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Metro North Railroad Harlem Line

by Peggy Darlington And Mary Donch

 

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 1972.

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 Brennan's Page for more information on the closed stations in the tunnel.

 

 

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 Brennan's Page for more information on the closed stations in the tunnel.

 

 

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 Brennan's Page for more information on the closed stations in the tunnel.

 

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 1990's.

 

110th Street had two side platforms. Very little other information is available about this station. See Brennan's Page for more information on the closed stations in the tunnel.

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 cars.

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 White Plains.

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 counts.

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 Fordham.

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 2 train and 5 train White Plains Road subway lines run parallel to the Harlem Line a few blocks to the east. 

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 waiting area.

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 tracks.

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 platform. 

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 canopies. 

Hartsdale has 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 points north. 

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 waiting list.)

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. 

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. 

Appalachian Trail, 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 Wassaic. 

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 Hartford Railroad. 

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 Falls. 

Craryville had one of many milk-processing plants along the Harlem, and a spur track to Copake Lake for ice harvesting. 

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 factories. 

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.

Sources
 
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.

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