THE STORY OF "THE WESTCHESTER" IS ONE OF A RAILROAD built way before its time, and died a few years short of actually becoming a useful segment of mass transit. You will be hard up to find traces of it outside of the Bronx. The Westchester was the result of the New Haven purchasing a dormant 1875 franchise to construct a rapid-transit railroad from the Bronx north into the wilds of Westchester County. The early promoters correctly predicted the rapid growth and "suburbanization" of Westchester County, which was still mostly rural and agrarian at the turn of the century.

...One of the contributing factors to its death was the incorrect prediction that commercial elements of New York City would continue to grow northward, and cross the East River onto the shores of the Bronx. The line could have enjoyed a certain amount of modest profit if it wasn't for the burden of taxation by the various communities along the line. When the line finally quit in 1937 due to excessive debt (mostly in the form of back taxes), it was only then when town fathers began to realize that they had been in error all along. Today, you can ride the Westchester within the confines of New York City, from E. 180 Street to Dyre Avenue, as the No. 5 Dyre Avenue Line of the Subway.

...Imagine if you will- a four-track, heavy-electric railroad, built in similar fashion to the New Haven's electrified mainline. Image this railroad running from an awkward terminal on the Harlem River in the Bronx through to White Plains and Port Chester (parallel to the New Haven main). Solidly built with the latest modern materials and engineering of the time, the Westchester was as real to the people of the time as today's silvery Cosmopolitan MU's running on the New Haven Line are to us today.


Back in the thirties we lived in Edenwald, right next to Seton Falls Park in the Bronx. At that time I used the Boston Westchester in my daily commute to James Monroe High School until my graduation in 1935.The fare at that time was eight cents.from Dyre Avenue to Westchester Ave.

  In my lifetime I've travelled on many railroads, none of which could match the smoothness of the ride on the Boston Westchester. You could always depend on the accuracy of it's timetables. The trains ALWAYS arrived on schedule.  

   When Mayor LaGuardia refused to extend their franchise; it was one of the biggest mistakes a politician could make. Within a few years there would have more than enough commuters to make the system highly profitable.  More money was spent on building roads than what it would have cost to permit the system to run for a few more years.

   Now we are left with crowded highways and a terrible air pollution problem.

   To me, the end of the Boston Westchester was as shocking  as losing a real close friend.
                     Fred Kreschollek

| GCT | The Put | End-of-Track | Home |

Please mail your comments to:

Last updated November 10, 2010