ABANDONED RAILROADS AND
HISTORICAL OPERATIONS OF
The Putnam Division
The Putnam Division was originally the New York & Northern
Railroad. Purchased by the New York Central in 1903, the line survived as a commuter
carrier up to 1958. Most of the Putnam Division was torn up in 1962, leaving the
junctions at Brewster and High Bridge as stubs. Most of the right-of-way survives
as a bike path maintained by Westchester County. MN has assumed "operation"
of the remaining lengths of rail.
The Upper Harlem
The Harlem Division used to run from MP 0 in Grand Central Terminal
to MP 127 in Chatham, New York. In 1972, commuter service beyond Dover Plains (MP
77) ceased, and the last through freight plyed the rails in 1980. The rails from
Wassaic to Chatham were removed in 1981, but the right-of-way remains intact as a
trail-park. Metro-North restored service to
Wassaic in July of 2000.
The New York,
Westchester & Boston
The New York, Westchester & Boston was a New Haven project
that was built fifty years before its time. The Westchester was a four track, high
speed, heavy electric railway that operated from an awkward terminal on the Harlem
River to White Plains and Port Chester. The railroad closed down in 1937, and the
section north of the city line was ripped up in 1940. The section within the city
became part of the New York City subway as the No. 5 Dyre Ave. Line in 1941,
operating as a shuttle until 1957 when a direct connection
with the IRT finally gave Bronx commuters on the line a one
seat ride to Manhattan.
The Erie Railroad
in Newburg and Piermont
The Erie Railroad had dreams of crossing the Hudson River in their early days. The main line originally terminated at Piermont, where passengers would transfer to steamships at the end of the long pier to continue the journey to New York. When a route was established to Jersey City, with ferry service to lower Manhattan, the Piermont line was relegated to freight. Passenger trains from Nyack enroute to Jersey City would still stop there for years to come, but at a station perched on the side of the Palisades overlooking the pier and the Hudson River (it is still standing today along a bike path). The large Continental Can factory kept box cars rolling to Piermont until the late 70s. Now, the former main line from Nanuet to Piermont is abandoned. A trestle over the Palisades Parkway serves as one of few reminders of days gone by.
Another interesting reminder is the grade crossing with rails intact in
The Erie Railroad
route from Nyack to Jersey City became known as the Northern Branch.
It extended through the towns of Nyack, Grandview, Piermont and Tappan,
New York. In New Jersey, it went through the towns of Northvale,
Norwood, Closter, Demarest, Creskill, Tenafly, Englewood and Ridgefield
Park. In the late 1800s, this line carried over 60 trains a day! After
the Erie-Lackawana merger, trains terminated in Hoboken. Commuter
service was discontinued in the 1960s. The tracks remained intact to
Piermont until the Continental Can factory was closed. It was replaced
by luxury condominiums with spectacular Hudson River views. In the
1980s, the tracks were removed from all portions of the Northern Branch
in New York State. Local freight service is still run on the line as far
north as Northvale on the NY/NJ border.
The Erie Railroad once operated a branch from its mainline down
to the shore of the Hudson River at Newburg, New York. At a junction with the West
Shore Railroad (later the River Line of NYC and Conrail), the Erie floated barges
of coal across the River. Part of this Erie branch is still operated by Conrail today.
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November 10, 2010