Category Archives: Albany

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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100 Years Ago In The Trou, NY Record

The Amalgamated Association of Street Railway Engineers doesn’t want to get into a dispute with the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers. Amalgamated members feel so strongly about this, The Record reports, that they don’t even want to share a room with Brotherhood representatives at an Albany conference today.

Earlier this month, the Troy branch of the Amalgamated threatened to go on strike against the United Traction Company, the Collar City’s streetcar service, unless the company forced the Hudson Valley Railway to replace Brotherhood workers on its cars from Waterford to Troy, which run on United Traction tracks, with Amalgamated workers.

Today’s conference at United Traction headquarters in Albany is the second round of negotiations for the two rail lines and the Amalgamated. The “comparatively brief” meeting is marked by sharp exchanges between United Traction vice president Harry B. Weatherwax and Amalgamated representative W. B. Fitzgerald.

Weatherwax grows impatient with Fitzgerald’s denial of conflict between the two unions. When Fitzgerald accuses United Traction of trying to “make it appear that the issue was a quarrel between the two labor organizations, “ Weatherwax answers, “This is just what we claim, exactly, and we will not recede from our position one inch.

“This is purely a matter which should be adjusted by two labor organizations, but you are trying to make the United Traction company pull your chestnuts out of the fire.”

When Fitzgerald protests that United Traction is exaggerating the issue between the unions “for effect,” Weatherwax asks, “Can it appear any other way when you want us to put these men out of work?”

Weatherwax challenges Fitzgerald to say whether the Amalgamated intends to strike. Since Fitzgerald isn’t ready to answer, Weatherwax invited Brotherhood representatives in the room to state their side of the case. At that point Fitzgerald leads the Amalgamated delegation out of the conference.

Speaking for the Brotherhood, L. C. Griffin doesn’t want a fight with the Amalgamated, but insists that his union has as much right to work on Troy tracks as the Amalgamated has to work on Brotherhood turf.

Before Fitzgerald leaves, he asks Griffin why the Brotherhood didn’t “put off” Amalgamated men on their tracks. Griffin replies that “the Brotherhood has never favored putting men out of work, as work is sometimes hard to get.”

Some Brotherhood men are less diplomatic. L. C. Stack recounts that Fitzgerald once called the Brotherhood the “missing link of organized labor,” while A. D. Stickney wishes that Fitzgerald had stuck around to explain why many Brotherhood men had quit the Amalgamated. “Fitzgerald knows why we did so better than anybody else,” he claims.

— Kevin Gilbert

Lincoln Funeral Train through Albany


Abraham Lincoln’s funeral train left Washington on April 21, 1865. It would essentially retrace the 1,654 mile route Mr. Lincoln had traveled as president-elect in 1861 (with the deletion of Pittsburgh and Cincinnati and the addition of Chicago). Our particular area oif interest is the the trip through Albany, New York.

In 1865, neither bridge across the Hudson River had been completed yet. So to get from the Hudson River Railroad from New York City, the train had to go North to Troy, cross the Green Island Bridge and back down the West side of the river to Albany.

One of our readers is trying to find out more about a relative who worked as an engineer for the Troy & Schenectady Railroad and has been identified with the Lincoln Funeral Train. funeral train went from Albany to Schenectady on New York Central not T&S.

We have some material…

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The Tobin Packing Company of Albany (Makers of First Prize Hot Dogs)

These were great hotdogs!



The Albany Times Union recently had a feature article on long-gone Tobin Packing of Albany.

They had quite a collection of pictures. The old First Prize Truck at the top is courtesy of Hanks Truck Pictures

The plant lasted from 1924 to 1981 and the ruins are still for sale.

As well as First Prize, meat processing was once a big industry in Albany. The Swift meat packing company was first founded in 1855 by 16 year old Gustavus Franklin Swift in Eastham, Massachusetts. It’s early origins on Cape Cod, led to later Brighton, MA, Albany, NY and Buffalo, NY locations, It was finally in Chicago. Gustavus Swift also championed the refrigerated railroad car.

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