Biking

This blog highlights some of my adventures with the focus on railroad history. Originally intended as a blog of my rail trail rides, it now also includes hikes, railroad trips and even stop-and-go car trips if they are railroad history related...

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Amtrak Repair Shop

A relative works at the Amtrak Repair Shop in Rensselaer and I was fortunate to get an inside look at the operations.
Approaching the shop, you get a nice view of Albany across the river
The repair facilities are just north of the Albany-Rensselaer station
Source
  There's a wye at the north end to turn trains around as needed
Source
 Street view...
Source

Inside...

Full trains are moved in and inspected/worked on as a unit.
Locomotives in need of repair reside on a different set of tracks

This is the hook that is clamped on when raised by the overhead crane 

Under the train (this was a thrill!)
In the cab
This is the bit used to cut (smooth) a wheel

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Retracing the Danbury and Harlem Trolley

On my travels to hike Pine and Wooster Mountain in Danbury yesterday, I noticed the old roadbed of the trolley alongside George Washington Highway. So I returned today to try and document what I could find.


From my previous research, I knew the Right-of-Way (ROW) traversed Benson Road and the Sarah Bishop park, so I visited  those locations as well.

Just north of the George Washington Highway

There's a good stretch of the ROW visible from the highway on a winter day. Foliage would obscure the presence of the ROW in the summer and fall. I scrambled through the brambles to take these photos.

Ridgebury Road

As mentioned, the ROW then continued on what is now Old Trolley Road and veered south on a diagonal to Ridgebury Road. There was a nice stretch of the ROW visible at this location.
The Town of Ridgebury
(not much too it!)

Benson Road

There was very little to see off Benson Road. Do abandoned trolley roadbeds attract only prickler bushes! :-( The brambles were thick everywhere along the old ROW. The ROW was there but pretty hard to distinguish with all the overgrowth.
Looking west at the first curve on Benson Road. 

Parley Road and the Sarah Bishop Park

I had much better luck at the next location....

#1 on map
Looking Northeast at the Parley Road curve
#2 on map
Looking southwest at the next Parley Road curve
A short way in reveals this lovely trail - looks like an easy bike ride on a dry day!

Off Finch Road

There appears to be a horseback riding area here that takes advantage of the old ROW.

#3 on map
This is a "horse" trail (rutted by horse hooves)

About the Trolley Line

The Danbury and Harlem Traction company was an interurban line intended to connect Danbury, Connecticut, with the New York Central Railroad station at Goldens Bridge, New York.

From 1900 to 1901 the company purchased land, graded the line, laid track and erected wire, and built a powerhouse. Tracks were laid from Danbury as far to Ridgebury and apparently there was trolley service between Danbury and Ridgebury for a year or so. But by 1909 the Bridgeport Herald reported the track ended six miles short of Goldens Bridge.

Sadly, due to financial difficulties, the rails beyond Ridgebury were never laid. Finally, the investors pulled the rails between Danbury and Ridgebury sometime between 1910 and 1915 to try and recoup their investment and the entire project was abandoned.

Further Info


Sunday, December 25, 2016

Albany, NY (Historical Photos)

Well this is not really an outside adventure but it is railroad related so it best posted here.

Albany, NY

Christmas Day was spent with the family in upstate NY. We had the pleasure of dining together at Jack’s Oyster House in Albany, NY. The dining room was filled with historical photos and the old (former) D&H Headquarters in all its glory was just across the street…
Former D&H Headquarters
Schenectady Railway - Interurban
Albany Union Station

Grand Central, NYC

Later in the week, I was back home and on my evening commute through Grand Central Terminal, I decided to snap these two photos.

Vanderbilt Room 
Passageway between the Vanderbilt Room and Main Hall
Be Sure to check out other photos on the GCT page if you haven’t already:

Friday, December 23, 2016

FJ&G Remnants West of Scotia NY

The Fonda, Johnstown and Gloversville Railroad (FJ&G) was formerly a 132-mile steam engine and electric interurban railroad that connected Fonda, Johnstown and Gloversville to Schenectady, New York. It had a successful and profitable transportation business from 1870 until the 1980s.

I spent some time this afternoon documenting the remnants of this system between Scotia and Amsterdam NY.  The FJ&G ran along the north side of the Mohawk River and--although much of it has been obliterated by the widening of Rt 5--there were still a surprisingly good amount of places to see vestiges of the ROW.

Maps

These 1931 USGS topo maps indicate the precise ROW (highlighted in brown). It was a double track all the way between Schenectady and Amsterdam.



The FJ&G crossed under the New York Central mainline at Washout Road and turned westward.
Washout Road Underpass
Google Street View
On Google Maps, this is labeled as Simmons Road
Google Street View

Documenting the Right of Way (ROW)

At the foot of Washout Road, the abutment over the creek was much easier to see in the winter than last April when I scrambled thru the briars to snap photos.  see April Post >
Washout Creek

The widening of Rt 5 over the years obscured some sections but in other spots the roadway was easy to discern just to the north.

The three photos above are (1) view from the road; (2) a small culvert; and
(3) a climb up to view the ROW looking eastward
Certain sections of the ROW were visible in the distance
A turn up a side road permitted close ups

Verf Kill

Remnants of the bridge over the Verf Kill.
View from Rt 5
Up hill on a side street - I walked eastward on the rail bed cut 
Abutment
View down from the edge
Looking upstream
Looking westward on the same side road

Traveling further west


Visible in Bing Bird's Eye views
Another side road view

Further west, where the ROW ran closer to Rt 5, only a skinny width remains...

Abandonment

In 1938 the Gloversville to Schenectady line was abandoned.

Further Info

The Fonda, Johnstown and Gloversville Railroad (Wikipedia)
Gino's Rail Museum (in depth details: photos, history, etc.)
The Fonda, Johnstown & Gloversville Railroad (American Rails)
Washout Creek Bridge (Bridgehunter)
FJ&G Map