Mechanicviile, New York

"The B&M and D&H have shared a lot in their history, including the facilities in Mechanicville." (Bill Johnson photo and caption).


Approximately 20 miles north of Albany, New York, is the quiet residential community of of Mechanicville. Prior to the 1980s, the area had been a vigorous industrial/commercial zone and a key New England transportation hub with both rail and water-borne traffic. It hosted two locally popular Class 1 railroads: The east-west Boston & Maine and the north-south Delaware & Hudson which provided a mix of mainline traffic, including several freights with run-through pool power. It was also the site of B&M's major locomotive servicing / repair center and the third largest railroad yard in the eastern U.S., which employed nearly a thousand people. Additionally, the B&M was a bastion of EMD power, from early cab units to high-horsepower geeps, with a few Alcos tossed in for good measure. And if that was not enough to hold a railfan's interest, there was D&H's sizable collection of smoke-belching Alcos (first and second-generation) that added class, a distinctive burble and splashes of color.

Mechanicville has undergone a lot of change in the last four decades. The B&M and D&H are both gone, as are the frequent visits of power from the New York Central, Erie-Lackawanna, Lehigh Valley, Maine Central and Baltimore & Ohio.

Here is an opportunity to take a closer look at this sometimes forgotten rail center and hotspot.


Photo Gallery
Boston & Maine F7A #4265, accompanied by two other 1500-hp EMDs and a 1600-hp Alco, depart Mechanicville Yard with an eastbound freight in January 1971. (Jeremy Plant photo)

This April 1964 shot by Dwight Winkley captures Delaware & Hudson RS3 #4049 working the yard in Mechanicville and still wearing the original paint scheme. (R. Craig collection).

At the time of delivery to the Boston & Maine, Alco RS3 #1536 wore the company's "Minute Man" livery of maroon and yellow. The four-axle loco received a new dip coat of blue and white in 1975. (Chuck Maxim photo).

Delaware & Hudson's north bound Laurentian arrives in Mechanicville on xxxxxx. Were there ever four locomotives more photographed than D&H PA4s #16-19? (George W. Hamlin photo).

During the American Bicentennial, the B&M applied a patriotic r/w/b stripe to several GP7s and GP9s. B&M 1715 and relatively new GP40 #301 wait at Mechanicville for their next job. (Chuck Maxim photo)

Delaware & Hudson C628 #611 and three sister units highball through Mechanicville in November 1974; the southbound Adirondack holds at the station for the freight to clear. (Mike Woodruff photo).

Acquired new in 1946, EMD-built switcher #1212 was one of fourteen NW2s on the railroad's roster. When photographed 29 years later working the Mechanicville yard, it was still wearing its original paint scheme. (George W. Hamlin photo, 12 July 1975).

Delaware & Hudson GP39-2 #7402, still wearing the colors of previous owner Reading, waits at Mechanicville to take a train south to Binghamton on 30 August 1976. D&H acquired 20 of the surplus Reading units in 1976. (Geogre W. Turnbull photo, R. Craig collection).

GE U-boat fans will probably recognize /Guilford Maine Central's U25B #226 as originally belonging to the defunct Rock Island (CRI&P). MeC power had been frequent visitors to Mechanicville long before this 16 September 1984 photo by Chuck Maxim.

Maine Central GP38 #252 also paid a visit to Mechanicville on 16 September 1984, but on a different manifest. The 1966-EMD product will years later become part of the Guilford family as B&M 252. (Chuck Maxim photo).

Erie-Lackawanna power was not an uncommon sight in Mechanicville. EL units would occasionally appear on B&M+EL+D&H run-through freights. This 31 October 1971 shows EL U33C #3312 leading a Cleveland bound manifest. (Dale W. Woodland photo)

A Delaware & Hudson freight leaves Mechanicville in March 1975 with Albany as the final destination. Led by a trio of ageless RS3s, the train gets a boost from leased Lehigh Valley C628 #632. (Ellis Simon photo).

A few short weeks prior to its merger with the Pennsylvania, the New York Central re-numbered a small number of Alco-built FAs into the 1300 series. This Jeremy Plant photo shows NYC #1302 (ex-1102) near Mechanicville (Coons, NY) with interchange traffic for B&M.

Norfolk & Western was one of several mainline railroads to have run-through train agreements with the B&M. Hi-nose SD45 #1727, along with a GP9 and a hi-nose SD40, wait in Mechanicville for a crew and the return run on 29 September 1979. (Chuck Maxim photo).

Barely minutes outside Mechanicsville, two Penn Central units sandwich a pair of vintage EMDs from the B&M stable, on a run-through freight in January 1972. Led by PC GP40 #3097, the eastbound manifest originated in Selkirk, New York. (Mike Woodruff photo)

Canadian Pacific Train 552 rolls through the site that had once been Boston & Maine's Mechanicville Yard. The trio of MLW-built C424s, which lead the Selkirk, NY-bound consist, appeared to be running rather clean, given their 26 years of service. (Benjamin Martin photo, July 1997)

Rail traffic through Mechanicsville had ben controlled by XO Tower for many decades. The two-story brick tower still stands, but it has been converted in to a visitor center. As for rail traffic, the level has dwindled and only one track remains. (Chuck Maxim photo)

This photo from summer of 1978 shows the outdoor engine facilities at Mechanicville where the Boston & Maine and Delaware & Hudson came together. By 1995, there was nothing to see. (Bill Johnson photo and caption)

Reference sources:
  • The Railroad Press magazine: Boston & Maine before Guilford by Mike Bednar; (Jan./ Feb. March 1971)
  • Rail Pictures. Network
  • Train (Nostalgia & History Forum)

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