Tag Archives: boston & maine

The End Of The Troy Union Railroad

The only reason for retaining the Troy passenger station at the bitter end was the remnant of B&M service from Boston with one or two Budd RDC’s. The NYC and D&H had the alternative of using Albany as their passenger interchange, and actually it switched back and forth between Albany and Troy for individual trains over the years. The B&M had nothing but Troy.

The D&H preferred Troy over Albany, because the distance from Colonie Shops (the Capital District locomotive service point and crew HQ) was shorter to Troy, and then they didn’t have to run the North Albany Yard Engine to Albany to handle the occasional passenger switching. The Troy Station Switcher (NYCRR crew) was in the station anyway. I don’t think the individual railroads paid for it per move, just a on a fixed percentage.

NYC preferred Albany, because it avoided running light engines the longer distance between Troy and Rensselaer, their locomotive service point, if they didn’t come back with a train.

The D&H paid NYC to use the upper level at Albany on a pro-rata basis, but, all three railroads that owned the Troy Union RR paid a fixed percent of the operating expenses. NYC paid 50%, D&H and B&M 25% each, because NYC took over the ownership of two predecssor RR’s – the Troy and Greenbush and the Troy and Schenectady. The Rutland had no ownership – they operated as B&M trains between White Creek and Troy.

The passenger station was demolished as soon as the last B&M train left town, mostly to avoid the high property taxes levied on railroad property in New York State. The Troy Union RR employees once said, only half in jest, that they knew the end was near when they put a new roof on the station. That was usually the kiss of death for any railroad building.

A serious problem that always plagued Troy was the number of highway grade crossings in the city. Every switching move blocked Fulton Street or Broadway, and the TURR needed about ten crossing watchmen per trick, or a total of more than 40 for the 24/7 passenger operation.

As for the demolition of Troy Union Station, the last passenger service left town in January of 1958 and it was demolished by the end of the summer that same year. So, no, there was never a post-classic- era shack.

Probably the reason Troy lost its direct passenger service relativley early is because it wasn’t far from more-than-adequate remaining service in Albany (7 miles, and with good local transit connections) . The cost saving from shutting down TUS was probably enormous.

Around 1959 D&H and NYC had brought running B&M to Albany, but they couldn’t make an agreement with the operating brotherhoods to allow B&M crews to run to Albany. It wouldn’t work out if a D&H crew had to take the train over that distance. The B&M wasn’t about to put any more money into maintaining that service west of Fitchburg, and this was another good reason for them to dump it.

Either way, the B&M would have had to either run via TURR to the NYC at Madison Street or to the D&H via the Green Island Bridge, and they would have still needed most of the TURR with all of its crossings, and the Green Island Bridge. A route via Mechanicville would not have worked, either. All three railroads wanted to be shed of the entire TURR, not only the station, and the best way to get regulatory approval was to let the expenses pile up and then dump the whole thing. The only fly in the ointment was the Rutland operation, and when that went away in 1961 the fate of the TURR was sealed.

Read more about the Troy Union Railroad

https://penneyandkc.wordpress.com/troy-schenectady-railroad/

HOOSAC TUNNEL TO TROY, NY

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The Boston & Maine (B&M) did get down to the Hudson River. It had a line called the Adams Street railway which went to the Hudson somewhere around River Street. The trackage was either in the street or beside it. A plan I saw, quite old, had a lot of trackage there. The Adams Street trackage was south of Union Station. The City of Troy was anxious to have the railroads move out of the downtown area and demolish Union Station. With the termination of the remaining passenger operations in Troy, B & M 1958, D & H and NYC about the same time, this goal was realized. However, the Rutland was using B & M-NYC trackage rights to reach Chatham, NY via Troy. As long as the Rutland operated, trains (like the “fabled Rutland Milk”) continued to run right through the downtown section of Troy. The Rutland shut down for good during the 1961 strike; the Vermont section was bought by the State of Vermont, but the trackage rights expired. By about 1963 or 1964 the B & M/NYC connection at Troy was broken and the B & M sold its Adams Street railway trackage to the New York Central (was not included in the B&M share of the Troy Union Railroad).

You can trace the Troy & Boston (B&M)’s old main line from Valley Falls down through Melrose to Troy.Passenger service was discontinued in 1958, and the rails between Hoosick Falls and Troy were taken up around 1973. The section from Lansingburgh to downtown Troy is now a paved bike trail. 

The B&M down to Troy was inland of the Hudson River and would not have any transfer facilities. The yard was in North Troy, but not on the canal. Only the D&H crossed the Hudson at Green Island. 

 Did the B&M/T&B get freight from the Erie Canal? And what freight would it be? Grain moving east from Buffalo & the Great Lakes would most likely go to the Port of Albany or NY City for export or local use. Salt, which did go by barge in the Syracuse & Rochester area probably would have been loaded at the mine directly into cars. It would make more sense to directly load a railroad car at the source of the commodity than incurring the transload cost and building the transload facility. The T&B connected with the NY Central and West Shore which paralleled the Canal and made the Canal un-competitive for most goods within 15 years of its 1825 completion – as the railroads did with most canals. I guess my question would be “Did the T&B interchange with the Erie Canal at all?”

Just because the T&B was on the east bank of the Hudson and the Erie Canal was on the west bank, it doesn’t mean they could not have interchanged. Canal’s often used bridges called “change bridges” to cross rivers or change the tow path from one side to another. There was a change bridge to allow the Erie and Champlain canals to meet, as the they were on opposite sides of the Hudson. If you can track down the history of change bridges in Waterford and Troy, you may find answers about likely locations of interchange. However, you should also look at the dams and slackwater operations in Troy. You may find that canal boats crossed the Hudson in slackwater, without mule power.

That would be my question, too. By the time the Hoosac Tunnel was actually completed, in 1875, the rail network was well enough established that canal/rail transload at Troy would have been unlikely since most of the goods on the canal were lower-value bulk freight (salt, grain, etc.) 

When the T&B was first opened in 1859, I’d think it more likely that any interchange at Troy would have been with regular Hudson River vessels rather than the Erie Canal per se- which probably would have been accomplished by drayage through the streets of the town.

 Maybe the reason is as old as the hills: the hills. Looking for a relatively low grade and lower-cost ROW would have been a major determinant. East of Mechanicville, in particular, the search would have been for a relatively economic crossing of the Hudson, based on approach topography and riverbed conditions. West of Mechanicville, Rotterdam Junction may be CSX now and earlier Conrail and PC and NYC, but before those entities, it was the West Shore Railroad, the Fitchburg’s then-non-competitive connection to the west. It was probably superb economic/political sense to have a ROW alignment with the D&H west of Mechanicville, both because the D&H had done the surveying and because the D&H was a connection for coal and other traffic. Troy was a primarily passenger operation with NYC connections to and from the west. When passenger service ended there, the Troy-Johnsonville line did a quick vanishing act.

 The history of the whole route is convoluted, but the simple version is that the Vanderbilt-owned New York Central was allied to the Boston & Albany, which in turn did its damndest to kill the Hoosac Tunnel route even before it was completed. Thus whoever operated through the tunnel would want a connection with a non-Vanderbilt road on the west. The West Shore– the New York, West Shore & Buffalo– was a competitor of the Central and would give the Fitchburg access to the west via connections at Buffalo/Niagara Falls with the Pennsylvania, the Nickel Plate, and the Grand Trunk.

Ultimately the West Shore, which had fallen into the hands of the Pennsylvania, was sold to the Central in 1885 in return for the Central’s abandoning construction of the South Pennsylvania Railroad (now the route of the Pennsylvania Turnpike), in a deal basically forced upon the companies by J. Pierpont Morgan (who wasn’t a fan of wasteful competition)… leaving the Hoosac Tunnel Route right back where it started in terms of a western connection.

So the Troy & Boston was primarily a passenger line connecting to the Fitchburg line, it seems likely that there was not much commercial freight coming from Troy on the T&B. So where was most of the freight coming from? Much further west? My assumption was that the Hoosac Tunnel was made to connect with the Erie canal, but perhaps by the time the tunnel was finally completed 25 years later, the canal wasn’t playing the important role it was at the outset of the project. I’m interested in finding the origin of any freight in the Albany/Troy/Cohoes area that rode the Fitchburg line.

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John W. Barriger was an outstanding railroad manager; a real live railfan; an advocate of super railroads; and a railroad historian.

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Barriger is one of the most gifted and unusual persons in railroad history. Check out a WebSite about John W. Barriger

What is not common knowledge is the huge library collection he left us.

John W. Barriger III National Railroad Library:

 

Troy Union Railroad

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Picture of Green Island Bridge above is from an old postcard.

First of all, see a great movie about the last days of the Troy Union Railroad.

TROY UNION RAILROAD

The first railroad in New York State, and one of the first anywhere, was the Mohawk & Hudson, connecting Albany and Schenectady. The Rensselaer & Saratoga Rail Road followed in 1832, only a year late. Within twenty years, three more railroads came into Troy:
(1)
Troy & Greenbush;
(2) Troy & Boston; and
(3)Troy & Schenectady.
The resulting congestion led to the formation of the Troy Union Railroad in 1851, owned jointly by the four roads. It opened in 1854. The tracks were moved from River Street to Sixth Avenue and a new station built. One of the lines was eventually bought by the D&H RR (Rensselaer & Saratoga RR), two were merged into the New York Central RR (Troy & Schenectady RR and the Troy & Greenbush RR), and the fourth became part of the Boston & Maine RR (Troy & Boston RR).

Although the tracks in Troy were moved inland to avoid congestion, the growth of the city overwhelmed it still. Row houses, stores, and factories crowded in on all available land near the track. There wasn’t room for the conventional two-storied interlocking towers needed to control the switches at each end of the terminal, so both towers had to straddle the tracks. Switches were thrown by the tower operators through a series of rods and cranks.

In other major cities, early 1900’s grade crossing elimination programs rebuilt the right-of-way above or below the streets. Similar plans were drawn up for Troy, but never were built. Numerous streets required a gate guard, to flag the crossing or drop the gates. The track ran part of the way in the pavement of Sixth Avenue, and steam road locomotives inched their way past parked cars. This looked like industrial trackage but was a passenger main.

Troy’s first depot (before the Troy Union Railroad) was the “Troy House” on River Street. The second one burned (1862) when Troy had what is known as the “Great Fire”. The third one was built shortly afterwards, and lasted until 1900, when Troy finally got a “modern” one. The depot was designed by Reed & Stem, who eventually worked on Grand Central Terminal. The Troy station pioneered individual train platform sheds reached by an underground passageway instead of one huge shed.

The 1900 station was a colonial revival design with Beaux Arts columns and decorated by Grecian castings.”

The station was 400 feet, and the passenger tracks weren’t much longer. Most trains blocked grade crossings at each end of the station. In 1910, there were 130 passenger trains a day. Most of these, except the Albany- Troy beltline, required an engine change.

The station was torn down in 1958, with only a single track left in place because of Rutland trackage rights for their milk train to Chatham, NY. This track came out in 1964, after abandonment of the Rutland. The tunnel for the tracks was between Congress and Ferry Streets.

This area was known in history as the first “red-light district”. Off-duty railroaders visited houses of “working girls”. The railroaders hung their lanterns outside so the crew- callers could find them.

The D&H Troy Branch went to Green Island (from Waterford Jct), and the Green Island Branch went to Troy (from Watervliet Jct).

The Troy Branch was the southern end of the original Rensselaer and Saratoga RR, later absorbed by the D&H. The Green Island Branch was a D&H connection to the former Albany and Vermont RR, which formed the later D&H Saratoga Division Main Line.

The B&M connected with the D&H (and New York Central) at Troy via the Troy Union RR, which was owned by all three (D&H, B&M and NYC). The TURR was formed around a wye, with the passenger station at the south leg. NYC came onto the TURR at Madison St, and from Schenectady via a short stretch of trackage rights on the D&H, which came onto the west leg of the TURR at River St. The B&M came via the north leg at Hoosick Street.

The Rutland originally operated a joint passenger service with the B&M, with Rutland trains and crews becoming B&M trains at the Vermont State Line (White Creek) and running to a NYC connection at Troy. In 1954, after the Rutland passenger service ended, the Rutland gained freight trackage rights on the B&M to Troy and NYC/B&A to Chatham, running three round trips per week out of Rutland.

END OF THE TROY UNION RAILROAD

The only reason for retaining the Troy passenger station at the bitter end was the remnant of B&M service from Boston with one or two Budd RDC’s. The NYC and D&H had the alternative of using Albany as their passenger interchange, and actually it switched back and forth between Albany and Troy for individual trains over the years. The B&M had nothing but Troy.

The D&H preferred Troy over Albany, because the distance from Colonie Shops (the Capital District locomotive service point and crew HQ) was shorter to Troy, and then they didn’t have to run the North Albany Yard Engine to Albany to handle the occasional passenger switching. The Troy Station Switcher (NYCRR crew) was in the station anyway. I don’t think the individual railroads paid for it per move, just a on a fixed percentage.

NYC preferred Albany, because it avoided running light engines the longer distance between Troy and Rensselaer, their locomotive service point, if they didn’t come back with a train.

The D&H paid NYC to use the upper level at Albany on a pro-rata basis, but, all three railroads that owned the Troy Union RR paid a fixed percent of the operating expenses. NYC paid 50%, D&H and B&M 25% each, because NYC took over the ownership of two predecssor RR’s – the Troy and Greenbush and the Troy and Schenectady. The Rutland had no ownership – they operated as B&M trains between White Creek and Troy.

The passenger station was demolished as soon as the last B&M train left town, mostly to avoid the high property taxes levied on railroad property in New York State. The Troy Union RR employees once said, only half in jest, that they knew the end was near when they put a new roof on the station. That was usually the kiss of death for any railroad building.

A serious problem that always plagued Troy was the number of highway grade crossings in the city. Every switching move blocked Fulton Street or Broadway, and the TURR needed about ten crossing watchmen per trick, or a total of more than 40 for the 24/7 passenger operation.

As for the demolition of Troy Union Station, the last passenger service left town in January of 1958 and it was demolished by the end of the summer that same year. So, no, there was never a post-classic- era shack.

Probably the reason Troy lost its direct passenger service relativley early is because it wasn’t far from more-than-adequate remaining service in Albany (7 miles, and with good local transit connections) . The cost saving from shutting down TUS was probably enormous.

Around 1959 D&H and NYC had brought running B&M to Albany, but they couldn’t make an agreement with the operating brotherhoods to allow B&M crews to run to Albany. It wouldn’t work out if a D&H crew had to take the train over that distance. The B&M wasn’t about to put any more money into maintaining that service west of Fitchburg, and this was another good reason for them to dump it.

Either way, the B&M would have had to either run via TURR to the NYC at Madison Street or to the D&H via the Green Island Bridge, and they would have still needed most of the TURR with all of its crossings, and the Green Island Bridge. A route via Mechanicville would not have worked, either. All three railroads wanted to be shed of the entire TURR, not only the station, and the best way to get regulatory approval was to let the expenses pile up and then dump the whole thing. The only fly in the ointment was the Rutland operation, and when that went away in 1961 the fate of the TURR was sealed.

Abandonment of Train Service to Troy, New York

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The picture above is the Green Island Bridge between Green Island and Troy

Trains in Troy operated over the Troy Union Railroad (TURR)
Congestion in Troy, New York led to the formation of the Troy Union Railroad in 1851, owned jointly by four roads. It opened in 1854. One of the lines was eventually bought by the D&H RR (Rensselaer & Saratoga RR), two were merged into the New York Central RR (Troy & Schenectady RR and the Troy & Greenbush RR),
and the fourth became part of the Boston & Maine RR (Troy & Boston RR).

In other major cities, early 1900’s grade crossing elimination programs rebuilt the right-of-way above or below the streets. Similar plans were drawn up for Troy, but never were built. Numerous streets required a gate guard, to flag the crossing or drop the gates. The track ran part of the way in the pavement of Sixth Avenue, and steam road locomotives inched their way past parked cars. This looked like industrial trackage but was a passenger main.

Around 1959 D&H and NYC wanted to run the Boston & Maine into Albany, but they couldn’t make an agreement with the operating brotherhoods to allow B&M crews to run to Albany. It wouldn’t work out if a D&H crew had to take the train over that distance. The B&M wasn’t about to put any more money into maintaining that service west of Fitchburg, and this was another good reason for them to dump it. Either way, the B&M would have had to either run via Troy Union Railroad to the NYC at Madison Street or to the D&H via the Green Island Bridge, and they would have still needed most of the TURR with all of its crossings, and the Green Island Bridge. A route via Mechanicville would not have worked, either. All three railroads wanted to be shed of the entire TURR, not only the station, and the best way to get regulatory approval was to let the expenses pile up and then dump the whole thing.

Efforts to discontinue trains to downtown Troy, abandon the Troy Union Railroad, and cut the high costs to New York Central, Delaware & Hudson and Boston & Maine were hampered by the “Rutland Milk“. The Rutland Milk took a winding route through northern NY State and Vermont, then was delivered to the NY Central Harlem Division at Chatham for delivery to NY City. The last run over the Rutland‘s “Corkscrew” division to Chatham was in May, 1953 (they had no other business on that line). After the “corkscrew” was shut down, Rutland Milk ran via B&M & NYC using trackage rights from Troy and Rensselaer to Chatham. The Rutland had no ownership in the Troy Union Railroad – they operated as B&M trains between White Creek and Troy. In 1959-1960, tracks in downtown Troy were torn up except one for the “Rutland Milk” . This track came out in 1964, after abandonment of the Rutland.
The tunnel for the tracks was between Congress and Ferry Streets.

Join a group devoted to the Troy & Schenectady Railroad  http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/T_SRR/

The Troy and Schenectady Railroad: What If It Still Existed Today? http://www.ominousweather.com/TroySchenectadyFantasy.html