Port Morris Branch

Discussion relating to the NYC and subsidiaries, up to 1968. Visit the NYCS Historical Society for more information.

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Postby Spartan Phalanx » Tue Sep 25, 2007 9:31 pm

If memory serves me, the move was a "complex evolution", as they say in the Navy, until the Oak Point Link was built and activated. No need for the St. Mary's trackage anymore.
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Postby DogBert » Wed Sep 26, 2007 12:23 am

This line has since become a dumping ground for trash. Lack of drainage has loads of water in the cut at places as well. The tunnel under st. marys, last time I took a look maybe 3 years ago, was home to some homeless people and migrating birds (found a large yellow bird in there that I later found out is from Canada and lives in caves, thus it's use of the tunnel in migration). It's truly a filthy place...

I heard the MTA was going to or did buy this property to preserve for perhaps some future commuter link? Can't imagine what use they would have for it, but...
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Postby devbeep2 » Mon Oct 29, 2007 1:07 am

i ran into some workers at the park last winter who told me they are bricking the tunnel entrances.. i haven't been back up there recently to see if that has happened or not.

Re: Port Morris Branch

Postby Penn Central » Thu Dec 17, 2009 11:16 am

It looks like the branch is back in the news:

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/ ... n-thought/
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Re: Port Morris Branch

Postby cyoc51 » Mon Dec 21, 2009 12:35 pm

Jack Shufelt did nailed the date of construction - 1842. My great great grandfather was a latecomer to Morrisania.

The New York Central Historical Society also has the same date of construction. Below is what is written in the website.

The Port Morris Branch

The industrial track that ran from the Harlem Division at Melrose over to a connection with the New Haven on the East River at Port Morris was built as the Spuyten Duyvil & Port Morris in 1842. It split from the Harlem near 162nd Street (near Melrose), and ran to a point on the East River known as Port Morris. In 1853, the NY&H purchased the railroad and it was designated as the Port Morris Branch. In later years, the line was electrified with third rail, and was operated as a freight connection to the New Haven's Oak Point Yard.

I wrote a report a long time ago that chose the 1853 date which is incorrect. I originally thought that the NY and Harlem Railroad was the original owner, since Gouverneur Morris was a principle stockhoder of the railroad.

Also, the report's proposal is to convert this line into a greenway, connecting the South Bronx Greenway at the Hells Gate underpass. Does have an idea of ownership of the line? My research lead me to RAMS-SPEC incorporation, they are located in California. However, this was for a section of the line.

Re: Port Morris Branch

Postby Noel Weaver » Wed Dec 23, 2009 2:43 am

At one time years ago in the third rail days the third rail extended all the way up behind New Haven SS-3 (Bungay) at the
west end of Oak Point) where the third rail ended and overhead wire began. At least in theory it was possible to run a New
Haven AC/DC electric motor through this branch from Oak Point to Mott Haven and Grand Central Terminal. It was never
done in my time on the railroad but many years previous to my time I suppose it could have especially for a light motor, it
would surely have save considerable time for a move of this nature especially from the motor shop at Oak Point which was
close to old SS-3.
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Re: Port Morris Branch

Postby Statkowski » Wed Dec 23, 2009 10:43 pm

The Sept. 27, 1953 Engine Assignment book shows the NYC's Port Morris Branch as a detour route for New Haven trains if the line was blocked between Woodlawn and New Rochelle Junction (sending everything to Penn. Station) or if the line was blocked between Harold and New Rochelle Junction (sending everything to Grand Central Terminal if possible). Commuter trains would use the Westchester Avenue station adjacent to the subway and transfer passengers.
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Re: Port Morris Branch

Postby Tom Curtin » Sun Dec 27, 2009 8:24 am

i actually managed to ride this line on a fantrip (1967). As you can imagine the ain't much to see, the line being "walled in" for most of its length.

(That was an outstanding fantrip by the way--- we also went up The Put to East View and down the WSFL to 30th Street.).
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Re: Port Morris Branch

Postby Jeff Smith » Thu Dec 31, 2009 12:23 pm

Tom, that must have been a pretty rough ride. I figure by then the NYC was only going as far as the A&P in Elmsford, right? Stopped at Eastview once, long after service ended, just to check out the remnants and the bridge over the SMRP.
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Re: Port Morris Branch

Postby ChiefTroll » Thu Dec 31, 2009 1:24 pm

A&P was located at East View. It was the end of the Put at the time.
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Re: Port Morris Branch

Postby R Paul Carey » Fri Jan 01, 2010 4:03 am

With due regard and appreciation for the posts of others, I believe the A&P facility was actually located at Beaver Hill, once a station, West of Elmsford.
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Re: Port Morris Branch

Postby Jeff Smith » Fri Jan 01, 2010 9:52 am

I know the East View station was at the very top of the hill. I can't say for certain where the distribution facility was. I was just thinking that if the fan trip extended past the distribution facility, it might have been rough, although I'm sure the entire stretch was rough.
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Re: Port Morris Branch

Postby ChiefTroll » Fri Jan 01, 2010 10:37 am

Paul is correct about the actual location of the A&P. Elmsford, the open agency station at the time, was at MP 14.85. Beaver Hill, now just about the location of Beaver Hill Road crossing, was MP 15.70. A&P was just west of the crossing, on the north (RR) side of the track. East View, MP 17.10, was the end of track after 1961. When I was the yard clerk at BN Yard in the Bronx, 1960 and 1961, we originated the Put Switcher which included the A&P cars. I'm almost certain that they were billed to East View, a non-agency station under the jurisdiction of the agent at Elmsford, who was Lewis N. Catone at the time. In 1960, while the Putnam Subdivision was intact between BN and Put Jct, Yard Limits extended from Elmsford to East View. By 1965, both remaining segments of the entire Putnam Branch were under Rule 93, Yard Limits.

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Re: Port Morris Branch

Postby gasaxe » Sat Jan 02, 2010 9:55 pm

Since you're on the subject of the Port Morris Branch, I'll point you to our pics of some walks the crew has done there.




See you at ltvsquad.com and gasaxe.de
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Re: Port Morris Branch

Postby chnhrr » Sun Jan 03, 2010 6:51 pm

Wow – what great photos on the LTV website. You guys are intrepid to go down in there. I looked down into the South cut once from the Bruckner Boulevard and that’s all I could muster. Also the LTV site has interesting historic background and information on the tunnel’s current status. As noted in an earlier post and shown in one of the photos, the tunnel could accommodate two tracks. I’m still searching for historic photos of the tunnel and Port Morris yard. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Unfortunately abandonment of properties in poor neighborhoods like the South Bronx is nothing new. CSX should have reviewed the abandonment procedures with the City and State, since there is the likelihood that the company has received tax benefits for capital improvements in the past.

For those interested, one can use Panoramio to do a virtual tour of the Port Morris area, including the New Haven approaches to the Hellgate Bridge from the comfort of home.
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