Map: Kenwood to Mechanicville

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Map: Kenwood to Mechanicville

Postby Benjamin Maggi » Wed May 12, 2010 1:42 pm

I am interested in designing a switching layout set in the late 1970s (1977-78) featuring the D&H mainline from Kenwood Yard to Mechanicville. This will allow for a bit of switching, passenger operations, freight trains, and lots of colorful Alco engines with a few sharks thrown in! I have lived in the area for a couple of years and have examined the mainline as well as abandoned industries. However, I would like to find out what was still in service around this time and what was shipped in and out. Does anyone have any timetables, maps, or anything else that might be able to help me out? I reached out to the BLHS several times but never got any response.

Thanks.
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Re: Map: Kenwood to Mechanicville

Postby CP142 » Fri May 14, 2010 8:12 pm

I would recommend this book for starters: "Trackside in the Albany, NY, Gateway 1949-1974 with Gerrit Bruins" by Len Killian and Jim Odell. It will give you a super look at NYC and D&H activity in this area. I think you will find that by the late 70's most of the local freight traffic had disappeared. North Albany yard was gone. The Water St branch was gone. Breaker Island and the Menands markets were gone. I don't know when Monkey Ward stopped receiving rail traffic, but it was not much by then. I have a 1958 D&H ETT which lists many local industries. My 70's ETTs do not . Again, I don't think there is a better collection of pictures from the Kenwood to Colonie area to be found.

Enjoy,
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Re: Map: Kenwood to Mechanicville

Postby Benjamin Maggi » Tue May 18, 2010 12:51 pm

Thanks for the reply, Tom. I will try to search down the book.
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Re: Map: Kenwood to Mechanicville

Postby march hare » Tue May 18, 2010 4:14 pm

I wold agree that the "late 70s" would probably limit you too much. If you backdate to say, 1970 or 71, you wold have a much more interesting RR to deal with. And the local power wouldn't change all that much.

Montgomery Ward (at least the furniture/appliances facility on Erie Blvd, now Huck Finn's--the main store was pretty much all truck by then, but still had a siding so you could cheat a little bit)

The North Albany yard, right across the street from Monkey Wards furniture/appliances)

I think the Shaeffer brewery was still active at that point also

At least a few industries/warehouses on the Water St branch were still going. I remember taking my first trip down I787 when it first opened, and trying to grab a shot of an RS36 switching down near where the DEC document warehouse is today. I think there was a scrapyard in there somewhere as well.

Of course, the team tracks at Erie Blvd could be used for practically any sort of traffic. Across the way, whatever Surpass was called back then (Albany Chemical??) was in the repackaging business, taking in tank cars. They're still there.

One argument in favor of 1974 would be that the Adirondack, when first reinstated that year, backed down the Bull Run connector and went north via Mechanicville. If you define your era loosely enough, you could add a classy little passenger train to the layout, complete with a bizarre switching move.
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Re: Map: Kenwood to Mechanicville

Postby Engineer Spike » Mon May 24, 2010 11:59 am

I'll have to find out when the retiree lunch is. They have it once a month at the Golden Corral in Saratoga. They had locals in just about every town. North Albany had Schaefer, Water St. Branch. The regional market is in Menands. There was a branch which went off of the main near Simmons Lane.

One other interesting location might be Old JA (cabin) in Waterford. The big GE Silicones plant is there, a paper mill, and Golub/Price Chopper warehouse. In the '70s, trains came up the Waterford Branch, vs the main to get here.
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Re: Map: Kenwood to Mechanicville

Postby Benjamin Maggi » Thu May 27, 2010 2:32 pm

march hare wrote:I wold agree that the "late 70s" would probably limit you too much. If you backdate to say, 1970 or 71, you wold have a much more interesting RR to deal with. And the local power wouldn't change all that much.


If my layout does indeed get built in 1:29 scale then backdating won't be a problem. I picked 1978 because it was then that RF-16 "Sharks" and the "Adirondack" were still in force, and it was pretty close to to my birthday. Since it is unlikely a 1:29 scale model of a "Shark" will ever come out, modeling a bit earlier is practical. I am considering 1970 because the D&H still had a Alco S-4 on the roster, and smooth running models of that are available.

As a point of history research, does anyone know where the best place would be to look for maps that actually reflect trackwork in the 1970s? A library, a town hall, a DOT building?
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Re: Map: Kenwood to Mechanicville

Postby Bob Sandusky » Sun May 30, 2010 8:14 am

Get to the local library and see if they have access to the Sanborn maps either in book form or on-line.

I have two giant Sanborn books that cover the city of Albany and the wealth of railroad related information in them is incredible.

The only issue with the books is what you see may not be correct for the time period you are researching. The books were designed to be 'updated' so they are accurate for the date they were issued on but depending on how faithfully the original owners were the books may or may not contain complete updates that occurred during their lifetimes. Also because most of the original owners (banks and insurance companies) were more interested in buildings than infrastructure you might not see any changes in trackage reflected in the books at all.

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Re: Map: Kenwood to Mechanicville

Postby Benjamin Maggi » Wed Jun 02, 2010 11:31 am

Driving along Broadway Avenue in Menands shows a large clearing on the east side where a yard, or at least lots of tracks, originally existed. I have been told that they were there in 1984 but not by 1986. I am thinking of the area right where the D&H passes underneath it on the concrete overpass with the fancy lights. Specifically, between mileposts 2.5 and 3.2.

Also, on maps there is the remains of a track that hugged the riverbank and which now is a bike path. What was the history of this trackage?

Finally, the team track industry has a track that branched off and cut through Huck Finn's parking lot, went through the metal scrap dealer, and currently ends near the road under the 787 overpass. Can someone explain what was down here?

* I am hoping to get to the Schenectady County Library on Saturday to do some research there. Maybe the Sanborn maps will show this information.
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Sanborns

Postby march hare » Wed Jun 02, 2010 3:33 pm

If you strike out at the Schenectady library, the state library in Albany has on line access to the entire Sanborn collection for NY state.
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Re: Map: Kenwood to Mechanicville

Postby Benjamin Maggi » Thu Jun 03, 2010 7:55 am

Hum... I work in the Plaza and could drop by the State library sometime if Schenectady doesn't work. Thanks for the tip!
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Re: Map: Kenwood to Mechanicville

Postby jakirk » Wed Mar 07, 2012 1:24 am

While searching for info on the North Albany yard, I thought to google Schaefers Brewery and found the website linked below. The photo's shows the brewery in 1951, and with it North Albany yard and the Water street Branch. The detail of the photo's are incredible. Also included are two photo's of the Montgomery Ward Warehouse and the Menands team yard, and views of the Port of Albany and the B.T. Babbit soap Co. located down by the Port. The latter two photos show the old yard and industries now gone and under 787, and again have incredible detail. It's amazing to see how much the area has changed.

http://iarchives.nysed.gov/dmsBlue/getCollectionImagesServlet?id=67839
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Re: Map: Kenwood to Mechanicville

Postby kilroy » Wed Mar 07, 2012 3:12 pm

Great photos. Some of them look like they are of a model railroad and not the real thing.
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Re: Map: Kenwood to Mechanicville

Postby jakirk » Wed Mar 07, 2012 5:08 pm

I thought the same thing.
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Re: Map: Kenwood to Mechanicville

Postby Atomsk » Mon Sep 24, 2012 3:00 pm

Benjamin Maggi wrote:Driving along Broadway Avenue in Menands shows a large clearing on the east side where a yard, or at least lots of tracks, originally existed. I have been told that they were there in 1984 but not by 1986. I am thinking of the area right where the D&H passes underneath it on the concrete overpass with the fancy lights. Specifically, between mileposts 2.5 and 3.2.


There was a large printing plant in Menands, that D&H served. They loaded their products on baggage cars, that then went all over the country.

D&H bought 25 lightweight baggage cars in the '50s, for this service, because the ICC had prohibited them from running their old wooden baggage cars in interline service anymore. Only a few years later, the company stopped shipping their products by rail. D&H promptly sold these practically-new baggage cars to other railroads.

Perhaps the tracks you mentioned had some association with this operation. I think the plant sits on the east side of Broadway, on the south side of the I-787 connector.
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Re: Map: Kenwood to Mechanicville

Postby Steve Wagner » Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:17 am

That was the Williams Press. I think the building still is standing.

The ACF lightweight baggage cars were D&H 401-425. They often appeared in the passenger trains between Albany and Binghamton. The D&H sold them to the Missouri Pacific and the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio c. 1962. I don't know what the MoPac did with theirs. The GM&O kept them in two-tone gray; one was preserved at the Monticello Railway Museum in central Illinois; the most recent photo of it I've seen shows Delaware and Hudson lettering a bit heavier than the original. American Model Builders offered laser-cut acrylic sides for these cars in 2003. Rapido Trains has decorated its Canadian National lightweight baggage cars painted and lettered for these D&H cars; they're a decent stand-in.
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