New York, Westchester & Boston NYW&B Main Thread

Discussion relating to the NH and its subsidiaries (NYW&B, Union Freight Railroad, Connecticut Company, steamship lines, etc.). up until its 1969 inclusion into the Penn Central merger. This forum is also for the discussion of efforts to preserve former New Haven equipment, artifacts and its history. You may also wish to visit www.nhrhta.org for more information.

New York, Westchester & Boston NYW&B Main Thread

Postby Otto Vondrak » Thu Jan 13, 2005 1:46 pm

This thread is for my friends who had an idea to start an NYWBRy. Historical Society... and anyone else who wants to discuss the NYWB!

-otto-
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oakpoint

Postby oakpoint » Fri Jan 14, 2005 12:05 am

YES in gigantic letters !

Count me in please.

Charles D :-)
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NYW&B Site

Postby William Abbott » Fri Jan 14, 2005 9:08 am

Great idea ! So let's start it off with some serious discussions. It was a real struggle to get to get to the place where I could write this, as I had to sign in twice.

So here's a question. In Bob Bang's great new book, at the bottom of page 13, there is a picture somewhere in the cut in Mt. Vernon. At the right is an apartment house. Is the building still there, and if so, could someone find the spot this photo was taken, take a photo as it looks today, and thus identify the exact position of the photographer and direction of the photo?

Actually, we need to try to duplicate as many spots as possible while they still remain.

Bill Abbott in Florida, who remembers the HRP viaduct and the old site and abutments on the White Plains line bridge over the HRP. If the words "I was very young when the Westchester ran" appear below, I did not write them, but that is true.
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FYI - I'm from Mount Vernon

Postby Mike Roque » Fri Jan 14, 2005 5:28 pm

For all you NYWB fans out there, I just thought I'd let you know that I grew up in Mount Vernon, so I'm very familiar with the NYWB, and I'm a big fan!

Cheers!
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Pelham Manor

Postby silmarg » Fri Jan 14, 2005 11:40 pm

Hey folks! I currently live in Pelham Manor (not too far from the Highbridge overpass). I plan on purchasing Bang's new book shortly (so maybe I can take the picture Mr Abbott).

I belong to the Pelham Historical Roundtable and am planning to write a paper on the NYW&B specifically as it relates to Pelham.

Based on maps from 1908 it seems that the proposed NYW&B crossing of the Hutchinson River was supposed to be a bit south of where it actually ended up being constructed. In fact, the railroad was proposed to travel exclusively thru Pelham Manor (not North Pelham). So it would've been well south of the New Haven (running just north of Esplanade in Pelham Manor).

Anyone have an idea why the route was ultimately changed?

I have an attorney getting me a dump from a legal database of several lawsuits that took place between landowners from the proposed route (in Pelham Manor) and NYW&B. I'm sure it will shed some light on this... but wondering if anyone here has a clue.

Amy other interesting facts re: Pelham and NYW&B?
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Re:Apartment photo & Route thru Mt. Vernon

Postby William Abbott » Sat Jan 15, 2005 12:40 pm

Hi Silmarg, thanks for your input and offer.

When you get Bob Bang's new book, look at the pages I mentioned. Then look again at the photo at the top of p. 19. At the upper left is a house with a gable and a chimney to the right of the gable. Now look at Bob's (sorry, I don't even know him) Mile-Dollar-A-Mile book at the photo at top of page 5. To the right of the water tower (I presume that's what it is) is a clump of trees, then a house with a Mansard roof and drill in front of it, then right next to that house the chimney of the house in the other book. and a small piece of the gable.

The dates fit, but it sure took a while to get that work done. The 3rd Street identification should make fininding the spot easier, but who knows what buildings are there now.

As to the route through Mt. Vernon, Bob's NYW&B has newspaper clippings on p. 18 dated 6/15/09 in which the NYW&B proposes changes to it route request (the old route you speak of), and on p. 10 a clipping dated 8/4/09 granting the request (to the cheers of the multitudes).

And a third point: Where is Berian/Berrian Ave. in the Bronx. It is not on my map, but I assume it was near the station at 180th Street.

Bill Abbott
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Postby Otto Vondrak » Sat Jan 15, 2005 1:28 pm

We're fortunate that the construction era photos had the dates and locations written on them. They were taken by the contractors as proof of progress on the work done at a certain point. Some other photos are harder to pin point. I bet some Mount Vernon natives will be able to help us out!

A friend of mine forwarded me a map he created where he superimposed the NYWB track map onto a current arial photograph of Mount Vernon- as soon as I figure out how to upload it, I'll provide a link.

-otto-
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Postby Stillwell » Sat Jan 15, 2005 6:15 pm

A NYW&B thread. Very nice!

I'd definately like to see a NYW&B Historical Society of some sort. Something to help promote the memory and possibly help preserve what remnants still exist of the line. We lose a little more of it every year. Just look at that parking garage they're building in White Plains in the area of the ROW between Mamaroneck Ave. station and the Bryant Ave. bridge. They had to widen the original rock cut to make room for the garage. It's been permanently altered from it's original apperance. :(

On the brighter side, I got the chance to go on the MTA's special excursion run of the old Lo-V cars on 12/18/04. It was fun and part of the trip was a run up and down the Dyre Ave. (#5) line. The train stopped for about 15 minutes at Dyre Ave. station and we got out to take some pictures and look around. It's the closest you're gonna get to riding the original trains. The Lo-V cars were even painted dark green. :wink: During the trip someone asked if the train was making a stop at Gedney Way. I had never ridden on that line before and it was great to see it in person. The tracks and the stations have been altered somewhat from the NYW&B days but the overall effect was there.

Here's a question for Otto: When the excursion train stopped at Dyre Ave, I ran into a guy who had a printed out map of the NYW&B with the proposed extensions shown on the map including the Westchester Northern and all of the stations for that line marked on the map. The map even had the Railroad.net logo on it. I didn't get a chance to ask him were he got the map. I assumed it was part of some promo for the new Bob Bang book and the map would be in the book. When I got my copy of the book, I noticed that the map doesn't appear in it. Any ideas about what I saw? I'd love to get a copy of this map if it exists anywhere.

As for pictures of what remains today, I'm planning on getting out and taking as many as I can over the next couple of months. I have a lot of pics I've taken over the past 5-6 years. I've covered a quite a bit of the line. I still have some holes in the collection. The winter and very early spring is the time to take these type of pics. I've been trying to balance my time between NYW&B and NYC's Putnam Division (which I was taking some pics of today).

I look foward to more NYW&B discussion. So keep it coming guys!

Jon Shecter
"Waiting for the train that's never gonna come..."
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Postby Otto Vondrak » Sat Jan 15, 2005 7:14 pm

Here's a question for Otto: When the excursion train stopped at Dyre Ave, I ran into a guy who had a printed out map of the NYW&B with the proposed extensions shown on the map including the Westchester Northern and all of the stations for that line marked on the map. The map even had the Railroad.net logo on it. I didn't get a chance to ask him were he got the map. I assumed it was part of some promo for the new Bob Bang book and the map would be in the book. When I got my copy of the book, I noticed that the map doesn't appear in it. Any ideas about what I saw? I'd love to get a copy of this map if it exists anywhere.


Hrm... sounds like something I would make, doesn't it? You may have been seeing things... a Railroad.net logo? Really? Hrm...

Yes, I drew of The Railroads of Westchester County, mostly for my own amusement, and possibly as a future item for sale on the Railroad.net store. I drew it after the book went to press, and I only gave it to a couple of friends who had questions about the WN extension (and I bet I know who was on that Lo-V excursion who showed it to you!). It was not part of the Robert Bang book only because we didnt have enough hard evidence to publish such a map, and we were concentrating on the NYWB story as it was built. I drew that map based on descriptions I have read years ago, preliminary surveys, and my own best guesses as to station and route locations... I need to re-read some passages and check some sources before I ever released a serious map of the proposed route of the Westchester Northern. But, if you ask nicely, drop me an e-mail, and I'll send you a PDF of the map.

-otto-
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Info on picture on top of page 5 in Bang's "Million $&q

Postby silmarg » Sat Jan 15, 2005 11:46 pm

When you get Bob Bang's new book, look at the pages I mentioned. Then look again at the photo at the top of p. 19. At the upper left is a house with a gable and a chimney to the right of the gable. Now look at Bob's (sorry, I don't even know him) Mile-Dollar-A-Mile book at the photo at top of page 5. To the right of the water tower (I presume that's what it is) is a clump of trees, then a house with a Mansard roof and drill in front of it, then right next to that house the chimney of the house in the other book. and a small piece of the gable.


I drive within 100 feet of where that photo was taken every day to go to work (I have to drive to the Mt.Vernon station on the New Haven to go to Gotham).

While I have a interest in the NYW&B, my real passion is old maps and here is what I can put together. The photo on page 5 of the Million Dollar book says it is "Looking North from Monroe St". Monroe St still exists. It is in the area that the NYWB made the turn to go under Fulton Ave and to the 3rd St Station. Some of this cut (on the east side of Fulton still exists).

The 1896 and 1918 Sanborn Insurance Maps of Mt. Vernon shows a "Iron Stand Pipe" that is owned by the "New York Suburban Water Co" in 1896 and later owned by the "NY Interurban Water Co" at the southeast corner of Fulton and E3rd St (the 3rd St station would be just east of the tower on the south side of E3rd). This tower no longer stands on this corner (the lot is now a small park).

The maps show a structure just to the east of the "Iron Stand Pipe" that may well be the mansard roof building. My guess is this building (with the mansard roof) no longer exists... but I will check it out on Monday. I would bet that building to the left of the "Iron Stand Pipe" in the photo still exists (my guess is that it is in the northeast corner of Fulton and E3rd).

I will try to take some pictures, but it may not be from the same vantage point as the area is well developed now.

BTW, How can I post pictures here? I have a PDF of the Sanborn maps so I could post some images... but Im not sure how to do it.
silmarg
 

Postby Otto Vondrak » Sun Jan 16, 2005 2:09 am

Sanborn fire insurance maps are great, aren't they? That's how I traced the Westchester Northern through Bedford Village. 1930 maps show parcels of land belonging to "NYNH&HCo." and "W&NRRCo." Some of these parcels were still owned by the railroad through the 1960s.

If the PDF resides on a web server somewhere, just provide a link to the file, and we'll be able to access it.

-otto-
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Postby silmarg » Sun Jan 16, 2005 10:45 pm

If the PDF resides on a web server somewhere, just provide a link to the file, and we'll be able to access it.


Unfortunately the PDFs are not on the web. I'll have to see if a friend of mine would be willing to put it on their web page.

.....

I did take a drive today by the site of the picture on the top of 5 of the Million $ book. None of the buildings in the background that we were discussing seemed to have survived.

The site immediately in front of where that picture was taken (which was a cut just south and west of the E3rd St station) appears to be filled back in and is now a parking lot for a grocery store. The grocery store's building lot (including the parking lot) appear to be the NYWB property that was north of Monroe and west of Fulton.

The NYWB land to the east of Fulton (as it approached E3rd St Station) was never filled in. A ramp has been built so automobiles can park where the NYWB roadbed was. The E3rd St Station building still stands (though its not in good shape) and you can easily see how the roadbed went under the station house.

Howard Finkel's web site has some pictures of the E3rd St station area that I described in the previous paragraph...

http://www.nycsubway.org/nyc/nywb/remains-e3rd.html
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Postby bizzbag » Mon Jan 17, 2005 2:16 pm

Glad to see this happening. I live in Denver now (grew up in Mt Vernon in the '50s). I left NY in the '60s and didn't even get back to visit until my daughter went to school in Manhattan a couple of years ago. Now, whenever I get back to Manhattan to visit my daughter for any reasonable length of time, I rent a car and go up north to check out the ROW. I hope Otto can get my Mt Vernon overlay map linked up soon - the aerial view actually helps see a ROW that is often no longer visible on the ground . I also have some pictures inside the 3rd street station and on top of the Kingsbridge Rd station I took last summer. I have not yet seen any of these locations from modern times posted on the web. I can send them to Otto for posting or maybe we will have some kind of place to stick jpegs for everybody.

By the way, I have the NYWB video rail tape that's made from the old 8mm movies that some of you have, and am trying to do some video work on them. I wondered if anybody knows whether any additional scenes exist, or if there is a way to get hold of a copy of the original 8mm films.

P.S. Bob Bang's new book is terrific

Regards,
Craig P
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Oakpoint

Postby oakpoint » Mon Jan 17, 2005 3:09 pm

Bizzbag:

The original 8mm movies were made by a gentleman name Frank Schlegel who rode the line near it's end in 1937. He was a good man and friend.

I had the pleasure of having him to my home in Greenwich Ct. in 1974 with a gentleman friend of his.
He showed his movies of the NYW&B as well as his movie of the Putnam Division. He Made me copies of his fantastic movies also in 8mm and sold me five five thousand dollar, five one thousand dollar bonds for the Westchester. I used to own a brakeman's hat badge also. After a divorce in the eighties, my movies and hat badge disappeared along with all my bonds except one one thousand dollar bond which I presently have.

Your inquiry about the original movies in 8mm, the late Roger Arcara's widow, Barbara Arcara should know what happened to her late husband's movie reel. But I understand it's difficult to contact her or finding her where abouts.

I believe there were a couple of small clips that were on the 8mm version. For instance, there was a shot from the head end going through Pelhamwood station on the Port Chester branch. Not all that much more as it was about the same lenght of time, approx. 15+ minutes.

NEXT STOP - WYKAGYL

Charles D :-)
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Postby Otto Vondrak » Mon Jan 17, 2005 5:56 pm

Craig- you've been *inside* Kingsbridge station? I explored Kingsbrige just last week, and I didnt get too far- the passage that led under the tracks from the White Plains-bound side was blocked by a cave-in from the New York-bound side. I hear the fare control gates are still in place behind those cinder blocks at the street level. As for East Third Street- you've been *inside*? We have an excellent interior shot in the book from the in-service days... but I assume the station has been gutted several times over from its original configuration. I'm going to upload your excellent Mount Vernon arial map to our nywbry.com site... if you have other submissions, feel free to send them to my personal email address.

-otto-
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