Harlem Line

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     Harlem Line
Metro-North logo.svg
Metro-North M7A 4060 leaves White Plains on Train 465.jpg
Train #645 leaves the White Plains station, northbound to Southeast.
Type Commuter rail
System Metro-North
Status Operating
Locale New York City, Westchester, Putnam, and Dutchess counties
Termini Grand Central Terminal
(end of electric service)
(end of line)
Stations 38
Daily ridership 43,076
Owner Argent Ventures
(south of CP 76.2)
(north of Dover Plains)
Operator(s) Metro-North
Character Commuter rail
Track length 82-mile (132 km)
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Electrification 750 V DC third rail south of Southeast
Route map
former New York Central to Chatham
Wassaic Yard
Tenmile River
Zone 10
Zone 9
Dover Plains
Dover Furnace (closed)
Harlem Valley – Wingdale
Zone 9
Zone 8
Appalachian Trail
Towners (closed)
Beacon Line diverges
Dyckmans (closed)
Interstate 84
end of electrification
Zone 8
Zone 7
Southeast Diesel Facility
Putnam Junction wye
former Putnam Division diverges
Croton Falls
Zone 7
Zone 6
Golden's Bridge
Tilly Foster
Lake Mahopac
Putnam Division
former Mahopac Branch diverged
Bedford Hills
Mt. Kisco
Zone 6
Zone 5
Thornwood closed
Taconic State Parkway
Mt. Pleasant
Kensico Cemetery closed
Bronx River Parkway
Zone 5
Zone 4
North White Plains Yard
North White Plains
Cross-Westchester Expressway
White Plains
Bronx River Parkway
Bronx River Parkway
Zone 4
Zone 3
Cross County Parkway
Mt. Vernon West
Zone 3
Zone 2
Bronx River Parkway
New Haven Line diverges
Williams Bridge
Botanical Garden
183rd St (closed)
Claremont Park (closed)
Morrisania (closed)
former Port Morris connection diverged
Hudson Line diverges
138th St (closed)
Major Deegan Expressway
Park Avenue Bridge
Zone 2
Zone 1
Harlem – 125th Street
110th St (closed)
Park Avenue Tunnel
86th St (closed)
72nd St (closed)
59th St (closed)
Grand Central Terminal

Metro-North's Harlem Line, originally chartered as the New York & Harlem Railroad, is an 82-mile (132 km) commuter rail line running north from New York City into eastern Dutchess County. The lower 53 miles (86 km) from Grand Central Terminal to Southeast, in Putnam County, is electrified with a third rail and has two (or more) tracks; north of that point, trains use diesel locomotives on a single track. The diesel trains run as a shuttle on the northern end of the line except during rush hours, when they run as expresses to or from Grand Central. There is also one direct roundtrip to Grand Central on weekends. While the line has traditionally served to bring commuters from Westchester County to jobs in the city, in recent years it has begun to see more "reverse commuting", as Bronx residents use it to reach jobs in Southern Westchester where many stations are within walking distance of city centers. The northern reaches of the line are also close enough to Western Massachusetts to enable residents of part of that region to commute to jobs in the city as well.

With 38 stations, the Harlem Line has the most of any Metro-North main line. Its northern terminal, Wassaic, is the northernmost station in the system. It is the only Metro-North line used exclusively by that carrier (no use by Amtrak, though CSX services freight customers as far north as Mount Vernon) and the only one that uses the entirety of existing track. Metro-North has assigned it the color code blue, used as trim on station signs and spot color on printed timetables. The blue color-coding appears to have started with timetables issued by predecessor New York Central as far back as 1965.


Prior to becoming part of the Metro-North system, the line continued all the way north to Chatham, New York, where connections could be made Albany to the west, or Boston to the east on the Boston and Albany Railroad. Additional connections could be made to railroads serving North Bennington, Vermont and other points in western Vermont. Chatham is about 52 miles past the current terminal at Wassaic. In Boston Corners, about 12 miles north of Wassaic, passengers could make connections to the Central New England Railroad. To the east, the CNE went to Hartford, Connecticut. Westward, passengers could travel to Poughkeepsie, cross the Poughkeepsie Bridge, finally to Campbell Hall.[1][2]

Passenger service from Dover Plains to Chatham was abandoned in 1972. Penn Central operated the last southbound passenger train between Chatham and Grand Central Terminal on March 20, 1972, ending service in the middle of the day. With no scheduled return trip to Chatham, passengers who had gone south in the morning were left stranded, with service going only as far north as Dover Plains (52 miles shy of Chatham).[3][4] Tracks were removed north of Millerton shortly thereafter.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) leased the line south of Dover Plains from Penn Central on June 1, 1972. In 1980. freight service between Dover Plains and Millerton was abandoned, with tracks removed from Wassaic to Millerton. On July 9, 2000, Metro-North restored service between Dover Plains and Wassaic, a move the railroad billed as its first service expansion since it was created in 1983.

The segment of the line that ran from Wassaic to Craryville, New York is now under control of the Harlem Valley Rail Trail Association which currently has trails operating from Wassaic to the former Millerton station and between Under Mountain Road and Copake Falls, known as the Harlem Valley Rail Trail.


Metro-North electrified the territory north of North White Plains to Southeast in 1984, which resulted in tremendous ridership growth. Prior to this, the line was operated primarily in two zones: electric south of North White Plains, and diesel through-service or RDC shuttle service north.[5] With electrification completed, service north of Southeast is now operated as either diesel shuttle or through service. Although service to Wassaic is separately stated in the Harlem Line timetable and is publicly referred to as the "Wassaic Branch", it is operationally part of the main line.


With the entire existing track in use since service to Wassaic was restored in 2000, there is little talk of expansion or branching. For now, Metro-North and the MTA have focused on improving existing facilities on the line, particularly stations such as Brewster where increasing usage has caused parking shortages.


The Harlem Line currently has no operational branches. Under New York Central ownership, it previously operated a 7.22 mi (11.62 km) branch to Lake Mahopac, NY to a connection with the Putnam Division. This line was originally a subsidiary known as the New York and Mahopac Railroad (1871-1880), and had one station between the two lines in Lincolndale. After the discontinuance of passenger service on the Putnam Division in 1958, the Central operated a shuttle service known as "around the horn" which continued on Putnam Division trackage north of Lake Mahopac to Mahopac, Carmel, and Brewster where it reconnected with the Harlem Division main line. This service lasted until 1959.[6] The only active remnant of this branch is a wye north of Brewster station known as Putnam Junction.[7] There are some remains of the right-of-way of the branch, including a bridge just west of the Golden's Bridge station, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

North of Brewster is a connection with Metro-North's Beacon Line, which was purchased by Metro-North for preservation for future use. There are currently no plans for branch service on this line, which runs north and west to Hopewell Junction, and then south and west to Beacon. It also runs east to Danbury, but a reverse move would be required.[8]

In the opposite direction, there was the freight-only Port Morris Branch. This was part of a line which was originally part of the Spuyten Duyvil and Port Morris Railroad which was established in 1842.[9] The railroad was bought by the New York and Harlem Railroad in 1853, and the segment north of Mott Haven Junction became part of the NYC Hudson Division. The Port Morris Branch began at a wye north of Melrose Station, then extended southeast through The Hub, through a tunnel under St. Mary's Park,[10] and finally Port Morris along the East River just after crossing a bridge beneath the Harlem River and Port Chester Branch of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad. The only two stations along this branch were at Westchester Avenue between Brook and St Mary's Avenues and at Port Morris itself across the river from North Brother Island.[11] This partly electrified branch was abandoned about 1999. [12]

Station stops[edit]

Town/City Milepost Zone Station Connections
Manhattan 0.0 1 Grand Central Terminal BSicon SUBWAY.svg NYC Subway: NYCS 4 NYCS 5 NYCS 6 NYCS 6d NYCS 7 NYCS 7d 42nd Street Shuttle (at Grand Central – 42nd Street)
Bus transport NYCT Bus: BxM1, M1, M2, M3, M4, M42, M101, M102, M103, QM21, Q32, X2, X5, X10, X12, X14, X22, X22A, X27, X28, X31, X37, X38, X42, X63, X64, X68
4.2 Harlem – 125th Street NYC Transit: NYCS 4 NYCS 5 NYCS 6 NYCS 6d (at 125th Street)
Bus transport NYCT Bus: M1 (NB), M35, M60 to LGA, M98, M100, M101, Bx15
Manhattan / Bronx border
Hudson Line splits
The Bronx 6.1 2 Melrose Bus transport NYCT Bus: Bx6, Bx13, Bx32, Bx41, Bx41 SBS
7.9 Tremont Bus transport NYCT Bus: Bx15, Bx36, Bx40, Bx41, Bx42, Bx55
8.9 Fordham BSicon BAHN.svg Metro-North: New Haven Line
Bus transport NYCT Bus: Bx9, Bx12, Bx12 SBS, Bx15, Bx17, Bx22, Bx34, Bx41, Bx41 SBS
Bus transport MTA Bus: BxM4
Bus transport Bee-Line Bus: 60, 61, 62
9.5 Botanical Garden Bus transport NYCT Bus: Bx26, Bx41, Bx41 SBS
10.5 Williams Bridge BSicon SUBWAY.svg NYC Subway: NYCS 2 NYCS 5 (at Gun Hill Road)
Bus transport NYCT Bus: Bx28, Bx30, Bx38, Bx39, Bx41, Bx41 SBS
Bus transport MTA Bus: BxM11
11.8 Woodlawn BSicon SUBWAY.svg NYC Subway: NYCS 2 NYCS 5 (at 233rd Street)
Bus transport NYCT Bus: Bx16, Bx39
Bus transport MTA Bus: BxM11
Bus transport Bee-Line Bus: 42
New Haven Line splits
12.6 2 Wakefield BSicon SUBWAY.svg NYC Subway: NYCS 2 (at Wakefield – 241st Street)
Bus transport NYCT Bus: Bx39
Bus transport MTA Bus: BxM11
Bus transport Bee-Line Bus: 40, 41, 42, 43
Bronx / Westchester County border
Mount Vernon 13.1 3 Mount Vernon West Bus transport Bee-Line Bus: 7, 26, 91
14.3 Fleetwood Bus transport Bee-Line Bus: 26, 55
Bronxville 15.3 Bronxville Bus transport Bee-Line Bus: 26, 30, 52
Tuckahoe 16.0 Tuckahoe Bus transport Bee-Line Bus: 8
16.7 Crestwood
Scarsdale 19.0 4 Scarsdale Bus transport Bee-Line Bus: 63, 64, 65, 66
Hartsdale 20.6 Hartsdale Bus transport Bee-Line Bus: 34, 38, 39
White Plains 22.3 White Plains Bus transport Bee-Line Bus: 1W, 3, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 20, 21, 27, 40, 41, 60, 62, 63, 77, 79, A, B, C, D, F, H
Bus transport CT Transit: I-BUS
Bus transport Transport of Rockland: Tappan Zee Express
23.8 North White Plains Bus transport Bee-Line Bus: 6
Valhalla 25.5 5 Valhalla Bus transport Bee-Line Bus: 6
Hawthorne 27.2 Mount Pleasant
28.2 Hawthorne Bus transport Bee-Line Bus: 15
Pleasantville 30.5 Pleasantville Bus transport Bee-Line Bus: 6, 15, 19
Chappaqua 32.4 Chappaqua Bus transport Bee-Line Bus: 19
Mount Kisco 36.5 6 Mount Kisco Bus transport Bee-Line Bus: 19
Bedford Hills 39.2 Bedford Hills Bus transport Bee-Line Bus: 19
Katonah 41.2 Katonah Bus transport Bee-Line Bus: 19
Bus transport HARTransit: Ridgefield-Katonah Shuttle
Goldens Bridge 43.7 Golden's Bridge
North Salem 46.0 7 Purdy's
47.7 Croton Falls Bus transport Short Line Bus: Croton Falls Shuttle
Westchester County / Putnam County border
Brewster 51.9 7 Brewster Bus transport HARTransit: 3, Danbury-Brewster Shuttle
Bus transport Putnam Transit: 1
53.2 Southeast Bus transport HARTransit: New Fairfield-Southeast Shuttle
North end of Electrified rail
Patterson 60.2 8 Patterson Bus transport Putnam Transit: 3
Putnam County / Dutchess County border
Pawling 63.7 8 Pawling Bus transport Dutchess County LOOP: E
65.9 Appalachian Trail
Wingdale 69.0 9 Harlem Valley – Wingdale
Dover Plains 76.2 Dover Plains Bus transport Dutchess County LOOP: D
Amenia 80.0 10 Tenmile River Bus transport Dutchess County LOOP: D
82.0 Wassaic

Abandoned Stations[edit]

Unless otherwise noted, these stations were abandoned prior to Metro-North's operation of the line.

Locality Miles
to GCT
Station Station
Lat/long Notes/Connections
Manhattan 86th Street [13] Also served the Hudson Division
110th Street [14] Also served the Hudson Division
The Bronx 138th Street [15] Also served the Hudson Division; Built in 1886, and reduced to sheltered platforms
in 1964. Closed by either Penn Central or the MTA.
Morrisania [16]
Claremont Park [17]
183rd Street [18]
Westchester Holland Avenue [19] Replaced by North White Plains station in 1972.
Kensico 41°05′38″N 73°46′36″W / 41.0939°N 73.7767°W / 41.0939; -73.7767 Closed by Metro-North in 1983
Thornwood 41°07′16″N 73°46′56″W / 41.1211°N 73.7822°W / 41.1211; -73.7822 Closed in 1984; Abandoned during conversion to high-level platforms/track curvature
Putnam Dykemans 41°26′03″N 73°37′07″W / 41.4343°N 73.6187°W / 41.4343; -73.6187 Replaced by Brewster-North station in 1980.
Towners 41°28′46″N 73°36′37″W / 41.4794°N 73.6102°W / 41.4794; -73.6102
Dutchess Dover Furnace 41°41′01″N 73°35′02″W / 41.6836°N 73.5839°W / 41.6836; -73.5839
Passenger service north of Dover Plains ceased in 1972; Freight service ceased between 1976 and 1980;
Metro-North re-established passenger service between Dover Plains and Wassaic in 2000 due to expanding ridership.
State School Replaced by Tenmile River station in 2000.
Wassaic Abandoned in 1972, rebuilt in 2000. Current end of service.
Trackage from Wassaic to Chatham was abandoned by Conrail between 1979 and 1983.
Amenia 41°50′47″N 73°33′06″W / 41.8465°N 73.5518°W / 41.8465; -73.5518
Sharon 41°53′00″N 73°31′11″W / 41.8834°N 73.5196°W / 41.8834; -73.5196
Coleman's 41°54′7″N 73°31′6″W / 41.90194°N 73.51833°W / 41.90194; -73.51833
Millerton 41°57′14″N 73°30′41″W / 41.9539°N 73.5115°W / 41.9539; -73.5115 Also served Central New England Railway Millerton Spur, and possibly
Newburgh, Dutchess and Connecticut Railroad. No freight service north of here after 1976.
Columbia Mount Riga Also served Central New England Railway until 1938.
Boston Corners
Copake Falls 42°07′14″N 73°31′13″W / 42.1206°N 73.5204°W / 42.1206; -73.5204
Martindale 42°12′28″N 73°37′45″W / 42.207811°N 73.629084°W / 42.207811; -73.629084
Philmont 42°15′3.24″N 73°38′38.4″W / 42.2509000°N 73.644000°W / 42.2509000; -73.644000
Ghent 42°19′37″N 73°37′07″W / 42.3270°N 73.6187°W / 42.3270; -73.6187 Junction with Boston and Albany Railroad Hudson Branch.
No freight service south of here after 1976.
Chatham 42°21′43″N 73°35′49″W / 42.36194°N 73.59694°W / 42.36194; -73.59694 Junction with Boston and Albany Railroad Main Line and Rutland Railroad
Northern terminus of NYC Harlem Division until 1972.

Lake Mahopac Branch[edit]

Locality Miles
to GCT
Station Station
Lat/long Notes/Connections
Westchester Katonah [20] 41°15′35″N 73°41′03″W / 41.2598°N 73.6841°W / 41.2598; -73.6841 Still serves the Harlem Main Line
Harlem Line & Lake Mahopac Branch splits
Lincolndale [21]
Putnam Lake Mahopac [22] Currently an American Legion Hall.
Connection to Putnam Division branch
Tilly Foster Originally built for the Tilly Foster Mine which closed in 1897. Station continued to operate.
Putnam Junction; connection with Harlem Division and Brewster Yard; Putnam and Mahopac Branches turn south.
Brewster 41°23′40.92″N 73°37′11.28″W / 41.3947000°N 73.6198000°W / 41.3947000; -73.6198000 Still serves the Harlem Main Line
Northern terminus of Lake Mahopac Branch; Abandoned 1959.

Port Morris Branch[edit]

The entire line was in The Bronx, New York, and was exclusively for freight.[23]

Locality Miles
to GCT
Station Station
Lat/long Notes/Connections
Melrose Melrose 40°49′33″N 73°54′55″W / 40.8257°N 73.9154°W / 40.8257; -73.9154 Still serves the Harlem Main Line
Wye Junction with NYC Harlem Division (Main Line)
The Hub Westchester Avenue [24]
Port Morris West Junction with Oak Point Yard Connection severed
Bridge under Harlem River and Port Chester Railroad (NH)
East Junction with Oak Point Yard Former connection at end of Walnut Avenue
Port Morris [25]
Eastern terminus of Port Morris Branch; Abandoned.

Line description[edit]

The Harlem Line hews closely to roads along river-based transportation corridors dating back to even pre-rail times. It follows three major parkways closely from the Bronx northwards through Westchester: the Bronx River Parkway (and a short portion that becomes the Taconic State Parkway), the Saw Mill River Parkway and Interstate 684. In the last section it also begins to run close to NY 22, the long north-south two-lane state highway that parallels the eastern border of the state.

In Westchester, it serves some of that county's most affluent communities as it slowly trends eastward.


The Harlem Line begins at Grand Central Terminal. The train tracks rise to ground level north of 97th Street in Manhattan. After stopping at Harlem – 125th Street, the Harlem Line crosses the Harlem River at 135th Street in Manhattan, entering the Bronx.

In the Bronx, the Harlem Line cuts through the neighborhoods of the southwest Bronx, with two stations: Melrose, at 162nd Street (it then runs under the Cross Bronx Expressway (I-95) and Tremont, at 177th Street. Fordham station is next, at Fordham Road (190th Street). The Harlem Line then parallels the western edge of Fordham University until the Botanical Garden station at Bedford Park Boulevard (200th Street).

The Harlem Line then cuts northeast to join the Bronx River Parkway, which lies to the east of the tracks. The Williams Bridge station is next, at Gun Hill Road (210th Street). After the Williams Bridge station, Woodlawn Cemetery begins to the west of the tracks, with Webster Avenue in between the cemetery and tracks. The Woodlawn station is at 233rd Street.

The Harlem Line then goes under a bridge for the parkway, and it remains to the west of the tracks until Scarsdale station. The Wakefield station at 241st Street concludes the Bronx portion of the Harlem Line.

Westchester County[edit]

The Westchester portion of the Harlem Line begins at Bronx River Road in southeastern Yonkers. After the Mount Vernon West station, the Harlem Line runs along the on-ramp to the Cross County Parkway eastbound, right before Fleetwood station. After the Bronxville station, the Harlem Line parallels the Bronx River Parkway all the way up to White Plains.

From White Plains, the railroad winds its way through the city and passing through the yards at North White Plains which until 1984 was the northern boundary of third-rail electrification. The stretch north of North White Plains is unique because it is the only third-rail electrified stretch of Metro-North's network that has grade crossings, a byproduct of its existence pre-electrification. Katonah and Brewster are located right next to grade crossings.

After North White Plains, the next station is Valhalla adjacent to the Taconic State Parkway. The double-track railroad then curves to follow the Saw Mill River Valley and the eponymous parkway. Rail and road briefly separate at Mount Kisco, but then remain close by at the last stop along the Saw Mill, Bedford Hills (although the parkway cannot be seen from the station).

Past Katonah, the railroad runs between the Croton River and I-684. Golden's Bridge and Purdy's are both located very close to the interstate, although only the former can be seen from it. North of the latter, the tracks follow the river to Croton Falls, and pick up Route 22 for the first time.

Putnam County[edit]

After Croton Falls station, the Harlem Line runs along East Branch Reservoir and crosses into Putnam County and its rural landscape. Above Southeast station (formerly Brewster North), the railroad passes under Interstate 84 and through the yards at Putnam Junction. This is the northern boundary of third rail electrification. Diesel territory and single track begins here. The track finally follow its own course, away from any road or river, past the abandoned Towners station up to Patterson and into Dutchess County.

Dutchess County[edit]

Shortly before reaching Pawling, the line enters the Harlem Valley from which it takes its name and begins to parallel Route 22, although not as closely as it did the roads further south. A few miles north of Pawling the Appalachian Trail crossing has earned its own stop to allow thru-hikers to take a break in the city and day hikers to visit the nearby Pawling Nature Preserve.

The next two stops, Harlem Valley – Wingdale and Dover Plains, are roughly eight miles (13 km) apart, the longest distance between any two stops on the Harlem Line. Until 2000, Dover Plains was the last stop on the line, but then tracks remaining from the NYCRR era that had not yet been torn up were renovated and the line was extended to Tenmile River and its new northern terminus, Wassaic. A small yard where diesel trains await their routes just past the station marks the end of the line.

Rolling stock[edit]

On the electrified portions of the line, M3s and M7s are usually used. As with the Hudson Line, diesel-powered trains are driven by dual-mode Genesis and BL20-GH locomotives, paired with Shoreliner coaches. While some peak-period trains operate directly to and from Grand Central Terminal, most Harlem Line diesel-only territory is operated as shuttle service between Southeast (where electrification ends) and Wassaic, 29 miles north in Dutchess County.


  1. ^ Official Guide, 1910, p. 294.
  2. ^ 1901 CNE system map http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/94/1901_CNE_map.jpg
  3. ^ prrths.com
  4. ^ Faber, Harold (March 26, 1972). "Train Service to Upper Harlem Valley Terminated". The New York Times. p. 60. Retrieved 2011-07-03. 
  5. ^ Hudson, Edward (January 1, 1984). "Electrification Project Nears Completion on Harlem Line". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-07-03. 
  6. ^ Pierce Haviland web-site: Putnam Division
  7. ^ Station Reporter web-site: Harlem Line
  8. ^ Lombardi, Kate Stone (February 5, 1995). "Metro-North Buys A Line for Future". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-07-03. 
  9. ^ The Harlem Division (New York Central System Historical Society)
  10. ^ Port Morris Branch Tunnel Railway Gazette, Nov 10, 1905
  11. ^ 1921 New York Central Map of New York City (Canada Southern Railway Page)
  12. ^ Circumferential Subway route Michaelminn.net
  13. ^ 86th Street; Park Avenue (Brennan's Abandoned Stations web-site)
  14. ^ Bronx Railroad Stations (Brennan's Abandoned Stations web-site)
  15. ^ Penn Central ACMU 1044 at 138th Street Station; May 21, 1972 by Joe Testagrose (WorldNYCSubway.org)
  16. ^ Bronx Railroad Stations (Brennan's Abandoned Stations web-site)
  17. ^ Bronx Railroad Stations (Brennan's Abandoned Stations web-site)
  18. ^ Bronx Railroad Stations (Brennan's Abandoned Stations web-site)
  19. ^ Abandoned Holland Avenue Penn-Central Station; Photo by Steve Zabel; September 19, 1970 (WorldNYCSubway.org)
  20. ^ NY Existing Stations-Westchester
  21. ^ NY Existing Stations-Westchester
  22. ^ NY Existing Stations-Putnam
  23. ^ Port Morris Branch LTV Squad
  24. ^ 1921 New York Central Map of New York City (Canada Southern Railway Page)
  25. ^ 1921 New York Central Map of New York City (Canada Southern Railway Page)

External links[edit]