CNE/ND&C between Pine Plains and Millerton


Northeastern part of Dutchess County NY.

This map covers the route of the ND&C/CNE from Pine Plains through Bethel, Shekomeko, and Winchell Mountain to Millerton and State Line.


The Central New England Railway (CNE) / Newburgh, Dutchess and Connecticut Railroad between Pine Plains and Millerton over Winchell Mountain. This was the highest climb that the old steamers had to make on the line with deep rock cuts at the top. It was completed in 1871 and filled up with snow in every big winter storm. Some of the photos are from the infamous “Blizzard of 88”. It is easy to see why this line was abandoned in 1925 after the CNE took over. The CNE stopped using this route in favor the longer P&E route that went around the mountain instead of over it. By 1938 all of the lines were gone.



USGS map of the Millerton, Winchell, Shekomeko area dated 1904



This masonry arch at Shekomeko is similar to the Whiting arch in CT. The old ND&C ROW runs across the top. Unfortunately it is located on private property on a small dirt road where we can’t get to it with the buses. Shekomeko is located between Winchell Mountain and Pine Plains.

J. W. Swanberg photo



Westbound from Shekomeko.

Nimke Volume 3, Page 133

The Shekomeko arch is hidden in the trees to the left of this photo.



ND&C profile between Pine Plains and Millerton.

The ND&C had to climb about 500 feet between Pine Plains and Winchells in about 8 miles.

Austin McEntee collection





This line was built by the Dutchess & Columbia Railroad in 1870-71.
It was part of the ND&C RR from 1876 to 1905 when the CNE took over.
From Shekomeko east to Millerton the line was abandoned by the CNE on 25 January 1925.
From Shekomeko west to Pine Plains the line was abandoned by the New Haven on 21 October 1935.



Drawing of Shekomeko station by Victor Westman
Lee Beaujon collection

Victor Westman is an engineer retired from the Harlem line and living in Danbury CT. His drawings were intended for a book which Robert Adams was writing about the CNE and ND&C. Unfortunately Adams passed away before the manuscript was completed and the book was never published. Some of these pictures have been used previously in Christmas card illustrations.

A light snow has dusted the ground and roof tops of Shekomeko, New York, on a crisp December morning in the 1920s. A drab, grey overcast presages more to corne. The CNEs morning mixed train from Pine Plains has just arrived and, after slaking its thirst at the bluff-mounted water tank, will proceed to switch the creamery siding before returning on its appointed rounds.



Ruins of the Clover Farms creamery at Shekomeko.

Nimke Volume 3, Page 132



Layout of Shekomeko, westbound to the right.

Nimke Volume 3, Page 132

Above creamery view is from the number 3 in the layout looking to the right.



ND&C at Shekomeko. Feed store owned by Bryan Farm used for storage and wintering heifers on the ground floor. Elihu Bryan bought the railroad property for access to his fields.

Austin McEntee collection



SHEKOMEKO – Westerly view of the station and water tank apparently in the late 20’s or early 30’s and probably by early CNE fan Robert B. Adams. He often traveled the CNE lines by fancy (for it’s time) roadster in the late 20’s and early 30’s with another well known railfan by the name of William Moneypenny. These fellows were classmates at a private school along the Hudson River just north of Yonkers, NY. The roadster appeared in many of their station photos.

Lee Beaujon collection



Shekomeko Station 1932

Roger Liller collection



Shekomeko 1932

Roger Liller collection



HUSTED – Shelter on old ND&C line probably in the late teens or early 20’s prior to the abandonment of the passenger service on this section.

Lee Beaujon collection



ND&C at Husteds

Austin McEntee collection



Along Tripp Rd east of Husteds.

Nimke Vol 3, p 130





Photo on bottom of page 116, CNE Vol. II, although I’m not sure of Nimke’s location data. It looks to me like it’s just east of the cut at the top of Winchell Mountain, which would put it at Winchell rather than Husteds, although Winchell is of course east of Husteds.



The ND&C route across Winchell Mountain is shown just below the center.

Number 6 is the location of the snowbound train on Winchell Mountain at the top of this page.
J.W.Swanberg collection



2-8-0 #116 snowed in at Winchells 16 March 1916.

25 Years on the ND&C page 140

J. W. Swanberg collection.



Winchells station about 1920.

Nimke Vol 3, p 130



ND&C RR at Egglestons crossing between Shekomeko and Winchells on 20 March 1888. This was 8 days after the great blizzard of 1888. It took 6 days of snow clearing to get from Beacon to Pine Plains. Winchells cut was blocked full of snow. The ND&C hired 200 men with shovels to clear the cut. The first train to reach Millerton was on Sunday 25 March, a full 13 days after the storm.

Collection of the Beacon Historical Society

Perhaps the best known weather battle was the great blizzard of March 1888. Volume 25 of the ND&C letterbooks contains the saga of dealing with the infamous “Blizzard of 88“. On 10 March 1888 the conditions were so dry that sparks from the stack of NY&NE engine #98 set a half dozen grass fires which threatened the Van Wyck buildings in Fishkill Village. Two days later the snow reports began coming in.


Volume 25, Page 440, 12 Mar 1888
Road completely buried. Heavy drifts all the way. Weather cold and blowing. Have three engines out but all alive. Am trying to open road to Hopewell today. Kisselbrack at Millbrook, Hemingway at Moores, Stowell stuck in a drift at Verbank.

Three trains with crews and passengers were stuck. A month later the superintendent wrote his report.
This is the first time that we have been prevented from getting a train through the entire length of the road some time in the course of 24 hours since I took charge of the road, Nov. 1st 1871.
The storm or blizzard of March 12 1888 blocked our road so th that we did not get it open through to Millerton until Sunday March 25 . We opened the road from Dutchess Junction to th Millbrook so as to run regular trains west of the latter point commencing March 17 , and the following day we opened the road th to Shekomeko so that all regular trains were run west of that point commencing March.
Sunday the 18th , we ran the milk train from Pine Plains. th We were a whole week clearing the road east of Shekomeko where we found the cuts nearly all full of heavy snow, some of which we had to remove by cars, a very slow process, and much of it was handled six times in casting it out of the cuts. The road was cleared however without damage to property or injury to person which might have resulted if we had adopted the course of neighboring roads. The storm of March 12 continued th until the morning of the 14 , and was the most severe snow and th wind storm that the oldest inhabitant ever experienced in this or any other section of this country. The wind during this time blew at the rate of 60 to 80 miles per hour, as reported by the signal stations through this section of the country. It is estimated that three to four feet of snow fell during the storm which was driven into solid banks wherever it found a place to lodge.
Yours Truly C. L. Kimball

The major portion of Kimball’s expense listing was for hiring and feeding the extra men fighting the snow. Typical wages for shoveling snow was $1 per day. Shovels and snow goggles were included on the expense list as well as expenses for the acting mail clerk to reroute delayed mail.

I would imagine that both management and workers were glad to see spring that year, but spring weather brought its own problems. Cold winter weather would freeze the ground solid under the roadbed to a depth of several feet. When weather warmed up in the spring, the thaw was not always even. Expansion and contraction of the frozen earth shifted the tracks. Engineers reported frost heaves in the track so bad that the tender frame would jump up and catch on the foot board of the engine and slip off again. I can picture in my mind a fast stepping fireman trying to keep the fire hot on that run.

B. L. Rudberg



Westerly view of derailment of Train #911 (1:15pm out of Millerton) in heavy snow just east of Winchell Summit; Probably occurred Winter of 1920/21 as passenger service discontinued on this line in Spring of 1921.

Lee Beaujon collection



Another view of the same derailment.

Lee Beaujon collection



Winchells cut when it had rails.

Collection of the Beacon Historical Society




Victor G. Westman’s drawing of the cut at the top of Winchell Mountain depicts the period after the 1907 takeover of the ND&C by the CNE. Westbound 4-4-0 #204 is on a train coming from Millerton, and is being flagged down by the rear brakeman of a derailed freight train ahead. This cut is now filled in and contains mountains of trash in places..






ND&C/CNE train yard in Millerton NY

This yard was located along the west side of route 22 near where the ND&C/CNE crossed the NYC Harlem line. The area is now a highway department maintenance yard.



Millerton diamond looking north.

Crossing guard is Fleet Dean.

NYC Harlem line interchange track comes in from the right side.

ND&C west to the left.

Nimke Vol 3, p 128



Brill gas car #9022 at Millerton station ready to depart for Poughkeepsie as train #917 due out at 7:50am. Photo taken prior to Apr., 1928 when this train was cut back to originate from Copake instead.

Lee Beaujon collection



Drawing of the Millerton engine terminal by Victor Westman

Lee Beaujon collection

Victor Westman is an engineer retired from the Harlem line and living in Danbury CT. His drawings were intended for a book which Robert Adams was writing about the CNE and ND&C. Unfortunately Adams passed away before the manuscript was completed and the book was never published. Some of these pictures have been used previously in Christmas card illustrations.

The Millerton engine terminal of the former Newburgh, Dutchess & Connecticut Railroad was unobtrusively tucked away on undeveloped land just northwest of the crossing of the Harlem Division of the New York Central and the highway crossing of present Route 22, at the foot of the 1.5% grade over Winchell Mountain. Facilities included water, coal (hand shoveled from open gondolas into tenders), a cinder pit, a fifty-four-foot turntable, and a two-stall engine house.

Depicted is the arrival of the morning CNE local from Hartford to Millerton, having dropped its passengers at the Dutchess Avenue CNE station and proceeded on west to turn, service the engine, and have the cars cleaned. Some passengers undoubtedly have transferred from the ND&C station to the Harlem Division station and boarded the northbound Harlem Division train (right) just getting under way between the crossing gates protecting the CNE track.



Millerton about 1905.

Lee Beaujon collection

From left to right – Fleet Dean, Crossing Guard at CNE/NYC crossing; Dennis Ahearn, Conductor; James “Dinger” McCormick, Brakeman; Edward “Hungry Ed” Smith, Engineer; Thomas Delaney, Fireman; John H. Pettys, Baggage Man; Sid Myers, local Millerton youth.



CNE/NH yard at Millerton 1958

Lee Beaujon collection. photo by Jack Shufelt

From here it is downhill into Millerton.

Last freight car on CNE/ND&C spur at Dutchess Avenue in 1958 prior to line being torn up. This car and others were hauled up to the site of the former station by a truck and were returned to the NYC connection by gravity with two or three people working the brakes.

The following is a first person description of moving freight cars through the streets of Millerton. This was written by Jack Shufelt and he recalls the process of rolling cars downhill through Millerton using a truck for motive power to connect with the NYC Harlem line.


Regarding the hill. My first experience with coal up and down the hill was riding in the truck that protected the crossings. So, yes the crossings were protected and that was always a major concern. Center Street was never a problem. There were actually three crossings as Highland Road intersected the CNE just before Center Street. The individual protecting Center Street also handled Highland Road. The men at J.B. Reed & Sons had made this move many, many times over 15 years so they were pretty proficient. There was always a meeting with everyone before the cars were given a shove down the hill so that everyone knew exactly what to do and when. The men always let the cars get a good roll on them coming down the hill and across Center Street so that the cars would make it out to the connection without having to push them again with the truck. How fast were we going at the bottom of the hill and across Center Street? I would say near 20 MPH. It was quite a distance from Center Street out to the derail and you needed a good roll to make it. I recall being a little anxious due to the speed the first time coming down the hill and I specifically recall the men on the first couple of cars winding up the brake to reduce the speed. The speed was quickly reduced though once we crossed Center Street and more than once I did not think we would make it to the NYC connection. It may have been slightly up hill from Center Street to the connection. When I worked a car I was always assigned the last car as it was likely the brake would not be needed. The braking on the first two or three cars usually provided all the needed braking power.

The engine on the Harlem was “restricted on track 12 (CNE) beyond the derail” so you only had a couple of rail lengths to play with in spotting the cars at the connection. None of the times that I was involved were the cars not stopped exactly where they needed to be. The Harlem crew could always use a reach if necessary.

Seems like I recall someone cutting through the fill on the connection but I do not recall when or why. There was a small bridge on the fill, between Center Street and the NYC connection, to carry 10 mile river under the RR. I suppose it is possible that the bridge was removed at some point. In any event, there was a fill the whole distance with a small bridge over 10 mile river. If I get down to “Z” in the next few weeks I will take a look.

Probably the bank you mentioned for the water tanks is still there, but I have no memory of same nor was it ever mentioned to me. I remember seeing the ash pits but I do not recall exactly where they were. In the event you are not aware, the original ND&C station at Millerton burned down in 1894 and was replaced new. My reference is the NY RR Commission Annual Report for 1896. The ND&C was inspected on May 21, 1896. The first couple of sentences of that report read as follows: “This property has been considerably improved since the last inspection. The station at Millerton is new, the old one having burned in 1894. Four miles of 60 pound steel rail has been laid on the mountain grades; 30 tons of 60 pound steel rail is being laid. All of the iron rail has been removed since the last inspection.” I suppose that this rail work was the last done on the mountain.





Smash boards at the Harlem crossing in Millerton 1935

Roger Liller collection

The CNE interchange track is along the line of bushes in the background.



The CNE joins the northbound NYC Harlem line at Millerton

Roger Liller collection



ND&C/CNE station at Dutchess Ave. in Millerton looking East on Sep.6, 1927 just two months prior to run of last passenger train to and from Hartford.

Lee Beaujon collection



ND&C #10 New in 1901, later CNE #228, CNE (2 ) #40, Scrapped 1926

Roger Liller collection



Old CNE lines of Northern Dutchess County marked on a current map.



Hopewell Junction Depot as it looked in the 1960’s

The next three photos  were taken by Roger Liller about 1968. They give us a good idea of what the inside of the depot looked like when it was in operation by the New Haven RR.

Note the hand water pump in the sink at left.



Above you can see the scroll work brace under the antique ticket window. The last tickets sold here were in 1933. In the bottom right corner you can see a rack for the agent’s signal flags. I wonder who’s phone numbers were scratched on the wall.



In 1968, railroad communications was mostly by telephone. In earlier times this area was most likely occupied by a telegraph key and sounder.


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