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THE FONDA, JOHNSTOWN & GLOVERSVILLE R. R. FIELD TRIP

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  • Gino's Railpage
    Special thanks to John Stewart of Rochester, NY, who shared this article from his collection. Gino THE FONDA, JOHNSTOWN & GLOVERSVILLE R. R. FIELD TRIP By
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 29, 2007
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      Special thanks to John Stewart of Rochester, NY, who shared this
      article from his collection.

      Gino

      THE FONDA, JOHNSTOWN & GLOVERSVILLE R. R. FIELD TRIP

      By FRANK GOLDSMITH, New York Chapter

      On September 6, 1936, a party of railroad fans left Grand Central
      aboard the New York Central's regular bi-weekly excursion train to
      Schenectady, N. Y. The fans were all members of the National Railway
      Historical Society or of the Electric Railreaders' Association, which
      two organizations jointly sponsored the trip. The New York Central
      very kindly provided the -party- with a special car for their trip.

      The journey through the Hudson Valley country was very pleasant. In
      addition to the scenery, the party got a glimpse of the interesting
      yard's and shops at Harmon, Albany and West Albany. Arriving a t
      Schenectady on time, we had a short walk to the interurban station of
      the Schenectady Ry., where car No. 129, a streamliner, of the FJ&G was
      waiting for us, white flags and all. A number of fans joined us in
      Schenectady, including a party from Lancaster, Pa.
      Car No. 129, our special, highballed down State St. and out of town in
      charge of Motorman Wally Van Auken, who is without a bit of doubt one
      of the finest fellows who ever handled a controller. In less time than
      it takes to tell it we were across the Mohawk River and speeding
      westward through Scotia. The car was soon rolling along at top speed-a
      rate of about 60 MPH. Several miles west of Schenectady a short halt
      was made to permit the party to inspect a section of experimental
      trackwork on the line of the adjacent New York Central's Mowhawk
      Division. Once more we went flying through the Mohawk Valley, when it
      was announced that Mr. Van Auken would demonstrate the
      electro-magnetic track brakes for us. The fellows all braced
      themselves for a short stop, but there was a con~plete lack of jolting
      and jerking which ordinarily accompanies a swift application of
      brakes. The stop was unbelievably smooth, but according to our
      motorman it was only a service stop. He then gave us an emergency stop
      from top speed. Again the deceleration was amazingly rapid, but still
      unaccompanied by any jerking. After this most interesting
      demcnstration, we continued on our way.

      Near Hoffmans Station the car was stopped on a bluff called
      Kin-qua-rio- nes, high above the Mohawk River. The party got out to
      admire the view, which was truly magnificent, and to
      take a few pictures. The day was bright arid sunny and the river could
      be admired for several miles. Far below us were the main line of the
      New York Central, the state highway, and the canalized Mohawk River.
      On the opposite shore of the river, the West Shore RR was seen, while
      behind that the hill known as Yantapooshaberg rears almost 1200 feet
      above the Mohawk. This quaint name is Dutch, signifying
      "John-ear-ofcorn-mountain." While standing here,
      we were overtaken by the regular train from Schenectady, and our car
      was run onto the other track so that it might pass. We left that
      beautiful spot with just a bit of reluctance, balanced by a desire to
      see more of the FJ&G and this country which it serves. A run of a few
      miles brought us into Amsterdam, a busy little industrial city, which
      competes with Yonkers for the title of "the Carpet city." Here there
      was some delay due to trackwork in East Main St. The line, now double
      tracked, is being coverted to a single track line. After negotiating
      the business section we went out to the car house. Here a short stop
      was made to inspect the cars in use on the Amsterdam Division of the
      FJ&G,. Several interesting types of equipment were viewed here,
      including car No.
      105, a heavy wooden steam coach roof interurban built by the St. Louis
      Car Co. With its heavy construction, A smoking compartment, washrooms
      and plush seats, it is a worthy representative of a variety of
      interurban car once typical of New York State. Leaving the Amsterdam
      barn, the car headed back onto the main line and sped through Fort
      Johnson. For several miles more we followed the ever beautiful Mohawk,
      climbing higher and higher above the water all the time. Near Tribes
      Hill we paused on a trestle in order that we might take a good look a
      t the old power house of the FJ&G. The line turned north a t Tribes
      Hill and left the valley of the Mohawk.

      By this time it was quite far above the river and had reached the
      plains above the valley. A run of only a few minutes brought us to the
      outskirts of Johnstown, where the line effected a junction with the
      line from Fonda. A short stop was made at Johnstown Station for a meet
      with the Schenectady car. A few minutes later we rolled into the
      Gloversville yards, past the steam station and into the business
      section, where we took leave of our special car.

      At Gloversville we were met by Mr. James H. Bresee, Engineer in
      charge of Motive Power. After we had taken time out for lunch, he
      guided the party to the yards. The fans were soon scampering all over
      the place with their cameras working overtime. Mr. Bresee, however,
      led the way into the shops where locomotive No. 9, a Schenectady eight
      wheeler built in 1901 was being serviced. The boys were pleasantly
      surprised to find that the FJ&G had a very up-to-date shop equipped
      with machinery one would not expect a small road to have. After
      examining the No. 9 as closely as possible without the aid of a
      microscope, we went into another section of the shops where car No.
      126 was jacked up for an overhauling. The trucks had already been
      removed so that we were able to get a good look at them and at the
      under side of the car. Mr. Bresee here took time to explain to us in
      detail jugt how the electro-magnetic brakes work. One of the 60 series
      cars was also in for repairs, having run into dihiculties in the shape
      of a truck.

      From the shops we proceeded to view some of the freight and snow
      fighting equipment. Particularly interesting was caboose No. 2, said
      by many to be the shortest double truck
      caboose in the world. Preceding to the round house, locomotive No. 8
      was run out for inspection and photographing. No. 8 is a 4-4-0 similar
      to No. 9, built by the Schenectady Loco Works, in 1901. After No. 8
      was returned to its stall, No. 11 was run onto the turn table. No. 11
      is an 0-8-0 job built by Alco in 1623. No. 14, the other loco in
      regular service was away at Schenectady being serviced and its place
      Was being filled by an engine borrowed from the New York Central.

      From the round house to the car barns was a five minute walk along
      the railroad right of way. While on our way to the barn, No. 53, a
      large wooden baggage motor came along with mail from Fonda. Mr. Bresee
      had it stop for a few moments in order that the fans might photograph
      it. At the barns the cameras really went into action-some of them
      appearing to have hot boxes in short order. First to be photographed
      was No. 104, like No. 105 which was seen in Amsterdam. No. 52, another
      baggage motor followed No. 104. Then came No. 16 and 17, single truck
      and double truck sweepers respectively. Then No. 177, a steel light
      weight interurban, formerly operated by the Eastern New York Utilities
      Corp. on the third rail line between Albany and Hudson, N. Y., better
      known as the Albany Southern RR. No. 10, the electric locomotive was
      run out for pictures after that and a number of the fans crowded into
      the cab for the short ride back into the barn. No. 2, a double truck
      wedge plow attracted some attention, but the excitement was greatest
      when No. 500, a single truck double end rotary plow was brought out.
      No. 20, a little single truck sand car, was the last car run out.
      Several cars of the single truck arch roof variety were photographed
      in the yards, as also several cars of the older variety of
      interurbans- wooden monitor roof jobs. Many old steam coach roof
      interurbans of the 100 series and 150 series were lying in the yard,
      awaiting their last journey to the scrap heap. They were fine cars in
      their day, but certainly not open to comparison with the streamlined
      aluminum cars.

      As it grew near five o'clock we boarded No. 177, made a loop through
      town passing the steam and electric stations, and started rolling
      towards Johnstown, with Motorman Van Auken again at the controls. Just
      beyond Johnstown we left the line to Schenectady and took the line to
      Fonda. The line has not been used for passenger service in some years,
      buses performing the service on the highway. The baggage cars make
      several trips a day to interchange baggage, mail and express with the
      New York Central. No. 177 is a very speedy car; some fans even
      expressing a belief that it is as fast as the streamliners, although
      all admit the "bullets" cannot be equalled for the excellence of their
      riding quality. The line to Fonda is mostly downgrade and we made
      good speed all the way. As we approached Fonda we passed quite close
      to the steam line of the FJ&G which now runs from Fonda, through
      Johnstown and Gloversville to Broadalbin. Until the construction of
      the Sacandaga Reservoir made abandonment necessary there was a steam
      line from Gloversville to Northville. The villagers of Fonda,
      unaccustomed to passenger trolleys, were inclined to stare when No.
      177 rolled into town. Only a few minutes remained in which to bid
      farewell to the FJ&G and to buy our tickets on the New York Central to
      Schenectady. The Hudson River Special pulled into the station and our
      entire party piled into the observation coach. One last look at the
      FJ&G special from the observation platform and we started down the
      Mohawk Valley on our way home. We reached Schenectady in a very short
      time and some members of the party left us to journey home by auto
      from that point. The rest of the party settled down to enjoy the
      return trip down the Hudson Valley.

      The New York Chapter of the NRHS extends its heartfelt thanks to
      which the business was carried on those who made this trip possible,
      to Mr. Wm. T. Gaynor and Mr. A.L. Miller of the New York Central, to
      Mr. J. Ledlie Hees, the Trustee, to Mr. Fred A. Moore, Gen. Pass.
      Agent, and Mr. Judson Zimmer, Superintendent, of the Fonda., Johnstown
      & Gloversville, and especially to Mr. James H. Bresee and Motorman Van
      Auken, also of the FJ&G. We also wish to thank Mr. E. Jay Quinby,
      Secretary of the Electric Railroaders' Association, for the fine
      cooperation which he and the ERA extended to us on this trip.


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