D&H "Scotia branch"

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D&H "Scotia branch"

Postby trainsinmaine » Tue Dec 20, 2016 4:53 pm

When I was young and used to come up from Massachusetts to visit relatives in the Schenectady area, there was a branch of the D&H --- a spur, really --- that extended about two miles, I would guess, from the yard near Alplaus to a junction with the NYC main near Scotia. It crossed Alplaus Road via a tiny underpass and extended across Freeman's Bridge Road, roughly paralleling the B&M about two-tenths of a mile to the south.

I've looked at it on old USGS topo maps and can't figure out what its purpose was except to function as a bypass that enabled trains to go from the D&H main in Alplaus to the NYC main in Scotia without having to go through the city. Did it serve any businesses? If memory serves, it was removed sometime in the late 1960s or early '70s. If it was just a bypass, why didn't the D&H keep it?
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Re: D&H "Scotia branch"

Postby PhilBob1 » Wed Dec 21, 2016 4:42 pm

There was a single track that ran from D&H's Mohawk Yard in Town of Glenville (Scotia) to the NYC Sand Bank Yard, also in Glenville (Scotia) that was taken up about the same time as the one in your description. It crossed Maple Avenue about where the old tower was at the entrance to Mohawk Yard. Can't remember exactly where it crossed Freeman's Bridge Road. I was told it was a transfer track for cars carded for the Central from the D&H and don't believe it served any businesses. Apparently it outlived its usefulness as it was fairly decrepit when I last saw it before it disappeared.
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Re: D&H "Scotia branch"

Postby trainsinmaine » Wed Dec 21, 2016 6:53 pm

That's the one, and yes, it was evident that it hadn't seen much use for at least several years before it was finally abandoned.
Thanks for the info.
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Re: D&H "Scotia branch"

Postby Engineer Spike » Fri Dec 23, 2016 10:39 pm

The interchange was moved. It was easier out of Selkirk-Kenwood. There was another branch which connected by the NYC overhead bridge, south of the station. Was this part of the original alignment of the Schenectady Branch, and did they interchange with the South Schenectady Yard, on the old West Shore?
"Welcome all ye who enter; the show that never ends. Tingfield Sperminal Railway." (Graffiti on the entry to Mohawk Yard Office)
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Re: D&H "Scotia branch"

Postby ChiefTroll » Fri Feb 17, 2017 7:49 am

The Sand Bank Connection was the interchange track between the NYC at Sand Bank and the D&H at Mohawk Yard. It was the second alignment of the original Schenectady and Saratoga Railroad. The S&S originally used a road bridge across the Mohawk near the present D&H bridge, but they had to pull the cars with horses because the bridge could not carry a locomotive.

When the Utica and Schenectady RR (NYC predecessor) built a good bridge across the Mohawk, the S&S got trackage rights across that bridge and built the connection to its original line near the present Mohawk Yard. Until the D&H finally built its own Mohawk River Bridge, S&S and, later D&H, trains ran via that U&S/NYC bridge to Sand Bank Junction, and then north to Saratoga. NYC Signal Station 9 was the interlocking that controlled that junction, even long after the D&H trains switched to their own bridge.

The other track, to the south from Schenectady, was the Connor Spur. It connected to the West Shore/NYC at South Schenectady, and also served the Schenectady Army Depot. It was the original alignment of the Schenectady and Duanesburg Railroad that crossed the West Shore at grade at South Schenectady. It was a through route to Delanson until after the low-grade improvements on the Schenectady Branch in the 1930's. The new track was used mostly by southward trains while the original track was northward (down grade) until it was removed south of the West Shore.

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Re: D&H "Scotia branch"

Postby Engineer Spike » Fri Feb 24, 2017 9:29 pm

The grade of the Connor Spur is steep, where it connects to the main. This begs the question of whether the grade was modified, in relation to starting just south of the NYC overpass? Was the NYC ever at grade with the D&H, before they elevated their lines through the city? Obviously the original route was inferior, which was why the new line was built. That said, it seems awfully steep for a major main line alignment.

A senior engineer, Gus Negus pointed out the first line. I have also followed it on Google Earth. When was the new line built?
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