Tag Archives: New York Central Railroad

Rhinecliff Railroad Station Centennial March 15

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Reservations may be made in one of four ways: with a credit card via our website, http://www.hudsonriverheritage.org, via an email sent to office@hudsonriverheritage.org, via a phone message to (845) 876-2474 (calls will usually be returned within 48 hours), or by sending a check to Hudson River Heritage, PO Box 287, Rhinebeck, NY 12572.

See more on our Hudson River Railroad site and on our Central New England Railway site.

Adirondack Ore Run on the New York Central Called For High Class Railroading

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Been a lot of recent discussions in New York Central Forums on Benson Mines. It is in the Adirondacks but on the New York Central it was connected to the St. Lawrence Division between Watertown and Syracuse.

Pictures (FANTASTIC) above are from the old NY Central Headlights magazine and REALLY tell a story.

There was a daily train BP-1 from Benson Mines to Youngstown, Ohio. It was blocked
1. Cleveland ore
2. P&LE (except ore)
3. LaBelle ore (south of Youngstown somewhere)
4. Aliquippa ore
5. Pittsburgh ore.

It picked up at Deferiets which was a paper mill. It also handled P&LE traffic from Watertown, Rochester, Batavia, Buffalo and Ashtabula.

Car supply was from the normal flow of hoppers through Dewitt yard. That was a bit of a problem. Many hoppers were inspected at DeWitt to find enough with the tight doors needed for ore service. Many cars suitable for coal were not tight enough for iron ore.

Benson Mines in the early 1940’s was leased to J & L Steel Co. In 1950 it became the New York Ore Divison of J & L Steel Co, the mine was in Clifton N Y,they shiped about one million tons of ore that had to be sintered before use in the mill at Cleveland Oh and Aliquippa Pa mills and the mine closed in August,1978.

Castleton Cutoff and Hudson River Connecting Railroad

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In the 1920’s, one of the biggest projects of the NY Central of this era was the Castleton Cutoff which would replace the grades and drawbridge at Albany with a high-level river crossing several miles south of Albany. The Castleton Cutoff was not only a bridge (later named the A.H. Smith Memorial Bridge) but included the new yard at Selkirk which eventually replaced West Albany in importance. In 1924, A.H. Smith, the president of the New York Central, predicted a greater Albany. He expected Albany to grow to the Castleton Bridge. The bridge cost $25,000,000 and is 135 feet above the river. It consists of a 600 foot span and a 400 foot span. The bridge contains 23,000 tons of steel and 52,000 yards of concrete. The bridge, and 28 miles of track owned by affiliate Hudson River Connecting Railroad, connected the Boston & Albany, Hudson Division and West Shore (River Division) with the Mohawk Division. The new yard at Selkirk had 250 miles of track connected by 430 switches and served by 2 roundhouses. The opening ceremonies were attended by a large crowd including the Van Sweringen brothers who owned the Nickel Plate, W.H. Truesdale of the Lackawanna. William K. and Harold Vanderbilt, Mayor Hackett of Albany and New York Lt. Governor Lunn. Two bridges then served Albany. One bridge to the passenger station (now a bank computer center) lasted until the late 1960’s. The northern of the two bridges is the present Conrail bridge used mostly by Amtrak. At that time it was considered the “freight” bridge but also was used by those few passenger trains that didn’t stop at Albany (some sections of the 20th Century Limited and a couple of limiteds to the midwest).

Other articles we have  about the Castleton Cutoff

We have other interesting articles about the Hudson River Connecting Railroad , the White Elephant Line , and Railway Express Agency .

We have maps of the Castleton Bridge area and Selkirk Yard . You can fly around the Albany area on Google Earth.

Starting with our Selkirk Photo Gallery , we have lots of interesting pictures. There is a collection of New York Central Railroad pictures , tunnels and bridges on the New York Central , the Hudson Line south of Beacon and a link to Albany County Historical Pictures .

There is a special section on The Hudson River , another on the Port of Albany , one on the Capital District .

, and a story on Transportation in Albany .

Other sections you shouldn’t miss are rumors about Selkirk , railroads East of the Hudson key to Castleton Cutoff , some questions answered , and our reference section .

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Albany Troy Belt Line

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Picture above was the Maiden Lane Bridge in Albany, NY. It plays a part in a recent discussion on the “Belt Line” that provided frequent train service. After a lot of guessing, we finally got the straight scoop from Gordon Davids:

The Albany – Troy Belt Line was jointly operated by the New York Central and the Delaware and Hudson. Contrary to a statement made on another web site and widely quoted, it was not initiated in response to competition from electric
railroads. The service was begun around 1881, according to the 1916 Annual Report of the New York State Public Service Commission.

It appears from that 1916 report that both railroads had reduced the frequency of service in that year, and the Public Service Commission took some exception to that action.

The Belt trains operated in a loop, using the upper level of Albany Union Station, Maiden Lane Bridge, the Troy and Greenbush Railroad (NYCRR) to Troy, the Troy Union Railroad to the Green Island Bridge, the Green Island Branch of
the D&H to WX Tower (Watervliet Jct), and the D&H Saratoga Division to Albany.

The D&H operated its trains on the Belt in a counter-clockwise direction, or running north on the east side of the Hudson River, and the New York Central operated in the reverse direction. According to the PSC, until 1916 there was a
train every 30 minutes between Albany and Troy, for 18 hours per day. I don’t believe that one train could make the loop in one hour, considering time needed for coal and water, so generally each railroad must have provided two sets of
equipment at one time to handle the service. The D&H crew would go on duty at Colonie, deadhead with their train to Albany, run via Rensselaer to Troy and then south on the D&H back to Albany. The NYC crew would start at Rensselaer,
deadhead to Albany Union station, run up the D&H to Troy and then back to Albany on the NYC. The Belt trains also handled some through sleepers and head end cars between Albany, Troy and Rensselaer.

Each railroad granted trackage rights to the other for passenger service only. It wasn’t until the abandonment of the Troy Union Railroad and the T&S Branch that the D&H got trackage rights on the NYC for freight between Albany and Troy
via Rensselaer, and the NYC (or Penn Central) got rights for freight on the D&H from Albany to Green Island.

Here is some other information I found before Gordon clarified it for me;

Trying to find something on the Albany/Troy “Belt Line”. No decent D&H info so I looked at the NY Central side:

1957 NY Central Hudson Mohawk Division ETT
Only one daily train covering the 7.31 miles from Troy to Albany
Train 706 left Troy at 3:35pm
Flagstop at Adams Street at 3:38pm
(leaves Troy Union Railroad and enters Troy & Greenbush)
Flagstop at  Madison Street at 3:40pm
Flagstop at Iron Works at 3:43pm
Flagstop at Rensselaer at 3:49pm
Arrive Albany at 4:00pm

Sunday only  Train 146 ran express and terminated in Rensselaer

1951 ETT was more robust, but included Montreal trains and some express trains.

Public Timetable Form 101 July 1940
Table 60 shows Montreal trains via Rutland (B&M)
Table 61 shows Montreal trains via D&H
There is a note: “Frequent bus and street car service from Troy to Albany”
Table 61A shows the connection at Troy with the B&M to Boston

Nothing here so I went to 1950
Troy is mentioned in tables 8, 9, 12, 13, 55, 56, 60

OK. Nothing so far. I will go in the other direction. I tried 1930 “New York Central Lines” Public Timetable
Troy shows on tables 18 to 25
I finally found it!
Albany and Troy Local Trams
No . ” T h e Belt Line”
Leave Albany t6 00, 56 57. 17 00. T7 30, tS 00, ‘8 30, f 9 00, “9 30. ’10 30,
511 30. t i l 33 ill. *12 80. 130, *2 30. *3 30 14 00, *4 30, +5 05, *5 30. 16 00, ‘6 30, fi 05, “7 33, *8 30. *9 30. *10 30. *1130 PM
Leave Troy tU 30. V 00. t” 30. »7 55, f8 00 tS 30, *9 00, t9 10, “10 00. *11 00 .’.!!
1 2 01. *13 57. * i 05, *S 00. *2 59. *4 00. t l 32. ‘5 00, t5 31, *6 05. 10 30, *7 00,
17 32, *S 00, *8 05. “9 00, *10 00, *11 00 PM.
Time occupied in trip between Albany and Troy, 25 minutes
Sorry, but copying some of this scanned stuff sometimes looses letters/numbers
All these timetables came off of the “Terry Link” site
http://www.canadasouthern.com/caso/ptt/timetables.htm

1933 Public TT says: T a b l e 2 5 a A l b a n y a n d T r o y L o c a l T r a i n s
“The Belt Line”
Leave Albany §5 57, f6 50, f8 05, §8 30, *11 33, *1 25, t5 30.
Leave Troy, *7 30, f8 25, U 0 55, *12 25, *6 00, *8 13.
Time consumed i n t r ip between Albany and Troy, 25 minutes

1935 still there

1936 could not find “Belt Line”