New York and Putnam Railroad
|New York and Putnam Railroad|
|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 (a.k.a. Old Put) was a railroad line that operated between The Bronx and Brewster, New York. It was in close proximity to Hudson River Railroad and New York & Harlem Railroad. All three came under ownership of the New York Central system in 1894. Abandonment began in 1958; most of the former roadbed has been converted for rail trail use.
The New York & Boston Railroad (NY&B) 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 & Harlem Railroad for travel north to Albany, and to the Boston, Hartford & Erie Railroad to Boston.
The New York, Boston & Northern Railway (NYB&N) was formed on November 18, 1872 as a consolidation of the NY&B with two companies to the north — the Putnam & Dutchess Railroad (P&D) and Dutchess & Columbia Railroad (D&C). The P&D was a plan for a line to split from the New York and Boston at Carmel to a point midway along the D&C. The D&C opened in 1871, running from the Hudson River to the Connecticut border. The Clove Branch Railroad was to serve as a short connection between the two parts of the planned line.
The New York, Boston & Montreal Railway was organized January 21, 1873 as a renaming of the NYB&N. It continued north to Chatham and then use the Harlem Extension Railroad into Vermont. The Panic of 1873 caused the cancellation of the leases and mergers on December 1 of that year. Construction on the P&D and D&C stopped; D&C later became part of the Central New England Railway, the Harlem Extension became a part of the Rutland Railroad, and the Clove Branch Railroad was abandoned in 1898.
The New York, Westchester & Putnam Railway was formed on July 3, 1877 as a reorganization, and was leased to the New York City & Northern Railroad (NYC&N), formed on March 1, 1878. Between East View and Pocantico Hills, the NYC&N built a segment leading to a perilous 80 foot high trestle over a marsh-filled valley. Because of the dangers of crossing the bridge, which often required that trains slow down to a crawl, the line was rerouted west around that valley in 1881. The bridge was torn down in 1883, and the valley became the Tarrytown Reservoir.The line finally opened under the original plan, ending at Brewster, in April 1881. That year, the New York & New England Railroad opened to the north, using some of the grade built for the P&D and D&C. The West Side & Yonkers Railway was 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 by 1887. In the 1910s, the Interborough Rapid Transit Company of the New York City subway (IRT) purchased that section its elevated lines north into the Bronx, cutting the NYP back to Sedgwick Avenue. The Yonkers Rapid Transit Railway was opened in 1888 as a branch from the NYP at Van Cortlandt northwest to Yonkers. It was merged into NYP by 1887.
The company went into receivership by 1887 and was reorganized as the New York & Northern Railway. By 1894 it was reorganized as the New York & Putnam Railroad (NY&P) by J. P. Morgan who in turned leased the railroad to the New York Central & Hudson River Railroad (NY&HR). The line eventually became the Putnam Division of the New York Central Railroad (NYC) by 1913. The line lacked a direct connection to NYC's flagship station, Grand Central Terminal (GCT), which hurt ridership throughout its existence. Passengers were forced to transfer at High Bridge to reach GCT. The Sedgwick Avenue-Van Cortlandt section and the Yonkers Branch were electrified in 1926.
Several short branches were eliminated after the 1920s. The Mohansic Branch near Yorktown Heights, originally built to serve a mental institution that was cancelled by Albany, went first. In 1929, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. had the removed from his Pocantico Hills property, eliminating four stations and creating a single one. The nearby village of East View was obliterated to build the new line. The Getty Square branch was abandoned on June 30, 1943. Despite a legal battle by Yonkers residents which reached the United States Supreme Court to save it, the line was scrapped in December 1944.
The first diesel locomotive passenger train in the U.S. ran on the Putnam on March 18, 1929.
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".
NYC saw the Putnam Division as a dispensable stepchild. The line lacked a second track, electrification, commuter parking and direct service to GCT, all of which the parallel Harlem and Hudson divisions had, resulting in steady patronage. NYC ended passenger service on the Putnam on May 29, 1958. Service "around the horn" via the Harlem Division's Lake Mahopac Branch continued until April 2, 1959. Until 1962, when NYC's West Shore Railroad was upgraded, the Putnam served oversize freight trains, due to the lack of tunnels on the line. Tracks between East View and Lake Mahopac were removed in 1962.
NYC merged with long-time rival Pennsylvania Railroad to form the Penn Central (PC) in 1968. Freight service on the northern part of the Putnam ended by 1970. The southern end of the line remained in service 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 the bankrupt PC in April 1976, but had no plans for increasing business. Aside from occasional movements to Chauncey, the only customer was the Stella D'Oro bakery in the Bronx.
Metro-North currently uses the remaining stub at Marble Hill ("BN") for storage of maintenance of way and contractor's trains. The roadbed north of the former Van Cortlandt station has been converted into the South County Trailway, North County Trailway, and Putnam County Trailway rail trails.
A replica of the former Bryn Mawr Park station at the former Palmer Road grade crossing is in use as a grocery. The station in Briarcliff Manor was purchased by the village and converted into a public library. The station in Elmsford serves as a restaurant. The Yorktown Heights station had its exterior restored and is the centerpiece of the town park. The station in Lake Mahopac has been an American Legion Hall since 1965. The freight house in Baldwin Place and the station in Tilly Foster are on private property.
Yorktown Heights station, listed on National Register of Historic Places
|The Bronx||0.0||Sedgwick Avenue||NYC Transit: Connected to former IRT Ninth Avenue Line station and West Side/High Line|
|Highbridge||Highbridge Maintenance Facility. Metro-North employees only.|
|Hudson & Putnam Lines split|
|Kings Bridge||At 225th Street between Exterior Street and Bailey Avenue|
|4.82||Van Cortlandt||Inside Van Cortlandt Park|
|Junction with electrified Getty Square Branch|
|9.44||Bryn Mawr Park||Replaced in 1995 by Palmer/Bryn Mawr Market|
|14.72||Ardsley||Off NY 9A between Saw Mill River Parkway and New York State Thruway.|
|Woodlands||Small wooden platform and opened shelter with canopy.|
|18.14||Elmsford||Currently a restaurant|
|Beaver Hill||Wooden shelter designed as a flag stop for former Fairview Golf Club|
|20.41||Eastview||Original pre-1929 relocation line began here.|
|Tarrytown Heights||Built March 1882; First station along Tarrytown Heights alignment
west of East View station and original NY&P alignment
|Tower Hill||Built November 26, 1881; Second station on former alignment west
of Tarrytown Reservoir existed here until 1931
|Pocantico Hills||Built November 26, 1881; Third station along former alignment near
Rockefeller Estate and Tarrytown Reservoir existed here until 1931
|Original alignment from short-lived 80-foot high Eastview Trestle segment merged here (1880-1881).|
|Whiteons||Fourth station along previous alignment. Replaced in 1931 by Graham station on new alignment|
|23.92||Graham||Created by 1931 relocation, Original pre-1929 alignment ended just north of here.
Open shelter that was proposed for major expansion which never occurred.
|27.04||Briarcliff Manor||Currently the Briarcliff Manor Public Library.|
|36.76||Yorktown Heights||At Railroad Park on the National Register of Historic Places. Originally contained
a coach yard and an engine service facility.
|Connection to Mohansic Branch|
|Connection to Mahopac Mines branch|
|44.38||Lake Mahopac||Currently an American Legion Hall|
|Connection to Lake Mahopac branch and Lincolndale and Katonah Stations|
|51.84||Tilly Foster||Originally built for the Tilly Foster Mine which closed in 1897. Station continued to operate.|
|53.82||Putnam Junction||No station, connection with Harlem Division and Brewster Yard|
|Line continues along NYC's Harlem Division|
Getty Square Branch
|The Bronx||0.0||Van Cortlandt||Beginning of Getty Square Branch|
|Puntam & Getty Square Branches split|
|3.0||Park Hill||Connected to former Park Hill Incline funicular railroad|
|Line abandoned in 1943|
|Putnam Line & Mohansic Branch split|
|Mohansic State Hospital|
|Line abandoned in 1917|
Mahopac Mines Branch
|Putnam & Mahopac Mines Lines split|
|Line abandoned in 1931|
- "Tarry Town Trestle" (New York Public Library: Digital Archive)
- The Eastview Trestle (Archive Sleuth)
- "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'". New York Times. p. 23. Retrieved 2011-07-04.
- Library History (Briarcliff Manor Public Library)
- The American Legion Mahopac Post 1080
- 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
- "The Old Put" Suburban New York's Lost Railroad By Ed Kelley
- A Guide to the "Old Put" for Bikers and Hikers (The Carmel Town Historian & The Putnam County Historian’s Office; 2010)
- Stations along the trail on the Putnam Division Right-Of-Way (Jim Zisfein)