The Ballston Terminal Railroad

The Ballston Terminal Railroad

The Ballston Terminal Railroad was an electric-powered trolley line that served industries along the Kayaderosseras Creek in the Town of Milton, Saratoga County, New York State. It was a terminal railroad, which means it had an interchange at one end (in Ballston Spa) but terminated without any other interchange.

The railroad's primary purpose was to serve the dozen water-powered paper mills and a large tool factory that were situated along the creek. These included the paper mills and bag factory of "Paper Bag King" George West, the famous Ballston Scythe & Axe Works of Isaiah Blood, the paper box mill of the National Folding Paper Box Company, and the straw paper mill of Chauncey Kilmer (later the Cottrell Paper Company). [Lost Industries of the Kaydeross Valley: A History of Manufacturing in Ballston Spa, New York]

The railroad was unique for being one of the few trolley railroads in the country to have a primary function of hauling freight cars. At least eight freight cars could be hauled by the George West trolley car to the Delaware and Hudson Railway interchange track on present day Route 50.

Construction started in 1896 when an investor group headed by Arthur B. Paine was granted a franchise by the Village of Ballston Spa. By 1902 the railroad reached its greatest extent of twelve miles. It served the villages and hamlets of Ballston Spa, Bloodville, Factory Village, Craneville, Milton Center, West Milton, Rock City Falls, and Middle Grove. A regular schedule was instituted to accommodate passengers.

The railroad was never a financial success. The Ballston Terminal Railroad Corporation declared bankruptcy in 1904, but a new corporation was formed called the Eastern New York Railroad, and operations continued uninterrupted. In 1918, another reorganization occurred when several paper mill owners banded together and purchased the ailing railroad. It was thereafter called the Kaydeross Railroad. This line operated until 1929, when it shut down for the last time. By then, only three paper mills had survived. However, the railroad served its primary purpose of providing inexpensive transportation and distribution and contributed to the longevity of the industries it served. [The Ballston Terminal Railroad And Its Successors]

Little of the railroad remains today. The brick powerhouse still survives in Factory Village, and approximately one mile of the former railroad bed is scheduled to become a walking trail in Boice Park.


1. [ Lost Industries of the Kaydeross Valley: A History of Manufacturing in Ballston Spa, New York; Starr, Timothy, 2007]

2. [ The Ballston Terminal Railroad And Its Successors; Starr, Timothy, 2007]

External Links

Village of Ballston Spa, Saratoga County, New York

[ Town of Milton services and history]

[ Ballston Spa and Saratoga County History]

[ Brookside Museum, Saratoga County Historical Society]

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