NY Central Hudson Division

Yes, you might have seen some of this before. The Hudson Division was about the most important!

Ride between Albany and New York on the New York Central Hudson Division with the author and learn some fascinating facts about this historic rail route


Lake Shore Limited at Rensselaer

(photo by the author)

Ride Along the Hudson River From Albany to New York City

It’s a little after 5:45 AM and I’m driving on Interstate 90 over the remnants of the New York Central West Albany car shops (now a rather smallish rail yard with much empty track and a row of empty box cars). To the East I spot the head light of Amtrak 481 which will travel West to Schenectady and turn (i.e. change directions since it is a Rohr-built “Turbo”) and become Amtrak 76. I follow the rats maize of concrete past the new Norstar bank headquarters (previously known as Albany Union Station), over the Delaware & Hudson “main” and the Hudson River to the Amtrak Rensselaer station where at least 200 cars are occupying the huge parking lot. This is the second station, only recently-completed, on this site since Penn-Central moved here in the late 1960’s. Like most Amtrak stations, it is a modern, sterile building with all of four tracks. On track 2 is Amtrak 483 almost ready for a run to Schenectady. Pulling out of the Amtrak maintenance facility is my train-no. 70.

Amtrak 70 is not the speed demon that Amtrak 76 leaving in 50 minutes will be (their scheduled Grand Central Terminal arrivals are only 31 minutes apart) but I take 70 for 2 reasons: (1) 70 is an Amfleet instead of a turbo and easier to spread out papers and do some work on; and (2) 70 has a good “slot” going into the Grand Central 4-track “throat” and is rarely late while 76 has to fight Metro-North (the GCT owner) and its red-silver “Yankee trains”. (probably 98% of my fellow passengers don’t know that a Yankee train is a train from Connecticut. In the days of the New York Central and the New Haven (NYNH&H), employee timetables prefixed all NYNH&H train numbers with a “Y”.

I back in to a parking space for easy get-away at night and enter the station for a short wait to purchase my “New York round-same day” ticket (return is half-fare except Friday). Although it is a cold morning I walk out onto the platform to wait for my co-worker and traveling companion. His wife recently had a baby so the trainmen on the platform joke how he must have been up all night and won’t make it from Saratoga. At 6:17 he shows and we find a double seat in coach 21117 well before the 6:20 departure.

Twenty minutes later we slow down. It’s Hudson already. Daylight is showing and the river is finally viewable. The City of Hudson is an old river town only recently experiencing a rebirth as “Yuppies” from New York City move here to escape high rentals. Many of the Yuppies work in the City and ride Amtrak to work. While we stop for about 75 passengers, I look around and see where this once must have been a larger rail yard but recently has been cleaned up into a fairly compact station with a spur leading eastward to several industries (this was once a connection to the Boston & Albany at Chatham).

Since October 26, Albany-New York train times are the best ever, reflecting a huge investment by the State of New York. This train takes 2 hours and 27 minutes. Others (Turbos) cover the distance in two hours and 12 minutes. The slowest Amtrak run is the New York-Chicago “Lake Shore Limited” which drags several conventional sleepers, diners, etc up the river in two hours and fifty-three minutes. In 1949, the best time was the 20th Century Limited with two hours and 36 minutes. Going back to 1921, the 20th Century took three hours and 1 minute while the Lake Shore took 3 hours and 25 minutes. In both 1949 and 1921, the Empire State Express was 1 minute slower than the 20th Century. While certain sections of track allow 110 miles per hour, the 1921 times from Grand Central to Harmon are about the same.

At 7:03 we stop in Rhinecliff where another large crowd boards for the city. By now they are mostly going to the rear cars, however an occasional traveler tries to squeeze in the already-crowded front cars. Rhinecliff is right at water-level with the town and the station on the top of a cliff. To board the train, one walks down a flight of stairs. Hudson, Rhinecliff and Poughkeepsie are the old New York Central stations while Rensselaer and Croton-Harmon are new and modern. Grand Central Terminal needs no explanation to anyone interested in railroads.

Soon we are slowing down just North of Poughkeepsie. This is the end of Conrail and the location of a small freight yard. We pass a six car Conrail local heading North out of the yard. Passing under the abandoned New Haven rail bridge from New England, we enter Metro-North territory and pull into the station next to two pairs of SPV-2000’s. On the other side of the station is a siding that runs through a parking lot to a big old hardware store. I have never seen any cars on this siding and wonder if it is still used-especially since people park on the tracks.

Looking across the river at Conrail’s River line (old West Shore Division of the New York Central), I see two North-bound freights heading from New Jersey to Selkirk. Time to stretch my legs and see what is doing on the rest of the train (try doing THAT on a plane or bus!). Amtrak 70 is powered by FL9 no. 488. FL9’s are diesel-electric-electric locomotives built by GM for the New Haven in the late 1950’s. After the Penn-Central merger, they found their way to the old New York Central Electric Division and are used now by both Amtrak and Metro-North to replace the electric locomotives that ran from Harmon to Grand Central. Behind my coach are two more coaches, an “Amdinette” then two more coaches. The dinette is unusually crowded with a large party (champagne, donuts, etc, etc). One “regular” has a set of blueprints spread out on a table. Sometimes I have been known to do the same thing with computer printouts-but no room today.

At 7:35 we pass under the Newburgh double bridge and through Beacon and its connection with the old New Haven line. We go into our first tunnel. I spot another North-bound train on the River Division-this one all containers with no caboose. We are passing traffic on Route 9 which means we are not exactly standing still. Soon West Point is across the river and we roll through the quaint little town of Garrison. Just before the Bear Mountain Bridge our train applies brakes but whoever is in front doesn’t hold us up any more than a minute. Soon we pass Peekskill. The Metro-North train that parks there overnight has long-since departed for the City.

For a railfan, the “scenery” begins to peak at Croton North: old New Haven “washboard” electrics; stripped FL9’s; D&H passenger cars burned recently in a large underground fire at Grand Central; numerous oversize box cars on the Conrail tracks; and a South-bound local pulled by a pair of SW1500s. We slow down past the Harmon Diesel & Electric Shops. In the distance the Tappan Zee Bridge can be seen.

We continue to roll along. Soon we are passing the Chevrolet plant in North Tarrytown. Lots of workers cars in the parking lot. We travel through Irvington, Dobbs Ferry and Hastings on smooth welded rail. Some days we hit some rough rail here (at the discretion of the Metro-North dispatcher). One of the 4 rails in this area is owned by Amtrak (in other words-Amtrak pays Metro-North not to rip it up). I suspect the Amtrak dollars pay for one of the welded ones-even if they don’t get to use it always. The sun is shining on the Palisades, reminding all viewers that this road is one of Amtrak’s most beautiful runs.

As we turn away from the Hudson River at Spuyten Duyvil, I notice much construction equipment parked on the spur leading to the West Side Freight Line. I wonder how the ambitious project to connect with Penn Station is doing? That will be a great improvement for passengers changing to the Boston-Washington Northeast Corridor but not too great for those of us who work in Midtown. At least it will be fun deciding if a subway ride is faster or slower that an across-the-platform train change to Metro-North. Anyway, it will be interesting to see how and when the bridge at Spuyten Duyvil will be made operational.

In the next few minutes we pass the”stub” of the former Putnam Division, the recently-closed “Road-Railer” yard, Yankee Stadium, Mott Haven’s “MO” Tower and 125th Street Station. I wonder how many Metro-North commuters avail themselves of the excellent subway connections at 125th Street? At 96th Street, we enter the Park Avenue Tunnel and many of my fellow passengers begin to empty overhead racks, etc.

One never knows how fast the train is going in the tunnel, but the “landmarks” pass in the usual amount of time indicating no delay. Off to the left I spot the former Niagara Junction electric switcher coupled on to some “Poughkeepsie” coaches. We slide to a stop on Track 38 and exit at our usually fast pace. We zip up the ramp past our FL9 and immediately head into the “short-cut” towards the Hotel Roosevelt, pausing only to toss some change to the horn player who plays each morning underneath the hotel. Soon we are on the street dodging traffic in our dash to Rockefeller Center.

Several hours later, the process reverses. After a quick stop at the bakery, we check the train board for our track number and head for a 4:35PM departure on Amtrak 77. Tonight is an earlier than usual time, normally we catch Amtrak 75 at 5:45 PM. Tonight is an extra bonus, both power cars on our Turbo are “club cars” (i.e. wide seats) and only one is reserved seating. While the rest of the train is very crowded, our front-end power coach No. 161 is not because most passengers think it is extra fare reserved.

The return trip is right according to the timetable. Except for one loudspeaker call for “technician on the I C”, there was nothing unusual to report. We help support the snack car and attempted to unwind a little from a long day. One of the “regulars”, a lawyer from Hudson, borrows some paper from me. Most of the trip is in the dark. In a few months, the return will be in daylight. Right at 6:49 we pull into our starting point and I head for my car.



Since when the above article was written in the 1980’s, there have been changes. Another new Albany-Renssaeler station (pictured above) and now terminal is Penn Station not Grand Central.


Old Picture of Harmon Shops.

Note the wreck train ready to roll
Penney wrote a great blog about
Harmon, then she wrote another great blog about Harmon
Photo courtesy of Wayne Koch



Harlem Branch meets Hudson Division at Hudson

Read Penney Vanderbilt’s blog about the Harlem Division branch that once went from Chatham to Hudson. Now it only serves a grain mill a few miles from Hudson.






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!

So what would a “revised” rail line look like?

To begin with, the line from Maybrook to the Hudson River is gone. Railroads that previously entered Maybrook can reach the Hudson River and head up the old West Shore to the proposed bridge at New Hamburg. But the old Poughkeepsie Bridge is no longer in service, as well as the tracks to Hopewell Junction. At Marlboro, trains would take the old New York Central Hudson Division to Beacon, New York. Yes, with both Metro North and Amtrak using the Hudson Line, it may require an additional track.

From Beacon trains would travel the Beacon Line over the Housatonic Railroad to Derby-Shelton, Connecticut. Trains would go to Cedar Hill Yard. Some traffic may go to Long Island. With traffic revitalized, other trains will even go to Waterbury!


Local Freight on the Hudson Division

How did freight get to the Hudson Division?

On the old New York Central, where would a local freight train originate if it was serving industries along the Hudson Division? For example, if there was a box car coming from Chicago and its destination was a factory in Poughkeepsie, would the car be dropped off in Poughkeepsie? Or would it be kept in the train until the train was broken up in one of the West Side yards, and sent up river by way of a local? There was a train from Selkirk to 72nd (or 60th) Street at least in 1949 which would have covered Poughkeepsie. My problem is how did a car get from DeWitt (which was where cars from Chicago were switched then) to Selkirk, – back in 1949, there were lots of trains running but I don’t know exactly which one could have handled this car. There were trains which ran DeWitt – Schenectady – Albany-Rensselaer-Troy, and they could have handled the car for pickup at Rensselaer. From DeWitt, there was a train for Kingsbridge and Port Morris which dropped at Peekskill “for switcher” (maybe could have been a backhaul to Poughkeepsie). In 1964 there was a perishable train which dropped meat at Poughkeepsie.


What switchers were assigned to locals?

In the 50’s, cars for the Hudson Division from Stuyvesant to Beacon were handled by the Selkirk-Beacon way freight. One exception was that cars for Stockport were handled by the Hudson Traveling Switcher. There was also a Harmon- Beacon traveling switcher that handled everything between Croton and Beacon inclusive. The way freight and the traveling switcher exchanged cars at Beacon. Cars for Castleton (Fort Orange Paper) were handled by the Rensselaer Switcher which operated in the early evening. Hudson had two switchers, The B&A who switched the Lone Star Cement plant at Hudson Upper and the NYC switcher who handled everything else in the yard including the Atlas Cement Plant. There were trains that handled the cement from Hudson to Chatham for connection to the B&A and Harlem Division. Poughkeepsie had a yard job that switched the local industries, freight house and storage mail cars for the nightly mail train.


Peekskill commuter trains

I know that at one time, commuter trains laid over at Peekskill, and that there was a small roundhouse and turntable there. An interesting operation that the NYC did was to run RDCs up to Peekskill with MU cars in tow. Once the eastbound trains departed Harmon, the MUs were run down to Grand Central Terminal (GCT) minus the RDC. The old roundhouse and turntable have been removed a long time ago, but used to sit where the park (northside) is now located. For a long time, Peekskill was the northern terminus of the New York City commuter zone. The time frame of the northward extension to Poughkeepsie was probably following WWII. In Suburban TT’s (form 105) from 1952 and earlier, Peekskill shows as the northern terminus in the TT’s. There were always local trains that served Poughkeepsie from Harmon and GCT, but I’m guessing that the extension of the commuter zone and elimination of Peekskill as a terminus for commuter trains didn’t occur until 1953 (end of steam on the division) or later. There is a picture of what appears to be a commuter train laying over at Peekskill on page 53 of Drury’s “NYC in the Hudson Valley”. In “Rails Along the Hudson” published by the Bergan-Rockland Chapter NRHS, I found the following: “In the early years, Peekskill had a 4-stall enginehouse with a 60 foot turntable located west of the station. The enginehouse was removed (no date specified), but the 60′ turntable was replaced by a 90′ turntable east of the station. Upon dieselization, this turntable was also removed.” In steam days most, if not all, of the coaches used on Peekskill trains were MU’s. When the MU train arrived at Harmon, a steam engine would be attached and would pull the train to Peekskill. The Poughkeepsie trains used standard coaches. During cold weather the Peekskill trains had to get MU’s that had steam lines for heating. The steam enginemen on these trains always complained that the trains were harder to pull than a long string of loaded hoppers because of the electric motors. I guess that they were generating electricity as they moved. The requirement for steam MU’s on these trains meant extra work for the MU yardmaster on the lower level at GCT. Rather than turning, some steam engines were run backwards from Peekskill to Harmon, a distance is only 5 miles. Steam locomotives were not normally operated backward with a train due to the speed restriction of 30 MPH. In addition, there were also speed restrictions related to operating backward in ATC (Automatic Train Stop) territory. The schedules required a speed greater than 30 MPH. It was common practice for a pair of light engines early in the morning to back from Harmon to Peekskill to handle the first couple of locals. That was probably trains #100 at 6:18 and #200 at 6:43 AM.

Peekskill must have been one of the more interesting Towers (37) to work on the Hudson Division. There could be a Peekskill local going by the Tower on track 4, a Poughkeepsie job or freight on track 2 and #8 the Wolverine going by on Track 1. Track 1 had reverse signaling from Tower 43 Garrison to CD Tower in Croton. TT Special Instructions allowed trains to run east on track 1 between CD and HM in Harmon. The 2 to 1 movement was always made at Tower 43 since there was a 50 MPH crossover from 2 to 1 at that point. If you went 2 to 1 at Peekskill you were restricted to 15 MPH due to the short crossover.



Mott Haven (“MO”) was a big operation that included the Pullman Company, the NY Central Commissary, City Ice Products (MDT) plus all kinds of heavy repairs and housekeeping services. It stretched back to the NY Central Melrose Central Building on 149th Street. It was a three trick operation and when passenger service declined it was shut down. Remaining trains were serviced in Grand Central Terminal with car repairs made West. The butchers union bought the air rights and built the apartment complex.

On the Grand Central LOWER LEVEL several tracks were paved over and then maintenance performed on the remaining tracks. After a detailed check of stored equipment of the New Haven RR, those tracks were cleared of equipment and generated the space to perform maintenance versus at MO. Essential was the wasted ENG HRS shuttling equip from/to MO vs the availibility of room in GCT. Too, the commissary in MO was corrupt & many folks were captured by the police for “skimming”.

Jerry Pinkepank had a two-part series in TRAINS around 1965 (“Central Takes a Second Look at Commuters”) in which he detailed the motorized maintenance the standard suburban trains were getting at GCT. They used motorized carts to service the motors with sand and do minor repairs. They had a wash cart that scrubbed the car sides. They’d alternate tracks to insure both sides got washed.

The first suburban train in, the motor would pull right up to the bumper post. They’d wash and sweep the cars and a spare motor would be brought in by a hostler. They’d cut off the inbound motor and couple up the spare.

The spare motor would take the train out freeing the first motor. That motor would take the next train out and so forth.



NY Central Mohawk speeds through Garrison, NY on track 2 just before the “Tell-Tale” marker prorecting the vital third rail

(Photo clipped from an old New York Central Headlight)



Rhinecliff from up on the hill. The former R&C is the line of tree across the center. At left is the NYC and the long dock in the Hudson River with the Kingston bridge in the distance.

Photo by the late Austin McEntee

Photos courtesy of Bernie Rudberg



NY Central Niagara 4-8-4 at speed southbound past Rhinecliff in 1950. You can see the remains of the ice house long dock to the left of the engine.




Rhinebeck (Rhinecliff)






Photo Ride Along the Hudson


Our trip starts out in Rensselaer, just across the Hudson River from Albany. Roundhouse and yards for Albany station were here. Now a major Amtrak station.


Our train flys through Castleton, a small but pretty river town. It is close to the Castleton Bridge (both Thruway and railroad)

Our first stop is Hudson, an old river town.

The Boston & Albany once had a branch to Hudson from Chatham. Branch now ends at Greenport at the mill. Terminated during the ’80s during Conrail. In 1959, the local was known as the ‘Cement Job’. That year the portion of the branch was abandoned from Ghent to Claverick Station with the surviving remnant called the Claverack Secondary Track through the Penn Central days.


The old B&A branch now only runs up the hill and thru the streets to a big grain mill. That’s quite the grade, 3.22%. I love the sound of a set of EMD’s growling it out in run 8. Scheduling for the trains can be very erratic-end of the week tends to bear more fruit. Sometimes the crew does short hit n’ run missions for a day only – other times a big train is brought in and the process extends over a couple of days as the crew rotates the loads and empties. 10 loads uphill is the norm – although with a pair of six axle SD40-2s they can sometimes go as high as 15 or 20 loads up.



The Rhinebeck & Connecticut Railroad once came here.



The Poughkeepsie & Eastern Railroad once joined the NY Central here.


The New Haven Railroad’s Great Bridge, now unused, crosses the Hudson at Poughkeepsie



See more about the New York Central in Beacon



Not a stop for us, but important for Metro North riders.


The railroad hugs the river and runs through some small tunnels.
This is Oscawanna, about 35 miles North of New York City.


Freight yards at Croton North.


Metro North shops and passenger station at Harmon.


Here’s “Sing Sing” (Ossining Correctional Facility).


Tarrytown with Tappan Zee Bridge crossing the River.




Spuyten Duyvil: Metro North veers off towards Grand Central Terminal. Now we go over the bridge and enter Manhattan.


Rails pass under the huge George Washington Bridge.


Rail yards used to stretch from 60th to 72nd Streets. Freight is gone and Donald Trump keeps threatening to build something here.



Penn Station is buried under here somewhere.



Beacon station in 1915

The CNE tracks and platform are completed.

Beacon Historical Society collection, courtesy of Bernie Rudberg

The new station complex looks to be completed but there are no people in the picture.

See more about the reconstruction of the Beacon station



Beacon station in the 1980’s

Jim Moseman collection

In this photo there is no sign of the stations and platforms built in 1915. In the background is the outline of the Beacon Newburgh bridge which drove the ferry out of business in 1963.

See more about the New York Central in Beacon



Beacon station today.

B Rudberg photo

In 2005 the passenger ferry service has been revived and seems to be doing well with commuters who take the Metro North trains to New York City.

See more about the New York Central in Beacon



20th Century Limited passes Bannermans Castle

E-8 #4079 leading the charge
Photo courtesy of Wayne Koch


Short Trip to the City

It’s Presidents’s Day and what better a way to spend a gloomy February day than shopping in New York City. Rather than my usual Amtrak run from Albany, today’s trip will be via Metro-North Commuter Railroad.

Driving over from Northern New Jersey, I note the abundant parking space at New Jersey Transit’s Harriman station and hope Tarrytown‘s parking will be as ample. I also make a mental note to get a current copy of their schedule in case the opportunity to use their excellent service should arise soon.

Crossing the Hudson on the Tappan Zee Bridge, I start to realize that my timing might be a little off and that we probably will miss the 9:44. On a non-holiday weekday this would be no problem, but with the holiday schedule, a miss translates to next train at 10:44. Traffic is moderate but we don’t come down the hill towards the station until 9:45. Assuming we have missed the train and knowing the services provided on Metro-North, we make a coffee stop at the McDonalds across the parking lot. We pull near the old, deserted ex-New York Central one-story stone station and opt to park illegally at a meter rather than illegally in a “permit only” lot. (We never figured out where one can LEGALLY park near the station since meters are 2 hours only.) I hope Amtrak considers this problem before changing the current station stop from Croton-Harmon.

All of a sudden I spot the 9:44 headed South about five minutes late. We attempt to get across the pedestrian bridge and catch it-but no luck. We decide to wait the hour in a little plexiglass shelter located on the platform. This station has four tracks through it, three of which are served by two platforms and one being an express track. The South-bound commuter traffic boards from a center platform accessible via a pair of pedestrian bridges. Parking areas are on both sides of the track.

The train we just missed was a multiple-unit (M-U) electric powered one. Minutes later the headlight of a North-bound train comes into view. This one obviously goes all the way to Poughkeepsie as it is powered by two diesel-electric-electric FL9s (no. 2006 and no. 2033 – in New Haven colors!). It does not stop. At 10:25, South-bound Amtrak 72, a 5-car Turboliner, roars through on the center express track. In about 5 minutes, Metro-North U-boat no. 601 runs light through the station. Next a North-bound 6-car M-U stops at the other platform. Almost as soon as the M-U leaves, a pair of light Conrail SW-1500s go slowly through the station, stop, change tracks and go back up North. Presumably, they are switching the Chevrolet plant just around the bend. In the course of our one hour wait, at least 20 people have joined us in the platform shelter, most have forgotten that today is a holiday and the 10:12 express doesn’t run. Finally, right on time the 10:44 pulls up and we board.

As we ride down the Hudson, I recollect a little on the history of this line. Although many of the bridges and retaining walls show date stamps between 1903 and 1913, the origin of this road goes back a lot further. Beginning with the famous run of Robert Fulton’s Clermont between New York and Albany in 1807, the steamboat industry on the Hudson had grown tremendously. Dozens of boats ran up and down the river. The New York & Harlem Railroad stayed away from this competition by building its line North through Brewster and Pawling to Chatham. This situation along the river was satisfactory in the summer, but in the winter when the river either froze solid or was too icy for the boats, trade and transportation suffered. Finally in 1846 a group of Poughkeepsie businessmen obtained a charter to build the Hudson River Railroad from New York City to Albany. Completed in 1851, this line connected Albany with a terminal on New York’s West Side at Chambers Street and West Broadway.

After the Civil War, steamboat tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt acquired the Hudson River Railroad as well as the New York & Harlem. When he constructed Grand Central Depot, he also constructed the Spuyten Duyvil & Port Morris Railroad to link the Hudson River Railroad to the Harlem at Mott Haven. South of Mott Haven, the Hudson and Harlem shared 5 miles of track with the New Haven.

A 1902 accident in the smoke and steam filled Park Avenue tunnel set about a chain of events which resulted in an electrification project for the New York terminal operations, including 34 miles along the Hudson River to Croton (reached in 1913). The M-U car I am riding in is conceptually similar to a fleet of 180 put in service in 1906. Many areas along the river were improved and built up with fill taken from the excavation of Grand Central Terminal and its approaches. The power requirements for the electrification were so great that utility companies could not supply it, and the railroad had to build its’ own power plants, one of which we pass at Glenwood.

Across the Hudson can be seen the Palisades, an extraordinary ridge of basaltic rock rising picturesquely to a height of between 300 and 500 feet. We proceed South through a series of high-platform stations. Because this is a local, we stop at each station. This affords a close up of the property that is missed riding Amtrak through the stations at 40 or 45 miles per hour. Today’s station stops are almost the same as in 1950 except for the lack of a stop at Mount St. Vincent. Except for Phelps-Dodge and Anaconda, there is very little heavy industry which ships by rail.

Turning away from the Hudson at Spuyten Duyvil, we head for Mott Haven and the last lap into Grand Central. The name “Spuyten Duyvil” (sometimes just called “sput” by Metro-North conductors) received its’ name according to Washington Irving as follows: In 1664, when the Dutch were being threatened by the British, Anthony van Corlear, Dutch trumpeter to Governor Stuyvesant, was dispatched to sound the alarm. It was a stormy night and the creek was impassible. Anthony “swore most valorously that he would swim across it ‘in spite of the devil’ (en spuyt den duyvil) but unfortunately sank forever to the bottom.”

Just past Marble Hill we pass a Speno rail-grinding train parked in a siding. This trip truly provides a great variety of different sights.

We arrive at Grand Central right on schedule. The normally busy “throat” from Mott Haven, past 125th Street and into the tunnel is light as one might expect for a holiday. We stop on the upper level like all trains appear to be doing today. The only busy area of the station is the waiting room where the derelicts are keeping the benches warm waiting for the cops to come along and move them out so they can move right back in again.

Leaving a few hours later on the 4:50, we must walk several car lengths down the platform since the first few cars are occupied by a large group of school children. On the way out, I look for any signs of restoration work on the Park Avenue Tunnel. Either I don’t see anything or I don’t know where to look or else maybe they haven’t started yet even though the nice, glossy pamphlet Metro-North gives out says they have. (Ask for one at the information booth.)

Although our day in New York was clear, we arrive at our car in pouring rain a couple of minutes before the advertised 5:28. No parking ticket!


Travel Trip Bannerman Castle

Bannerman’s Island and Castle



Old Picture of Harmon Shops.

Note the Harmon Wrecker and it’s train is  ready to roll
Penney wrote a great blog about
Harmon, then she wrote another great blog about Harmon
Photo courtesy of Wayne Koch



Train 54 at Hendrik On Hudson in 1967

Lots of head end equipment
Courtesy of Wayne Koch


A great, great WebSite about HUDSON VALLEY RAILROADS

No, it is not ours! It is very comprehensive and professional.


It is written by professionals, not railfans. Lots of really neat stories about the old railroads. Lots of great links too!


All about the Walkway Over The Hudson (old bridge from Maybrook to Beacon)


All about Metro-North Railroad

From their biblioraphy:

“New York Central Railroad and New York State Railroads.” GOURMET MOIST / Kingly Heirs. Web. 13 Oct. 2010. . This website talks about the different railroads that eventually merged to form the New York Central Railroad. It also discusses where the railroads runs to and from.”

Since 2010, it has become a part of our WebSite:



Important Link: “What Railroads Connected At Maybrook?


Go To World’s Greatest WebSite

>>> New York Subways

>>>>>>Hidden Subway Station

>>>Commuters, Car Culture and The Jenny Plan

>>>Long Island Railroad

>>>Chicago, South Shore & South Bend Railroad

>>>POTUS –  Trains for the President

>>>Milk Trains

>>>The Fabled Rutland Milk

>>>The Muhammad Ali Hyperlink

About Our Great WebSite

>>>>>>About Troop Trains

>>>Metro North Railroad

>>>A Collection of Short Stories about Railroads – Book One

>>>>>>Buffalo Creek Railroad

>>>A Collection of Short Stories about Railroads – Book Two

>>>>>>Troy & Greenbush Railroad

>>>DL&W Railroad, Erie Lackawanna and Lackawanna Cutoff

>>>Circus Trains

>>>>>>Disposition Of Circus Trains

>>>Robert Moses – Against Mass Transit

>>>Troop Trains

>>>>>>Troop Train Movie

>>>Railroader Biographies

>>>>>>George H. Daniels

>>>>>>Plimmon H Dudley

>>>>>>Leonore F. Loree

>>>John W. Barriger: Rail Historian and Railfan

Contact and Great Blogs

Other Interesting WebSites

>>>Ontario & Western Railroad

>>>Connecticut To Philadelphia

>>>Central New York Railroad

>>>Chicago, Rail Capital

>>>The Ride To Choate

>>>Union Pacific Railroad-established by Abraham Lincoln to span the continent

>>>The Warwick Valley and Other Railroads West of the Hudson

>>>Short Line Railroads

>>>>>>Little Falls & Dolgeville

>>>>>>Gary Railway

>>>>>>The Owasco River Railway

>>>>>>Dexter and Northern Railroad Company

>>>Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

>>>Washington, the Nation`s Capital

>>>Royal Tour 1939

>>>The Monon Railroad

>>>Big 4 Bridge: Jeffersonville to Louisville

>>>Chicago & Western Indiana Railroad

>>>The Southern New York Railway

>>>Electric Railroads

>>>Lines West

>>>High Speed Rail

>>>Northeast Corridor

>>>New York State

Some Fascinating WebPages

>>>New York State Railroads, and NY Central Railroad

>>>Delaware & Hudson Railway

>>>Lehigh Valley Railroad

>>>Head End Equipment

>>>Boston & Maine Railroad

 >>>The Four Railroads of Utica

>>>>>>Gulf Curve, April 1940 New York Central Accident

>>>>>>New York Mills Branch On The West Shore

>>>Railroad Mergers

>>>Railroad Bridges and Tunnels

>>>My last ride on the JFK Express subway in April 1990

>>>Chicago Bypass

>>>Van Sweringen Brothers, Nickel Plate and Other Ohio Railroads

>>>New York City Transit Planning

>>>Tahawus: Railroad to a Mine

>>>Chicago Rail Fair

>>>Joint Winter Olympics for Montreal and Lake Placid

>>>Abandoned Railroads

>>>>>>Putnam Division Abandonments

>>>Amtrak’s Secret Business

>>>Alphabet Routes

>>>EMD Model 40

>>>Budd RDC

>>>Benton Harbor – Once A Rail Center

>>>Snow and Railroads

Central New England Railway

>>>>>>The Central New England In Connecticut

>>>>>>New York and New England Railroad

>>>>>>1937 Fan Trip

>>>Central New England Railway In New York State

>>>The Railroads Of Pine Plains

>>>CNE in Hopewell Junction

>>>>>>Hopewell Junction Restoration

>>>The Maybrook Line Across Dutchess County

>>>The Great Bridge At Poughkeepsie

>>>Poughkeepsie Bridge After The Fire

>>>The Rhinebeck & Connecticut Railroad

>>>Central New England Railway Connecticut Connection

>>>Maybrook Yard

>>>>>>Maybrook Yard 1940’s (Maybrook Journal)

>>>Newburgh, Dutchess and Connecticut Railroad (ND&C)

>>>>>>CNE/NDC Dutchess Junction and Matteawan

>>>>>>CNE/NDC Glenham to Hopewell Junction

>>>>>>CNE/NDC Hopewell Junction to Millbrook

>>>>>>CNE/NDC Bangall and Pine Plains

>>>>>>CNE/ND&C between Pine Plains and Millerton

>>>Fishkill Landing

>>>>>>The First Phase Of The NYC Rebuilding At Fishkill Landing 

>>>>>>The Second Phase Of The NYC Rebuilding At Fishkill Landing

>>>>>>The Final Phase Of The NYC Rebuilding At Fishkill Landing

>>>Poughkeepsie & Eastern in the Poughkeepsie Area

>>>Poughkeepsie & Eastern North from Poughkeepsie

>>>One of the railroads that made up the CNE Railway was the Poughkeepsie & Connecticut



Supply Chain Management

>>>Supply Chain Synchronization

Vacation French Riviera



New Haven Railroad

>>>George Alpert, Last New Haven President

>>>Essex Steam Train

>>>Newport and Rhode Island Railroads

>>>Railroads To Cape Cod

>>>Cedar Hill Railroad Yard In New Haven

>>>Housatonic Railroad

>>>Manufacturers Street Railway in New Haven

>>>Train Stations Of Connecticut

>>>Boston and New England Railroads

>>>New Haven RR Signal Stations

>>>Connecticut Railfan

>>>Connecticut Freight Railroads

>>>Shoreline Bridges Of The New Haven Railroad

>>>Old Railroads Of Connecticut

>>>The Trolley In Connecticut

>>>The Shepaug Valley Railroad

>>>What if the Penn Central Merger Did Not Happen

New York Central Railroad

>>>NY Central Shops At Harmon

>>>More On The West Shore


>>>Troy & Schenectady Railroad

>>>Railroader Biographies

>>>Webb’s Wilderness Railroad

>>>Who Owns Grand Central and What Is Track 61

>>>Catskill Mountain Branch

>>>West Side Freight Line

>>>Grand Central Terminal

>>>20th Century Limited

>>>Peoria & Eastern Railway

>>>Chicago River & Indiana Railroad

           The Indiana Harbor Belt

>>>NY Central Harlem Division

>>>Castleton, Selkirk and Hudson Valley

>>>Robert R. Young


>>>Original New York Central Railroad

>>>NY Central Hudson Division

>>>Putnam Division Of The NY Central

>>>Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg Railroad Company

>>>Dekalb Junction to Ogdensburgh

>>>New Jersey Junction Railroad

>>>What If No Penn Central?

>>>Boston & Albany Railroad

>>>New York Central Lines Magazine

>>>>>>NY Central 1919-1925

>>>>>>NY Central 1925-1931

>>>>>>NY Central Locomotive 999

>>>>>>NY Central Annual Meetings

>>>>>>NY Central Joliet Cutoff

>>>>>>NY Central Pullman Lettering

>>>>>>NY Central RW&O Chronicals

>>>>>>NY Central GCT #1 Wrecker

>>>>>>NY Central 1921 Transportaton World

>>>>>>NY Central Health & Pleasure

>>>>>>NY Central Ken Knapp

>>>POTUS: Lincoln and Trains

>>>The New York Central Railroad in 1950

>>>More About The New York Central Railroad

>>>New York Central Song