A Brief Sketch of the Troy & New England Railway

by The Late Charles L. Ballard (Updated By Gino DiCarlo, 2011)

Originally printed in The Call Board, News Letter of The Mohawk And Hudson Chapter of The NRHS

Averill Park was named for the Averill family with James K. Averill being the last known member. A lawyer, he had offices in New York City. In the 1890's he organized the Averill Park Improvement Association and in 1895 formed a syndicate of Troy businessmen to build the Troy and New England Railway.

In October 1895, one hundred years ago this year, the nine miles that composed the entire distance of this "Toonerville" were completed. The line reached neither downtown Troy nor New England, but started at Albia and extended through Wynantskill, Snyders Comers, the Town of Poestenkill (edge of the township over by Route 150), West Sand Lake and to Averill Park. From old photographs in the author's collection, the cars appear to have been 4-wheel "dinkies." There were open cars for summertime travel and closed cars for other seasons of the year. There was, also, a 4-wheel motorized box -type freight car which could pull 4-wheel trailer freight cars if the occasion demanded. Small packages and express shipments were one source of traffic for this car and there was also the haulage of coal and shoddy to the mills in West Sand Lake and Averill Park. This latter traffic required the use of the freight trailer cars.

The Averill Park station was a two-track stub end affair with an overhang of the buildings roof protecting the track nearest the building. The building, somewhat modified, was last used by Tremont Lumber and still exists (Since Demolished), being located down Orient Avenue. The Albia station was another building located about at the beginning of the S curve where Route 66 swings around by where Albia Pond used to be at the Troy city limits.. It is long gone. The carbarn was a brick building located a block or so west down Pawling Avenue from the city line or diagonally across the street from the Terminal Tavern. It was tom down about 1965; the site is now occupied by a video store. (Now Chubby's II Restaurant)

To reach the Albia terminal of the Troy and New England, a passenger would have to take an Albia #3 city car from downtown Troy to the end of that line in Albia which was by the Terminal Tavern. They would then have to walk the block or so to the Troy and New England station and get on their car for points towards Averill Park. A 1912 trolley timetable showed half-hourly service on the T & NE trolley in the summer, which was lengthened to hourly in the winter. Much of the traffic was of a summer nature due to the lakes in the vicinity of AveriII Park and the picnic grove at Brookside Park in West Sand Lake. There were, also, some commuters as the company did sell multiple ride tickets. The running time for the nine miles was a half hour according to the 1912 timetable. This may sound slow, but I suppose it was pretty good for a bouncing 4-wheel dinky! The T & NE was eventually taken over by the United Traction Company and operated as part of their Albia Division.

The end came on March 31, 1925, when 4-wheel closed car #6 made the last trip with Joseph Tarpey as motorman. The line had lost passengers both to the private automobile and competing bus line started by KLWM, Inc. over virtually the same route, but on the public highway. KLWM then took over totally after the Troy and New England quit and was extended to Glass Lake. It, too, was eventually taken over by the UTC. The bus line operated until the Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA) took over in the area and discontinued it. At the end the bus headway was only two hourly.

The most obvious remaining historical artifact of the old Troy and New England is the former Averill Park trolley station (Demolished in 2004). In winter, with the leaves off the trees, traces of the old right of way along Route 150 can still be seen if one knows where to look. Why did the T & NE not reach New England? James K. Averill died and the money ran out when it reached Averill Park.


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