The Delaware and Hudson Railway began as a canal company in 1823, built to bring Pennsylvania coal to New York City. Part of the project was a short gravity railroad; when they added an engine in 1829, it was the first locomotive in the United States. They expanded their railroad operations through the northeast, by acquiring dozens of smaller railroads. Dr. Thomas Clark Durant's Adirondack Railroad, which ran from Saratoga to North Creek, was acquired in 1889, and the Chateaugay Railroad was acquired between 1879 and 1903.
In 1946, New York Central acquired the Delaware & Hudson's Saranac Lake and Lake Placid Railway. Passenger service ended in the 1960s and freight service was discontinued in the 1980s.
Seneca Ray Stoddard's 1908 The Adirondacks, Illustrated
INTO THE NORTHWEST LAKE REGION VIA THE LAKE PLACID DIVISION OF THE DELAWARE AND HUDSON RAILROAD.
Gateway No. I leads from Plattsburgh into the Great Northwest Lake Region over the Lake Placid Division of the Delaware & Hudson, dividing the patronage of the central and westerly resorts with Gateway No. 9.
The first section of the railroad was built by the State from Plattsburgh to Clinton Prison, at Dannemora, 17 miles. In 1880 the road was extended to Lyon Mountain, 17 miles further; but the influx of Adirondack tourists was increasing, and the road that climbed an altitude of 2,000 feet to reach the iron mines of Lyon Mountain, must go farther into the wilderness. So it was extended to Loon Lake. In 1888, 19 miles were added, bringing it to Saranac Lake, distributing its passengers by various stage routes that branch from it to a score or more of summer hotels. By it tourists reach Chazy, Chateaugay, Loon, Rainbow, St. Regis, Upper and Lower Saranac Lakes, Ray Brook and Lake Placid, going to Cascade Lakes and Adirondack Lodge by stage. Sleeping cars run through from New York to Lake Placid without change, arriving to breakfast. The new D. & H. flier "The Northern New Yorker," runs from Albany reaching Lake Placid in time for dinner. Through cars leaving New York in the morning arrive at Saranac Lake and Lake Placid in the evening, enabling passengers to take the stage ride from the railroad to the various hotels in the cool of the day. Drawing-room cars are run on all trains. Sleeping and drawing-room car accommodations can be secured in advance at any of the stations. A Sunday train each way will run during July and August, and all trains run through to Lake Placid during that time without change.