Tag Archives: Troy

Why Was the “Fabled Rutland Milk” Called FABLED?

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I, Penney Vanderbilt, named it.
Not only have I written a blog about it, and mentioned it in other blogs, BUT my blog header shows a picture of it passing through the Troy Union Railroad.
So what does “fabled” mean? “famous, especially by reputation”.  Synonyms include: celebrated, renowned, famed, famous, well known

An alternate definition is MYTHICAL: People never believed it was still running.

Now for some facts:
Milk trains were disappearing. The attitude was USE TRUCKS.
The Rutland was disappearing. Well it did; but even their branch to Chatham got cut forcing the trip through Troy.
Any trip through was slow. Can you spell “street running”?
Rutland equipment was old and obsolete. Check out the “rider car”. Even the locomotive was “first generation” diesel.
Look at a map: It started out as far North as you can get in New York State; rolled through Vermont; and went all the way to New York City.
Even Uncle Sam was trying to kill it: Vermont milk could not go to New York City because it was a different “Milk Shed”
The Green Mountain Gateway even used “fabled” to describe the whole railroad:
“The Rutland Railroad was a fabled system located in the New England area. Based out of Rutland, Vermont the railroad is best remembered for the large amount of milk and dairy products it moved over its system and its classic forest green and yellow livery. The railroad finally succumbed to a long battle of money troubles in the early 1960s when a strike collapsed any hope of the Rutland staying solvent as it shutdown operations in 1961.”
Even AMAZON uses the term “FABLED” to describe the Rutland itself (and “pitch a patch“)
“The Rutland Railroad was a fabled system located in the New England area. Based out of Rutland, Vermont the railroad is best remembered for the large amount of milk and dairy products it moved over its system and its classic forest green and yellow livery. The railroad finally succumbed to a long battle of money troubles in the early 1960s when a strike collapsed any hope of the Rutland Railroad staying solvent as it shutdown operations in 1961. Today, happily, much of the former Rutland Railroad system is still operated by successor Green Mountain Railroad, which hauls both freight and excursion passenger service over the line, much to the delight of the thousands of passengers which arrive annually to ride aboard its popular trains.”

Those Great Pictures On Our Blog Header

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PICTURE ABOVE: At left is KC Jones, who authors the Global Highway. In the middle is Penney Vanderbilt, World’s Greatest Blogger. At the right is the Promenade des Anglais in Nice France.

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PICTURE ABOVE:At left is a great picture of the goalie for the Utica Comets, a new American Hockey League team we follow. In the middle, is a drawing of David and Goliath out of the Bible. We use this drawing to publicize Loren Data, a small EDI and Electronic Commerce company that fights the giants of the industry. At the right is Brewster, New York, besides being the birthplace of Penney Vanderbilt, it was an important station on the New York Central Railroad.

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PICTURE ABOVE:At left is the “Albany Night Boat”. We also talk a lot about the Livingston Avenue Bridge in the background. In the Center is a replica of the Statue of Liberty in Nice, France. At the right is a picture of the New York Central Harmon Shops.

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PICTURE ABOVE:At left is the Rutland Milk Train passing through the Troy Union Railroad‘s station in Troy, New York. Read the story to find out why it is “fabled”. In the center, is the Tramway, in Nice, France. At the right, is the railroad station in Ogdensburg, New York. Read more about the New York Central in the St. Lawrence region.

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PICTURE ABOVE:At the left is a Delaware & Hudson ore train leaving Tahawus, NY many years ago. At the center is golfer Graeme McDowell. See more about golf, including the US Open. At the right is an electric locomotive used by the New York Central. See why it is now in Glenmont.

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PICTURE ABOVE:This old trolley car at left is now at the Connecticut Trolley Museum. Before going to Montréal, it worked in Springfield, Mass. Number 2056 is a steel lightweight built by Wason in 1927 and acquired in 1959. In the center is a “leverman” working the switches in New York City’s Grand Central Terminal. At the right is La Canne A Sucre, our favorite restaurant. Said by many to be the “Friendliest Restaurant in Nice France.

Troy Union Railroad Towers

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In many of the short articles we have put out over the last few months on the “towers” of the Troy Union Railroad, all we refer to is one at each end of the station. Actually, this should be better explained. I found an old article from Gordon Davids that will give you a better perspective on the signal stations, bridges, telegraph calls etc. within the Troy Union Railroad.

The telegraph office at Troy was in the station. The office call was UN on the NYC Mohawk and Hudson Divisions, and the D&H. There were four dispatcher’s circuits into Troy – NYC Hudson Mohawk, D&H Saratoga, B&M Fitchburg, and Rutland. The Rutland dispatching ended at North Bennington, but they still had a wire to Troy. Tower 1 had a NYC dispatcher’s telephone. Tower 2 had NYC, B&M and Rutland dispatcher’s phones. Tower 3 had a phone to the D&H CTC operator at Albany ca. 1957. The positions in the Troy towers were “Telephoner Leverman,” and they were not required to be telegraphers. They were mostly instructed by the stationmaster, who communicated with dispatchers by telegraph through UN. The inbound and outbound D&H main tracks between WX Tower and George St., Green Island, and the single main track from George St. to River St., Troy (TURR boundary) were ABS. The exception was the “square-end blade signals at George St.” which governed movements from double to single track at a remote interlocking controlled by TURR Tower 3. The Green Island Bridge was also interlocked, so the bridge tender had to get an unlock from Tower 3 before he could raise the bridge. In 1959, the B&M CTC extended from the end of the TURR to Johnsonville, controlled by the operator at Johnsonville. There might have been some non-circuited main track through the B&M yard. There was a CTC home signal at the east (B&M) end of the yard. The earler B&M ABS system that was in place when their railroad was double track may have been more extensive. Another interesting division problem was the Troy and Greenbush Branch from Rensselaer to the Troy Union Railroad. In the 1920’s, when the Hudson and Mohawk Divisions were separate, it belonged to the Hudson Division and was dispatched from New York. When the Hudson and Mohawk Divisions were combined, the T&G was still dispatched by the Hudson dispatcher, at Albany, until sometime in the 1940’s. When the Hudson and Mohawk were split in the 1950’s, the T&G went to the Mohawk Division and was dispatched from Utica.

Again, thanks to Gordon Davids

Great place to see the stations on the New York Central side is the 1957 Employee Timetable

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.

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”

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

Troy and Schenectady Railroad once crossed an Interstate Highway

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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 more about the T&S Railroad

UPDATE in 2012:

Railroad and trolley historian and author  Gino DiCarlo has done some research and actually found pictures of this crossing.

See his article on “CROSSING THE NORTHWAY

 

Update June 3, 2012 from Gordon Davids:

The T&S Branch highway grade crossing was in place and active on opening day of I-87 in 1959. Traffic signals hung over the highway, and cross bucks were on each side of the road.

The state engineers told us at the time that the railroad was up for abandonment, and the state wasn’t about to spend the money necessary for a grade separation. They got a waiver from the Public Roads Administration (pre-FHWA) to permit the crossing for a limited period. I think they had to extend the waiver a few times.

I looked on Google maps street view today, and saw an aluminum pole alongside the northbound highway and an aluminum instrument case still in place just south of it. I’m sure that they were part of the highway signal system that protected the crossing.

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