Metro North Railroad
Darlington And Mary
The Harlem Line originally extended to Chatham, New York,
with connections via the Boston & Albany Railroad to North
Adams, Massachusetts and Albany, New York. Chatham – North
Adams passenger service was cut back in the mid-1950s.
Passenger service was eliminated north of Dover Plains in
The Harlem Line was reopened to a new
Wassaic station in April 2000, and there is some talk of further
extensions. In the interim, there is weekend bus service from
Wassaic to Millerton, Copake, Hillsdale, and Great Barrington,
Massachusetts, echoing the former services and connections.
The railroad portion of Grand Central
Terminal is accessed through the main concourse, probably one of
the most easily-recognized interiors in the world. The building
has recently been renovated in accordance with its original
design. This included the addition of a second Grand Staircase
which was in the original design but not built during the
original construction of the Terminal. The extensive cleaning is
most noticeable on the ceiling of the Main Concourse, where the
“Sky Ceiling” painting depicting constellations of the Zodiac
had deteriorated to the point where it was barely visible. A
small uncleaned patch was left, high in one corner, to remind
one and all of how bad things had actually been before the
cleaning and reconstruction work.
The Upper Level features 29 platform
tracks, sharing island platforms as follows (from west to east):
41/42, 39/40, 38, 37/36, 35/34, 33/32, 30/29, 28/27, 26/25,
24/23, 21/20, 19/18, 17/16, 15/14 and 13/11. The Lower Level
platform tracks are numbered in the 100s and are arranged in
platforms as follows from west to east: 115, 114/113, 112/111,
110/109, 108/107, 106/105, 104/103, 103/102, and 102/101. Both
the Upper and Lower Levels include several yard areas for
servicing, maintenance, and storage of equipment.
The Terminal was designed so that
long-distance trains to Albany, Boston, Chicago and other points
would operate primarily from the Upper Level, and local commuter
trains from the Lower Level. Amtrak moved their operations to
Penn Station in 1991, so now only Metro-North trains see regular
service to the Terminal.
Departing from the Terminal, the tracks
combine to form a four-track trunk line through the Park Avenue
Tunnel, with tracks numbered from west to east 4, 2, 1, and 3.
Along the tunnel are three former stations.
59th Street has side platforms outside of Tracks 3 and 4. These
are now used for storage and emergency exits. See
Page for more information on the closed stations in the
72nd Street has side platforms outside of Tracks 3 and 4,
similar to 59th Street. These are now used for storage and
emergency exits. See
Page for more information on the closed stations in the
86th Street has two platforms, one between Tracks 1 and 3 and
another between Tracks 2 and 4. These are now used for storage
and emergency exits. See
Page for more information on the closed stations in the
The tunnel portal is at 97th Street. The
line rises to a full viaduct by 99th Street, with the roadbed of
tie-and-ballast construction up to 108th Street and
poured concrete from there to the Harlem River Bridge. The Park
Avenue Viaduct was completely rebuilt, with all roadbed replaced
and underlying structures repaired (or replaced as needed) in the
Street had two side platforms. Very little other information is
available about this station. See
Page for more information on the closed stations in the
Harlem – 125th Street was
recently restored to its original name and appearance, in
conjunction with the rebuilding of the Park Avenue Viaduct.
Tracks 4 and 2 share the west island; tracks 1 and 3 share the
east island. This station is fully ADA accessible, and is the
last transfer point for all three lines.
The first station on the mainland is 138th
Street, located on a four-track stone elevated structure with
two low side platforms (since removed). The old station
guardrail fences on the Track 4 side are easily identifiable as
being “station”-type ironwork, while the fences on the Track 3
side are harder to pick out. Both sets of guardrails are painted
in faded Penn Central green. The only traces at street level are
seams in the concrete where the stairs to the street were
located. It was closed in 1972, as traffic did not dictate the
building of high-level platforms to accommodate the new M-1A
We leave the Hudson Line behind at CP 5,
also known as Mott Haven Junction or MO, and continue northward.
The tracks continue the numbering scheme established, being
numbered from west to east 4, 2, 1, and 3. From just south of
Melrose station to Fordham station, the line travels in a
four-track open cut, built in conjunction with the
electrification of the Harlem Line in the early 1900's. Any
traces of older station structures were eliminated with this
construction, along with all crossings at grade below North
Harlem Line trains serve all stations between
Melrose and CP 112, Woodlawn Junction, where the
New Haven Line branches off. New
Haven line trains stop only at Fordham Station in the Bronx, by
agreements going back to the days of the New York Central and
New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroads.
Melrose has two high-level side platforms in
the open cut, partially covered by the NYC Housing Authority’s
Morrisania Air Rights Houses. The station was recently
renovated; as a result, both platforms were shortened from four
car lengths to two car lengths, lighting was dramatically
improved, and the Track 3 platform was moved far enough
northwards (over the former Port Morris Branch right-of-way)
that there is no longer any shelter from the elements except for
a tiny bus-stop-style shelter. East 162nd Street
serves as the crossover between platforms, and the station is
not ADA accessible.
Morrisania had two low side platforms. The
station is found by looking for an area where the walls widen
out for several car lengths, with busted-up concrete where the
platforms once were. It was closed in 1972, rather than build a
high-level platform for M-1A service.
Tremont is next, with two two-car
high-level side platforms. The station was renovated at the same
time as renovations at Melrose, with similar improvements in
lighting and shrinkage of platforms, even though there is
clearly room for at least a six-car platform in the station
area. East Tremont Avenue serves as the crossover, and the
station is not ADA accessible. The station building, an Art Deco
brick pile that had been allowed to deteriorate from long before
Metro-North was formed, was torn down a few years ago.
Claremont Park, another standard-issue
Bronx station in the open cut, was closed in the 1940s. It had
low side platforms. Tulnoy Lumber siding occupies most of the
area formerly used by the station on Track 4, but the station
remnants on the Track 3 side are easily seen, with the wider
walls and busted-up concrete of the platform.
East 183rd Street is also in the
open cut, and had two low side platforms. The concrete from the
platforms, like that at Morrisania and Claremont Park, has been
broken up but remains in place. Like the other abandoned Bronx
stations, it is located by observing wider clearances in the
walls and busted concrete where the two side platforms were
formerly. It was closed in 1972 to spare the expense of building
new high platforms to accommodate the M-1A cars.
Fordham is next, served by Harlem and
New Haven trains, with two eight-car
high-level side platforms. The original part of the station on
the south end is covered by Fordham Plaza, Fordham Road, and the
station building itself, while the newer north end is near
grade. Fordham was extensively renovated and had platforms
extended from four to eight cars in the 1990’s. Fordham is the
fifth busiest station in all of Metro-North, with only Stamford
and White Plains among outlying stations having higher passenger
From Fordham to Mount Vernon West, the line
remains four tracks (4-2-1-3), and runs either at or slightly
below grade until Mount Vernon West.
Botanical Garden, colloquially known as
“BG,” has two eight-car high-level side platforms and a
crossover. This station has recently been renovated, with the
platforms extended from four to eight cars, full ADA access
built, and the former crossunder being sealed. Remnants of the
original station buildings are seen in the roof of the platform
on the Track 3 side, while the former building on the Track 4
side is long demolished. There is a very small parking lot on
the Track 3 side. At one time there was an exit from both
platforms to Bedford Park Boulevard. At one time there was also
a BG tower in the area which controlled the small yard near
Williams Bridge is next, two four-car side
platforms with Gun Hill Road as the crossover. This station is
in a slight cut. The platforms are offset from one another on
either side of Gun Hill Road, with the Track 4 platform on the
south side and the Track 3 platform on the north side. This
station is not ADA accessible, and has no parking.
From Williams Bridge to Wakefield, the
and 5 train White Plains Road
subway lines run parallel to the Harlem Line a few blocks to the
Woodlawn is the last station before the New
Haven Line splits off. It has two four-car side platforms, with
233rd Street serving as the crossover.
New Haven Line trains formerly
stopped here as part of the New Haven Railroad's trackage-rights
agreement with the New York Central, which allows
New Haven trains one stop in the
Bronx. The agreement was changed to allow
New Haven trains to stop at Fordham instead in the 1920's,
due to the popularity of college football and the ensuing
crowds, along with the rise of Fordham Road as a regional
shopping district. There is a tiny parking area on the Track 4
side. The station is not fully ADA accessible.
Wakefield is the last
station within New York City. It was recently renovated, and has
two full four-car island platforms, one for Tracks 4 and 2 and
another for tracks 1 and 3.
According to one source, Wakefield station’s
original name was Washingtonville. (http://www.hvrt.org/pdfs/harlem_hudson_map.pdf)
Mount Vernon West has two twelve-car
high-level platforms and four tracks. Tracks 4 and 2 serve the
west island while tracks 1 and 3 serve the east island. There are two entrances to the station;
one from Mount Vernon Avenue on the Track 3 side, and another
(difficult to see) from a parking lot on the South West Street
side, behind the former station building. Both entrances lead to
the ticket office and waiting area. The ticket office still
sports an old-style “M” with “Central” underneath, reminiscent
of early days under the MTA’s aegis. There are stairs from the
waiting area to both platforms and an ADA elevator . A series of small glass and
mosaic sculptures, Travelin’ Time by Martha
Jackson-Jarvis (1991), are installed on the ceiling of the main
The old brick station building facing South
West Street on the corner of Mount Vernon Avenue still has a
terra-cotta “NEW YORK CENTRAL RR” sign over the former main
entrance, and has clearly had at least two additions made since
its days as railroad property. The building now houses studios,
stores, and a Chase Bank branch. Two sealed arches are on Mount
Vernon Avenue under the overpass, in line with the platforms –
the arch in line with the Track 2/4 platform has “EXIT” carved
over it in the concrete.
Mount Vernon Freight Yard is north of the
station on the east side of the main line, and the two remaining
tracks of Mount Vernon Passenger Yard are on the west side of
the main. The former VO tower stood on the west side of the
Trains on Tracks 2 and 4 (formerly 2 and
Fleetwood 6 stub) stop at a 12-car high-level island platform,
and trains on Track 1 stop at a 12-car side platform. The
platforms are offset, with the south end of the Track 1 platform
about six cars north of the south end of the Track 2/4 island
platform. Parking is east of the station. The station building
and overpass front on North Broad Street. Arthur Gonzalez’
bronze sculpture Time Catcher (1990), a tribute to those
who built the railroad and a part of a three-part serial
installation, is on the inside of the overpass wall. The Cross
County Parkway crosses over the northern half of the Track 1
Bronxville has two twelve-car high-level
side platforms that sit outside Tracks 1 and 4, with parking on
the Track 1 side. There is no platform for the center track The station building was built in 1916, and
has been painstakingly restored to its original appearance,
matching the tile-roof Spanish Mission style of most of the
downtown area. Pondfield Road crosses under the middle of the
station, and there is another underpass towards the south
end. It is thought that Metro-North has enough right of way to
four track the line to White Plains.
Tuckahoe has two
twelve-car high-level side platforms for access to Tracks 1 and
4. The center track has no paltform The station building, stairs, elevator and overpass have been
recently renovated, in conjunction with the rehabilitation of
the Main Street overpass. The Finder/The Seekers (1990)
two cast bronze sculptures by Arthur Gonzalez, are located above
each platform on the outside walls of the elevator shafts, and
are part of the sculptural trilogy begun at Fleetwood. There is
limited parking on both sides of this station.
Crestwood is fully ADA accessible, with a
twelve-car high-level island platform serving Tracks 2 and 4 and
a twelve-car high-level side platform for Track 1. The ticket
office is located in the overpass. The Discovery (1990),
the last in Arthur Gonzalez’ trilogy of bronze sculptures, is
mounted on an overpass wall.
The original station building is next to
the Track 4 platform with bits of the original low platform
remaining intact. Construction of the high-level platforms
necessitated having part of the roof edge and platform sheared
off closely due to clearance issues.
North of Crestwood, Track 4 ends at CP 117,
and the line continues north to Southeast and CP 154 with two
tracks, numbered west to east 2 and 1.
At Scarsdale, the railroad travels in an
area with a steep hill on the Track 1 side between the Popham
Road overpass on the south end and the Bronx River Parkway
overpass on the north end. There are high-level side platforms
for twelve cars on the Track 1 side and eleven cars on the Track
2 side. There is a parking lot on the Track 1 side south of
Popham Road, and a 4 level parking garage one block south of the
station on the Track 1 side.
There are two
Tudor-style station buildings, one at right-of-way level on the
Track 2 side and the other at the top of the hill on the Track 1
side. The Track 2-side building and the crossover have recently
been rehabilitated, and are in excellent condition. Tom
Nussbaum’s whimsical steel silhouettes of travelers and railroad
workers, Travelers (1990), grace the edges of the station
twelve-car high-level island platforms, offset about four cars
from one another (the Track 1 platform extends further south,
past the Fennimore Road overpass). The station building is on the
Track 2 side. Parking consists of an open-air lot extending well
south oef the Track 1 platform and a large multilevel parking
garage towards the north end of the Track 2 platform. Larger
versions of Nussbaum’s steel silhouettes in the Travelers
series are located between the tracks.
White Plains station has a ten-car
high-level island platform serving both tracks and a ten-car
side platform on the Track 1 side. Both platforms are fully ADA
accessible. Trains stopping on Track 1 must open doors on both
the island and side platform. The side platform is directly
connected to the multi-level parking garage, with two entry
access points, one at the far north end, and the other in the
middle of the platform area. The ticket office and main waiting
area are on the island platform. Two staircases and an up
escalator connect the platform and street level from this area.
An additional staircase leads up and over to the parking garage,
while the elevator serves all three levels (parking garage,
island platform, street level). There is another staircase
further south on the island platform leading to Hamilton Avenue,
and a ramp leading to still another staircase to Main Street at
the far south end of the island platform. The White Plains
TransCenter bus terminal is next to the parking garage and
serves many Bee-Line Bus routes, along with other carriers.
The former White Plains station was south
of the current station, on the other side of Main Street.
Remnants of the former low-level platform may be seen south of
the staircase to Main Street, and the station building proper
was located where the Bank Street Commons apartments stand now.
Holland Avenue was a low-level
northbound-only side platform located near the south end of
today's North White Plains station. It closed when the new North
White Plains station was opened in 1972.
The current North White Plains station was
built in 1972, and has been rebuilt with two twelve-car
high-level island platforms. Tracks 2 and 4 share the west
platform and tracks 1 and 3 share the east platform. At The
Table (1991), a series of small cast-aluminum sculptures by
Rolando Briseño, are visible at the top of the platform columns.
The ticket booth, a newsstand, staircases and elevators to both
platforms and parking areas are in the crossover at the far
north end. There are additional exits via stairs near the center
of the platforms. There is parking on both sides of the station
– the parking area on the Track 2 side is notorious for flooding
in the slightest rain. The original station was a short
low-level platform on the Track 2 side north of the current
station, intended primarily for use during engine changes from
diesel to electric for southbound trains from Brewster and
The Harlem Line from North White Plains to
Southeast (Brewster North) was electrified in 1983. Prior to
this, all stations had low-level platforms on the same side as
their station buildings. All current stations from North White
Plains to Wassaic are ADA accessible, with the exception of
Mount Pleasant and Appalachian Trail.
Valhalla has a six-car high-level island
platform, with the entrance/exit overpass on the south end. The
former station building, now in use as a restaurant, is on the
Track 1 side, along with remnants of the old low platform.
Kensico had a low-level side platform on
the Track 2 side. The Tudor-style former station building is now
the administration building for Kensico Cemetery.
Mount Pleasant has two 25-foot-long
high-level side platforms. Limited service is provided here,
with one northbound and one southbound train each on weekdays
and three trains in each direction on weekends.
Hawthorne, originally named Unionville, has an eight-car
high-level island platform, with access through the overpass
from both sides of the tracks. A small former station
building and low platform are located on the Track 1 side.
Parking is scattered on both sides of the tracks.
Thornwood was abandoned as a passenger
station with the coming of electrification, as it was deemed to
have too low a passenger count and too-awkward parking to
justify building a high-level platform. The former station
building (now used by the local Chamber of Commerce) is on the
Track 1 side, and there are some remnants of the asphalt of the
old low platform.
Pleasantville has a six-car high-level
platform in an open cut, stairs at both ends, and an elevator in
the crossover on the north end. A series of 22 cast-bronze
chairs, Almost Home (2002) by Kane Chanh Do and Jane
Greenfield, appear as if they’d been taken from home and placed
in the overpass and on the platform to provide a comfy place to
sit, less regimented than a simple bench.
The platform was originally located at
grade level, but was placed in an open cut in the course of a
1950's New York Central grade-crossing elimination program which
eliminated the Bedford Road and Manville Road grade crossings,
among others. The original stone station building is up on
street level, facing Wheeler Road on the Track 1 side. Vestiges
of the original right-of-way are visible from the Track 1 side
north of the station, although difficult to pick out.
Chappaqua has an eight-car high-level
island platform. The original low platform and recently
renovated fieldstone station building are located on the Track 1
side. The entrance/exit overpass is located towards the south
end of the platform. Parking is on the Track 1 side.
Mount Kisco has an eight-car island
platform. The brick station building, similar in design to
Chappaqua and Bedford Hills, houses the ticket office and
waiting area and a coffee shop/bakery. Prominently featured on
the track side of the building is an old-fashioned station sign,
showing the distances to Chatham and New York. Exit is towards
the south end with stairs and elevator, with parking extending
north and south of the station on the Track 1 side.
The station and the right-of-way were
formerly on the other side of the parking lot. Both were moved
to their current location in order to eliminate the Main Street
grade crossing, in the course of the same grade-crossing
elimination program that eliminated the Bedford Road and
Manville Road crossings in Pleasantville. Vestiges of the former
location of the right-of-way are seen in the Young & Halstead
sidetrack, about a quarter-mile north of the station on the
Track 1 side.
Bedford Hills has a six-car island platform
with the entrance/exit overpass towards the middle of the
platform. The brick station building, now used for offices, has
a “Bedford Hills” sign on the south side, and old low platform
footprints are still visible. Parking on is primarily on the
Track 2 side.
Katonah has an eight-car island platform
just north of the Jay Street grade crossing, with the
entrance/exit overpass towards the south end. The former Katonah
station, south of the crossing, is now a restaurant. The old low
platforms are clearly visible, and some of the old fluorescent
light stanchions are still visible if you look closely.
The Village of Katonah was originally
located one mile north of its present location. When reservoir
construction for New York City water supply was planned, it was
determined the area where the Village stood would be under
water. As a result, the entire Village of Katonah, train station
and all, was picked up and moved to where it stands now. It’s
impossible to determine the exact former location of the station
building, although there are other abandoned concrete structures
visible on the Track 2 side that give clues.
This station was extensively reconstructed
in 2003/2004. It has an eight-car island platform, with stairs
to the overpass on the south end, stairs and an elevator to a
second overpass nearer the north end, and a third staircase on
the north end leading to Route 138. Parking has been greatly
expanded, with a large lot south of the station on the Track 2
side, a second smaller lot north of Route 138 on the Track 2
side, and a third lot across Route 684 from the station. A small
brick former station building and remnants of the old low
platform are on the Track 2 side.
Purdy's has an eight-car island platform
with the entrance/exit overpass towards the middle of the
platform and parking on the Track 2 side. The former brick
station building is on the Track 2 side. Purdy’s was named for
Daniel Pardieu (anglicized to “Purdy”). His family owned
property that the New York & Harlem Railroad wanted to use for
their right of way. Pardieu agreed to sell the land to the NY&H,
with two provisions: there would be a passenger station built on
the property, and at least two trains a day would stop there on
their way to and from New York. The station is quite literally
Pardieu’s – now Purdy’s – station.
Croton Falls has a four-car high-level
platform. This is the third station built at Croton Falls, and
both of the former station buildings are still in use, although
no longer railroad property. The original station building is a
brown wooden barn-like structure east of Track 1, towards the
south end of the current station. The second station building is
a small brick building on the west side of Track 2. Parking is
on the Track 2 side, regulated by the Village of Croton Falls.
The station in the Village of Brewster has
a four-car island platform, just south of a grade crossing. The
former station building is on the Track 1 side, with remnants of
the old low-level platform. Parking here and at Southeast is
primarily by permits issued by the Town of Southeast.
Between here and Southeast are the remnants
of Putnam Junction (the connection to the Putnam Division),
along with Brewster Yard on the Track 2 side.
Southeast (formerly Brewster North), named
for its location in the unincorporated section of the Town of
Southeast, is an eight-car island platform, with the
entrance/exit overpass on the south end. Parking has expanded
dramatically over the last twenty years from a single unpaved,
badly rutted lot to a huge paved lot with over 600 permit spaces
and a few metered spaces next to the station on the Track 2 side
and a second paved, metered lot further north on the same side.
(Yes, all those people waited years for the privilege of paying
the Town of Southeast for permits, and no, they don’t even tell
you what it will cost for one on the Town of Southeast’s web
site, since you can’t get one without spending years on the
This station was recently renamed, as after
nearly forty years of service and untold thousands of
announcements and explicit directions, folks would still insist
on getting off the train at Brewster village station after being
told at least five times in the course of their trip that
connections to Dover Plains were made at “Brewster North, not
the Village of Brewster.”
Just north of Southeast at CP 154, third
rail territory ends, and the line becomes single track the
remainder of the way up to Wassaic. There are passing sidings
south of Patterson, north of Harlem Valley – Wingdale, and north
of Dover Plains.
Dykemans was north of the NY Route 312
grade crossing, with a low side platform and a small shelter on
the west side of the Main Track, and a station name sign posted
on the east side.
Metro-North’s Beacon Line (freight only)
has a track connection to the Harlem Line north of Dykemans at
CP 155, and then crosses over the Harlem Line just south of
Towners was located south of the Towners
Road/NY Route 164 grade crossing.
Patterson has a four-car high-level
platform on the west side of the Main Track, south of the Main
Street/NY Route 311 grade crossing. Parking is scattered around
the station area.
Pawling has a four-car high-level platform
and parking areas on the east side of the Main Track, with the
primary parking area nearest the station. Parking south of the
station is regulated by the Village of Pawling. The former
station building is south of the current station on the west
side of the Main, near a pedestrian crossing. It was recently
remodeled to give it the flavor of an old-time station. The
original station building was north of this building, and was
destroyed by an arson fire in the 1970's.
opened in 1990, has a short low platform nearly as long as its
sign on the east side, accommodating one trapdoor.[ a trapdoor
lifts up and latches, exposing the stairs to allow use of a low
platform.] The station serves hikers using the Trail, with
weekend morning stops by northbound trains and weekend evening
stops by southbound trains.
A four-car high-level platform is on the
east side of the Main Track, with parking located on the west
side of the track. The current Harlem Valley-Wingdale station
was formerly named State Hospital, after the former Harlem
Valley State Mental Hospital located across Route 22 from the
station. It was combined with the Wingdale station in order to
provide more parking spaces.
If ever the Harlem Valley Psychiatric
Center’s grounds are redeveloped, there may be a need for quite
a bit more parking than the current lot affords. One attempt at
redevelopment has been made, with limited success.
The original station in the hamlet of
Wingdale was about 3/4 mile to the north of the current station
on the east side of the Main Track, just south of Pleasant Ridge
Road crossing. The building has been demolished and no trace is
left, aside from the empty space.
Dover Furnace, so named for iron-smelting
furnaces that had been plentiful in the area, had a full-size
station building and a low-level side platform at mile post
72.5. Nothing remains here now but memories and the Dover
Furnace Road overpass.
Passenger service on the Harlem Line
terminated here from 1972 until April 2000. A four-car
high-level platform is located on the west side of the Main
Track, along with the original station building. Parking is on
the east side of the Main, and has eased considerably since the
opening of Tenmile River and Wassaic stations.
Tenmile River has a
two-car high-level platform on the east side. The original
Timetable name of the station was State School, referring to the
former Wassaic State School for the Mentally Retarded located
here (now the Taconic Developmental Disabilities Services
Office). "Tenmile" is the official Timetable spelling of the
station name, although Hagstrom and Rand McNally maps of the
area show the river itself as "Ten Mile River."
The original station was located in the
hamlet of Wassaic, just south of the Furnace Bank Road grade
crossing on the east side of the Main Track. The old building is
long since gone to dust. Due to the impossibility of providing
parking here, when Metro-North reopened passenger service it was
necessary to construct an entirely new facility north of town.
The new Wassaic station is about seven-tenths
of a mile north of its former location in town, set in the
foothills of the Berkshire Mountains in a scenic valley. It has
a four-car high-level platform on the east side. Metal
sculptures of cows (Arrival (2000) by Ann Huibregtse),
tribute to the rural nature of the area and the Borden
milk-processing plant that was nearby, are on the landscaped
area near the platform. The parking lot east of the station,
full of cars with Massachusetts plates that used to take up all
the long-term parking at Dover Plains, is accessed just south of
the station by an at-grade crossing. A small storage yard is
north of the station. The yard-office building, with facilities
for train crews and maintenance staff, is built in a
timber-framed style reminiscent of an old-fashioned rural camp.
There is talk of further service re-opening
on this line, but there are currently no concrete plans.
The New York Central Harlem Line continued
northward from here to Chatham, where it connected with the
Boston and Albany Railroad, another New York Central subsidiary.
After the Central and Pennsylvania combined
to form Penn Central in 1966 – by all accounts a marriage not
made in heaven – the bean counters came out in force. The Penn
Central shed lines and facilities mercilessly; making clear that
service to the traveling public was close to dead last on their
list of priorities. One of their early targets was the Harlem
Line north of Dover Plains.
The Harlem Valley Transportation
Association and others fought the abandonment of service as best
they could. They begged the Penn Central to either put the
stations north of Dover Plains in the “Metropolitan District”
(which would make them commuter stations, and less subject to
abandonment without a fight) or to have Amtrak serve them as
being outside a commuter district. The Penn Central, however,
was hell-bent to cut corners and costs wherever they could,
whether a specific cut made sense or not, and the Harlem Line
was abandoned north of Milepost 82.4 in April 1972.
The station in the hamlet of Amenia was
closed when the Penn Central abandoned the line north of
Sharon Station was built to serve the town
of Sharon, Connecticut, just over the nearby state line. The
original 1873 station building has been beautifully restored as
a private residence.
Coleman’s Station was named after Amasa D.
Coleman, who successfully petitioned the New York & Harlem
Railroad to open a station here in 1851.
Millerton was named for the Chief Engineer
of the New York & Harlem Railroad, Sidney Miller. Both the New
York Central and New York & Harlem passenger station buildings
are still in use by businesses, and it isn’t at all difficult to
pick out the old right-of-way here.
Mount Riga was a very popular tourist
destination, abounding in scenic hiking and picnicking areas.
Once a quite rowdy area because of its
distance from any arm of Massachusetts law (this area was at
first part of Massachusetts, hence the name “Boston Corners”),
this is now a sleepy little town with few vestiges of its former
self. This had been an interchange point with the Central New
England Railroad, a subsidiary of the New York, New Haven and
Iron mines were part of the industrial
scene around Copake Falls when the Harlem Line was built, along
with gristmills and sawmills. The mills, smelting, mining, and
manufacturing operations were all powered by the abundant wood
and water available. The area remains quite scenic, and the
Copake Falls area of Taconic State Park is located nearby.
Hillsdale is a hamlet within the town of
Copake, and shared the same abundant resources with Copake
Craryville had one of many milk-processing
plants along the Harlem, and a spur track to Copake Lake for ice
Martindale was named after a local
landowner, and had a gristmill, stores and houses.
Philmont was a woolen-mill town, once known
as “Factory Hill” because of the number of wool processing
Ghent had wool and cotton processing mills,
fabric manufacturers, and paper mills among its industries.
When the Harlem Line opened to Chatham in
1847, Chatham was a thriving industrial community, with paper
mills, weaving mills, and others taking advantage of the area’s
numerous waterways to power their industries. Farming was also a
major source of income. With the junction between the New York &
Harlem and the Boston & Albany Railroads, Chatham became a major
transportation hub as well. Chatham is still very much a
railroad town, as the former Boston & Albany line (now CSX)
still runs through town.
My main source has been working on the Harlem Line as a
conductor and engineer for the last twenty years. Nothing
beats living in the area and working on a line for learning
not only the "physical characteristics," but the reasons why
things are the way they are. My friends and co-workers have
been an invaluable source of history and information.
The best resource for further reading, if you can find it,
is The Coming of the New York and Harlem Railroad, by
Louis V. Grogan (1989, self-published, ISBN10: 0962120650.
ISBN13: 9780962120657). Mr. Grogan was generous enough to
personally autograph a copy of his book for me, and it was a
tremendous help in many ways.