Hudson and Boston Railroad

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Hudson and Boston Railroad was a railroad that spanned across Southern and Central Columbia County, New York. It was chartered in 1855, acquired by the Boston and Albany Railroad in 1870, only to face its gradual demise beginning in 1959. Despite its name, it never actually reached Boston, but it did serve as an important connecting line for the Boston and Albany Railroad, which converted it into the B&A Hudson Branch upon acquisition. The line formed a cutoff between the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad towards New York City and the Boston and Albany Railroad, toward Pittsfield, Springfield, Worcester, and Boston.

History[edit]

The Hudson and Boston was originally chartered in 1828 as the Hudson and Berkshire Railroad by James Mellen in order to build a railroad line from Hudson, New York to the Massachusetts state line. Construction began in 1835 and was completed in 1838. The company was leased to the Berkshire Railroad, along with the connecting West Stockbridge Railroad, in 1844, but was sold at foreclosure to the Western Railroad of Massachusetts on November 21, 1854. The name was changed to the Hudson and Boston Railroad on February 23, 1855, and the part east of Chatham was abandoned around 1860, since it was redundant with the newer Albany and West Stockbridge Railroad (part of the Boston and Albany Railroad main line).[1]

The line was acquired by the B&A on November 2, 1870, and thus became their Hudson Branch, also called the "Hudson and Chatham Branch." It was important both for passengers and for freight services especially those used by the various mills in the county. In its waning years, the Hudson Branch would serve freight exclusively. In the summer of 1892 an accident took place in Claverack, New York.[2] In 1900 the line along with the B&A itself were acquired by the New York Central Railroad, thereby making Hudson, Harlem, and B&A Main Line work as one with the former H&B. However, the B&A would run under its own name until 1961. 1936 was the year Mellenville station, the station named for the founder of the Hudson and Berkshire Railroad, was closed and converted into a local grange. The same year, the "BA" Tower in Ghent which controlled movements between the NYC Harlem Division, and the B&A Hudson Branch was closed, and the segment between Ghent and Chatham became exclusively part of the Upper Harlem Division.

Maps from the 1950s still show the line as existing,[3] however by 1959 it only ran as far east as Claverack. As NYC merged with Pennsylvania Railroad in 1968 to form Penn Central Railroad, they renamed it the "Claverack Secondary Track" and kept cutting the line back further west, and abandoned all passenger service on their Upper Harlem Division north of Dover Plains. When Conrail took over in 1976, they continued the cutbacks with the line moving further west from Claverack, while the UHD segment was abandoned between Millerton and Ghent, transforming it into little more than a freight spur between Ghent and Chatham. That segment would be gone as well by 1983. Today the only remnants of the line are that of the former Lone Star Cement factory east of Hudson, at a spur off the line once known as "Greenport Center."[4]

Station list[edit]

The entire line was in Columbia County, New York

Locality Miles
(kilometers)
to Hudson
Station Station
link
Lat/long Notes/Connections
Hudson 0.00 Hudson 42°15′15″N 73°47′52″W / 42.2541°N 73.7977°W / 42.2541; -73.7977 Also served the Hudson River Railroad (NYC). Still used by Amtrak.
Wye Junction with NYC Hudson Division.
Hudson Upper
Albany and Hudson Junction
Claverack Claverack
Country Club Near the present day Columbia Golf and Country Club; Also called "Millers Crossing."
Pulvers Pulvers
Mellenville Mellenville 42°15′11″N 73°40′5″W / 42.25306°N 73.66806°W / 42.25306; -73.66806 NRHP since September 29, 2000.
Ghent Ghent 42°19′37″N 73°37′07″W / 42.3270°N 73.6187°W / 42.3270; -73.6187 Junction with New York and Harlem Railroad (NYC)
Payn's
Chatham 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
Chatham and Lebanon Valley Railroad (Rutland); NRHP since May 1, 1974
Eastern terminus at Boston and Albany Railroad Main Line since 1860

References[edit]

External links[edit]