The Mohawk River Trolley Bridge Ruins

March 30th , 2014 - Morning

Ever since I saw the mysterious ruins in the woods last fall, I planned on returning and traipsing down to the river to see the trolley bridge ruins. Sadly the weather on the day I picked was very crappy: overcast with occasional sprinkles. but at least not too cold. There was of course nobody out on the trail or in the woods so I had the place all to myself...

Note: The parking lot near the Rail Trail Crossing was not a public spot. Sadly, its a private lot and the owner kindly asked me not to park there.

  No Parking

Map Overview

Map

Rail Trail

Good thing I didn’t take the bike as the rail trail was still iced over most of the way. After a 10 minute walk westward, I turned off the trail and walked on the cleared path that paralleled the trail. Turns out this was a gas line and what I had mistaken for the ROW on the satellite maps. Once I reached the abutment, I snapped a few photos then tried to worm my way back on the ROW. As the photos indicate, it was impossible. Dense scrub blocked the way...

Rail Trail

Where the Railroad and Trolley Lines Crossed

Track Crossing

Abutment

Mossy Ruins

Overgrowth Obscures the ROW
ROW Overgrowth ROW Overgrowth

Natural Gas Line

The walk on the cleared jeep road for the gas line however was super easy and only wet and muddy in a couple of spots. It curved toward the river and headed toward my destination, the Mohawk River trolley bridge ruins...

Jeep Road Curve

Approaching Embankment

Along the west side, the ROW embankment was tree covered and not that readily apparent. I took a short video (16 secs) that better illustrates the embankment.

embankment

River Overlook

Once I neared the river, the ruins of the old trolley bridge were easy to observe but... the hill was icy and I ended up sliding down on my butt for 30 feet or so! The yellow arrow indicates the butt trail I left...

Butt Slide

As the Acme Topo map indicates, the Old Erie Canal paralleled the Mohawk here. It looks like the canal probably passed on the south side of the top pier up the hill. Check out the short video below—the panoramic sweep gives a good overview (It was a little windy at the beginning of the video shoot, sorry).


Mohawk River Piers

 

Then and Now Comparison

ll
Trolley bridge crossing the Mohawk River near Schenectady, NY - 1894
Source

Then and Now
"Then" Source: http://gino.cdfw.net/_trolleypage/SRC/src_aqueduct_bridge.jpg

Here’s a photo of the Trolley Bridge Piers with the Erie Canal Visible >

 

There's a wonderful "armchair" view of this using Google's Aerial View.

HIllside Abutment

Abutment

To get back up the hill, I made it a point to place my boots carefully on the uphill side of any saplings for whatever measly grip they may give. It was slow and cautious but it worked!

Saplings

Surrounding Parkland

There was a large vernal pool west of the embankment and although there weren't any offical trails marked, there were a few offshoots here and there. A short detour around the park further up the hill confimed it is primarily a marshy area.

Vernal Pool

Marshland

Swamp Man?
^ top ^