which is a better location than the Exit 23 Noonan Farm location being talked about).

Here’s an article with video:

P.S. If Rensselaer gets the casino, I would also like it to have a cruise ship casino that goes between Rensselaer and Troy and picks up and drops off. I don’t gamble, but I’d ride the boat for fun and to get between the cities. You may recall I did a commuter cruise between Albany and Troy with the Dutch Apple. It was great:

Dairymen’s League Milk Car in Troy Union RR Station

We are always talking about the “Fabled Rutland Milk”  that went through Troy. But it didn’t stop in Troy? So why is a single milk car (great photo above from JS Horvath) doing in Troy? So what was/is the Dairymen’s League?

Going to blame it on the Delaware & Hudson Railroad.
The D&H negotiated the joint trackage between Mechanicville and Crescent with the BHT&W while it was still separate from the Boston & Maine. The D&H had trackage rights on the Troy and Boston (and then B&M) from Troy to Eagle Bridge. The D&H’s R&W Milk train started from Green Island, crossed to Troy, ran on the B&M to Eagle Bridge, then picked up milk on the R&W (Rutland and Washington, D&H Washington Branch) to Castleton and Whitehall. Then it ran non-stop to Albany with the milk cars to the NYCRR for New York, and the engine and crew returned to Green Island. At certain points in history, the cars went to Troy instead of Albany. But no problem, there even used to be a local passenger train running between Albany and Troy. Then too, the New York Central usually had a switcher stationed at Troy that could run a car or two to Rensselaer to join up with a Central milk train.
Troy Union RR
Troy Union RR

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