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New York Railroadiana

by Dave Gould, RR conductor

  • Passengers travelling between Albany and Schenectady are following the route of the State's first and oldest active rail line.
  • The Mohawk and Hudson Railroad, chartered in 1826, was constructed as a "shortcut" to avoid the much longer (40 miles) and slower (all day) Erie canal route via the Cohoes Falls lock flight.
  • The section of rail line used by Amtrak from about milepost 145 to milepost 156 is the same route used by the first successful trial run of August 9, 1831 and opened to the public on August 10. With speeds up to 30 miles per hour, the trip took about 30 to 40 minutes each way. The current speed limit is 110 mph, one of the fastest routes in NY State.
  • The first train consisted of the tiny four wheeled "Dewitt Clinton" steam engine and three stage coach-bodied passenger cars. A replica of this train is in the collection of the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI.