"In the field" railroad history adventures...

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Cedar Hill Yard

I was mountain biking in the area today and thought I'd visit the Cedar Hill Yard. Not sure if I was actually trespassing but I drove in and briefly snapped a few photos from my car. They're not too good but I hope to go back and document things a bit better. 

Fortunately others have done a great job (see Further Info below).  After watching Jason's excellent video (linked below), I realized I was in the Amtrak yard...

1927 built coaling tower
(This is huge!)

Further Info

Cedar Hill Yard (Wikipedia)
At the time of its completion, Cedar Hill was the largest railyard east of the Mississippi River in the United States. In 1926, Cedar Hill handled 97,328 cars per month, for an average of 3,200 cars each day. Particularly busy days saw over 4,000 cars classified in 24 hours.  By 1928, Cedar Hill Yard and its surrounding facilities occupied 880 acres of land. The massive yards had a capacity of over 15,000 railroad cars. By 1941, Cedar Hill Yard held the title of "the world's largest single-railroad-operated freight yard".

The railroad operated four control towers to run the yard, which were linked to each other by a PA system and the world's longest pneumatic tube system, with one tube stretching for three miles and requiring seven minutes for a cartridge to travel from one end to the other.  At the time of the reporter's visit, the yard's twin roundhouses serviced 44 freight locomotives, 185 passenger locomotives, and 8 switchers each day.

The Cedar Hill Rail Yard (Atlas Obscura)
I'll have to check out this trail!

Abandoned Cedar Hill Rail Yard (YouTube)
This is excellent!

Saturday, October 8, 2022

North Chatham (the long way home!)

After a lovely couple of days upstate (bike riding and partying at a high school reunion) I headed home via North Chatham.

My first destination was the lovingly-preserved North Chatham Trolley Station. I was debating whether to ride again but it was still freaking cold and windy so I just sniffed around the station and opted instead to drive the "back way" home.

North Chatham Trolley Station

This was on the Albany Hudson line - now a rail trail.

It was closed but the views through the windows were great!
Now a private residence 

At Chatham, I was blessed with a CSX freight train - I think there were four locomotives (I forgot to count)!

The Long Way Home

As mentioned, I didn't jump on my bike at North Chatham but decided to enjoy the autumn colors on a longer but charming way home...

NY - Spencertown, Austerlitz
MA - Egremont, Sheffield
CT - North Canaan, Winsted, New Hartford, Farmington, etc. was gorgeous!

At Collinsville, I snapped a photo of the old railroad station as I drove by.   I will revisit his area to ride the Farmington bike path and sniff around to document it's rich railroad history. 

Zim Smith Trail - Ushers Road to Mechanicville

It was surprisingly,  a really cold morning and I froze on this short ride!

I had already done the Zim Smith Trail between Ballston Spa and Ushers Road, way back in 2013. This section I rode today was added since that ride.

at the start
The trolley crossed here
Behind this bridge/trestle remnant is the old trolley bridge which I visited back in 2012

Caution - strange "tunnel" ahead!
-Short video-
On the way back, I encountered a bunch of wild turkeys!

Friday, October 7, 2022

Albany-Hudson Trolley Trail - Schodack to Nassau Lake

On the way up to the Schenectady area, I stopped to ride a bit more of the Albany-Hudson Electric Trail. This was a former Trolley line. It was more hilly than expected but it was blast to coast down a hill for 5 minutes after pedaling up for 10 minutes!

I rode from The trailhead on Miller Road to Nassau Lake and back. It was windy but sunny...

At the Miller Road Trailhead
Remnants of the old trolley bridge
At Nassau Lake
The kiosks were lovely!
Ob the way back...
Perhaps a former industry serviced by the trolley?
A lovely Rock Cut

Friday, September 30, 2022

Ruins of the Connecticut Foundry - Rocky Hill, CT

Always curious about these huge silos seen from the South Glastonbury side of the Connecticut River - I ventured down to the Rocky Hill riverside after mountain biking in Cromwell. 

Here's the old railroad station - it looks renovated and perhaps destined for revival as a restaurant or store.

The silos were part of a huge iron foundry famous for its bookends and decorative plaques. This is an aerial from a few years back - much of this is now demolished.

Connecticut Foundry - 1919-1983

Historical Details:

"A succession of industrial buildings stood beside the Connecticut River in Rocky Hill from 1835 to 1881, when a huge foundry was built by ownership subscription. In 1918, that building burned down. The present building was erected in 1919 by the Connecticut Foundry Co., established by A. O. Knudsen, Arthur Enquist and Ernest Spencer. The company remained in business until 1983, when it closed on March 30.

The company made a wide variety of items of cast iron, from range oil burners, piston-ring moldings and lawn mower parts to bookends and decorative plaques. Those who designed and made the molds were not only artisans, but artists as well. The company’s customers included such well-known corporations as Stanley, Dictaphone, Remington Rand, GE and numerous others.  Source

Historical Photos of the Railroad Station

Source >
Source >

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Bolton Notch - Connecticut

I've visited Bolton Notch a few times - both by bike and foot - its a fascinating place. The site for New York, New Haven Hartford Railroad Valuation Maps is a great source for railroad details but I often find them very disorienting as north is seldom at the top

I've "re-oriented" the Bolton Notch Valuation map and included a few railroad photos (crediting their source) to help picture the spot back in its RR heyday...

Valuation Map

 ^ Click to enlarge or downland ^

Looking easterly into the Notch 

Looking easterly into the Notch from the "yard"

Looking somewhat north easterly at the second station
Source: Wikimedia

Looking westerly through the Notch
Bolton RR Station and Pond

Bolton Notch Today

The "tunnel"
Rock Cut

Further Info

Tyler City Station (Scroll to Bolton1)

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