CP Executive train in Albany

CP Executive train in Albany

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Area Overview: MOHAWK PAPER & COHOES (MP 8.1 - 9.1)

MP 8.1 through 9.1

This is the last area that I anticipate modeling on my layout, and again it really could be divided into two sections. The first would be Mohawk Paper, and the second would be the City of Cohoes. Here is one of the only areas of modeling interest where the surrounding buildings are more residences and small related businesses and less of the factories and industries so prominent on the southern areas of the layout.

Mohawk Paper
From what research I have done online, the company was founded in 1881 as the Gilbert Paper Company. However, it went bankrupt in 1930 and was put in receivership. Its name was later changed to Mohawk Papermakers Inc., and a series of purchases in the late sixties and early seventies has culminated in what it is today, Mohawk Fine Papers Inc.  The main plant is located on Route 32 in Cohoes, but a satellite branch facility is located further north in Waterford. As the later doesn’t receive rail traffic (and may never have), I have no plans to model this second facility.

To reach the paper company, the D&H had a passing siding located just north of the plant off of which a spur branched off and dropped down an incline while crossing directly through a road intersection. How cool is that? During earlier periods there was actually another spur which ran north into the plan from the opposite direction but that doesn’t remain anymore except for a short stretch of track actually adjacent to the building itself. For my modeling purposes, the one siding and passing siding where it meets the mainline is sufficient. I definitely won’t model the whole factory, and much of it will end in at the front edge of the benchwork. It is too bad that the cars run into the building on the western side, as that will be mostly hidden from the operators at normal viewing angles.
Unfortunately from a modeling perspective, across the street are lots of houses (some of which are currently for sale and at reduced prices reflecting the train traffic that goes on in their backyards!) and I am not interested in scratchbuilding house after house. So, I likely will settle on a couple of kits and kitbash them over and over to make a dozen or so “different” homes.

City of Cohoes
Here is where my pictures from 1984 and 1986 came in handy. I had no idea, for example, that the area was still being developed at that time. I have shots showing empty areas which currently are home to fast food restaurants and small businesses.

There wasn’t much left in Cohoes on the D&H in 1984. The freight station on the east side of the tracks was abandoned by then, as was the F. B. Peck Coal trestle just south of that. North of the freight station, the Star Woolen Mill still had a spur in place but the switch had been removed sometime in the seventies. Interesting enough, there was a spur heading south off the eastern main line just before the bridge and I haven’t yet figured out what it went to. It might have been part of the tracks that went into the freight station but in 1984 it currently appeared to end at a building north of the freight station. 
The passenger station (shown on right) on the west side of the tracks was boarded up in 1984 but I have a good shot of it and some floor plans that I can use to build a model of it. Currently, it is used as an OTB site. Yuck!

Behind and surrounding the station, Cohoes has some interesting architecture including what is now the Cohoes City Library. It looks like a medieval castle and it is really fascinating to me. I haven't done much research on it yet but I am interested to see what inspired it originally. I am betting at one time it was a church. Considering the amount of work that will be required to scratchbuild it, I am sure that it will prove to be a love/hate sort of project! The stonework and the windows and... well... everything is just so different. It is located directly south of the passenger station on the main line and leaving it off the layout just won't cut it (at least to anyone who knows the area).

Mohawk River Bridge
The mainline between Colonie and Cohoes was still double tracked (though one main line was practically buried in weeds in the summer) in 1984 and it was at Cohoes that the tracks combined into a single main line over the bridge over the Mohawk River. I plan to model the bridge, though likely shortened, as well as the river. Modeling bridges is something I haven’t done before and will likely prove to be a tough challenge. The adjacent highway bridge just east of the railroad bridge, with its many stone arches, is also high on my modeling list. Originally double tracked, one span of the bridge was removed in the sixties and the eastern-most portion was (and is) all that remains today. 

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