Fordham Service Questions (GCT - Fordham and New Haven Line)

Discussion relating to the operations of MTA MetroNorth Railroad including west of Hudson operations and discussion of CtDOT sponsored rail operations such as Shore Line East and the Springfield to New Haven Hartford Line

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Postby fordhamkid7721 » Thu Mar 13, 2008 4:01 pm

In my newly thought over opinion I suppose its rather good they have the Pickup Discharge rule.Trains coming into New York City are packed(especially from New Haven)It wouldnt make since to cram more people on in NYC when they can just take the transit systems DESIGNED for NYC instead of the one that just SERVES NYC....its probably wrong....correct me if im wrong....remember its just an opinion.Instead of making a ride into GCT crowded and unpleasent just because you wanna faster ride.Trains meant to do Inter-city service between NYC Stamford and New Haven shouldnt have provide local sevice within the city limits that would make it a Subway If you buy equipment for service in your state you dont want it making local service in another state The Hudson and Harlem lines are operated solely by MTA the NH is a joint between MTA and CDOT so both states would have to agree to it making more NYC stops....currently it only makes a stop in the Bx so it can service Connecticut.
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Postby Jeff Smith » Fri Mar 14, 2008 7:58 am

Remember, too, NH trains, due to CDOT's foot dragging for years on fleet replacement and expansion, are especially crowded.

I think the Harlem line does a good job of servicing NYC stations along their shared ROW, but I think you could make a case that there's a need for a reverse commute option from the Bronx to Westchester and CT. I'd add Woodlawn as an "R/D" stop. Fordham's crowding, I think, isn't just students, but reverse commuters already using it for reverse commutes (and let's face it, the 60 or 61 Bee Line buses don't get it done). One additional stop in the Bronx would help.

I don't think you should change the R/D nature of the NH stops in the Bronx (they serve a purpose: they're not intended for intra-NYC service), but it would gum up a heavily travelled corridor.
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Postby fordhamkid7721 » Fri Mar 14, 2008 2:37 pm

idk Maybe it should maybe it shouldnt the other stops dont have as much volume as Fordham but.....the 60 and 61 are a joke.People shouldnt have to walk to Mt Vernon or backtrack to Fordham but the trains shouldnt have to make all these stops in addition to the ones they already have maybe a few trains that stop at Woodlawn.
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NH Line stop at Fordham

Postby fordhamroad » Mon Mar 17, 2008 12:36 pm

-a Fordham University vice-president involved in the negotiations with Metro North to get NH trains to stop at Fordham (lots of Fordham college and prep students use it) told me the problem was with some outstanding New York and Harlaem RR bond issues and legal restrictions that protected the NY Central from competition. When the bonds matured, the legal obstacles could be surmounted and limited access --NH line boarding outbound, and discharging inbound only -- could be and was arranged.

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Postby Tommy Meehan » Tue Mar 18, 2008 9:05 pm

Roger that's pretty interesting info if accurate. I have done a lot of research involving the relationship between the NY Central and the New Haven (primarily from official railroad documents in the William Wilgus Collection). I know the basic agreement allowing NH to use Harlem track -- I don't recall the exact dates off hand -- came about in the late 1840s and was amended around 1880 (I think), then rewrittten when Central was making the major investment in electrification and GCT. I'm certain prohibiting NH from handling local traffic was a part of the original agreement. This was modified around 1900 to allow NH trains to pick up and drop off at 125th Street Station (like MNRR at Fordham today) which was not a joint station. It was NYCRR. There was political pressure and rider complaints in the newspapers and finally Central gave in. Was there a bond issue involved? I have to remember to look for that.

As I think you know, I write a monthly column for the R&LHS NY Chapter newsletter and I smell an article here! Could you email me off-list as to who at Fordham Univ. I might contact for further information?? Sounds pretty good!

Btw, been trying to recall -when did the NH Line trains start stopping at Fordham? Before Metro-North?

Finally I have to add, I don't understand how a bond convenant or agreement between companies that no longer exist (and haven't for many years, at least as operating companies) would be binding on what are, essentially, state agencies. But it could be, I'm not saying it isn't.

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Postby Nester » Wed Mar 19, 2008 3:32 pm

Tommy Meehan wrote:Hebrewman At a 'stops to receive only' station in the old old days I 'think' the crew would insist a passenger wanting to get off there pay a step up to the first discharge station. In the case of a White Plains rider on a Harlem Wassaic train, that would mean paying an additional fare to Goldens Bridge, about 20 miles and several dollars away. I'm sure the conductor would allow them to get off at White Plains though.

I'm trying to remember when I saw a specific situation like this on a New York Central train -- yes I go back that far -- but it was so long ago. I know I did see these things happen. I think the trainmen would 'solve it' in the way I outlined above.


I've seen a conductor on a Hudson Line train charge the Cortlandt fare for Croton-Harmon customers when Croton is listed as a 'R' stop on the timetable (e.g. 857). When the passenger asked why, that was the explanation given. I raised my eyebrows when I heard this, and thinking about it objectively, it does make sense.
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Postby PC1100 » Wed Mar 19, 2008 5:37 pm

According to Tom Nelligan's "Commuter Trains to Grand Central Terminal," (a great book by the way) New Haven Line trains began stopping at Fordham in March 1977. As an aside, I recall reading an old NY Times article from the early 1890s or so, that mentions that New Haven RR trains stopped on signal at 138th Street. Presumably this was to pick up passengers, as the article was about passengers, and even the train announcer at the station, being confused as to what the destinations were of northbound trains, mostly when delays occurred - no destination monitors back then! This most likely changed when 125th Street was raised and took its current shape back in 1897, replacing 138th Street as the primary "uptown" stop for northbound trains. Harlem & Hudson Division timetables from the 1940s and 1950s show many trains stopping at 138th Street, however I've seen no indication that NHRR trains stopped there by that time.
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NH Train Stops on the old NY Central

Postby fordhamroad » Thu Mar 20, 2008 8:26 am

-Tommy M - yes indeed, I am aware of your interesting column and the neat things you discover from time to time, for which many thanks!
-I had the story rather informally in a social setting, from Dr. Joseph Cammarosano, retired professor from the Department of Economics, Fordham University, Bronx NY 10458. A letter would get to him. He was the Executive Vice President of Fordham at the time.
-in your diggings into old agreements, you perhaps noticed that the original agreement c. 1848 provided that NY&NH trains would stop at Woodlawn to discharge/pick up passengers. Questions:
-when was the Woodlawn stop ended?
-when was a 138th st. stop in operation?
-when was a stop at 125th st substituted?
-the March 1977 date for a NH line Fordham stop would be, I suppose in the MTA archives. You might ask Ms Patrice Kane, University Archivist, Walsh Family Library, Fordham University, Bronx NY 10458 if she has anything, probably not much.
-did you encounter the curious deed between Bishop John Hughes and the New York & Harlaem RR which granted the railroad the land for the tracks for one dollar, in return for some good fences and a perpetual free railroad pass to the President of the College. Fr. McShane, the current president still enjoys free Metro North travel. The deed also gave Fordham the right to have a railroad stop on the campus, but this was taken care of by a convenient station at what was then Pelham Avenue (now Fordham Road).
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Postby Tommy Meehan » Sat Mar 22, 2008 12:14 am

I want to say thank you to Roger for the additional information. It's very interesting. We' do seem to be getting pretty far away from Metro-North with some of this so I would prefer to discuss these issues via a PM which I will send you as soon as I can. I've been in and out of the hospital this week (minor surgery) so it's been pretty hectic.

I did want to add, however. My interest in this matter came about this way-

I was running late one evenng and had to get to Midtown near GCT by seven-thirtyish. I was near Fordham Sq and planned to take a bus to Jerome Avenue and then the 4 train. With an Unlimited Metrocard there would've been no cost to me but I began to realize I wasn't going to make my appointment via subway. So I decided to take Metro-North from Fordham. I didn't happen to have a timetable with me but I knew there was fairly frequent service at that hour on a weekday (around 6:30 PM) from Fordham. As soon as I bought a ticket (is there a machine at street level by the top of the stairs, I think there is) I could see a southbound train was arriving. I went down the stairs and to my dismay discovered it was a New Haven train. But I also noticed four or five people were about to board. I started to get on too only I know NH trains do not pick up GCT riders at Fordham so I hesitated. But the other people were able to get on and they did not look like MNRR employees either. While I tried to decide what to do the car doors closed and the train departed.

So in other words, I went by the rules and got left behind. People who did not go by the rules -- either because they did not know them or were ignoring them or possibly knew some crews do not enforce the ban (which I think is very possible) -- they got to ride.

To me this just proves that bad rules usually produce bad results.

Finally, my late uncle, Jack Stroud, commuted to his pharmacist's job in GCT from his Valentine Avenue apt via Fordham Road RR station for about thirty years. Anyone who tells you the subway (at rush hour???) is a viable alternative to get to the GCT area in Midtown is definitely not familiar with the area!
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Postby Hebrewman9 » Sat Mar 22, 2008 8:53 am

Tommy Meehan wrote:I want to say thank you to Roger for the additional information. It's very interesting. We' do seem to be getting pretty far away from Metro-North with some of this so I would prefer to discuss these issues via a PM which I will send you as soon as I can. I've been in and out of the hospital this week (minor surgery) so it's been pretty hectic.

I did want to add, however. My interest in this matter came about this way-

I was running late one evenng and had to get to Midtown near GCT by seven-thirtyish. I was near Fordham Sq and planned to take a bus to Jerome Avenue and then the 4 train. With an Unlimited Metrocard there would've been no cost to me but I began to realize I wasn't going to make my appointment via subway. So I decided to take Metro-North from Fordham. I didn't happen to have a timetable with me but I knew there was fairly frequent service at that hour on a weekday (around 6:30 PM) from Fordham. As soon as I bought a ticket (is there a machine at street level by the top of the stairs, I think there is) I could see a southbound train was arriving. I went down the stairs and to my dismay discovered it was a New Haven train. But I also noticed four or five people were about to board. I started to get on too only I know NH trains do not pick up GCT riders at Fordham so I hesitated. But the other people were able to get on and they did not look like MNRR employees either. While I tried to decide what to do the car doors closed and the train departed.

So in other words, I went by the rules and got left behind. People who did not go by the rules -- either because they did not know them or were ignoring them or possibly knew some crews do not enforce the ban (which I think is very possible) -- they got to ride.

To me this just proves that bad rules usually produce bad results.

Finally, my late uncle, Jack Stroud, commuted to his pharmacist's job in GCT from his Valentine Avenue apt via Fordham Road RR station for about thirty years. Anyone who tells you the subway (at rush hour???) is a viable alternative to get to the GCT area in Midtown is definitely not familiar with the area!

Boarding a "discharge only" train isn't unethical, unless it is VERY overcrowded, or everyone else on the platform is not boarding because it's a discharge-only train. It's not the same thing as, say, fare evasion.

NOTE: Edited for clarity
Last edited by Hebrewman9 on Sat Mar 22, 2008 11:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby mntktagt » Sat Mar 22, 2008 11:04 am

Perhaps boarding a "receive only" train is ethical....

It might not be nice to board a "discharge only" train , however ...
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Postby Hebrewman9 » Sat Mar 22, 2008 11:09 am

mntktagt wrote:Perhaps boarding a "receive only" train is ethical....

It might not be nice to board a "discharge only" train , however ...


Sorry, I meant "discharge only". I edited it for clarity.
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Postby RearOfSignal » Sat Mar 22, 2008 11:58 am

Tommy Meehan wrote:But the other people were able to get on and they did not look like MNRR employees either. While I tried to decide what to do the car doors closed and the train departed.

So in other words, I went by the rules and got left behind. People who did not go by the rules -- either because they did not know them or were ignoring them or possibly knew some crews do not enforce the ban (which I think is very possible) -- they got to ride.

To me this just proves that bad rules usually produce bad results.

Finally, my late uncle, Jack Stroud, commuted to his pharmacist's job in GCT from his Valentine Avenue apt via Fordham Road RR station for about thirty years. Anyone who tells you the subway (at rush hour???) is a viable alternative to get to the GCT area in Midtown is definitely not familiar with the area!


First how do you know what employees look like? Not everyone who works for MNR wears a conductor's hat or clearly visible ID badge.

You didn't get left behind because you followed the rules. It's not a bad rule as you say. The people who got on the train may have been charged the on-board fare from Mt. Vernon into the city, yeah they may have gotten a ride, but also might of had to pay more than you did for it.

Why isn't the subway a viable alternative? Because it's crowded? Everything in New York City is crowded even Metro-North at times. If you need a guaranteed seat into Manhattan in rush hour, take a taxi or drive.
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Postby Port Jervis » Sat Mar 22, 2008 1:07 pm

capecodlocoguy wrote:For New Haven Line trains Fordham is a pickup (northbound) and drop off (southbound) stop only. It does not make any other stops in the Bronx.


Some New Haven conductors go out of their way to state that people can only board those trains at Harlem and Fordham. IIRC, it's against MNCR rules to ride anything BUT a Harlem line train between either Fordham and Harlem to GCT, not that anyone would do that (especially the latter).
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Postby RearOfSignal » Sat Mar 22, 2008 2:58 pm

Port Jervis wrote:IIRC, it's against MNCR rules to ride anything BUT a Harlem line train between either Fordham and Harlem to GCT, not that anyone would do that (especially the latter).


Sometimes they do.
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