"In the field" railroad history adventures...

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Abandoned Bridges at Moses Kill (Part Three)

Argyle Brewing Company - Greenwich

After visiting the Batten Kill Trolley Piers (previous post - Part Two), we headed over to Greenwich and stopped at the Argyle Brewing Company. It was a fantastic place. Gary and I tried their beer sampler and it was served in a carved log - how cool is that!
Carved log beer sampler - um um good!

We stuck up a conversion with the bartender and locals and it turns out I found a kindred spirit - an amazing photographer who loves to trek to exotic "off the beaten" path spots.
Michael's photos:
Michael immediately called up his brother-in-law, Darren who is a total Urbanex advocate (a.k.a. Ruins Porn) and has traveled the world documenting every place imaginable including Chernobyl!
Darren's photos:

Darren joined us for the trek up to Moses Kill! He recommended a pizza place north of town for a quick lunch and then we drove back on Rt 29 and up Rt 4 (rather the Rt 77) to continue our exploring.

At Glen Road

This stop was a bust. Although the remnants of the old canal were discernible, the Trolley ROW was completely overgrown.  At least I did find a railroad tie in the bushes...

At Moses Kill

All the planned ways in to the old bridges were plastered with no trespassing signs so we trekked in legally thru incredibly overgrown swampland/thickets on the north side of the Kill. It was tough going but the reward was great! :-)

Moses Kill - Champlain Canal Aqueduct

The old Champlain Canal crossed over the Moses Kill on a aqueduct and the stone work was incredible. 

Moses Kill - Trolley Bridge

There was still an arduous trek thru the overgrowth to get to the Trolley Bridge but it was quite picturesque in the fading light.
Bing Aerial View of Bridge

Here's a photo of it's construction
Construction Crew
Its remarkable how much it looks like the Willow Glen Bridge outside of Mechanicville.
See Photos >


From the railroad piers over the Hudson to the relics of the Paper Mill to the bushwhacking thru the dense overgrowth to see the Moses Kill Bridges, all in all it was an rewarding adventure!

Thomson Pulp and Paper Mill Ruins (Part Two)

Thompson - Across the River

After exploring Hudson Crossing Park (previous post - Part One), we drove to Northumberland and took Route 4 across the Hudson River. We went back down Rt 113 to Thomson to sniff out any vestiges of the old paper mill.  As the historical postcards below indicate, years ago there was a small village and the paper mill was quite substantial.

Thomson Pulp and Paper Mill
This area was once the site of the Thomson Pulp and Paper Company. Incorporated on June 11, 1888 it was later known as the Iroquois Pulp & Paper Co. It was sold to Georgia Pacific and closed in 1980.
1890 View of the Paper Mill
Thomson NY Pulp & Paper Mill c1910 Postcard
From the Gino DiCarlo Collection
1940 Topo Map
The Paper Mill is long gone but vestiges of the mill and railroad/trolley presence still remain
trackage (prior to the 1980 closing)

Exploring the Area

A - The North End
We parked at the north end and although the bridge (Z ) was blocked, a walk to X (see photos below) unveiled a way across the sluiceway at Y.
North End 
The north end trolley abutments
"X" apparently was the location where boats docked and unloaded their timber
The Bridge (at Y) looked like the "official" entrance as it was lined with gracefully shaped trees
As we trekked southward, we saw railroad ties still in the ground...
...and piles of the ties as well
B - At the Railroad Crossing

Bushwhacking thru the undergrowth to get to the railroad piers unveiled this old relic
(a signal perhaps?)
Looking back across the Hudson at the railroad piers
There was an old rail sticking up nearby
C - At the Trolley Crossing
The River was raging and has toppled some of the trolley piers
It was an an impressive sight, seeing and hearing the raging river cascading around the trolley piers. Super-Short Video:

The Railroad Piers are visible looking north

Stone Rubble where the Trolley Bridge started

Paper Mills Ruins

South of the Trolley Crossing there was a bit of the old paper mill still standing...
At the far end of the wall, the archway looked like an opening for water to exit via the sluiceway
If you look closely along the bottom of the wall there are additional arches
(More lower level sluiceways?)
We ventured into the foundation area to explore the ruins...
The old turbine! :-)
The archway was the exit for the water flow
Tree vs. Ruins
We left the foundations area and headed back north along the clogged channel which we figured was the sluiceway. The bridge I had spotted from the aerial satellite maps was for the road as parallel to it were the abutments for the trolley bridge
The old roadway bridge was still solid as a rock
Walking northward, we even found a rail in the ground! 

D - The Batten Kill Railroad Tracks

We said our goodbyes to the area and drove south towards the Batten Kill. We stopped briefly to photograph the end of the Batten Kill spur (now disused). These tracks at one point continued thru the paper mill and on across the river

E - Piers on the Batten Kill

It was a beautiful, serene stretch of the Batten Kill where we stopped to explore the Trolley Piers. Once again, a short trek thru dense forest undergrowth was required to get to the abutment but it was stunningly beautiful in the sunlight.

It was already after 1 pm and we were long overdue for a midday rest. We headed over to the charming town of Greenwich to visit the local brewery...

Next - Greenwich and on to Moses Kill 

Abandoned Railroad and Trolley Bridges - Schuylerville, NY (Part One)

After our productive and fun trek back in April documenting the trolley bridge ruins in Aqueduct, NY -- Gino, Gary and I agreed to venture out again as a threesome. Sadly, Gino couldn't make this trek with us but will rejoin us for others in the future.

Our Trek

-A- Schuylerville Train Station

Our first stop was the B&M Station on Green Street in Schuylerville, NY.  I had visited this spot before on my Saratoga & Schuylerville Railroad trek, and thought it would be a nice spot to start the day with as it was the connecting point for the Greenwich and Johnsonville Railroad.

We next ventured out to the Hudson Crossing Park and hiked north to view the abandoned piers. First a little background on the train and trolley history in the area.
1924 Rand McNally Map
(red is interurban, black is railroads)


The Greenwich and Johnsonville Railroad (G&J) was built in 1869. In 1901, the bridge across the Hudson River was built connecting the G&J with the Fitchburg Railroad (which was completed to Schuylerville in 1882). The Fitchburg Railroad was absorbed by the rapidly expanding Boston & Maine Railroad in 1900. The connection with the Greenwich & Johnsonville (G&J) at Schuylerville was severed in the early 1930s, when the G&J abandoned its line into Schuylerville.

Around 1900 the Greenwich and Johnsonville Railroad became a subsidiary of the Delaware and Hudson Railway (D&H). Following the 1980 closure of the Georgia Pacific pulp and paper mill in Thomson, New York, the D&H planned to abandon the G&J. In 1982, Mohawk-Hudson Transportation purchased the railroad from the D&H, forming the Batten Kill Railroad.  Currently, the line running west from Greenwich to Thomson, NY is out of service but the tracks are still intact.

Trolley (a.k.a. Interurban)

In 1895, the Greenwich and Schuylerville Electric Railroad was established. It was later absorbed by the Hudson Valley Railway. Trolleys continued to run from Greenwich to Thomson until 1928 when the tracks near Clarks Mills were washed out in a flood.
Hudson Valley Railway map of the interurban branch

-B- Hudson Crossing Park

We parked near the east side of the island and walked over to Dix Bridge (now foot traffic only). Its a lovely park, chock full of trails and informative kiosks.
Beautiful iron work gates - the Foot bridge is ahead 
Gary cranking the lecture box to hear the audio
Dix Bridge is closed to cars

Piers at Hudson River Crossing

Hiking northward, we had ample views of both the trolley and railroad piers.

Both the railroads and interurban crossed the river here.
As we walked north, we saw the trolley bridge off to the east
Brambles, bushes and thick undergrowth did NOT deter us from getting to the edge of the abutment
Tough to visualize due to the branches but the view was awesome
A bit further north looking back
Next were the railroad piers
and the west...
...and east railroad abutments over the canal
A short path off the main trail provided this view across the Hudson
Railroad piers
At the north end of the island is the dam - can you see the rainbow?
The motion of the water over the dam was mesmerizing. Super-Short Video:

About the Waterworks in this Area

Before the canal, there was a natural waterfalls in this area that became known as the Saratoga Falls. Prior to 1888, the State erected a dam for navigation purposes across the Hudson River. Due to the fact the Canal switched from the west to the east side of the river, canal boats needed to cross the river safely at Thomson and the dam helped stabilized the river.

Heading back, at the south end we noticed the tour boar (Its a paddle wheel) on the canal side

Next we headed across the river to explore the site of the old Thomson Paper Mill...