Upper Harlem - Wassaic Extension - Questions, Info

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Upper Harlem - Wassaic Extension - Questions, Info

Postby Spartan Phalanx » Wed Oct 24, 2007 7:31 pm

Will the line north of Wassaic ever be reactivated?
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Postby DutchRailnut » Wed Oct 24, 2007 8:37 pm

Answer is no, even Wassaic is basicly at edge of MTA service area.
and rail right of way north of Wassaic has been blactopped and turned into rail/trail.
No railtrail has ever been reversed to rail line.
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Postby Clean Cab » Wed Oct 24, 2007 9:04 pm

Sadly the answer is a definate NO!!! Penn Central sold off all land north of the current Wassaic station. NY State could buy back the land, but it'd take years and cost millions. So I'd say that the bumping block in Wassaic (actually Amenia NY) will stand for many years to come.
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Postby Jeff Smith » Thu Oct 25, 2007 8:31 am

The lack of even an inactive / rail or landbanked ROW north of Wassaic notwithstanding, and someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but there would need to be a legislative act if MNRR / MTA was to expand past Dutchess or Orange Counties (the service area Dutch is referring to). There's an MTA surcharge on utility bills in the MTA service area that helps fund service - that would need to be extended.
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Postby Otto Vondrak » Thu Oct 25, 2007 12:11 pm

Before anyone asks, the last passenger trains north of Dover Plains were operated by Penn Central in 1972. They were not covered under MTA funding, so PC fought to have the train service end as soon as possible.

The last through freight from Chatham to Brewster was 1976.

The rails were removed between Wassaic and Ghent in 1981.

Service to Wassaic was reactivated in 2001.

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Postby Dieter » Fri Oct 26, 2007 7:52 am

Were the rails left in place between Dover Plains and Wassaic? I though they were taken up as well.

Getting the line back; Imminent Domain could do the trick if there was enough of a demand to back the State in doing such, providing there hasn't been a lot of construction right in the middle of it.

Hypothetical; MTA can only go so far? If there was such an extension, would it be under the jurisdiction of NYDOT rather than MTA? Also, the rumblings of MN going to Albany and replacing Amtrak Svc. have been quiet for some time now. The economy is booming, despite a temporary slump in real estate prices, the area is expanding. It's only a matter of time........

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Postby ELSDP45 » Fri Oct 26, 2007 9:35 am

The rails were still in place from Dover through Wassaic including a siding in Wassaic for a business that is gone. MN replaced this trackage (without the siding) and extended it about a quarter mile to the current station site.
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Postby Otto Vondrak » Fri Oct 26, 2007 11:58 am

Maxon Mills in Wassaic was a customer of Conrail through to 1993 or so. Also sometime in that period Conrail was transporting unused coal from State School (I guess they had a stockpile for their on-site power plant). Metro-North extended the tracks from downtown Wassaic to just past MP 82 where they could build a parking lot and layup yard.

I think we've discussed the process to get this line back... no operating authority, no will, no popular support, no money. Hard obstacles to overcome.

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Postby Clean Cab » Fri Oct 26, 2007 12:28 pm

MN assumed ownership of the tracks north of Dover Plains in 1995 after Conrail abandoned service in 1993. This was done under the provisions of a law that allowed MN to reclaim territory given up by Conrail after a period of one year.
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Postby UpperHarlemLine4ever » Fri Oct 26, 2007 7:33 pm

Metro-North could technically rebuild the line back to the northern end of Dutchess County (somewhere around Boston Corners) without any further changes in the law. The right of way (rail/trail) would have to be purchased from Dutchess County, unless of course if they were to exercise eminent domain. The rail/trailers however would demand that they be given adjacent land to rebuild a trail. Rail/trailing was supposed to be a way of holding on to a right of way for possible future reuse of the right of way for rail operations. However, now the rail/trail advocates feel they own the right of way and that if a rail line would be rebuilt, they have to be compensated with land adjacent to the right of way for a trail. Don't think we're going to see the line run beyond it's current northern terminus, Wassaic any time in the distant future.
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Postby pnaw10 » Sat Oct 27, 2007 10:04 am

UpperHarlemLine4ever wrote:Don't think we're going to see the line run beyond it's current northern terminus, Wassaic any time in the distant future.


Agreed. Wassaic is pretty much in the middle of nowhere as it is. Going further north would only serve to make Metro-North service more convenient for people in Columbia County, NY; Litchfield County, CT; and southwestern MA -- who don't pay MTA taxes. That's not fair to the people who DO pay taxes (taxes that might wind up going higher to pay for such an extension).

While many people are crowding up along the Hudson Line, and an extension north to Rhinebeck could be successful... the eastern side of Dutchess county just doesn't seem to be as popular. I don't know if it's because of the more mountainous terrain, stricter local zoning laws, or what. Sure, it's growing, but still seems to be more rural than the western side.
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Postby Otto Vondrak » Sat Oct 27, 2007 11:35 am

We didn't say it was impossible, we just said there's no money, no budget, no plan, no will... ie, the project is not being pursued by the MTA or any other authority at this time. So we can talk about it and wish for it all we want... it ain't gonna happen. As much as I would like to see my beloved Harlem Division come back to life!!

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Postby UpperHarlemLine4ever » Sat Oct 27, 2007 11:39 am

If one goes to the parking lots in Wassaic, Ten Mile River or Dover Plains you will find that for every New York car you will find 2 or 3 cars from either Connecticut and Massachusetts. Further down the line as far down as North White Plains, you will find many cars from Connecticut parked in the station parking lots, of course not in the proportions as in the 3 northern end stations but say 1 Connecticut car for every 3 New York cars. It's just where the line runs, you can't change that and you can't tax the people from these neighboring states for using the line. After all, Metro-North is a public transportation entity.
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Postby Erie-Lackawanna » Sat Oct 27, 2007 5:02 pm

UpperHarlemLine4ever wrote:...you can't tax the people from these neighboring states for using the line. After all, Metro-North is a public transportation entity.

Sure you can. Wanna park there? No problem. NYS registrations in MTA region pay $217 a year. NYS registrations out of MTA region pay $350 a year. Other state registrations pay $500 a year. Daily fees scaled accordingly.

Done.

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Postby Maybrook fan » Sat Oct 27, 2007 5:38 pm

I'm a tad off subject but my question is; If some type of freight customer wanted to use the line now. Does Housatonic still have the trackage rights to upper Harlem or would Metro north have to pull the freight ?


Also I'm a NY resident and think we are over taxed also,
But just to keep things on a fair playing field, Ct. DOT does kick money and equipiment into Metro North.
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