In September of 1890, infrastructure improvements were under way at Whitehall, in Washington County, long a major railroad hub. “It is said that the new freight yard at Whitehall will be one of the best on the road. The main tracks will be straightened and will pass over the ground where the old shops are located,” The Morning Star of Glens Falls reported on September 24, 1890. “The new shops have been completed, and the men are removing from the old shop, which is being torn down. Next spring work will begin on the new station for Whitehall.”
In other 19th century railroad news collected from northern New York historic newspapers:
The new editor of the Fort Edward Ledger in 1860 had been traveling around Washington County to get acquainted when he took an economy route to Whitehall – a decision he regretted.
“Tuesday afternoon, we took passage on the freight train at half-past three for Whitehall,” the editor reported on August 10, 1860. “The dust was thick, the weather hot, and the fumes of grasshoppers killed on the track nauseating.… By the way, no consideration will induce another trial of this mode of traveling. … We go in for the lightning train.”
Laying of a rail line between Saratoga Springs and Saratoga Lake was progressing with “unremitting energy,” the Glen’s Falls Messenger reported on December 3, 1880. “Rails have been laid from a point near the Red Spring as far as the Excelsior Spring.… One of the tracks is laid still further, reaching almost to Eureka Springs.”
“October 16 is the day for the first train over the New York and Canada Railroad through to Plattsburgh,” The Granville Sentinel reported on October 11, 1875.
“The Edison Company has purchased the Schenectady Street Railroad and will substitute electricity as the motive power, making it a model road in every respect in order to show their new motor to the best advantage,” The Morning Star reported on October 8, 1890.
“A ten-wheel locomotive with six drivers, six feet and two inches in diameter, has left the Schenectady locomotive works to be used on the Michigan Central Railroad,” The Morning Star reported on December 1, 1890. “It is the largest engine in the world.”
“The Ticonderoga Railroad is finished and is about ready for operation, but it is thought that trains will not run regularly until January,” The Morning Star reported on December 6, 1890. “The depot is to cost $1,500,” the equivalent of $50,130 in 2023 dollars.
On December 13, 1890, The Morning Star reported that the St. Lawrence and Adirondack Railroad Co. [sic] was incorporated with $2 million in capital – the equivalent of $66.8 million in 2023 dollars. “The company is formed for building a railroad, about 200 miles in length, commencing in the town of Constable or Burke, Franklin County… and running thence by the most direct route to the village of Malone and continuing in a southerly direction through the counties of Franklin, Hamilton, Essex, Warren, Fulton, Saratoga, Montgomery and Schenectady.”
The St. Lawrence and Adirondack Railway became part of the Mohawk & Malone and later the New York Central Railroad. Today some of these same tracks are run as an excursion train by the Adirondack Railway Preservation Society.
Illustration: New York State Railroad and Auto Map ca. 1923