"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