Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Last Run Of The Saratoga Line...75 Years Ago Today

December 7, 1941 marked three milestones in Upstate New York.  The most famous being the sneak attack on the US, Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, the second being the first run of The Empire State Express on the New York Central between Buffalo and New York City and third being the closing of the Schenectady to Saratoga Springs Branch of the Schenectady Railway's Electric Division.  Although the final trip left Nott Street and Park Place on Saturday night, December 6th, it's return trip at 1am on the 7th that is most noted.  It's also when the power was shut down at the Ballston Lake Sub-Station...

This is one of the last daylight runs to stop in Ballston Spa.  This took place on Milton Ave. looking South.  The crew stopped to pose with one of Ballston's finest.
(Frank Dodge Collection)

Conductor Milton Van Atta collected fares on the last run.  He joined The Schenectady Railway in 1917.

Motorman Earl C. Wheeler ran the last car to Saratoga Springs and then back to Veeder Yards on Van Vranken Avenue in Schenectady.  Earl started with the Company in 1923.  Both he and Milton Van Atta were assigned to other runs on the Railway.  They probably took over a bus route, since there was only one electric route left after 1941.

A full house was on board for the last trip.  Fan used the occasion  to strip whatever souvenirs they could find at the Stops along the line and on the trolley herself!

Another crew and some of the revelers pose in front of the car before she leaves Schenectady on the Night of the 6th.

 The next morning busses would start making the run between Schenectady and Saratoga Springs, but not before 1:30 am on December 7th when power would be shut down at The Ballston Lake Sub-Station.

Eventually, most Schenectady Railway Cars ended up behind the Veeder Barn on Van Vranken Ave. to burn and scrap the cars.  From what I've been told, smoke filled the air at the bottom of Goose Hill in Schenectady for months.

Not much time was wasted in tearing up the rail for scrap.  

Here's a high-rail traveling the line during the scrapping.

Frogs are removed on a crossover.

Scrap rail was loaded into gons for shipment by Steam-Railroad.

Here is a shot of the scrapped right-of-way between Ballston Spa and Saratoga Springs.  The two track main of the Schenectady Railway paralleled the Delaware and Hudson in several spots creating a four-track mainline.  'RP 158' on the mile marker stands for 158 miles from Rousses Point on the D&H's Canadian Main.

Special Thanks To The Kingston Trolley Museum for sharing these photos from their archives.
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