Harlem Division Questions

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Harlem Division Questions

Postby Ridgefielder » Tue Jul 12, 2016 11:44 am

A few questions about the Harlem Division have come to my mind in the 8+ months that I've been a regular commuter on that line, and I've finally remembered to post them here. Any answers to my idle curiosity would be appreciated:
-Was there once a yard between Botanical Garden and Fordham, on the west side of the tracks? It looks like this is the case from the building lines.
-A circa 1895 map of Eastchester that I've seen shows a roundhouse in Tuckahoe, between the tracks and the Bronx River. Does anyone know what became of this and why it was there in the first place? Seems an odd location for an engine servicing facility.
-Was there ever much freight business on the line between Mt. Vernon West and White Plains? It seems to me as if most the freight traffic in this area originated on the Hudson and Putnam divisions, but I'm not sure that's true.
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Re: Harlem Division Questions

Postby DutchRailnut » Tue Jul 12, 2016 12:37 pm

first answer yes.
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Re: Harlem Division Questions

Postby R Paul Carey » Wed Jul 13, 2016 6:23 am

As to the second question, there was a "pocket yard" in use between Tuckahoe and Crestwood in use as late as the early-to-mid 1960's, from which a few morning trains originated using the stub track at Crestwood station. This operation ceased with the introduction of Zone schedules.

There was no significant freight handled at the stations between Mount Vernon (west) and White Plains.
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Re: Harlem Division Questions

Postby Rockingham Racer » Wed Jul 13, 2016 6:50 am

Didn't those trains run track 6 to/from VO? Then 4 to Woodlawn, IIRC.
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Re: Harlem Division Questions

Postby Noel Weaver » Wed Jul 13, 2016 7:28 am

The trains that used track six at VO terminated at either Mount Vernon or ran west (NYC direction) to Fleetwood. Under Metro-North this move is still made in both rush hours. Tuckahoe and Crestwood are further up the road. I would suggest that you try to find a copy of the book "The Coming of the New York and Harlem Railroad by Louis Grogan. I suspect it might be out of print but I think it might provide the answers to your questions.
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Re: Harlem Division Questions

Postby shlustig » Wed Jul 13, 2016 11:19 am

Fordham Yard was situated on the Tk. 2 side of the Harlem mainline between Fordham and BG. There was a regular customer and a team track which were served into the 1980's by the WP Travelling Switcher, Jimmy Roach's job which also covered the AM and PM rush hours as emergency power.

When the railroad decided to close the yard, the Belgian stone paving was sold at a neat profit.

The other active freight yard at that time between Woodlawn and MO was at Claremont Park.

Only other freight siding was at South Woodlawn on Tk. 2 for a coal company which had gone out of business, but the track was used occasionally for M/W equipment.
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Re: Harlem Division Questions

Postby Ridgefielder » Wed Jul 13, 2016 11:24 am

Noel Weaver wrote:The trains that used track six at VO terminated at either Mount Vernon or ran west (NYC direction) to Fleetwood. Under Metro-North this move is still made in both rush hours. Tuckahoe and Crestwood are further up the road. I would suggest that you try to find a copy of the book "The Coming of the New York and Harlem Railroad by Louis Grogan. I suspect it might be out of print but I think it might provide the answers to your questions.
Noel Weaver

Noel- Thanks for the recommendation! Definitely going to track down a copy of that book.
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Re: Harlem Division Questions

Postby Jeff Smith » Wed Jul 13, 2016 12:18 pm

VO?
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Re: Harlem Division Questions

Postby ExCon90 » Wed Jul 13, 2016 3:50 pm

I think VO was the interlocking at Mount Vernon. I commuted from Fleetwood for about a year and a half and enjoyed the luxury of boarding an empty train in the morning rush hour after watching the deadhead equipment make its way along Track 6 to the "bay platform" at Fleetwood. After Fleetwood it made Mount Vernon and 125th St., and that was it (and Fleetwood and Mount Vernon together filled three 8-car trains about 20 minutes apart).
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Re: Harlem Division Questions

Postby Rockingham Racer » Wed Jul 13, 2016 4:04 pm

Jeff Smith wrote:VO?

VO was the tower designation at what is now Mount Vernon West. You might also have seen a reference along the way to:

JO tower: became Woodlawn tower, which remotely controlled JO and Crestwood

MO tower: Mott Haven tower

NK tower: above the tracks, on the viaduct, at about 106th St.

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Re: Harlem Division Questions

Postby Jeff Smith » Wed Jul 13, 2016 5:14 pm

Got it, thanks!
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Re: Harlem Division Questions

Postby Backshophoss » Wed Jul 13, 2016 5:21 pm

The Towers used their telegraph call letters as "names" until PC came along,and changed things...... :wink:
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Re: Harlem Division Questions

Postby Otto Vondrak » Thu Jul 14, 2016 11:56 am

Ridgefielder wrote:-Was there once a yard between Botanical Garden and Fordham, on the west side of the tracks? It looks like this is the case from the building lines.


Yes.

-A circa 1895 map of Eastchester that I've seen shows a roundhouse in Tuckahoe, between the tracks and the Bronx River. Does anyone know what became of this and why it was there in the first place? Seems an odd location for an engine servicing facility.


The Harlem Railroad was built in stages between 1831 and 1852 its entire length from New York City to Chatham. I imagine that at certain points, small engine facilities were built near the "temporary" end of the line. Over the years, these engine facilities were abandoned, leaving the only major roundhouse facilities at North White Plains and Brewster.

-Was there ever much freight business on the line between Mt. Vernon West and White Plains? It seems to me as if most the freight traffic in this area originated on the Hudson and Putnam divisions, but I'm not sure that's true.


Yes, there was local freight in almost every town along the line.

Pick up a copy of Lou Grogran's "The Coming of the New York & Harlem Railroad" to answer most of your questions. Emily M o s e r 's web site at harlem line dot com does an excellent job in filling in the gaps.

edit: I don't know why her name or the web site URL are censored words, but whatever.

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Re: Harlem Division Questions

Postby Otto Vondrak » Thu Jul 14, 2016 11:58 am

Rockingham Racer wrote:
Jeff Smith wrote:VO?

VO was the tower designation at what is now Mount Vernon West. You might also have seen a reference along the way...


See also: viewtopic.php?t=32168&p=320873
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Re: Harlem Division Questions

Postby PC1100 » Wed Jul 20, 2016 4:20 am

Any idea what year the White Plains Traveling Switcher was abolished? Also, in NYC days was there a White Plains-Brewster Traveling switcher, and if so did it last into the Conrail era?
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