4667Northville in the 20th Century
- Jun 25, 2001
Northville in the 20th CenturySince its slow, I'm going to post some of the great newspaper articles that Carleton V.
Nellis wrote for the Sunday Leader Herald back in the 80's. Carleton's son is a member
of our group and we're honored to have him! Hope you enjoy them! Here's the first installment...
Northville In The 20th Century
By Carleton V. Nellis
THE NORTHVILLE BRANCH OF THE F. J. & G. RAILROAD
The Northville - Gloversville Railroad was organized on June 26 1872; and trains began running over it on November 28, 1875. The trains were supplied by the F. J. & G., as the Northville-Gloversville line had no rolling stock of its own. The two lines worked together in complete cooperation and were merged a few years later. However, the Northville line didn't lose its Northville identity, as it became known as the "Northville Branch of the F. J. & G.
The crews operating most of the trains over that division were made up of Northville residents. The locomotive and the cars were stationed at the Northville depot. The first train in the morning started from this northern terminal; and the last train in the late afternoon completed its run there.
With nine trains operating over the line each weekday; it required more than one crew to handle the traffic. Other crews operated out of Gloversville, as needed. The first train in the morning, which was handled by a Northville crew, left the station at 6:45; and the last train of the day traveling to the village, arrived at the Northville station at about 6 p.m.
These two trains carried many daily commuters to their jobs in Gloversville. Another train, leaving Northville at 12:45 p.m., carried many villagers for shopping trips, or to attend a theatre matinee in the Glove Cities. They returned, along with the commuters, on the last train of the day leaving the city at 5 p.m.
For ten months of the year, Sunday traffic over the line was limited to a few trains per day. No mail express or freight was carried on Sunday, and the passenger traffic was minimal. The waiting room and ticket office at the Northville station was open for only a few hours, for the convenience of the few travelers.
During the months of July and August, the scenario changed with many regular, and innumerable special trains running over the line on Sundays. These "specials" carried the vacationers to and from the Sacandaga Park complex.
I often rode the last train of the day; which left the Northville/ Sacandaga Park stations in the late afternoon. It was a through train to Fonda, connecting with the New York Central Railroad trains; so the vacationers, returning to their homes, could make the trip with the minimum delay.
After delivering its passengers to Fonda, the return trip to Northville: was delayed to pick up any passengers from the New York Central cars, who were bound for Johnstown and Gloversville. After dropping off these passengers, the train would be almost empty, except for the crew and I. My lack of a ticket was no problem; as my father was the conductor on the train.
I usually slept most of the time, after we left Gloversville. On one occasion, I slept through the delay caused by repairs to the locomotive. On each trip, upon our arrival in Northville, the engine had to be turned around and driven into the roundhouse; and the coaches had to be readied for the trip the next morning, starting at 6:45 a.m. After these chores had been completed, my father would awaken me for the long walk home.
With the exception of the many summer Sunday trains, most of the passengers, as well as the crew, were residents of Northville. This was especially true of the first train in the morning, the noon train and the last train of the day. The cars of the train would often be the site o f social meetings of the villagers. The depot was also served as a meeting place, where villagers came to meet trains, or just to visit.
In the 50-plus years that the station was in use, it was the focal point of all transportation in the area, from Lake Pleasant to Northville.
Carleton V. Nellis
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