CP Executive train in Albany

CP Executive train in Albany

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.

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