Central New England Railway In New York State


Jack Shufelt collection

These ALCO F units are under the route 82 overpass in Hopewell Junction on the Maybrook Line. There are no leaves on the trees so it must be winter. From the angle of the sun it must be late afternoon. With two B units this, photo was taken well after these units were introduced in 1947. Early units had only one B unit. Later units generally had two B units in the consist with the purchase of more B units in 1951. The green paint also indicates 1951 or later up to about 1959 when the paint was again changed to the “McGinnis” color scheme. These units stopped running on the Maybrook Line in 1964 when 30 of them were traded in for new GE and ALCO locomotives.



See our poster and brochure about a fan trip on the New Haven RR in 1937. It ran from NY City to Bridgeport, Danbury, Poughkeepsie, Maybrook, and Campbell Hall to Warwick NY. The brochure contains a description of the route including the big bridge in Pok plus a map. The fare was $3.50 round trip.

How much would you pay to ride that trip today ?


Bernie Rudberg’s CNE in New York State

We will continue to expand our coverage of the Central New England Railway in New York State. One of the most-requested topics we have been asked about on the Search Engines is Maybrook Yard.

Some of the material we are adding is about CNE predecessor lines such as the Newburgh, Dutchess & Connecticut which became part of the CNE in 1905. Other sections are of the actual CNE operations up until 1927. Still other sections are about the New Haven RR operations after they took over the CNE completely.

Bernie is assisted by a number of friends who are mostly retired railroaders and who can answer most any of technical questions. They have contributed much of the material which you will be seeing. Two of Bernie’s personal sources are Lee Beaujon in California and Jack Swanberg in Connecticut. Both of them are ex New Haven and devoted CNE rail fans. Along with Joe Mato and Woody Cohen, they are the ones who organize and operate the annual CNE Spring Tours. Bernie also writes the guide books for the tours. For the last two tours they have had two buses full with 110 passengers.

An upcoming book concentrates on the Hopewell Junction area and it will be sold as a fund raiser for the Hopewell Junction Depot Restoration Inc.


In the early years of railroading, grand schemes and dreams sprang up in almost every county and town. Dutchess County New York was no exception. This was particularly true in Dutchess County because of the geographic location. North to south, Dutchess is between New York City and the state capitol of Albany. East to west, Dutchess is the gateway between southern New England and the coal fields of Pennsylvania or the western states. Dutchess is also bordered on the west by the Hudson River which provided water access but at the same time was a barrier to east-west rail travel. When the idea of taking advantage of this economic potential took hold there were plenty of people with high hopes ready to join in and get rich. As in any new undertaking there were lessons to be learned and a dose of reality to cope with. Some actually did get rich. Most did not.

Earliest railroads in Dutchess County were the north-south routes which served New York City, Albany and Montreal. These routes were relatively stable and successful. With that success as added incentive, an East-West railroad was chartered and built. The first 8 years of east-west railroad operations in Dutchess County saw turmoil, conflict and multiple financial failures. The railroad tracks that ran from Dutchess Junction and Matteawan (Beacon NY) through Hopewell and Millbrook to Millerton and to Connecticut at State Line had several different names in their first few years of existence. Out of that chaos grew the Newburgh, Dutchess and Connecticut Railroad. The ND&C RR under the leadership of John Schultze and Charles Kimball established an operation that survived through good times and bad for over 25 years until it was absorbed into the Central New England Rwy and eventually became part of the New Haven RR. Still later 11 miles of the old ND&C line from Hopewell to Beacon became part of the ill fated Penn Central, next Conrail, then the Housatonic RR and currently Metro North.

The few remaining rails through Hopewell Junction are now owned by MTA/Metro North Railroad. There is no regular service on this line but the charter is kept open by occasional equipment moves or inspection trips. The yard area east of the route 82 overpass is used by Metro North as a training facility for track maintenance workers learning to operate cranes and other machines.

Metro North has so far chosen not to operate any regular service on the line through Hopewell Junction but they are keeping the line open for possible future use. When the Housatonic Railroad sold the line to Metro North they retained the rights to run freight service on the line. There are a few customers who would like rail service but thus far Housatonic RR has chosen not to do so.

Perhaps someday with population and business growth we may yet see rail traffic through Hopewell Junction. Until then the local rail fans will have to be content with an occasional fan trip or passing inspection car. These pages are intended to try and fill part of that gap with a bit of railroad nostalgia.


A New Hudson Bridge, Revived Beacon Line, HYPERLOOP and More

The Maybrook Line was a line of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad which connected with its Waterbury Branch in Derby, Connecticut, and its Maybrook Yard in Maybrook, New York, where it interchanged with other carriers.

If one looks at the most popular Pages on our WebSite, over half directly reference the Maybrook Line. Lot’s of folks have an interest in it. The “Maybrook Line” was important to New England before the advent of Penn Central and before the Poughkeepsie Bridge burned. This piece of the railroad carried freight from Maybrook Yard, across the Poughkeepsie Bridge to Hopewell Junction where it joined a line from Beacon. The railroad then went to Brewster, then Danbury, and finally to Cedar Hill Yard in New Haven.

WHY and How To Fix The “MAYBROOK LINE”?

Container port/intermodal facility/rail bridge

The construction of a railroad bridge between New Hamburg and Marlboro is likely the least expensive place to build a Hudson River crossing between Manhattan and Albany.    The stone for ramps, sand and gravel for concrete and a steel beam assembly and storage area would be right on sight.  All materials and equipment could be transported by barge or boat.  The bridge itself would have only four or five piers (the most costly part to build) since the Hudson River is about the same width as it is in Poughkeepsie.

The Hudson River component connects Dutchess, Ulster and Orange counties to the world economy (finished goods, spare parts, components parts, raw materials, food stuffs) and the railroad and interstate road components connect these NY counties to the rest of North America (US, Mexico, Canada).

With the container port/intermodal facility/rail bridge, the flow in and out of raw materials, spare parts, partially finished goods, foodstuffs and components will allow for new industries and businesses to locate near this facility and add to the tax base of these three NY counties: Dutchess, Ulster and Orange counties.

Although the Dutchess County Airport is a tiny regional airport with a 5,000 foot runway, it has some big potential. The airport land extends a mile Northeast of the present runway end at New Hackensack Road and borders on the former New Haven Maybrook Line/Dutchess Rail Trail. As the NY Air National Guard gets crowded out by international air traffic at Stewart International Airport their operation could be moved over to Dutchess Airport without disrupting the lives of the guard members and their families through forced relocation.

Beacon itself is exploding with “developer” activity, and it needs a trolley or light rail for the city only to transform back into a pedestrian oriented city.

Other activities include: Solidization of rail links in Connecticut to handle increased traffic; a possible HYPERLINK for improved service along the Beacon Line and in/out of New York City 

Now you are going to ask. What does the New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority have to do with the “BEACON LINE”? IT OWNS IT! Must realize that NYCMTA is a “regional” organization. With all that went on with Penn-Central and CONRAIL somebody had to own it!



Building the railroad in 1868

Collection of P. McLachlan Courtesy of J. W. Swanberg

Building a railroad in the 1860’s involved lots of manual labor and real horsepower. This scene was part of the construction of the D&C RR in 1868. After a section had been completed, more ties and rails could be hauled to the site by train. Even so the construction of new track was mainly done with sweat and horses and mules. It takes many cart loads of rock and dirt to dig a cut like the one in this photo.



D&C RR Locomotive Washington

Collection of J. W. Swanberg

Washington was built by Breese, Kneeland & Company in 1856 for the East Tennessee & Virginia RR but they defaulted on payment so she was sold to Hampshire & Hamden RR in Massachusetts. The D&C RR bought her used in 1869 for $4000. She was delivered by barge to Dutchess Junction on 15 February 1869. Washington was a wood burner and was never converted to burning coal.

This was the engine that George Brown and Roswell Judson used on the night of their midnight ride to Hopewell Junction to reclaim the railroad from the failing BH&E. Later, the Washington toiled for many years on the Clove Branch RR hauling iron ore out of the mine at Sylvan Lake. Washington was not really powerful enough for that service so she was advertised for sale in 1881. The ND&C RR people were shopping for a replacement when the Washington was wrecked at Sylvan Lake on 19 March 1883. The replacement engine was named “General Schultze” for the president of the railroad. Washington was sold for scrap value in 1884.



Along Came the New York & New England

NY&NE engine #42

The New York & New England RR completed the rail line from Connecticut through Poughquag and Stormville to make Hopewell into Hopewell Junction. That line opened for traffic in December 1881 and later became part of the CNE and the New Haven RR Maybrook Line. Engine #42 was typical of the NY&NE equipment that rolled through Hopewell Junction from 1881 to 1895. In that year the name changed to New England RR. These engines were notorious for starting grass fires along the line from spark out of their smokestacks.






ND&C RR Locomotive #6

J. W. Swanberg collection

This is a typical locomotive that would be seen on the ND&C RR through Hopewell Junction in the early years of the railroads. This particular engine was built by the Brooks Locomotive Works in July 1873. With a 4-4-0 wheel arrangement, she was called the “American” type. Out of a total of fifteen engines owned over the years the ND&C RR had eleven engines of this type by five different builders.

ND&C RR #6 started out as part of the short-lived NYB&M Railway which failed in 1873 shortly after the purchase. The ND&C RR leased the engine from the trustees of the NYB&M and finally bought her in 1888 for $1000. She received an overhaul in Schenectady in 1883 and was rebuilt at the ND&C RR Dutchess Junction shops in 1888. When the CNE Rwy took over the ND&C in 1905, this engine became CNE #215. The end came when she was sold for $500 scrap value in December 1912 after 39 years of faithful service.



Clove Branch RR locomotive “General Schultze” at Sylvan Lake

Stickels collection

This engine was purchased in 1883 as a replacement for the wrecked locomotive Washington. It was named General Schultze for the president of the railroad. Notice that it has pilots and headlights on both ends so it could be used in either direction without needing a turntable. General Schultze hauled iron ore out of the mine at Sylvan Lake until the mine closed in the summer of 1896. The Clove Branch RR struggled on with a few customers at Clove Valley but finally was abandoned and the tracks were removed in 1898. After the tracks were taken out there was a brief period of hauling iron ore with horses and wagons but this too faded away. Stations such as Beekman and Sylvan Lake were at one time destined to be stops on the main line from New York City to Montreal Canada but that dream was gone. From 1898 the weeds and bushes reclaimed the Clove Branch. More recently housing developments have been built over the old roadbed but if you know where to look you can still find places where General Schultze once labored with trainloads of iron ore.



This is what Hopewell Junction depot looked like about 1905. This is the oldest depot photo that we have found. Unofficial record show that the depot was built in 1873. The depot was in the original location at the corner of Bridge Street and Railroad Avenue just across the street from the front door of the Hopewell Inn. The Bordens creamery was to the left of this photo.

Notice that the depot had arched top doors. Later photos show the doors with squared off tops. In the ND&C RR record books there are letters regarding replacing the round top doors with newer square top doors. There is still one of the original arched top doors on the depot we are currently restoring. The other four doors are the newer squared off type.

This photo also shows two chimneys, one on each end. Later, after the depot had been moved, the photos show only one chimney. Somewhere in the moving, one chimney was lost. In the present depot there are still marks and part of a wall frame where the second chimney used to be. There is no foundation under where that chimney would have been so it probably was never rebuilt after the move.


The Great Poughkeepsie Bridge

See more about the great Poughkeepsie Bridge.


From the collection of the late Austin McEntee


This view from the Poughkeepsie waterfront shows the barges in the river for the construction of the piers for the big RR bridge. Part of the bridge structure can be seen over the City of Poughkeepsie at far right.



Poughkeepsie Bridge Walkway at Night

It is years later. Trains no longer run over the bridge; instead it is a walkway. Bernie Rudberg took a great nighttime picture from the walkway.


Rhinebeck & Connecticut

In 1882 the then Hartford & Connecticut Western (successor to the Connecticut Western in 1881) bought the Rhinebeck & Connecticut RR that operated between Rhinecliff, NY and Boston Corners, NY. The R&C originally had a lease arrangement with the Poughkeepsie & Eastern (known in 1882 as the Poughkeepsie, Hartford & Boston) to operate between Boston Corners and State Line so that they could connect with the Connecticut Western. When the H&CW bought the R&C, they also negotiated to buy the section between Boston Corners and State Line so as to give them a through route of their own all the way to the Hudson River. Pennsylvania coal coming up to Kingston on the D&H Canal was the main reason the H&CW wanted a route to the Hudson River. The H&CW began to call their route “The Rhinebeck Line” and did start out with at least one through train in each direction between Hartford and Rhinecliff. In addition to this train, there were still two other trains operating in each direction between Hartford and Millerton. The big thing, though, at this time was that these trains were now only taking three hours to make the 68 miles rather than four hours when the line was first opened. The Rhinebeck Line, however, seems to have been downgraded in 1886 as a through passenger route because a timetable from that year indicates one must change in Canaan in order to travel between Rhinecliff and Hartford.


Hopewell Junction


New passenger car for the ND&C RR in April 1900

J. W. Swanberg collection

This elegant new passenger car was built to order for the ND&C RR by the Jackson & Sharp Company in Wilmington Delaware and delivered on 26 April 1900. Specifications included such items as mahogany woodwork, double thick French Plate Glass, Pantasote window shades, Brussels carpet, brass lamps and, most important, non-upsettable cuspidors. The total price was $5800 delivered to Dutchess Junction. This car was used in passenger service on the line from Dutchess Junction through Fishkill, Hopewell Junction, Millbrook, Pine Plains and Millerton.



Railroad workers in 1906

George Bailey collection

The label on this photo says they are RR workers but most of them look too young and well dressed for that line of work. In addition, the building behind them does not look like the Hopewell Junction roundhouse. In any case it is a look at some of the fashions of 1906.



Engine #808 waiting at Hopewell Junction

George Bailey collection



Railroad Avenue 1905

Postcard view of Hopewell Junction about 1905.

In this photo the depot is in the original location near the corner of Railroad Avenue and Bridge Street which is route 376. The white building at left is the Hopewell Inn which is still in operation as a tavern. The large white building behind the depot at right was the Bordens Creamery which opened in the spring of 1901. There are several 40 quart milk cans on a platform between the tracks.

In the center distance, just left of the box car, you can see the passenger shelter that was built at the rail crossing. That shelter served the trains on the Maybrook Line. To better serve both rail lines, not long after this photo was taken, the depot was moved to the other side of the creamery where the rail crossing was located.

Notice that there seems to be a group of children waiting on the depot platform at right. That may be a large family or perhaps a school group out on a field trip.



Postcard View of Railroad Avenue in Hopewell Junction about 1910.

Stickels collection

The large building left of center is now the Hopewell Inn. The building farther to the left is now Geeks Place with route 376 making a sharp turn between the buildings. At far right is the Bordens Creamery while the depot, freight house and tower are in the distance. Note the old car parked in front of the store at left.



Hopewell Junction train yard about 1910

By 1910 the railroads of Hopewell Junction were controlled by the New Haven Railroad. Many of the trains were lettered CNE (Central New England) Railway. The CNE was financed and controlled by the NH until it was absorbed completely into the NH in 1927.

The large white building at left was the Bordens Creamery which opened in 1901. The Hopewell Junction depot had been on this side of the creamery until it was moved to the rail crossing sometime between 1901 and 1908. Note that the creamery has one smoke stack. A second was added later. Also there are no dormer windows on the roof of the creamery. Three were added later.

In the center you may notice three boys sitting on a pile of railroad ties and just watching trains. At the time this photo was taken, airplanes and cars were a rare sight and there was no radio or television but trains could be a source of entertainment every day of the week. From the looks of this photo there was plenty of train traffic to watch.


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