Port Morris Branch

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Re: Port Morris Branch

Postby ChiefTroll » Sun Jan 03, 2010 9:18 pm

The tunnel had two tracks in 1961, when I last worked as second trick yard clerk at Westchester Ave. I had to go to Port Morris many nights for a yard check, and I never walked through the tunnel. If our conductor was still around that late, he would go with me, but I usually just borrowed the yard engine after the crew had tied up and ran down and back through the tunnel, making plenty of noise to alert the residents. That was SOP, and they never tried to bother me. I few nights things were getting dicey up on the street, and I called our Asst. Chief Dispatcher for a ride out. He would get one of the yard crews from Mott Haven to come over and give me a ride to 138th St. Station to catch a local. Normally I would ride the IRT from 138th St. and the Concourse to 149th St and 3rd Ave, but sometimes, especially if it was raining, I would ride the 3rd Ave El one stop to 156th St and 3rd Ave. I got real lucky a few times and got a ride all the way home to Dobbs Ferry with a "hotfoot," a crew from Harmon that ran around changing out yard engines that were due for inspection or maintenance.

NYC had some interesting labor agreements and some small seniority districts for train and engine crews. GCT had its own T&E seniority district which included all the yard and transfer jobs between GCT, Mott Haven and Port Morris. Hudson and Harlem Division road crews and traveling switchers could go into Port Morris, but the yard crews headquartered at Westchester Ave came from the GCT roster.

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Re: Port Morris Branch

Postby Noel Weaver » Mon Jan 04, 2010 8:17 am

ChiefTroll wrote:NYC had some interesting labor agreements and some small seniority districts for train and engine crews. GCT had its own T&E seniority district which included all the yard and transfer jobs between GCT, Mott Haven and Port Morris. Hudson and Harlem Division road crews and traveling switchers could go into Port Morris, but the yard crews headquartered at Westchester Ave came from the GCT roster.

Gordon Davids


The Grand Central Terminal roster still had people on it in the Metro-North period when I was still in New York in the mid
80's. We had a order of selection which represented our roster combined between the Hudson, Harlem, GCT and the New
Haven Shore Line Rosters. There were other roster districts on both the New York Central and New Haven that contributed
engineers to Metro-North but only the four rosters that I mentioned were on the OSL at the start. I think all of the people
who were on the four rosters are retired by now but I can't be positive about that one. Many of the brothers did not like
the set up but it benefited some including me in the long run.
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Re: Port Morris Branch

Postby gasaxe » Mon Jan 04, 2010 10:01 pm

chnhrr wrote:Wow – what great photos on the LTV website. You guys are intrepid to go down in there.


One of the guys on the 2008 outing called it: "truly disgusting" and that guy likes to explore sewers for fun.

The East New York tunnel on the Bay Ridge Branch is a "walk in the park" compared to St. Mary's.
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Re: Port Morris Branch

Postby chnhrr » Wed Jan 06, 2010 10:30 pm

Chief Troll and Noel

The transfer with the New Haven at Port Morris seems a curious operation. Wouldn’t it have been more efficient to transfer near Mount Vernon? Also I’ve seen referenced the Westchester Yard for the New Haven. I am assuming this is a different yard than the mentioned Westchester Avenue Yard.

Separately, I hope the tunnel get’s restored to a beneficial use, but this maybe another one of my pipe dreams.
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Re: Port Morris Branch

Postby Noel Weaver » Thu Jan 07, 2010 12:01 am

chnhrr wrote:Chief Troll and Noel

The transfer with the New Haven at Port Morris seems a curious operation. Wouldn’t it have been more efficient to transfer near Mount Vernon? Also I’ve seen referenced the Westchester Yard for the New Haven. I am assuming this is a different yard than the mentioned Westchester Avenue Yard.

Separately, I hope the tunnel get’s restored to a beneficial use, but this maybe another one of my pipe dreams.


Mt. Vernon/Woodlawn would not have been an appropriate place for any interchange of freight cars. You need to do that
where you either have a yard or at least enough tracks to do it and this was not the case at Mt. Vernon which was a
passenger stop on both railroads, nothing much more. Both railroads had freight sidings in Mt. Vernon but they were for
local delivery.
Westchester Yard on the Central and Westchester Yard on the New Haven were not the same nor in the same general location either. On the Central Westchester Yard was on the Port Morris Branch while on the New Haven Westchester Yard was a hand thrown switch off track 6 a little bit west of Pelham Bay. At least in the 60's the New Haven had an afternoon yard job (OP-1, later OP-21) which made up a train then went to West Farms, Van Nest and Westchester Yard off track 6.
At Westchester Yard after switching two or three customers there they would run around the train and shove out to track 6
and east to Pelham Bay (SS-14 in the NHRR days) to cross over to track 3 and work Gristedies (spelling?) and maybe Con Ed
at the old Van Nest Shop before returning to Oak Point. This job did not do anything at 174th Street, the connection with
the Transit Authority which was the old New York, Westchester and Boston connection, that work was done by a day job
out of Oak Point and if they had quite a bit of loaded stone to shove up in there, they would often need two engines whidh
also meant two crews for the move as the rail could be pretty slippery and it was upgrade.
Sometimes the transfer job (OP-1/OP-21) would work through its lunch and when we did we usually got an early quit at Oak
Point when we returned.
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Re: Port Morris Branch

Postby chnhrr » Thu Jan 07, 2010 9:25 pm

Thank you Noel for the clarification. Previously I was unsuccessful in finding anything on the New Haven’s Westchester Yard. It appears that the yard was a minor component along the line.

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Re: Port Morris Branch

Postby FL9711 » Wed May 19, 2010 10:21 pm

Does anyone have any photos of this line from when it was in use?
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Re: Port Morris Branch

Postby chnhrr » Thu May 20, 2010 11:07 pm

Ditto on that one and especially pictures of the Port Morris Yard. Also Oak Point would be good too.
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Re: Port Morris Branch

Postby Statkowski » Fri May 21, 2010 12:15 am

The New Haven's Westchester Yard was, at one time, a fairly large yard, and was located east of Eastchester Road and west of Baychester Avenue. In its day it served a large less-than-carload transfer facility. It was essentially eliminated with the creation of Oak Point Yard, more or less turning into nothing more than an industrial park. Prior to the creation of Oak Point Yard, it also served as a storage point for cars destined to Harlem River.
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Re: Port Morris Branch

Postby Jeff Smith » Fri Oct 02, 2015 3:13 pm

Curbed

This would be a tough nut to crack given the geography of the line.

Abandoned South Bronx Rail Tracks Could Become A Park

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. wants to get in on the rails-to-trails action. The Daily News reports that he asked Mayor de Blasio to turn a stretch of abandoned rail tracks in Mott Haven into a Lowline/High Line-style park. The sunken, but not subterranean, tracks have become a drug-ridden homeless encampment that Diaz would like developed into a public amenity. A particularly bad site near St. Ann's Ave. at East 150th Street was recently cleaned up, but Diaz wants more than "a temporary cleanup." "The development of a permanent use would be a model for the future reuse of the many miles of essentially abandoned railway that is spread across the five boroughs."

Railroad company CSX owns the tracks, which run for 30 blocks between Mott Haven and Melrose, and to turn the trench into a public green space, the city would have to purchase or seize the land. At street level, Diaz would like to see housing, and notes that a few developments, like Via Verde and Melrose Commons, have already risen alongside the tracks.
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Re: Port Morris Branch

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Fri Oct 02, 2015 3:49 pm

Well, that would be the scariest rail trail ever. I'd be as worried of catching typhus from the stagnant swampwater as I would be the temperament of the ROW's native residents.


Methinks Diaz has not thought through his cunning plan.
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Re: Port Morris Branch

Postby ChiefTroll » Fri Oct 02, 2015 5:55 pm

I don't see myself traveling to New York to experience a walk through the tunnel that I avoided fifty five years ago when I was 18 years old and fearless.
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Re: Port Morris Branch

Postby YamaOfParadise » Fri Oct 02, 2015 6:07 pm

They'd certainly have to spend a ton of money to keep that thing in any semblance of security. You'd want to have the entire thing covered with security cameras, and you'd need 24/7 patrols by the police, even if the trail wasn't open after dark. That certainly wouldn't be cheap. I mean, if they really want to use this as a tool to gentrify the area around the trail (lets be honest here), I suspect they'll be willing to double-down on costs to achieve the improved tax revenue, but... it's still a hell of an undertaking.
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Re: Port Morris Branch

Postby Jeff Smith » Sat Oct 03, 2015 1:49 pm

Just doing some cross-posting to New York Central. Currently owned by CSX and operated until 1999 and abandoned thereafter.

Also, in doing some research, found this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spuyten_D ... s_Railroad

Okay, a wiki page is not all that exciting. However, this news link sourced on it was:

Restoration was proposed in 2014, to connect the Metro-North Harlem line to an expanded LaGuardia Airport.[5]


New York Times

Thinking Big. Then Thinking Bigger.
An Idea to Restructure and Expand La Guardia Airport


The green swath was an abandoned railway line that once ran across the South Bronx, from Port Morris on the East River to Spuyten Duyvil on the Hudson, connecting the Bronx to a vast transportation network — an invaluable piece of infrastructure, Mr. Venturi said, just waiting for someone to use it.

Last month, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced a $500,000 competition to modernize four New York airports. Mr. Venturi’s big idea, which is still in its drawing phase, involves the radical transformation of La Guardia Airport, and it runs through this patch of unkempt green.
...
To solve La Guardia’s problems, Mr. Venturi decided, it wasn’t enough to annex Rikers. On the advice of a friend, the architect Henry Smith-Miller, he began to look at the Bronx. The industrial Port Morris neighborhood, with its sewage treatment plant and assorted warehouses, was just across the river from the jails and had access to Amtrak, Metro-North and subway lines, including the abandoned rail tracks west to Spuyten Duyvil. It was ripe for the taking, Mr. Venturi thought.
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Re: Port Morris Branch

Postby Noel Weaver » Sat Oct 03, 2015 6:54 pm

[quote="Jeff Smith"]Just doing some cross-posting to New York Central. Currently owned by CSX and operated until 1999 and abandoned thereafter.

It ought to stay abandoned too!!!!!!
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