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PC: Re: PC Putnam Division line -Reply

Mester123 <Mester123 -AT- aol.com>  wrote:

"I'm just writing to see if any PC fans out there remember anything about
the former New York Central's Putnam Division while it was being run by
the Penn Central.  I already know that the northern half of the "Put" above
East View, New York was torn up by the New York Central in 1963. 

I'm wondering if anyone remembers anything about this line in the PC
days.  I would appreciate any information about the "Put" in those days
that anyone has.  I missed that era and the entire PC era because it was
before my time.  I have read the book "The Putnam Division" by Dan Gallo,
but it doesn't give much detailed information about the line after
abandonment of passenger service in 1958.  I'm also wondering what
the line was called by PC and the year it was ultimately abandoned by

     Although I too was a bit on the young side (b. 1968) I do remember
quite vividly some encounters with the Penn Central on what remained of
the Put.  Growing up I lived in Peekskill, NY, not on the Put but certainly
close enough to make trips with the parents to various areas the Put
passed through.  During the 1970's I traveled Briarcliff Manor on Rt.. 9
parallel to the old Put ROW almost every day.  (Before the expansion of
Rt. 9 obliterated the ROW at Tarrytown Road and even before the ROW
became a bicycle path.)  The roadbed was (is) quite discernable in the
trees especially in the winter.  For a long time (up to the late 1980's) a
former NYC 40' boxcar sat at the end of track at Eastview just off the
Saw Mill Parkway interchange.  Unfortunately, I never had the chance to
inspect it closely.  The Put's bridge over the road at that same spot still
read New York Central until the 1990's.  I never did see a train come all
the way to Eastview but I did see Penn Central trains crossing the main
drag in Elmsford when delivering cars to the A&P warehouse.  I also
remember driving down the Saw Mill Parkway with my folks and seeing
freight cars spotted at a plant at Chauncey.  South of Chauncey the
tracks were hard to follow.  
     I also remember seeing freight cars spotted at the old Stella Doro plant
off the Major Deegan expressway in the Bronx when my dad took me to
Yankees games.  Often the (auto) traffic was so slow you could roll
down the window and smell the cookies baking.  I never saw a moving
train at this location, just the covered hoppers spotted for unloading.  As
an aside, I was looking through the January 1979 issue of Rails
Northeast and on page 35 there is a list of Conrail's local freight service
on the Mohawk-Hudson Division.  It lists local BN-1 on duty at BN yard
(the very southern end of the Put at the interchange with the main line
near Fordam Road) at 1500 daily except Saturday and Sunday.  The local
was to proceed to Eastview and return.  I believe (but don't quote me)
that Conrail operated the line at least to Chauncey until 1983.  North of
there it is difficult to say.  The tracks for almost the entire line were in
place to at least 1985.  Much of the trackage in the woods along the Saw
Mill Parkway between Ardsley and Elmsford is still there and can be
seen in the winter.
     As for the northern end of the Put, no trains but I do remember seeing
the tracks in place as far as Carmel until 1984.  Several highway projects
have since drastically altered the area.  From Carmel to Brewster the
ROW (sans tracks) is still intact including three bridges at Tilly Foster
(one over the reservoir, and two over highways).  I suspect that it will
remain so for the foreseeable future because the ROW closely follows
the New York City reservoir.  The type of development that would
obliterate the ROW is prohibited by the city to minimize water
contamination.  (Same is true for former NYC / PC (former Ulster and
Delaware) line in the Catskills were the Papacton Reservoir is now
located.)  Occasionally Metro North will turn equipment on the wye at
Putnam Junction, all that remains of the northern part of the Put.  A
couple of years ago there was talk of a propane dealer at the end of the
short piece of track starting freight service but I don't think anything came
of it.

"I would also appreciate any information if anyone has it, about the
Putnam Division in the early 1950's and before passenger service was
discontinued on Thursday, May 29, 1958 by the New York Central."

Sorry, can't help you there.  Its before my time too.  All I know is what I
read in books.  Sorry for the rambling nature of my remarks.  Brings back
a lot of memories from childhood.

Bob Holzweiss
"Robert.Holzweiss -AT- bush.nara.gov" 

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