George Eastman's house (Kodak) in Rochester, a main port on the old canal The Eastman House is now a museum that displays Kodak memorabilia and photo exhibitions.
The once prosperous industrial towns along the Erie Canal now host pleasure boats making the passage between the sea and the Great Lakes.
a rail line and trolley once used the old towpath near Schenectady that is now a paved bike and walking trail
The sections of the Erie Canal on the eastern end use the Mohawk River for navigation and to replenish water in the locks. Long bike and walking trails follow the river near Schenectady
became common became popular, larger boats with increased cargo capacity were an option for canal traffic.  The small locks from original canal of 1825  were abandoned to become town As parks, walking trails, and part of the heritage of the many canal villages.
Direct current winch motors made in 1903 by general electric in Schenectady, New York still serve.
Remnants of an industrial past have become public parks in some cases, painful reminders in others.
The Erie Canal ends in Tonawanda where it joins the Niagara River not far from Niagara falls
History: Canal Improvements

By 1862 the canal had been so successful that  improvement were made to increase cargo capacity. four feet to seven feet and the cargo 240 tons. By 1883 the canal became free of tolls; it had recouped all construction and maintenance costs and profited the State $42 million.

In 1903 an overhaul of the Erie Canal was started. A decision was made in favor of a barge canal as opposed th a ship canal. A ship canal would have accommodated sea-going vessel such as those that use the Saint Lawrence Seaway. A barge Canal, on the other hand, would restrict vessels in size and height as does the present day Erie Barge Canal. Due to bridges and other structures the clearance restricts vessel to 15.5 feet in height entering at Troy and exiting at Oswego, where a 19 foot high restriction exists.
The overhaul of the Erie Canal would change the name to the Erie Barge Canal and make major changes to the route and to the way the canal functioned..
one that used natural rivers where possible: "canalizing" the rivers as it is called. While this might at first appear a prudent way to convey torrent during the spring melt  and hurricane season, brought its own special problems.
The most problematic River was the Mohawk at the eastern end of the canal where water in the summer months can be insufficient. Two dams were built to harness reserve water, one at Delta, which submerged the town, and another at Hinkley. Both had surface areas of 4.5 square miles.
In addition, eight dams with movable gates were built on the Mohawk. These acted to impound water in a series of lakes that would allow for navigation. These dams look like bridges; the machinery used to raise and lower the gates is housed in and supported by bridge-like steel trusses. In some cases these dams do convey surface traffic over the Mohawk River.

The new Erie Barge Canal (1917) now had additional capacity: 12 feet of uniform bottom depth, a width of 75 to 90 feet and 57 standardized locks measuring 44.5 feet wide by 300 feet long with a depth of 12 feet.
The lifts ranged from 6 feet to 40.5 feet, with most being in the 16 to 20 foot range.  
Equipment designed and built during the 1917 overhaul is still in use and  kept pristine and functioning by the Lock Masters
Notable Locks
The new Erie Barge Canal was no less an achievement than the first canal. Some notable lifts along the route are marvels of engineering. In Troy, the canal leaves the tidal-level Hudson River to climb a series of  five locks at Waterford with a total lift of  169 feet.  The Mohawk River conveys boats to the next big lift at Little Falls, where a single lock lifts boats 40 1/2 feet, the biggest single lift in the canal.

Erie Barge Canal Cargo
A few years after the new Erie Barge Canal opened in its entirety in 1918, new systems of cargo carriers had been developed that Barges 150 feet long and 20 feet wide with 20 foot high sides and a A few years after the new Erie Barge Canal opened in its entirety in draft of 10 1/2 feet could carry 650 tons. A fleet of three of these 1918, new systems of cargo carriers had been developed that 1918, new systems of cargo carriers had been developed that included boats strung together pulled by a motorized cargo carrier. included boats strung together pulled by a motorized cargo carrier. Barges 150 feet long and 20 feet wide with 20 foot high sides and a draft of 10 1/2 feet could carry 650 tons. A fleet of three of these would be pulled by a motorized lead vessel carrying 380 tons, the rest given over to propulsion machinery. These four-boat convoys could carry 2300 tons of cargo and were common on the new Erie Barge Canal.
Erie Canal History: Erie Barge Canal
Erie Barge Canal Era Ends
The decision in the early 1900s to build a barge commercial potential of the Erie Barge Canal.  The planners did not anticipate the building in 1959 of a link for ocean-going ships to the sea through the Saint Lawrence River's canal system.
Three hundred and six highway and rail bridges cross the canal and would have required renovation, the canal would have needed much deeper and wider lanes. The Erie Barge Canal plan prevailed and remained viable commercially for another forty years.
Sources: Wikipedia, New York State Canal Publications, Canalway Trails Publications
Erie Canal History,  Recreation, Walking, and Bike Trails
Erie Canal Improvements that were made in 1862 increased cargo capacity. Depth was increased from the original four feet to seven feet and the barge payload increased to 240 tons. The haul roads were turned into rail beds that are now bike trails.
Erie Canal Improvements were made in 1862 because the canal had been so successful that there was a need to increase cargo capacity.
Erie Canal depth was increased from the original four feet to seven feet and the cargo capacity of the barges increased to 240 tons.  The canal of the present was built in 1903-1917
Reach the Erie Canal
  • Air
Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BUF)  is a major air hub for flights to the Erie Barge Canal at the west end. Check Auto Europe's Flights and Rental vehicles.
Albany at the east end of the Erie canal has air service from
Albany International Airport (ALB) Rental Cars Available   
  • Auto
Interstate highway 90 runs parallel to the Erie Canal from Albany to Buffalo
  • Bus
Greyhound, Trailways, and other bus lines service Buffalo and Albany.  Bikes can go aboard in the luggage compartment
•Baggage must not exceed 62 inches when adding the total exterior dimensions of the piece (length + width + height). A charge of $30 - $40 (depending on the distance traveled) will be applied to any baggage above the 62-inch limit.
◦Packaging exceptions will only be made for the following items: bicycles, skis and ski poles must be packed in wood, canvas or other substantial container, and securely fastened    (Excerpted from Greyhound)
  • Train
Amtrak, Albany-Rensselaer, NY, (ALB) To Buffalo,  Depew, NY,  (BUF),   $47 USD , five hours
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The Erie Canal offers many miles of bike trails beside the Mohawk River
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