(left: Livingston Avenue Bridge; right Maiden Lane Bridge)
It was the last link in an all-rail line between Boston and Buffalo. Until bridges were built between Albany and Rensselaer, passengers crossed on ferries while the train went up to Troy, crossed the Hudson River, and came back down to Albany.
The Hudson River Railroad was chartered in 1846 to extend this line south to New York City; the full line opened in 1851. Prior to completion, the Hudson River leased the Troy and Greenbush.
The two railroad bridges crossing the Hudson River between Rensselaer and Albanywere owned nominally by a separate organization called The Hudson River Bridge Company at Albany, incorporated in 1856. This ownership was vested in The New York Central and Hudson River Railroad Company, three-fourths, and the Boston and Albany Railroad Company, one-fourth. Except for foot passengers, the bridges were used exclusively for railroad purposes. The north bridge (variously referred to as the Livingston Avenue Bridge or Freight Bridge) was opened in 1866, and the south bridge (variously referred to as the Maiden Lane Bridge or Passenger Bridge) in 1872.
The first railroad in New York State, and one of the first anywhere, was the Mohawk & Hudson, connecting Albany and Schenectady. The Rensselaer & Saratoga Rail Road followed in 1832, only a year later. Within twenty years, three more railroads came into Troy:
(1) Troy & Greenbush;
(2) Troy & Boston; and
(3)Troy & Schenectady.
The resulting congestion led to the formation of the Troy Union Railroad in 1851, owned jointly by the four roads. It opened in 1854. The tracks were moved from River Street to Sixth Avenue and a new station built. One of the lines was eventually bought by the D&H RR (Rensselaer & Saratoga RR), two were merged into the New York Central RR (Troy & Schenectady RR and the Troy & Greenbush RR), and the fourth became part of the Boston & Maine RR (Troy & Boston RR).
TROY AND GREENBUSH RAILROAD ASSOCIATION was incorporated May 14, 1845; road opened June, 1846. Leased June 1, 1851, for the term of its charter or any extension thereof to The Hudson River Railroad Company at an annual rental of seven per cent on $275,000 capital stock. The lease was assumed by The New York Central and Hudson River Railroad Company under the consolidation of 1913.
This Company was incorporated May 11, 1845, and organized May 14, under a lease from the New York and Albany Railway Company. According to the charter the road extended from Washington street, in Troy, to where it intersected the track of the Schenectady and Troy Railroad, to Greenbush, where it connected with the track of the Albany and West Stockbridge Railroad. On its completion trains were drawn by locomotives up through River street to the intersection of King and River streets, Troy, where the depot was situated. On January 1, 1851, the road was leased to the New York and Troy Railroad Company. This was subsequently leased to the Hudson River Railroad for seven per cent. on $275,000 its capital stock.
From our archives of New York State Railroads: “GREENBUSH, one hundred and forty-three miles, is the northern terminus of the Hudson River Railroad. The Troy and Greenbush road, six miles in length, is run by the former company under a lease. Passengers can cross the ferry here to Albany, or continue on to Troy, trains being run every hour, and immediately upon the arrival of the New York trains. The western terminus of the Albany and Boston is also at Greenbush. Extensive depot accommodations have already been erected here, which will soon be increased, and the vast business in freighting done by the various roads will tend to render this village a very important point.”
In 1851 the Hudson River Railroad leased the Troy & Greenbush. If the Mohawk Valley were to be built, then there would be a true rival to the Mohawk & Hudson and the Utica & Schenectady. When the Hudson River RR failed to press its advantage, Troy tried to get the Harlem to extend to Troy from Chatham. Russell Sage chaired a committee that concluded city should sell its railroad. Also involved was Edwin Morgan, the president of the Hudson River RR. The net result was a sell-out to the New York Central.
The 1950 Annual Report of the New York Central shows improvements on leased or controlled property Troy and Greenbush Railroad $238,925.55
Another interesting division problem was the Troy and Greenbush Branch from Rensselaer to the Troy Union Railroad. In the 1920’s, when the Hudson and Mohawk Divisions were separate, it belonged to the Hudson Division and was dispatched from New York. When the Hudson and Mohawk Divisions were combined, the T&G was still dispatched by the Hudson dispatcher, at Albany, until sometime in the 1940’s. When the Hudson and Mohawk were split in the 1950’s, the T&G went to the Mohawk Division and was dispatched from Utica.
Today, all that is left is the “Troy Industrial Spur” that runs from the Livingston Avenue Bridge to South Troy.
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See another story on history of Troy & Greenbush Railroad