Discussion relating to the D&H. For more information, please visit the Bridge Line Historical Society.

Moderator: MEC407

  by LI Loco
Last week my wife and I visited the Saratoga Springs State Park. While there, I noticed a building that looked like an old railroad freight station now used as a park administrative facility. We also walked along a path in the vicinity of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) that appeared to be atop a manmade embankment approximately 50 feet above the creek that runs through the park. It appeared that it could have been a fill for an old railroad ROW.

Does anyone know whether these facilities are old remnants of the D&H mainline which ran through downtown Saratoga Springs until 1965?
  by trainsinmaine
The freight house (I always thought it was a depot) is indeed that of the old D&H main, and I assume the embankment is as well, though a trolley line used to run parallel to the D&H in that area, so I'm not altogether sure.

Just north of the park, Route 50 curves gently to the northeast as it approaches the city business district. The old ROW crosses 50 at that point, and from there it runs roughly parallel to 50 through the downtown area, a block or two to the west. Some parts of the roadbed in that area are surprisingly intact, almost as though the rails were ripped up just a few years ago. There used to be a few telegraph poles still standing; I don't know whether they're still there.

  by lstone19
Looking at that area with Google Earth, I think it's very easy to see the old ROW from where it leaves the current ROW south of Saratoga Springs into downtown. In the SPAC area, it runs along the east edge of the main SPAC parking lot and right in front of the SPAC box office (between the box office and the creek). It gets hard to spot through downtown and then the current Route 50 alignment is on it from Broadway to the Northway. East of the Northway, it can be seen north of 50 until rejoining the current ROW.

  by Engineer Spike
I live along the D&H, between the Saratoga and Ballsotn Spa realignment projects. Just north of my house, at mp A34, the line curves left, under rte. 50. The old line went straight. Just south of the SPAC lot, there is a park entrance to the picnic areas. Just before the toll both, there is a section of ROW, heading south. This is now a nature trail.
In saratoga, the yard was behind the Price Chopper, on Ballston Avenue. The old freight house is on W. Circular. One can see where the line crossed Washington St. The old station was where the down town Price Chopper is. The line crossed Church St. and went next to the Country Corner Cafe. It then was just behind the buildings on Broadway. It then used rte. 50's ROW out of town. Before the new plaza, where Best Buy is now, the ROW was visable. It crossed Perry Rd, and Jones Rd, and reentered the new alignment at mp A43.
I don't know all of the streets that the Adirondack branch ran down, through town. It did cross the present main, just north of CPC38. One of the conductors, that worked out of old Saratoga Yard told me some things about the project. He said that the Palmer (local to International Paper in Corinth) left the old yard, and returned to the new, on cutover day. My question is, that the old AD branch fill is too low for a bridge under it, for the new line. Did they have a temp. bridge over the excavation, for the new main? Did they have a crew ready to demolish it upon cut-over?
One day I was in Saratoga Library. I was in the room that saves local history. They had a newspaper clipping about the relocation project. It showed a photo of the new shop/ yard office and yard under construction. It also showed the building of the rte. 50 bridge, near SPAC. The third photo was of the old line, with the new track waiting to be cut over.
One last point. The new yard has a "Y" on the east side. The tail used to go across West Ave. It then went through the new YMCA. This was to connect to the old yard, as there was the freight house and local customers downtown.
  by ginosrailpage
I know I'm a year late on the subject, but I wanted to throw my two cents in! The building in the State Park is the old Saratoga Water Bottling Plant's freight house. The Bottling Plant was across the road (Now The Auto Museum) and they brought their bottles to the depot for shipping. The Schenectady Railway's trolley line also went through this area. The ROW went through the park where the original poster describes the embankment. The box office for SPAC is built right on the ROW.

The Adirondack Railroad left Saratoga Yard at Ash Street and travled north up Franklin Street, passed by the railroad offices on Grand Street (Building is still there) and then headed up Walworth Street. It crossed the junction of Church Street and VanDamn along side a brick house, who's garage says "Saratoga Springs" on it. The garage and driveway is built right on the ROW.

The D&H came out to present-day Route 50 on a curve behind the old firehouse which is now Forno Resturant.

  by ginosrailpage

Here a google street view of where the Adirondack Railroad crossed Church and VanDam in Saratoga Springs.
The garage that's built on the right-of-way is in the center of the photo...

You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
  by lstone19
Let me add my thanks as well. Armed with the streets you mentioned, the right-of-way became immediately apparent when looking at a satellite view.
  by RussNelson
A portion of the mainline close to downtown was converted into city roads (Railroad Place and Long Alley). Another portion, on the north side of the city, became NY50. A portion on the south side, near the YMCA (newly built) is now a 3/4 mile rail-trail called "Railroad Run", which I rode this spring. They were working on extending it then, and I expect have completed it by now. You can trace the entire route against some fairly high resolution aerial photos courtesy of my Google Maps mash-up. The parallel trolley line is the Schenectady-Saratoga. They diverged just north of Ballston Spa, and come back to parallel south of Ballston Spa The D&H mainline also used to go through Ballston Spa, and was relocated east of town.
  by ginosrailpage
A lot of the local abandoned (Saratoga/B-Spa) ROWs have seen some action lately. The original Hudson Valley ROW in Ballston Spa is being worked on right now for a pipeline. If you drive down Northline Road heading towards Malta Avenue, you can clearly see where the line went before it was consolidated into the Schenectady Railway Company.

  by mmarovitch
I would like to add somethings to this even though Im several years late.

the yard and the passenger station were where price choppers is now. also I'm sure this was done in 1964 or maybe even 1963 because my mom and dad moved from Saratoga in March 1965. I remember when the supermarket first opened and it was called Central Market then. i also remember a tank on the north end of the yard and at both ends of the yard they had a little shack where a man raised and lowered the gates manual.

I lived on east avenue and from my front yard i could look north and see a trestle and see trains. I believe that's route 50 now. My great grand parents house backed up to the ROW and I also watched trains from their back yard. I wish I had pictures to share but I didn't get my first camera till just after we moved.
  by Engineer Spike
Some of the downtown trackage was used after the realignment project. This was to serve the remaining customers. There is a y track off of the east side of the new line, just north of the new yard. The tail went across a farm field, then crossed West Ave., where the new YMCA is, to connect into the old line.
  by trainsinmaine
Quite a few years ago --- maybe fifteen or twenty --- I was traveling into Saratoga from the north on Route 50, and saw quite a few old telegraph poles along the section of the ROW that paralleled the highway. Are those still there? What other vestiges of the old main line can be seen north of town?
  by Engineer Spike
I haven't seen the poles, and I came to town in about 2000.

The Saratoga Springs Library has a special room with local archives. Muck of it is old newspaper clippings. There was one book of photos, showing the excavation work for the new line. There was also a newspaper article about the work on the bypass. It has one picture of the new shop and yard tracks under construction. An other is of the bridge on Rte. 50, near SPAC under construction. The last one shows the old and in service track, with the new line ready to be connected in on cut over day. It looks like the north end near MP 43, since the old track was on the left, and the new line swings to the right.