It tells a history of our region that some say has been lost. A new exhibit at the Walter Elwood museum in Amsterdam takes guests through the history of the American Locomotive company, once the biggest employer in Schenectady. Time Warner Cable News Reporter Barry Wygel has the story.
AMSTERDAM, N.Y. -- The trains here may have fallen silent, but their story has not. From 1850 to 1969, the American Locomotive Company and before that, the Schenectady Locomotive Works, built 75,000 train engines, and employed half of the workforce of the city. Now remnants of that era are on display for people to relive a former glory day in the Capital Region.
"ALCO was often forgot about. They were often overshadowed by General Electric in Schenectady, and to this day a lot of people forget that ALCO built locomotives and they were built here in Schenectady," said Matt Giardino, president of the ALCO Historical and Technical Society.
The ALCO Historical Society operated its own museum in Schenectady, but was forced to close it due to budget constraints. The Walter Elwood Museum has given them a chance to create a permanent display.
"This is a reboot type of effort. A little more manageable for a group our size," said Giardino.
"There is tremendous benefits. First, we are sharing more volunteers. We're getting exposure, they are getting exposure. Train people are learning about the Walter Elwood Museum. Museum members are learning about ALCO and trains," said Ann Marie Peconie, executive director of the Walter Elwood Museum.
You don't have to be a train enthusiast to make the most out of this exhibit. It was set up so it can be enjoyed by history buffs, train enthusiasts or the general public.
"It kind of appeals to everybody. There's train history, there's local history, there's employment history, then there is just general history," said Giardino.
There are still ALCO trains on the rails across the world, so next time you hear a train whistle, remember it may have been built right here in Schenectady.