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SCHENECTADY DIGITAL HISTORY ARCHIVE

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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Chapter 87: History of the New York Central Railroad and Other Valley Lines.

[This information is from Vol. II, pp. 1288-1306 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. Some images have been relocated to the area in the text where they are discussed. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

Contents | Biographies | Illustrations | Maps | Portraits

Go back to: Chapter 86 | ahead to: Chapter 88

History of the New York Central lines and railroad development in the Mohawk Valley — The Mohawk and Hudson Railroad, 1831 — The Utica and Schenectady Railroad, 1836 — N. Y. C. R. R. Mohawk division completed in 1839 by the construction of the Utica and Syracuse Railroad — First division of the New York Central Railroad, now the only six track railroad in the world and its greatest transportation route — New York Central R. R., 1853 — New York Central and Hudson River R. R., 1869 — New York Central lines, 1914 — George W. Featherstonaugh [i.e., Featherstonhaugh], promoter of the M. & H. in 1812 — Webster Wagner's sleeping car, 1858; palace car, 1867 — West Shore Railroad, 1883, now part of the N. Y. C. R. R., Mohawk division — Adirondack, Black River and Rome, Watertown and Ogdensburg divisions of the New York Central Railroad — The Delaware & Hudson, Boston and Maine, Delaware, Lackawanna & Western, New York, Ontario and Western Valley lines — Schenectady Railways Co. — New York State Railways Co. — Other Mohawk Valley steam, electric and gasoline railroads.

The following chapter deals with the birth and development of railroads in the Mohawk Valley. It particularly concerns the New York Central Lines, America's greatest railroad and the world's most valuable single piece of property, having a valuation in 1925 of two billion dollars. Here was built the first steam link in this present model railway system which is such a powerful factor both in the development of our valley civilization and its present industry, commerce and social life. This parent line was the Mohawk & Hudson Railroad, running from Albany to Schenectady in 1831. It is a remarkable fact that we still have the original DeWitt Clinton train which first ran over this parent line of the New York Central. It stands in the Grand Central Station, New York City. This road will celebrate its centennial in 1931.

In 1836 the Utica & Schenectady Railroad was built, and the Utica & Syracuse Railroad, in 1839, thus completing the Mohawk Division of the New York Central Railroad — its first division. The West Shore Railroad, built in 1883, now forms part of the Mohawk Division of the New York Central, making it the only six-track railroad in the world.

Other Mohawk Valley railroads have developed into important divisions of the New York Central Railroad. Chief of these are the Adirondack and St. Lawrence divisions, running north from Utica, and the Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg Division, with its southern terminal at Rome.

The Delaware, Lackawanna & Western has important lines running south from Utica and Rome, connecting at Clinton and running south to Binghamton.

The New York, Ontario & Western runs south from Utica to Binghamton. The beautiful great Union Station at Utica serves the New York Central Lines and the D., L. & W. and the N. Y., O. & W.

The Delaware & Hudson Railroad has important lines running north and south from Schenectady.

Rotterdam, five miles west of Schenectady, is an important station on the West Shore, which here connects with a branch of the Boston & Maine, running eastward through Scotia, Mechanicsville, Schatigoke [i.e., Schaghticoke], etc.

The foregoing lines are all developments of early Mohawk Valley railroads, which are historically covered here. The Schenectady Railways Company, in the eastern Mohawk Valley, and the New York State Railways, in the western Mohawk Valley, are also considered. In fact this chapter covers the subject of the history of rail transportation in the Mohawk Valley, whether its motive power is steam, electric or gasoline.

This is the only compilation of Mohawk Valley railroad history published to date — 1925.

George William Featherstonaugh [i.e., Featherstonhaugh] was the first practical steam railroad promoter in the State of New York and one of the first in the United States. Featherstonhaugh's interesting life is covered in the biographical section of this work. He was one of the brainiest and the most remarkable men who ever lived in the Mohawk Valley. He was born in London in 1780, graduated from Oxford in 1800, and came to America in 1806. Featherstonhaugh settled at Duanesburgh, where he married Sarah, daughter of Judge James Duane, who was the first mayor of New York City after the Revolution. He later built a mansion on Featherstonhaugh Lake, the lakelet south of Mariaville Pond (larger than Featherstonhaugh Lake), in Princetown, Schenectady County. Here Mr. Featherstonhaugh built a fine mansion and established a blooded stock farm. The house contained valuable collections and works of art. It was completely burned in 1829, after Featherstonhaugh's return from his European trip. The lake now bears the misnomer of "Featherstone" Lake.

George W. Featherstonhaugh bears somewhat the same relation to railroad development in the State of New York as Elkanah Watson does to its waterway improvement. We know there were men who planned internal navigation routes and ways prior to 1788, when Watson first visited the Mohawk River, but Elkanah Watson stands as the first man who was able to put his plans into actual material effect.

Mohawk & Hudson Railroad, 1831

G. W. Featherstonhaugh was a man of great scientific ability and accomplishments. He early became interested in the subject of steam railroads, and, in 1812, began agitation for a steam railroad and published many articles on the subject. In 1826 he succeeded in obtaining the passage of a bill, in the New York State Legislature, incorporating the Mohawk & Hudson Railroad (to run from Albany to Schenectady), and the charter was granted soon thereafter. George W. Featherstonhaugh and Stephen Van Rensselaer, the patroon, were the only directors named in the charter. Van Rensselaer became president, and Featherstonhaugh vice-president of the Mohawk & Hudson Railroad, the first steam link of the New York Central Lines.

In 1826 Mr. and Mrs. Featherstonhaugh sailed for Europe in the interests of the railroad. Soon after their return to America, in 1828, Mrs. Featherstonhaugh died, and this, combined with the burning of his Mohawk Valley home, caused Mr. Featherstonhaugh to drift away from his railroad connections. In 1833 he became the first United States geologist, after which his interests were elsewhere in the United States until his return to England. Others carried on the great enterprise he was so instrumental in starting.

Construction work began on the railroad on July 29, 1830, and, one year later, the road was completed from Prospect street, in Schenectady, to Lydius street, on the western suburbs of Albany.

In the light of today's railroad construction, the Mohawk & Hudson Railroad was crudely built and equipped. The rails were similar to those later used for horsecars, and at first horses furnished the only motive power, except that, at the summits of the higher hills, stationary engines were located to draw up and let down the cars by ropes. The passenger cars were simply the stage coach of the day, being hung on leather thorough-braces and having seats both inside and out. A lever attached to the truck was operated by downward pressure as a brake.

The advantages of steam railroads being here practically seen, other lines were immediately projected and applications for charters made. Among them was the Utica & Schenectady, connecting those cities and covering a distance of about eighty miles. With its parent road, the Mohawk & Hudson, it made a line almost 100 miles long and so traversed the greater part of the Mohawk Valley.

Two locomotives were ordered, one from George Stephenson of England (the inventor of the locomotive) and the other (designed by the road's engineer, John B. Jervis) from the West Point foundry. The English engine was called the Robert Fulton, but the name was later changed to John Bull. It weighed 12,740 pounds. The American locomotive was named the DeWitt Clinton and weighed 6,758 pounds. It was 11 feet 6 inches long, with two cylinders 5 1/2 inches by 16 inches. In 1831, on trial trips, it attained a speed of thirty miles an hour. The first train consisted of an engine, tender and three coaches.

The formal opening of the road was on August 13, 1831. A grand excursion was run September 24, 1831, when a great celebration was held at Schenectady. The Robert Fulton (English engine) started to haul the train but broke down. The DeWitt Clinton (American engine) hauled three coaches, followed by seven platform cars, each drawn by a horse. The three coaches were stage coaches mounted on trucks, holding ten passengers each. The rails were wooden stringers, with iron straps nailed on top. The engine burned wood and the sparks therefrom constantly set fire to the passengers' clothes on this historic journey.

In connection with this epoch-making trip a banquet was held at Schenectady. Governor Throop offered this toast: "The Mohawk & Hudson Railroad! Its successful execution has given us practical evidence of the foresight of those who embarked in this enterprise."

President Camberling, of the M. & H., responded with the following: "The Buffalo Railroad! May we soon breakfast at Utica, dine at Rochester and sup with our friends on Lake Erie."

Fortunately the first DeWitt Clinton train has been preserved to us in its original form. It was exhibited at the Philadelphia Centennial of 1876 and at the Chicago World's Fair of 1893, the engine being largely rebuilt, on the original lines, for the latter exhibition. In 1920 this train was placed on free exhibition in the balcony of the Grand Concourse of the Grand Central Station.

On Sunday, July 17, 1921, the DeWitt Clinton train was placed on the New York Central tracks and made several trips from Ninety-sixth to One Hundred and Sixteenth streets, in New York City, one trip being made with New York Central employes dressed in the costumes of 1831. A speed of fifteen miles an hour was attained. The old train, herein illustrated, was then put aboard flatcars and taken to Chicago for exhibition. On the trip it was drawn by engine 999, the famous locomotive which, on May 10, 1893, set the world's record of 112 miles an hour speed for a loaded train, while drawing the Empire State Express. This test covered but one mile, the speed attained being that given. The DeWitt Clinton train was exhibited all along the New York Central line on the 1921 trip to Chicago.

[Photo: The Dewitt Clinton Train of the Mohawk & Hudson Railroad, 1831]

An excellent illustration of the DeWitt Clinton train is here published, showing it as it stands on the balcony of the concourse of the Grand Central Station in New York City.

There were some funny incidents in connection with the operation of this original unit of the New York Central Lines. As previously mentioned, a thin strap of iron covered the wooden rails. This would frequently become loosened, so that the strap of iron would roll up. The engineer then stopped the train and went ahead on the track, respiked the rails, so that the train could pass. Sometimes the thin iron strap would become loosened as the train was passing over it, thus causing accidents.

The terminus of the Mohawk & Hudson at both Albany and Schenectady stood in the outskirts of the town, and stages were used to transport passengers to and from the city centers.

The cost of the road, up to the time of the opening excursion, was $483,215. By the spring of 1832 the railroad was fully completed at an additional cost of $156,693, making the total cost of the Mohawk & Hudson Railroad $639,908, a very considerable outlay for those days. Following the final completion of the road another grand excursion was held on the 14th day of May, 1832.

In the early days of the Mohawk & Hudson Railroad the cars or coaches were let down and drawn up to the summit of Prospect Hill by means of an inclined plane. There was a stationary engine at the top, with a long rope attached to the coach and balanced by another car, loaded with stone, so that as the one car was being drawn up the other was descending. From the foot of this incline the cars were drawn to the center of Schenectady by horses. This system continued until 1841, when the tracks were relocated in the general line of their present route. Then the trains ran into the first State Street Station, drawn by their own locomotives. A large and handsome depot station, for those days, was erected on the site of the present Schenectady New York Central Station. The road, by 1841, had proved to be an almost phenomenal success, and, because of this, other steam roads were projected and built in New York and other states. In 1843 the first State Street Station was destroyed by fire. A new one was built, which was supplanted by the present modern stone Central Station about 1910.

The first time table of the present New York Central Lines was that of the Mohawk & Hudson Railroad, which read as follows:

Mohawk & Hudson Railroad.

The following arrangements will be observed on the Railroad until further notice:

Carriages will leave the head of the incline plane, 3/4 of a mile from the city of Schenectady, at the following times: 1/2 past 4 in the morn; 10 o'clock A. M.; 12 o'clock noon; 2 o'clock P. M.; 4 o'clock P. M.

To leave Albany, at the head of Lydius Street, two miles from the Hudson river, at the following times: 1/2 past 6 o'clock A. M.; 10 o'clock A. M.; 1/2 past 4 o'clock P. M.

The locomotive Engine "DeWitt Clinton", will depart in the following order:

Leave head of plane at Schenectady at 8 o'clock A. M., and 2 P. M. Head of Lydius street, Albany, at 10 o'clock A. M., and 1/4 past 4 P. M.

Passengers taking the Carriages at Schenectady at 1/2 past 4 in the morning, will arrive at Albany in season for the 7 o'clock morning Steamboats. Those leaving at 12 o'clock, in ample season for the afternoon Steamboats. Also, those taking the Locomotive at 2 P. M. will arrive at Albany in season for the 4 o'clock Boats.

Passages may be secured at the office of Messrs. Thorp's & Sprague's, in Albany and Schenectady. Price, including stage fare, 75¢.

John T. Clark, Agent of the H. & M. Railroad Co.

N. B. Passengers who desire it, will be accommodated at each end of the Railway with tickets at 50 cents. Transportation at the ends of the Railroad will be furnished by Messrs. Thorp and Sprague.

The engineer of the DeWitt Clinton, as will be seen by the illustration, did not enjoy the comforts of an enclosed and cushioned cab, as his successors do today on the New York Central. The first Central Railroad engineer sat or stood out in the open, at the rear of the little engine, without protection from either the heat or the cold.

A new and greatly improved model of railroad car was soon devised and made in Schenectady, which superseded the first coaches, which were nothing more than ordinary stages placed on rails. This fact gives us the name "railroad coach", in use today. Such is the influence of little beginnings on the great matters into which they sometimes develop. The new car was called the "Gothic car", and it was considerably larger and more comfortable than the stage coaches of the DeWitt Clinton train.

Utica & Schenectady Railroad, 1836

Says Beers' History of 1878 [i.e., F. W. Beers, History of Montgomery and Fulton Counties, N. Y.]:

"It was not to be supposed that Schenectady would long remain the terminus of a road pointing up the Mohawk Valley toward the growing west. Enterprising men soon resolved on its extension among the thriving villages created by the tide of westward emigration, and in 1833, a charter was granted for the construction of the Utica and Schenectady Railroad. The original capital of the company, $2,000,000, more than sufficed for the building and equipment of the road, and the enterprise proved conspicuously successful. [It usurped the north shore Mohawk turnpike in places, which, in those sections, had to be reconstructed farther away from the river.] The first board of directors consisted of Erastus Corning, John Townsend, Lewis Benedict, James Porter, Alonzo C. Page, Tobias A. Stoutenburgh, Nathaniel S. Benton, Nicholas Deveraux, Henry Seymour, Alfred Munson, James Hooker, John Mason and Churchill C. Cambreling. Erastus Corning was first president; James Porter, secretary; William C. Young, chief engineer, and on the completion of the road, superintendent; Gideon Davidson, commissioner. One of the provisions of the charter was that each county through which the road passed must be represented by one or more of its citizens on the board of directors.

* * * * *

The charter also fixed the maximum fare at four cents a mile. A. Stoutenburgh was chosen from Montgomery county. The original charter also fixed the maximum fare at four cents a mile, and required the company to sell out to the state after ten and within fifteen years if the state desired to purchase.

"The work of construction went on with rapidity, and, on the 1st of August, 1836, the road was opened for the conveyance of passengers. That August day was an event in the valley, both in itself and in its foreshadowings. The long excursion train was packed with delighted passengers, and each station furnished yet other crowds seeking places in the overflowing cars. The train made slow progress, but eager and curious eyes watched the iron monster that puffed its murky breath and hissed through its brazen throat.

Birth of Central Freight Traffic, 1836

"At this time the idea of carrying freight was not entertained. The charter forbade it, consequently no preparations for the transmission of merchandise had been made by the company. The desire of the superintendent seemed to be to confine the business of the road to the carrying of passengers. The occasion for handling freight, however, of course, arose on the closing of the canal in 1836. On the very day that frost stopped navigation in that year, a German family, wishing to convey their effects from Palatine Bridge to Schenectady, were permitted to ship them on a car, and this, it may be said, was the beginning of the way freight business of the Central railroad. The conductor in this case, having no tariff of rates to guide him, made the rather exorbitant charge of $14. The legislature, in 1837, authorized the company to carry freight and subsequently made the regulation, allowing passengers to have a specified amount of baggage carried free of charge. The first freight cars were called 'stage wagons'." [The modern T rail was invented by Col. Robert Stevens of New Jersey, in 1830. Steel rails were first used in 1857 in England. The first iron rails were but three feet long.]

"Improvements were made in track and rolling stock at an early day somewhat on the style of passenger coaches on English roads. In 1831 the first American style passenger coach (with doors at each end) was used, and this style soon supplanted the English type in North America.

"At first no time tables governed the running of the trains. One would leave Utica at a specified hour, each week-day morning, and get to Schenectady when it could, returning on the same plan. For a long time, after the completion of the road, there were few station agents, and freight conductors had to hunt up patrons at each stopping place, where merchandise was to be left, and collect the charges. Freight trains ran about eight miles an hour, passenger trains about 20 or less. Time and experience gradually brought order and exactness into every department of the business on this line and it enjoyed unexampled prosperity."

In 1836 the Mohawk & Hudson Railroad, from Albany to Schenectady, covered fifteen of the 100 miles of railroad then in operation in this state. A contemporary writes, in 1836, of it and its extension (the Utica & Schenectady road then nearly completed), as follows: "This road, the importance of which entitles it to a conspicuous station among the many improvements of the age, is designed to form no inconsiderable link in the extensive chain of communication between the western world and the tide waters of the Hudson. Passing through a country famed for its fertility of soil and its exuberance of agricultural productions, the route can scarcely fail of presenting some features to the contemplation of the most fastidious traveler. With the Mohawk River almost constantly in view, as it majestically sweeps onward in its course, confined on either side by a succession of lofty and precipitous hills, the eye of the amateur may frequently discern landscapes comprising almost every variety of picturesque and scenic beauty."

Utica & Syracuse Railroad, 1839 — Completion of the Central Mohawk Division

The building of the Utica & Schenectady Railroad in 1836 formed the main link in the later and present Mohawk Division of the New York Central Railroad. The Utica & Schenectady Railroad constituted eighty miles of the present 148 miles of the Mohawk Division, from Albany to Syracuse. The Mohawk & Hudson Railroad of 1831 was the first link, the Utica & Schenectady Railroad of 1836 was the second link, and the Utica & Syracuse Railroad of 1839 was the third and final link in the construction of the Mohawk Division of the New York Central Railroad, and was thus the parent division of all the New York Central Lines.

Utica citizens subscribed to $4,300,000 of the stock of the Utica & Schenectady Railroad, which was opened August 1, 1836, and extended to Syracuse in 1839.

New York Central Railroad, 1853

Washington Frothingham, in Beers' (1878) "History of Montgomery and Fulton Counties", says:

"In the spring of 1853, the legislature passed an act for the consolidation of roads, then in operation (and some only projected) between Albany and Buffalo, to form the New York Central. This was effected a few weeks later. The new company had a capital of $23,085,600. The Utica and Schenectady was, of course, one of the roads absorbed by it. One of the original directors, who remained as such up to the time of the consolidation, states that, at that time, 'the stock capital of the company was $4,500,000, on which the shareholders received 50 per cent premium in six per cent bonds of the consolidated company, equal at par to $2,475,000; and how much of the two-and-a-half millions increase was made up by extra dividends in the old company, and how much of the surplus has been and will be paid by the trustees to the shareholders of the company, I need not name to make good the assertion that the Utica and Schenectady Company has turned out the most successful of modern railway enterprises.' The growth of business on this road is evidenced by the fact that its second track was laid before it became part of the New York Central.

New York Central and Hudson River Railroad, 1869

"The ambition of each railway magnate, as the actual and prospective greatness of the West became apparent, was the control of a through line from the seaboard which could make sure of its share of the transportation for the great grain regions and populous cities so rapidly developing. Cornelius Vanderbilt's first step in this direction was the consolidation for 500 years of the Hudson River Railroad with the New York Central, which took place under an act passed by the legislature in May, 1869, the line taking the name of the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad. The immense business of the transportation of freight commanded by this road required that its freight trains should have tracks to themselves, and made it at once necessary and profitable to double the already large capacity of the line from Buffalo to Albany, where much of its traffic was diverted toward New England. This was accomplished by the construction of third and fourth tracks between those cities, which were completed in the autumn of 1874.

"The almost incalculable advantages to be derived from railroad facilities are offered at their best to the inhabitants of the Mohawk Valley. The creation of points of sale and shipment for agricultural products increases the value of farm property, and the Mohawk Valley everywhere shows in its rich, well cultivated farms and fine buildings, the benefits of home markets and the highest facilities for transportation. The villages, which by the Central Railroad are placed within an hour and a half of Albany and six or seven of New York, are far more nearly equal to those cities in their advantages as homes than they could be without it, while possessing their own class of attractions and thus are assured of a solid growth and development. To arrest or seriously delay the conveyance of what now comes and goes so promptly by mail and express would be to take away much of what constitutes civilization, and remand the community thus afflicted to comparative barbarism."

In 1858 sleeping cars (the invention of Webster Wagner of Palatine Bridge) began running over the New York Central Railroad, which then ran from Albany to Buffalo. In 1867 Mr. Wagner put his first palace or drawing room car on the New York Central Railroad.

West Shore Railroad, 1883

In 1883 the West Shore Railroad was constructed, running from New York to Buffalo along the south shore of the Mohawk River. This road ran through many Valley towns to their great disadvantage, as in the case of Canajoharie. The line through Little Falls on the south shore required a great deal of rock cutting. The first car shops were established at Frankfort and later removed to Depew, near Buffalo. At first this road added greatly to the passenger facilities of the south shore Valley towns. Competition for passenger and freight transportation became very keen between the Central and West Shore, at one time (about 1885) a passenger fare price cutting war brought the fare on both roads down to the rate of one cent per mile. The West Shore became involved in financial difficulties and was absorbed by the Central in 1886. It now forms an important Central freight line. Both the Central and West Shore, from Albany to Syracuse, are operated as one line — the Mohawk Division.

The New York Central Lines, 1914

On December 23, 1914, the N. Y. C. & H. R. R. R., including its West Shore line, consolidated with the Michigan Central R. R., Pittsburgh & Lake Erie R. R., Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis R. R., Lake Erie & Western R. R., Toledo & Ohio Central R. R., all under the name of the New York Central Lines.

Chapter 100, "The New York Central Railroad and the New York Central Lines," covers modern history of "America's Greatest Railroad," the "Water Level Route," through the Mohawk Valley — Gateway to the West, together with all its immense developments of recent years.

1831-1914. New York Central Lines Chronology.

In 1847 the name of the Mohawk & Hudson Railroad was changed to the Albany & Schenectady Railroad and the tracks were relocated on their present situation. In 1853 the various railroads, making a through line from Albany to Buffalo, were consolidated under the name of the New York Central Railroad, this being the first railroad merger in the United States.

In 1869 the New York Central Railroad and the Hudson River Railroad consolidated under the name of the New York Central & Hudson River Railroad. Following this period two tracks were added to the road from Albany to Buffalo, making the N. Y. C. & H. R. R. a four-track railroad, one of the first in the world.

The dates of completion of the various links of the New York Central & Hudson River Railroad of 1869 follow:

* * * * *

[Photo: Webster Wagner Home]

One of the leading railroad men of the mid-nineteenth century was Webster Wagner of Palatine Bridge, whose name is closely associated with the early development of sleeping and drawing room railroad coaches. He was a member of the Palatine Wagner family which located about 1720 in Palatine Township, on the Fort Wagner farm (1925), about two miles west of Fort Plain. Webster Wagner was born in 1817 at Palatine Bridge, where he became ticket and freight agent on the Schenectady & Utica Railroad in 1843. He later handled grain and farm produce, and while in this business he conceived the idea of building sleeping cars. A company was formed and four cars were built at a cost of $3,200 each. Berths were provided for the sleepers, each having a pair of cheap blankets and a pillow. These cars began running on the New York Central September 1, 1858, during the presidency of Erastus Corning. Trouble with the ventilation of the cars hampered the success of the project at first. The ventilators, being opposite to the sleepers, made it dangerous to leave them open at night, while with them closed the air was suffocating. To obviate this trouble, in 1859, Mr. Wagner invented the elevated car roof, placing ventilators in the elevation, which proved successful and greatly improved the air in the coaches. This improvement was shortly after generally adopted for all types of passenger railroad cars. During the Civil war these sleeping coaches cost to produce from $18,000 to $24,000 each. In 1867 Wagner invented and put in operation his first drawing room or palace car, the first ever seen in America, which at once became so popular as to secure him a fortune. Wagner palace and sleeping cars came into general use. Pullman introduced a similar type into Europe, and about 1890 the Wagner and Pullman companies were consolidated under the name of the Pullman Company. In 1871 Webster Wagner was elected to the Assembly and to the State Senate in 1872, 1874, 1876, 1878. He met a tragic death in a terrible railroad accident on the Central road at Spuyten Duyvil in 1882, when he was burned to death in one of his own drawing room cars. Mr. Wagner's full name was John Webster Wagner, he being named after his mother's physician, Dr. John Webster, according to Mason's History.

The present chair, buffet, sleeping, combination, dining, and observation coaches of steel construction are all later developments of the original sleeping car first put in operation by Webster Wagner on the New York Central Railroad in 1858. The first rude sleeping coach was run on the Cumberland Valley Railroad (Pennsylvania) in 1836.

* * * * *

The success of the first crude little New York Central line which ran into Schenectady stimulated the building of other lines in the Mohawk Valley. Indeed the Mohawk Valley was the early center of railroad construction and development in the State of New York. The lines which began to reach westward from Albany, with their northward and southward ramifications, formed the beginning of the New York Central Lines and of the other railroad systems which now traverse our Valley. The second Mohawk Valley Railroad enterprise was the Saratoga & Schenectady Railroad, begun in 1831, the year of the opening of the Mohawk & Hudson. This railroad company was organized on the 16th of February, 1831, and the work of construction was begun that spring. In 1832 it was completed and put in operation. The Schenectady terminus of this road was at the corner of State, Water and what later became known as Railroad Street. Here was the railroad station, from which it ran in a cut or subway under State Street north, passing also under Union Street, at or near the present Historical Society Building, and thence through and under Front Street, and so on to the Mohawk bridge, where it crossed the river on a track constructed for that purpose. For a time the cars through this underground section were drawn by horses. The engine house was a small brick building, located in Scotia, on the north side of the Mohawk River. At this point the steam engine was attached to the cars, and the train, drawn by its locomotive, then proceeded under steam to Saratoga. This line became part of the Delaware & Hudson Railroad system in 1877.

In 1843 the railroad running from Troy to Schenectady was completed and, at that early day of railroading, Schenectady was probably one of America's main railroad centers, with three railroads running out of the city. The Troy road is now a branch of the New York Central.

The Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg Railroad was commenced in 1848 and extended to Watertown in 1852. Competition of the Utica & Black River Railroad affected the two lines to the detriment of each one, with the consequence that they both became financially embarrassed. In 1886 the Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg road leased the Black River line, and later both roads were leased by the New York Central, of which they now form divisions. They connect the Mohawk Valley with northern New York, the Thousand Islands and the St. Lawrence River. The original Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg system ran from Niagara Falls, along the south shore of Lake Ontario, to Charlotte, Oswego, Pulaski, Richland (where it met the original line from Rome), to Watertown, Potsdam and Massena Springs. This is now the Ontario and St. Lawrence Divisions of the New York Central.

The Utica & Black River Railroad was opened from Utica to Boonville in 1854, and subsequently extended to Carthage. This is now a New York Central line.

In 1866 the Athens to Schenectady Railroad was built, which later became part of the West Shore Railroad in 1883.

In 1868 the Schoharie & Middleburg Railroad was built. It connects with the D. & H. at Schoharie Junction.

In 1862 John Butterfield and other business men of Utica organized a railroad company, known as the Utica, Clinton & Binghamton Company, the object being to construct a horse or steam railroad to connect Clinton with New Hartford, Utica and Whitesboro. In 1863 the road was built within the City of Utica and as far as New Hartford. From New Hartford to Clinton a dummy engine was used to draw the cars back and forth. In 1867 the road was extended to Smith's Valley. In 1870 a steam road was built from Utica to New Hartford, but not on the line of the street railroad, as the street railroad had passed up Genesee Street, the principal resident street in Utica, and the steam road was built upon the westerly outskirts of the city. This line of railroad was first leased to the New York, Ontario & Western Railroad Company and afterwards to the Delaware & Hudson Canal Company. As soon as electricity became a practical means of propelling street cars, the system in Utica was changed and electricity was used to propel all of the street cars over this line of railroad, both through the city and to the suburban villages.

In 1870 the Fonda, Johnstown & Gloversville Railroad was built, and in 1876 it was extended to Northville, on the Sacandaga. In 1922 this road adopted gasoline as its motive power, being one of the first roads to use this motive power. This road played a very great part in the development of the Johnstown-Gloversville section. It passes through Mayfield to Northville, on the Sacandaga River. Both of these Fulton County villages lie on the proposed artificial Sacandaga Lake, which will be the largest in the Adirondacks, running some thirty-five miles from Conklingville, the site of the dam, to Northville. This great lake promises to be one of the most important summer and winter resorts in America. As the F., J. & G. R. R. reaches it (with connection with the Central at Fonda), this road will, in this regard, find a considerable field of development.

The Utica, Chenango & Susquehanna Valley Railroad Company was organized in 1866, by Lewis Lawrence and other Utica capitalists. The object was to build a line of railroads southerly from Utica, into the Chenango Valley. This road was completed in 1870, and was leased to the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad Company, which has ever since controlled it. This line is the principal coal road supplying the Utica district.

The Rome & Clinton Railroad Company, the line of which extends from Rome to Clinton, was constructed in 1871. It was intended as a coal road and, soon after its completion, was leased to the Delaware & Hudson Canal Company, and has ever since been controlled by that organization.

In 1869 the Schenectady & Duanesburgh Railroad was started, and completed in 1873. This branch runs south to Quaker Street and there connects with the Albany & Susquehanna, which is now the Delaware & Hudson. This road runs southwestwardly into the Susquehanna Valley, connecting with Schoharie Junction, Cobleskill, Oneonta and Binghamton, with branches to Sharon Springs and Cherry Valley and to Cooperstown.

In 1881 the Herkimer and Poland Narrow Gauge Railroad was constructed, running north from Herkimer up the valley of the West Canada or Kuyahoora River. It made communication easy with its adjacent districts and had a considerable part in the development of the city of Herkimer. It was subsequently made standard gauge and extended to Remsen and northward, with the name of the Mohawk & Malone Railroad. Soon after this it was leased by the New York Central & Hudson River Railroad. As the Central also had control of the Utica & Black River line, it changed the system of running trains over the Mohawk & Malone Railroad, routing its trains for the Adirondacks northward from Utica, instead of Herkimer. This line, from Utica northward, now forms the Adirondack Division of the New York Central Railroad, running through Malone to Montreal, traversing the westerly Adirondacks and reaching all summer resorts and points of interest in that region and the north central Adirondack section. It has a branch or division running to Ottawa, diverging at Tupper Lake Junction. Connection is made with Saranac Lake and Lake Placid at Lake Clear Junction.

In 1886, the Utica Belt Line Company was organized to merge all the street railroads of Utica into one system. Electricity was substituted for horse power and the city lines were extended and developed. The lines were extended to Summit Park and Oriskany, in 1897, and the Bleecker Street Railroad was acquired. The Oneida Railroad Company procured rights in the streets of Utica. The New York State Railways Company acquired control of all Utica lines and extended its system west to Rome and east to Little Falls, thus giving it an electric railroad running along the Upper Mohawk Valley for a distance of 37 miles. The West Shore tracks from the old West Shore station in Utica to Syracuse were electrified and an express and electric service inaugurated between Utica and Syracuse and the towns lying between them. The New York State Railways Company is a subsidiary organization of the New York Central Lines.

The Schenectady Railways Company was organized in 1891, when it purchased the franchise of the Schenectady Street Railway Company, which was organized in 1886 and which opened its first line in 1887. This original line of the present great valley electric road ran from the Mohawk bridge, in Schenectady, to the Brandywine, a distance of two miles. Its original equipment consisted of thirty horses, five cars, and four sleighs. The Schenectady Railways Company, in 1925, had an extensive electric railroad system running north from Schenectady to Ballston Spa, Saratoga Springs and Glens Falls; east to Albany, and west to Amsterdam, Tribes Hill, Johnstown and Gloversville, with a branch from Johnstown to Fonda. The Johnstown-Gloversville section of this route had its development in a horse car line connecting the two cities in 1874. Fonda and Fultonville had a connecting horse car line, in use up to about 1890.

The Little Falls and Dolgeville Railroad was built in 1893, running northeast eight miles from Little Falls to Dolgeville, with its terminal at Salisbury Center, three miles from Dolgeville and eleven miles from Little Falls. This road was originally built largely through the enterprise of Alfred Dolge, founder of Dolgeville. It is now a branch of the New York Central. The road bore a great part in the development of the Dolgeville section.

In 1895 the electric trolley railroad, from Rome, Utica through Frankfort, Ilion, Mohawk and Herkimer to Little Falls, was completed. In 1870 a horse car line was built from Ilion to Mohawk, which was extended to Herkimer in 1871 and to Frankfort in 1872, this line now being part of the New York Railways Company, which operates the Rome-Little Falls Line, and, among others, the express and local electric road service from Utica to Syracuse, following the lines of the West Shore Railroad tracks. The electric road systems of the Mohawk Valley formed, in 1925, lines along the Mohawk River, for a distance of 58 miles — Schenectady to Tribes Hill, 21 miles; Little Falls to Rome, 37 miles.

Oct. 1, 1902, an electric line was opened southward from Herkimer to Oneonta, which is now known as the Mohawk and Oneonta Railroad. It runs from Herkimer, through Mohawk, Henderson, Jordanville, Richfield Springs, along Canadarago Lake (Schuyler Lake), to Index (with branch to Cooperstown and Otsego Lake), to Oneonta.

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