On Beacon Island near Albany, New York rest several locomotives and rail cars that lie abandoned on a rail line long severed from any mainline.
The Mohawk and Hudson Chapter of the National Historic Railway Society (NHRS), based in Albany, acquired numerous railroad locomotives and cars over the years and stored them in various locations. 1 The Delaware & Hudson Railroad provided facilities to store and restore the machines, including at its Colonie shops. After the shops were vandalized and caught fire, the D&H forced the NHRS Chapter to relocate the locomotives and cars. It found a suitable location along a former railroad spur to the Niagara Mohawk Bethlehem Power Station on Beacon Island.
The Bethlehem Power Station was coal-fired from 1952 to 1970 before switching to fuel oil and then to natural gas in 1981. 1 After upgrades to the Bethlehem Power Station began in 2003, PSEG pushed the equipment further back on the railroad spur. It then covered the tracks closer to the power plant when it built a state Department of Environmental Conservation-mandated wetlands remediation pond. The locomotives and cars became mothballed when the bridge over Normanskill to the port collapsed in the mid-2010s.
The NHRS Chapter donated the locomotives and cars to the Berkshire Scenic Railway when it no longer wanted the liability of owning them, which were then acquired by the Danbury Rail Museum in 2013. 1
In 2022, the Port of Albany is slated to begin the construction of four buildings for Marmen-Welcon who will manufacture towers for offshore wind farms with production to begin by late 2023. 1 Work to prepare the site will begin in early 2022 when the ground will be surcharged, or a process of laying aggregate on the footprints of where the buildings will be, to compress fly ash and soil on the grounds to create a stronger foundation. Related, the Danbury Rail Museum plans to disassemble, crane out, and relocate the locomotives and cars to its museum in Danbury, Connecticut.
NYC No. 100, ALCO-GE S-1 Electric Locomotive
S-Motor was the class designation given by the New York Central Railroad (NYC) to its American Locomotive Company (ALCO)-General Electric (GE) built S-1, S-2, S-2a, and S-3 electric locomotives and were the world’s first mass-produced mainline electric locomotives. ALCO and GE co-built 47 S-Motors between 1904 and 1909 to operate over New York Central & Hudson River Railroad (NYC&HR) mainline tracks and to pull passenger trains into Grand Central Terminal in New York City after legislation was passed banning steam locomotives within the city limits. 1
The NYC&HR No. 6000 was the original prototype, undergoing 50,000 miles of testing between 1904 and 1906. 1 It became the NYC No. 100.
Just two days into its revenue service in 1907, a train led by two S-Motors derailed on a curve that killed a number of people. It led to the conversion of the entire class to use a Z-axle pony truck rather than a single axle.
The S-Motors were replaced in 1913 with larger T-Motors to handle longer trains. S-Motors were regulated to working short commuter trains and empty equipment moves from Grand Central to the Mott Haven Coach Yards. 1 The last S-Motor, No. 115, was retired from Conrail in 1981.
Three S-Motors were preserved, including prototype No. 100.
NYC No. 278, ALCO-GE T-3a Electric Locomotive
T-Motor was the class designation given by the NYC to its ALCO-GE built T-1a, T-1b, T-2a, T-2b, and T-3a electric locomotives and were NYC’s second electric locomotive purchase after the original class of S-Motors. ALCO and GE co-built T-Motors between 1913 and 1926 to take over mainline passenger duties from the earlier and less capable S-Motor classes.
The NYC No. 278, an ALCO-GE T-3a, was built in 1926 and was in service until 1987. 1 It remains the only T-Motor remaining in the world.
NYC No. 2510, GE U25B Diesel Locomotive
The GE U25B was GE’s first independent unit into the domestic road switcher diesel-electric locomotive railroad market since the termination of its consortium agreement with ALCO. Between April 1959 and February 1966, GE produced 478 U25B locomotives. Most were retired and scrapped at the end of their service life by the 1980s, although a few were preserved. Only one remains in operating condition.
The NYC No. 2510 was built in May 1964 and later utilized by Conrail as No. 2510.
- McIntyre, John. “The Wind Has to Wait for History – Historic trains have to move before wind tower factory in Glenmont can break ground.” Spotlight News, 20 Dec. 2021.