GLENMONT – It took 30 years, but two of the historic locomotives that sat on Beacon Island are finally moving towards their forever home.
Monday, Dec. 19, crews hired by the locomotives’ owner, the Danbury Rail Museum, picked up each of the 100-year-old engines and moved them to a staging area. The two locomotives will then be split into pieces and loaded onto flatbed trucks for the journey to Conn.
“It has been a long time coming, but they are moved out of the way,” Stan Madyda, a board member of the Danbury Rail Museum, said. “Lots of moving parts had to be in place to make this happen.”
The two locomotives are pieces of history like no other in the world of rail transportation. The smaller of the two, the ALCO/GE S-1 was the first all-electric locomotive ever built. It was the prototype built in 1904 for a series of electric locomotives to service rail operations in Manhattan after a series of accidents prompted the NY Legislature to ban steam engines within the city and its tunnels. The company built 47 of these motors, but this is the first.
The other locomotive, an ALCO/GE T-3a is the only surviving one of its class, which 36 were built between 1913-26. All the others have been scrapped.
Both locomotives were restored in the late 1980’s and were showpieces in the train world. They were stored within the PSEG power plant on River Road for years until the company upgraded the plant and needed the room. The locomotives were pushed out onto a rail spur on Beacon Island where they sat exposed to the elements for over 30 years.
The Port of Albany purchased the land, asked for expansion and won a bid to build a offshore wind tower manufacturing plant beginning in 2018. Since then, the port is developing the site and the locomotives were in the way. The other two historic diesel locomotives attached to the two electrics had to be scrapped due to their condition.
The two museum pieces will rest on mats until they can be hoisted onto trucks to be permanently removed from the property, according to Madyda. The process will be completed in the spring.