Questions answered for Paul
- There's a college student from Gloversville who is a big FJG fan and his
name is Aaron. He actually corrected some details on my web-page and
I appreciated it. Paul asked some questions the other day that I knew
Aaron would be able to answer. I'll post it below. When Aaron returns
to school in September, he will become a full time member of this list,
for now, any questions that I can't answer, I'll forward them to him so
we can post it to the list. This is from Aaron...
In response to Mr. Paul Charland's questions:
(1) I don't think I have any information on the tonnage ratings.
(2) The "orange" caboose, FJ&G #3, arrived on FJ&G property in the summer
of 1958. It was purchased from the Delaware and Hudson. It's a wooden
caboose and it bares exact resemblance to many other D&H wooden cabooses
from the first half of the 1900s.
As I said, #3 was purchased in the summer of 1958. Keep in mind that the
FJ&G sold its other two cabooses in 1958. Caboose #1 was sold in May 1958,
while Caboose #2 was sold and left Gloversville on October 2, 1958.
On July 17, 1958, an eyewitness account says that the "new" caboose, #3, was
in Gloversville and FJ&G shop men were cleaning it up and repainting it
inside and out.
Caboose #3 was painted solid orange with black details and lettering on the
outside, and a white on top/green on bottom arrangement on the inside walls.
The interior contained a closet, several seats, a pot-belly stove, a sink of
some sort, and a coal cabinet for the stove coal. The lettering of the
caboose read "FONDA JOHNSTOWN GLOVERSVILLE" (no commas or 'and') and was
given the number 3.
The caboose was in use in its new paint scheme by August 20, 1958.
The car was used for years. The next eyewitness account I have is from
Thanksgiving, 1974, the first Thanksgiving after Delaware Otsego ownership.
A report says that the caboose was sitting boarded up near the Gloversville
By Thanksgiving 1977, the caboose was painted silver and was inside the shop
The car was moved from Gloversville to another Delaware Otsego operation,
the Lackawaxen and Stourbridge (LASB) in Pennsylvania. One of the local
towns on the LASB wanted to use the caboose as part of a centennial
celebration of some kind.
At any rate, the car was moved to Pennsylvania, used in the celebration, and
then was moved to a static display on Main Street in Honesdale,
Pennsylvania. It sat there until around 1992, when a prominent businessman
in Honesdale moved the car to his property outside town. It still sits on
this businessman's property today.
In early 1997, I was involved with a small group of historians, political
leaders, and railfans in Gloversville who wanted to move caboose #3 back to
Fulton Street to sit next to the boxcar museum. We looked briefly into
retrieving the car, but it needed some fixing-up, and the travel from
Honesdale, Pa. to Gloversville would be extremely difficult for an old
wooden caboose. The car could not move by rail; it would have to be
trucked. Also, the businessman in Honesdale was asking a rather high price
for the car and the City of Gloversville didn't have the money for the
caboose purchase and cost of transportation.
Hope this answers your questions on the caboose.
(3) This could best be answered by an observer of railroad operations at
the time. I'd guess, however, that the train simply came into Fonda, picked
up whatever was in the yard, and went back up the line. The New York
Central used to switch Fonda rather regularly and it's quite possible that
they set out FJ&G's cars. Jim Shaughnessy's article in the March, 1959
issue of Trains magazine contains operations information and it mentions no
use of a switcher in Fonda. I can't seem to find any other source which
mentions an FJ&G crew assigned specifically to switching Fonda around the
1950s. I think they just ran down the line, picked up the cars, and ran
back up to Gloversville.
When operations settled to a one-train-per-day basis in the '60s and '70s,
one crew simply switched Fonda briefly and then went up the line.
(4) The smokestacks on the two Alco switchers, #20 and #21, were initially
identical. Both units had a design which we will discuss as follows:
[Hood of unit, box, taper, cylinder.]
In the mid- or late- 1970s, the cylinder part of #20's stack was either
removed or rusted off. That left #20 with the [hood of unit, box, taper]
#21 always had the [box] before the [taper] and I'm guessing your referral
of #21 without the [box] is erroneous. The pictures which show it without
the [box] were probably taken at a low angle and therefore probably don't
show the whole stack. I have photos of both engines which show a full stack
with [hood of unit, box, taper, cylinder] configuration. I have photos of
#21 from the late 1940s to when it was shipped off the property, and it
always had the entire stack configuration in my photos.
Keep in mind that both diesels left the FJ&G from time to time. I have seen
photos of the two units at the D&H's Colonie Diesel Shops in the early
1970s, before the DO ownership. I also know that the units left the FJ&G
and subsequently came back quite a few times during the DO years. They
finally left the FJ&G in late December, 1981, never to return again.
Hope this answers your questions.
Very best regards,
Past President, FJ&G Railroad Historical Society
Contributing Editor and Columnist, Railpace Newsmagazine