Hudson River Bridge Company at Albany

Hudson River Bridge (Albany)

This Hudson River Bridge across the Hudson River at Albany, New York was built by the Hudson River Bridge Company (jointly owned 50% by the New York Central Railroad and 25% by the Hudson River Railroad and Boston and Albany Railroad) in the 1860s, opening in 1866. It was later supplemented to the north by the Livingston Avenue Bridge (also built by the Hudson River Bridge Company), allowing trains to bypass downtown, and it has since been removed. In addition, the Alfred H. Smith Memorial Bridge, opened in 1924, allows trains to bypass Albany altogether to the south.

The turntable bridge was 4800 feet (1500 m) long, with a clearance of 30 feet (9 m) from high water when closed.


The company was incorporated April 9, 1856. Work on the bridge was begun in April 1864. The earlier Green Island Bridge had opened to the north in Troy in 1835, but required the longer route of the Schenectady and Troy Railroad west from Troy. The new bridge was to connect directly to the New York Central Railroad on the west (Albany) side of the bridge, and to the Hudson River Railroad, Troy and Greenbush Railroad and Boston and Albany Railroad on the east (Rensselaer) side.

The first engine, the Augustus Schell, passed over the bridge on February 18, 1866. Passenger trains started using it on February 22. That winter, once travel patterns were set, Cornelius Vanderbilt, owner of the Hudson River Railroad, suddenly refused to allow any transfers from the New York Central. The New York Central board gave in, and in 1867 Vanderbilt acquired the company, and in 1869 merged it with the Hudson River Railroad to form the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad. This gave the New York Central a majority of ownership in the company; in 1900 the New York Central leased the Boston and Albany.


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