Troy and Albany Passenger Trains in 1939

The “Information Superhighway”, sometimes called the Internet, has several “discussion groups”. One or more of these are railroad related. Some of the computer “chatter” on the Internet relates to the old railroads of New York and New England. Joe Brennan of New York City found some interesting facts from his 1939 NY Central timetable. Regarding the Boston and Maine train 59, “The Minute Man”, 1939…

Boston 3:50–Troy 8:45 (all times p.m.)
Troy 9:02–Albany 9:22
Albany 9:45–Chicago

Study reveals the facts of the matter to be a New York Central Troy–Albany local as the link. He notes that train 5611 shown in the full B&M timetable for the line, running just the last 16 miles to Troy, shown are Troy 8:22 and then the same times Troy–Albany. It requires a turn to the Rutland RR page to find this is Rutland train 56 from Rutland to Troy, running as B&M 5611 on the B&M’s tracks.

B&M 59 passed just one sleeper to the NYC at Troy. The B&M parlor came off at Troy along with the coaches. Thus everyone other than sleeper passengers had to change at Troy to coaches on the NYC local, and then again at Albany. The Rutland train 56 (B&M 5611) was only coaches and ended at Troy, so their passengers changed too– this is not made explicit in the Rutland timetable but is seen in the equipment list.

Turning to the NY Central itself… The Troy–Albany locals are listed in a little table printed sideways, just a list of depart times from each city with “approximate running time 25 minutes”. We see the 9:02 Troy time. This local carried the B&M sleeper, besides local coaches.

The NY Central train Albany–Chicago was NYC 19, “Lake Shore Limited”. Interestingly, it carried not only the sleeper leaving Boston North Station 3:50 via the B&M, but also one leaving Boston South Station at exactly the same time via the NYC’s Boston and Albany. The B&A train also had a second sleeper to Chicago taken by NYC 17 “The Wolverine”, leaving Albany 45 minutes earlier but arriving Chicago 15 minutes later. The B&A sleeper into 19 sat at Albany for 55 minutes (a tight 10 minutes into 17), while the B&M sleeper spent 17 minutes at Troy and 23 minutes at Albany. B&A coach passengers had to change at Albany as against two changes for the B&M coach passengers.

The Rutland train 56 advertised a connection south to New York, unlike the connection west for the “Minute Man”. This could have meant a reasonable if unadvertised Boston-New York route via B&M, but the Rutland connection is shown as arriving Grand Central at a very late 4:45 a.m. The time leaving Albany is not shown, and only the NYC timetable reveals it to be 1:15 a.m., just 7 minutes shy of four hours at Albany! The only earlier connecting train south was the West Shore 12:30 a.m., which reached Weehawken 4:25 a.m. and foot of 42d St at 4:40 a.m., no big advantage over the Grand Central train unless a ferry ride under the stars sounds good; and the Grand Central train also offered sleepers.

Two other B&M trains connected at Troy for Albany, with waits of 15 and 20 minutes respectively. In 1934, the B&M sleeper (arriving Albany 9:10) is picked up by NYC 47 “The Detroiter” at Albany 9:43 and dropped at Buffalo, not a scheduled passenger stop for 47, where it is then picked up by 19 “Lake Shore Limited” about an hour later. The reason seems to be that 19 had to drop cars from New York to the Adirondacks at Utica; taking the B&M car at Buffalo is simpler than juggling the cars at Albany or Utica. However, coach passengers off the B&M and Troy local had to wait at Albany for 19, since 47 has no coaches, only pullmans! Thus the B&M’s sleeper and coach passengers rode separate trains from Albany to Buffalo, but neither had to get out and change at Buffalo.

In 1940, all timetabled B&M passenger trains went via Troy. The trackage from Mechanicville to Rotterdam Junction was for freight service and it shows D&H trains as “scheduled”.

Troy was essentially a passenger only route, except for one local freight a day. Main interchange with D&H was Mechanicville and with NYC at Rotterdam Jct. There were thru freights from DeWitt (Syracuse) until the traffic left the B&M to run Conrail via Worcester. B&M also ran a train or two into Selkirk yard once a day; ran up to Rotterdam Jct, switched ends and went into Selkirk. They had several engines equipped with NYC style train control for this service.

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See more short stories at: https://penneyandkc.wordpress.com/a-collection-of-short-stories-about-railroads-book-one/

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