"In the field" railroad history adventures...

Sunday, November 29, 2015

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...


  1. +++++++++++++
    Abutments by Champlain Canal
    Bing Bird’s Eye

    RR Piers Across Hudson
    Bing Bird’s Eye

    Trolley PiersAcross Hudson

  2. Thanks for the great info. I stumbled on this after Googling the history on the Hudson in Schuylerville. I paddle and fish below the falls and was curious about the old bridges.

  3. "unknown" - you are welcome - it was a fascinating trek and the railroad and trolley history always intrigued me!

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