CP Executive train in Albany

CP Executive train in Albany

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

G.E. Genesis locomotive on flat car

Here is a picture from December 08, 2004 that I snapped of a northbound train entering the Colonie Yard limits. This road crossing marks the southern end of what used to be the large yard. I was just arriving for an afternoon of railfanning and didn't have my camera handy so this was the best I could do. Most of the other blurry pictures were deleted, but the unusual load on this flat car caused me to keep it.

The engine looks like a General Electric "Genesis" engine (perhaps a P40 or P42)? I wonder if it was being sent to the Port of Albany for export to another country. Or maybe it was heading to NYC for the Metro North Railroad? About two years ago I saw a full passenger (or subway) car being transported on the interstate highway near my home so trains obviously do travel on wheels that are made of rubber.

It would make for an interesting model.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Then and Now: Guilford train in North Albany (1985)

Here is a shot dated July 20, 1985, showing a northbound Guilford train pulling through North Albany. The track branching off to the right leads to Surpass Chemicals, and to the left of the telephone pole out of view is the Bulk Handlers terminal.

I drove down to the area this past week and took the below near-identical shot (except for the Guilford train, naturally) and the area hasn't much changed. A few more trees here or there, and the siding actually looks better maintained now then it did then. That's not too surprising, though.

Here is a picture from April 18, 2915, showing a cut of cars stored on the lead to Surpass.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Bright red Canadian Pacific caboose #434603

Who said red cabooses are extinct?

There is a local based out of Kenwood Yard that works north to switch the few industries that are left between Albany and Mechanicville. I have occasionally seen them using a caboose as a shoving platform and it was nice to see a caboose on trains even if the windows are boarded up and they look worn out. However, I caught what appeared to be a freshly painted Canadian Pacific caboose on September 13, 2014 on one of the new re-laid tracks in Colonie Yard.

Here are additional pictures from RRPictureArchives.com showing it before and after her transformation.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

D&H red pulpwood flatcar

Here is a neat shot of a D&H pulpwood flatcar taken March 28, 1976. I don't believe that they were still being used by the D&H in 1984. I certainly haven't come across any pictures of them. It is a shame, too, as a model of one would look really great. I even started collecting twigs for a model of one years ago. The process was too tedious, so I gave up. 

On a related note, last weekend the Adirondack Live Steamers had their Fall Meet. I am happy to say both my Gauge 1 live steam locomotive and my 7.25" gauge battery riding engine performed flawlessly. Had we not had other engagements later that day, I would have likely stayed up all day running my trains.

But, I did happen to see a large "log train" roll by on the mainline while I was there. We have had a lot of trees taken down and the trunks were cut up into logs that could fit (barely) on some riding cars belonging to a member. Here is a very heavily loaded log work train making the rounds. 

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Dead engines in Colonie Yard (2005)

During the same visit into the Colonie Shops in April 2005, I also took some pictures (from a distance) of a few old, abandoned relics being stored in the yard outside. I didn't know it then, but there is/was a tortured history behind nearly all of these pieces. For a full account of them, here is a thread at Railroad.net with all of the sad details of this collection. Warning: it is 39 pages long and a tough slog to get through. 

The equipment was:

Alco RS3 - former Albany Port Railroad #2, former D&H #4126 - owned by City of Albany (scrapped in 2019):

The switcher on the left is Alco S2 - former Albany Port Railroad, former D&H #3011 - owned by City of Albany (scrapped in 2015):

Coach whose identity I don't remember:

Alco S1 - former Long Island Railroad #417 - owner unnamed (scrapped in 2019):

NYC baggage car; NYC passenger car "Rapid Stream"; D&H "World's Fair" passenger car; D&H passenger car (all scrapped in 2019): 

There were two other engines, along with a random boxcar and caboose. I took dozens of pictures of these trains, but a computer crash over a decade ago resulted in most of them being lost. The engines were:

Alco RS3 - former B&M, former D&H #4082 (first #4082) - owned by M&H Chapter of NRHS (scrapped in 2013)

Alco FA-2 - Western Maryland #302 - owned by WM Railroad Historical Society (this engine was saved in 2008)

Here is a shot I took of them on September 02, 2010 (actually, my wife took the shot while I drove across the yard on a bridge):

Interestingly enough, Canadian Pacific reinstalled a few yard tracks in the summer of 2012 and that may have set in motion the scrapping process even though it took years to actually take place. Or not. Who really knows. Anyway, it is gone. I never saw the red Alco Port of Albany Railroad engines actually work in the port, but someday I may paint a model of the RS3. 

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Inside the abandoned Colonie Shops (2005)

Recently I posted a picture taken inside one of the D&H's Colonie Shop buildings. It brought back one of my own memories of being inside the Colonie Shop buildings, and since the statute of limitations has long since expired I thought I would share some photographs.

When I moved to Albany I did some railroad exploring of various places in the spring of 2005, including Schenectady, Rotterdam Junction, and Mechanicville. On April 20, 2005, I ventured to was the former D&H's Colonie Yard shop facilities, though I didn't realize at the time what they were. Anyone who is familiar with the area knows that there is/was an access road on the southern edge of the yard that connects to 1st Street near the crossing.

While I considered that the area might be off limits, there was nothing posted in the way of signs or chains across the roadway to inform the public of this fact. The road now has a gate across the entrance way but at the time it had nothing. So, one April day I just drove in to see what I could see. As I went farther back (heading north) I found two buildings in various stages of decay. There have been several fires in the complex over the years (set by vandals or tramps) and in 2004 much of the facility was demolished. A lot of the area was covered in bricks and rubble.

But, two buildings remained. One was building #3, and the other was building #5. Since I wasn't a D&H railfan then and I didn't know what I was looking at. They were just two old buildings that had served some railroad purpose. 

I later learned through the Delaware and Hudson Railroad Facebook group that Building #3 was used for the Buildings and Bridges Department, and Building #5 was the Maintenance of Way Equipment Repair Shop.

The following pictures document my findings. 

There were also a couple of other buildings that I never went in but just took some shots of.

After about 45 minutes of walking around and taking pictures, I got set to leave. As I was driving out, I saw a police car approaching me on the service road. He stopped me and we had a chat. I managed to convince him that I was a railfan and not someone who was out to steal or set fire to the place, and he let me go with a warning. I have no idea how he saw me in the facility, as I wasn't near any roads.

I assumed that was the end of it, but when I drove by the next week there was a chain across the driveway. I guess for legal purposes that is sufficient notice.

Nowadays, the area has several larger trees that are growing around the buildings that would make pictures such as these difficult. Plus, access is now (still?) prohibited. 

I don't know why but I really liked this shot showing the fire hydrant buried in the rubble.

I have seen windows like this modeled using white glue stretched over the openings.

I checked to see if anything interesting was in the dumpster, but no.

It was only filled with used radiator parts.

I went inside one of the buildings and looked around, but I never climbed up the stairs or ladders or played around on anything. It was a pretty scary place.

I can only imagine what it was like when it was humming with activity.

Remains of track embedded in the floor. 

It looks like they just abandoned the building and left everything in situ.

A disgusting looking pit filled with vile water. I didn't dip my toe in.

There were tons of papers lying around. I wish now I had given them a better look.

Along the floor in one building was the remains of a small industrial track/cart system. This was a turntable I believe for rotating the tiny wagons.

The only actual paper I bothered to zoom in on and photograph. What it means I have no idea.

My best shot of the overhead crane. It was tough to zoom in and focus my camera on something so dark.

This was one of the buildings I didn't go into. Even I have my limits.

The inside looked absolutely scary.

From the other side.

Since I don't see the building numbers, I am not sure what they were used for. I note that they appear to be built on block or concrete piers, which is somewhat unusual.

This was a sign inside one of the buildings. Wise words. I wonder if this was from the D&H or Guilford?

Sadly, tomorrow came and the yard was abandoned. It was a sad day then, and it still is today. But, I am glad I took the pictures when I was there.

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Inside Colonie Shops (1981)

Here is a great shot of the inside of the Colonie Shops dated February 01, 1981. It looks like three Alco locomotives are being worked on. The RS3 looks to be #4199, and one of the two C424s is #452. I can't read the other engine number. 

I remember talking to friends who visited the D&H shops in the 1970s and 1980s and they said that as long as they signed a waiver they could tour the D&H facilities.

However, there were several rules that all visitors had to agree to, including: (1) no flash photography inside the building (which could distract the employees); (2) no climbing on the equipment; and (3) no jumping over the track pits. There may have been others, but those are the ones my friends remembered. 

Those days are long over.