New York and Putnam Railroad
|New York and Putnam Railroad|
|Locale||New York, NY to Brewster, NY|
|Dates of operation||1881–1913|
|Successor||New York Central Railroad|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) (standard gauge)|
The New York and Putnam Railroad (nicknamed Old Put) was the final name for a railroad line heading north from New York City, between the Hudson River Railroad and the New York and Harlem Railroad. It became part of the New York Central system in 1894, was abandoned beginning in 1958, and has since been converted into a series of rail trails.
Early history: a route to Montreal 
The New York and Boston Railroad was chartered May 21, 1869 to build a line from High Bridge on the Harlem River in New York northeast to Brewster. At Brewster connections were to be provided to the New York and Harlem Railroad for travel north to Albany, and to the Boston, Hartford and Erie Railroad (completed 1881) east to Boston.
The New York, Boston and Northern Railway was formed on November 18, 1872 as a consolidation of the New York and Boston with two companies to the north — the Putnam and Dutchess Railroad and Dutchess and Columbia Railroad. The former was a plan for a line to split from the New York and Boston at Carmel and run north to a point about midway along the latter. The latter had opened in 1871, running from the Hudson River northeast, to the Connecticut border. The Clove Branch Railroad, chartered 1868 and opened 1869, was to serve as a short connection between the two parts of the planned line.
The New York, Boston and Montreal Railway was organized January 21, 1873 as a renaming of the New York, Boston and Northern. It was to continue north to Chatham and then use the Harlem Extension Railroad into Vermont. However, the Panic of 1873 caused the cancellation of the leases and mergers that December 1. Construction on the Putnam and Dutchess stopped, and the finished grading was never used; the Dutchess and Columbia Railroad later became part of the Central New England Railway; the Harlem Extension Railroad became a part of the Rutland Railroad, and the Clove Branch Railroad was abandoned in 1898.
Reorganization and completion 
The New York, Westchester and Putnam Railway was formed on July 3, 1877 as a reorganization, and was leased to the New York City and Northern Railroad, formed February 18, 1878, on March 1. The line finally opened under the original plan, ending at Brewster, in April 1881. That year, the New York and New England Railroad opened to the north, using some of the grade built for the Putnam and Dutchess Railroad.
The West Side and Yonkers Railway was chartered July 21, 1879 and leased to the NYC&N on May 1, 1880, extending the line south across the Harlem River to the northern terminal of the Ninth Avenue Elevated at 155th Street. It was merged into the NYC&N on July 16, 1887. In the 1910s, the Interborough Rapid Transit Company would buy that section to extend the Elevated north into the Bronx, cutting the Putnam back to Sedgwick Avenue.
The Mahopac Falls Railroad was chartered and opened in 1884, a short branch of the Putnam from Baldwin Place to Mahopac Mines. The line north of Mahopac Falls was abandoned in 1902. The MFRR was merged into the main company on March 7, 1913.
The company was foreclosed on July 22, 1887 and sold on August 17, being reorganized on October 11 as the New York and Northern Railway.
New York Central control 
The New York & Northern also failed, and on January 12, 1894 the New York and Putnam Railroad was organized by J. P. Morgan to buy the line. The purchase was made on January 15, and the NY&P was leased to the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad on February 1. On March 7, 1913 the NY&P was merged into the NY&HR, becoming its Putnam Division. Passengers could transfer at High Bridge to the Hudson Division (the Spuyten Duyvil and Port Morris Railroad) to reach Grand Central Terminal or continue to the 155th Street terminal.
The southern part of the line, from Sedgwick Avenue (the terminal since the sale of the West Side & Yonkers trackage) to Van Cortlandt and the Yonkers Branch from Van Cortlandt to Getty Square, was electrified in 1926. This part of the line was sometimes treated as part of the NYC Electric Division.
The Mohansic Branch that came off at Yorktown Heights was abandoned before 1918. It was to serve a mental institution that was cancelled by Albany.
The first diesel locomotive passenger train in the U.S. ran on the Putnam on March 18, 1929.
In 1929, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. paid to have the tracks removed from his Pocantico Hills property, eliminating four stations and creating one. The nearby village of East View was obliterated to build the new right-of-way. The routing changed on March 15, 1931.
Besides the regular Sedgwick Avenue–Brewster service, service also operated from Golden's Bridge on the Harlem Division via a connecting branch to Lake Mahopac, and then over the Putnam Division to Brewster, where it returned to the Harlem Division. Trains taking this route were said to go "around the horn".
The stub of the Mahopac Mines branch was abandoned in 1931.
Declining ridership resulted in the abandonment of the Getty Square branch on June 30, 1943. Despite a fierce legal battle by Yonkers residents which reached the United States Supreme Court to save it, the line was scrapped in December 1944.
Lack of commuter parking along the main Putnam Division, and the necessity of transferring to reach Grand Central Terminal, doomed passenger service on the line. The last passenger train ran on the division on May 29, 1958. Service "around the horn" via the Harlem Division's Lake Mahopac Branch continued until April 2, 1959. Until 1962, when the old West Shore Railroad was upgraded, the Putnam served oversize freight trains, due to the lack of tunnels on its line. Tracks between East View and Lake Mahopac were removed in 1962.
Penn Central, then Conrail 
The NYC and the PRR merged to form Penn Central in 1968. The last freight movement over the northern part of the Putnam Division occurred in 1970. The southern end of the line remained strong until the closing of the A&P warehouse in Elmsford in 1975. The decrease in traffic from Stauffer Chemical cut back the line to Chauncey by 1977. Conrail took over Penn Central operations in 1976, but had no plans for increasing business on what it called the "Putnam Industrial Track." Aside from occasional movements to Chauncey, the only revenue movements were to Stella D'Oro Bakery in the Bronx through the 1980s.
About ½ mile of the section abandoned in the 1931 Rockefeller rerouting is accessible from a trailhead alongside the Tarrytown Reservoir. It is trackless, unimproved grade; it can be traversed on foot to an empty stone trestle abutment.
As of 2007[update], a replica of the former Bryn Mawr Park station at the former Palmer Road grade crossing is in use as a grocery.
The abandoned station in Millwood is still standing although in June 2011, the Millwood Task Force formally requested that the New Castle town building inspector look at the station house at Station Place in Millwood to determine whether that structure is in violation of town law and should be demolished. The property’s owner, Leo Rota, in an interview said "if the town wants me to tear it down, I’ll tear it down. I’m not going to fight with them. I get a lot of requests about the station building. People seem to like it, but if people want me to tear it down, I don’t have any problem with that.”
The station in Briarcliff Manor was purchased by the village and converted into a public library. The station in Elmsford was converted into a restaurant. The Yorktown Heights station had its exterior restored and is the centerpiece of the town park. The freight house in Baldwin Place and the station in Tilly Foster are on private property.
Station Listing 
Main Line 
- Sedgwick Avenue
- Highbridge (shared with Hudson Division)
- University Heights (shared with Hudson Division)
- Morris Heights (shared with Hudson Division)
- Kings Bridge
- Van Cortlandt - 4.82 (junction with electrified Getty Square Branch)
- Lincoln - 6.52
- Dunwoodie - 8.09
- Bryn Mawr Park - 9.44
- Nepperhan - 10.50
- Gray Oaks - 11.92
- Nepera Park - 12.01
- Mount Hope - 13.02
- Chauncey - 13.86
- Ardsley - 14.72
- Worthington - 16.60
- Elmsford - 18.14
- Beaver Hill
- Eastview - 20.41
- Graham - 23.92 (created by 1931 relocation)
- Briarcliff Manor - 27.04
- Millwood - 30.44
- Kitchawan - 32.52
- Croton Lake - 33.57
- Croton Heights - 35.04
- Yorktown Heights - 36.76 (coach yard and engine service, connection to Mohansic Branch)
- Amawalk - 37.94
- Granite Springs - 39.96
- Baldwin Place - 42.25 (connection to Mahopac Mines branch)
- Lake Mahopac - 44.38
- Mahopac - 45.13
- Crafts - 47.20
- Carmel - 49.58
- Tilly Foster - 51.84
- Putnam Junction - 53.82 (no station, connection with Harlem Division and yard)
- Brewster (connection to Harlem Division trains)
Getty Square Branch 
- Mosholu (abandoned 1926)
- Park Hill
- Getty Square
Mohansic Branch 
Mahopac Mines Branch 
- Mahopac Falls
- Mahopac Mines
Former stations 
closed 1929 as part of realignment
- Tarrytown Heights
- Tower Hill
- Pocantico Hills
- "Getty Square Line Ends; 12 Riders on Last Trip". The New York Times. July 1, 1943. p. 21. Retrieved 2011-07-04.
- "High Court Lets Road Drop Getty Sq. Line". The New York Times. November 14, 1944. Retrieved 2011-07-04.
- "Putnam Line Being Razed". The New York Times. December 9, 1944. p. 30. Retrieved 2011-07-04.
- Folsom, Merrill (May 30, 1958). "The Wheels of 'Old Put' Click Out a Sad Accompaniment to Riders' 'Auld Lang Syne'". The New York Times. p. 23. Retrieved 2011-07-04.
- Yeres, Christine (June 10, 2011). "Town says dilapidated train station in Millwood must be fixed or torn down". NewCastleNOW.org. Retrieved 2011-06-10.
- Library History (Briarcliff Manor Public Library)
- "The Old Put" Suburban New York's Lost Railroad By Ed Kelley
- Gallo, Daniel R.; Kramer, Frederick A. (1981). The Putnam Division: New York Central's Bygone Route through Westchester County. New York: Quadrant Press. ISBN 0-915276-29-1.
- Vondrak, Otto M.; Bang, Robert A.; Kowanski, George W.; Frank, John (2008). Forgotten Railroads Through Westchester County. Port Chester, NY: Robert A. Bang. ISBN 978-0-9762797-3-0.
- Klein, Daniel A. (2004). "The Phantom Spur Retracing the Vanished Getty Square Branch of the Putnam Railroad". National Railway Bulletin 69 (2): 28–37.
- New York Central: Putnam Division
- Westchester County Existing Stations: has pictures of old Put stations.
- Putnam County Existing Stations: has pictures of old Put stations.
- Timeline of Putnam Division events