Piermont Branch (Orig Erie Main) aka Suffern Industrial

Discussion relating to the operations of MTA MetroNorth Railroad including west of Hudson operations and discussion of CtDOT sponsored rail operations such as Shore Line East and the Springfield to New Haven Hartford Line

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David Hutchinson
Posts: 582
Joined: Sat Mar 27, 2004 8:59 pm

Piermont Branch

Post by David Hutchinson »

Saw a box car being unloaded in Tallman. Can anyone let me know what customers are active on the branch?

JoeG

Anyone have a Piermont Branch profile?

Post by JoeG »

I'm interested in a Piermont Branch profile, especially the grades in different parts of it.
My interest is caused by the proposed partial resurrection of the line for the Tappan Zee replacement project.

SkateLady

Train that ran through Nanuet in the 1960's

Post by SkateLady »

I'm not a train aficionado, so if I'm posting in the wrong place, or am using the wrong terminology, please forgive me.

I grew up in Nanuet in the 1960's. There were railroad tracks that ran through the woods behind my house. I recall playing near the tracks during the era in which they ran, but at some time during my youth the trains stopped running. I always used The Tracks as the route to walk anywhere - to my friends' houses in Pearl River, and later, after it was built, to the Nanuet Mall. Lots of fond pre-drivers license memories.

Does anyone know when that particular line stopped running? I don't think it was a passenger train, and I'm fairly certain that it came north from New Jersey (Montvale maybe?). It went through Pearl River, then Nanuet, then through the property that later became the Nanuet Mall. (Not sure where it led after that, as I never ventured any farther.)

I was recently telling my kids about how we used to put our ears to the rails to hear/feel the vibrations if a train was approaching - but that at some point (1966? 1967?) we finally realized there weren't trains anymore & then felt foolish! That recollection got me to wondering exactly when that line ceased operation - and for how long we had been needlessly fearing getting run down by a train.

Thanks!

H.F.Malone
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Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2004 7:37 am
Location: Someplace north of Highland Jct.

Post by H.F.Malone »

Skate Lady:

Looks like we went to different schools together. I lived in Montvale, just a few hundred feet below the NJ-NY border, form 1956 to 1966 (8th grade), and that rail line ran thru the backyards across the street. The line is the "New Jersey and New York Railroad", leased by the Erie (Erie-Lackawanna after Nov 1960), and primarily a commuter line from Spring Valley to Hoboken Terminal (connect via ferryboat to NY).

There's a pretty good book on the line, with lots of historical pics, available from Amazon (look up New Jersey and New York Railroad).

The line is still active, operated by NJ Transit. The Lederle Labs in Nanuet was one of the biggest freight customers on the north end of the line well into the late 1960s. Lederle was also a great place for sledding during those heavy snowfall winters of the late 50s-early 60s.

There was another line going west from Orangeburg to Nanuet, which was little used by the 1960s and was pulled up in the early 70s. This was the Piermont Branch and started at Piermont on the Hudson River and went west through Nanuet (the NJ&NY shared the track from that point, going behind the Nanuet Mall) to Spring Valley (where the NJ&NY cut away and headed north to Haverstraw) and on through Monsey to Suffern. This line was the original Erie RR from 1841.

So, more that you probably wanted to know, eh?

It was a different time back then; being considered OK to walk the tracks, if a train came the crew waved and we waved back, the station agent in Pearl River was friendly as was the mid-day freight train crew.

Thanks for jogging the old memory bank....
"You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need."

SkateLady

Post by SkateLady »

Wow, quick reply there!
There's a pretty good book on the line, with lots of historical pics, available from Amazon (look up New Jersey and New York Railroad).
I will check that out, thanks.
The line is still active, operated by NJ Transit. The Lederle Labs in Nanuet was one of the biggest freight customers on the north end of the line well into the late 1960s. Lederle was also a great place for sledding during those heavy snowfall winters of the late 50s-early 60s.
The line I'm referring to no longer exists - the tracks near my mom's house are all gone (Blauvelt Rd in Nanuet). I used to follow those tracks across Blauvelt Rd, then across Townline Rd to Pearl River. The tracks across Townline Rd are also gone, although in my last visit to the area, it looks like a walking trail now.

I lived on the east side of Middletown Rd. I noticed on my last visit home that there is a train station now on the west side of Middletown Rd - that must be the active line you are referring to.

And, oh yes! I remember sledding on the Lederle lawn. I used to think it was a huge hill, but it looks small to me now!
There was another line going west from Orangeburg to Nanuet, which was little used by the 1960s and was pulled up in the early 70s. This was the Piermont Branch and started at Piermont on the Hudson River and went west through Nanuet (the NJ&NY shared the track from that point, going behind the Nanuet Mall) to Spring Valley (where the NJ&NY cut away and headed north to Haverstraw) and on through Monsey to Suffern. This line was the original Erie RR from 1841.
Maybe this is it - although the tracks I'm thinking of were all still in place when I left Nanuet for good in 1977.
So, more that you probably wanted to know, eh?
I'm a local history sponge; it's never enough!
It was a different time back then; being considered OK to walk the tracks, if a train came the crew waved and we waved back, the station agent in Pearl River was friendly as was the mid-day freight train crew.
Believe it or not, walking the tracks was the only way i was permitted to go! Only a few roads had sidewalks, so the tracks were considered safer. Times certainly have changed

JBlaisdell
Posts: 270
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2004 10:18 pm

Post by JBlaisdell »

The abandoned line might be the original Erie tracks that once ran down to Piermont. This line came from Suffern, through Spring Valley and Nanuet, continuing through Blauvelt and Sparkill.

Nanuet is where the commuter line turns south on the old NJ&NY

Blauvelt is where it crossed the West Shore, near where Lowe's is on 303.

Sparkill had a junction with a line up from Norwood, NJ to Nyack. This line is visible if you go up 9W to South Nyack, the r-o-w is right along side much of the way.

SkateLady

Post by SkateLady »

The abandoned line might be the original Erie tracks that once ran down to Piermont. This line came from Suffern, through Spring Valley and Nanuet, continuing through Blauvelt and Sparkill.

Nanuet is where the commuter line turns south on the old NJ&NY
Perhaps you are right; I do have a vague recollection of some kind of junction (behind a lumber place on Middletown Rd ? Huttons?) That would explain why there is still something running through Nanuet, yet not the vicinity that I once played in.

But, anyway, back to my original question: any idea what year the trains stopped running on the now-abandoned line?

RichM
Posts: 854
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 8:04 am

Post by RichM »

Try here:

http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=46523

The Piermont Branch gets a lot of queries about every six months... sometimes the questions just start on the NJ side of the border.

I vaguely remember the rails still being in place crossing Middletown Road near the Red Rail in the early '70's, but I don't believe a train ran east to Sparkill or Piermont since that late sixties...

CarterB
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Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 9:19 am
Location: Bergen County, New Jersey

Post by CarterB »

Skate Lady,

Here's a 1945 map of the area showing your street (called Ehrhardt Rd at that time) and the Piermont branch.

http://historical.maptech.com/getImage. ... g&state=NJ
Bring back the Slumbercoaches!!

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Otto Vondrak
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Location: New York

Post by Otto Vondrak »

Any useful information here?

http://raildata.railfan.net/erie/homeerr.html

-otto-
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SkateLady

Post by SkateLady »

Try here:

http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=46523

The Piermont Branch gets a lot of queries about every six months... sometimes the questions just start on the NJ side of the border.

I vaguely remember the rails still being in place crossing Middletown Road near the Red Rail in the early '70's, but I don't believe a train ran east to Sparkill or Piermont since that late sixties...
Thanks for the link; I didn't find what I was looking for in that post, but now that I know I should be searching for "Piermont" rather than Nanuet, I'm sure more searching will uncover the answer!

The Red Rail... haven't thought of that place in years! Good times...
Hey! I wonder if the bar - The Red RAIL - was named for the train tracks? That never occurred to me before!
Any useful information here?

http://raildata.railfan.net/erie/homeerr.html
Actually, I had found that page before, but it did not have what I was looking for. Thanks for the link, though!
Here's a 1945 map of the area showing your street (called Ehrhardt Rd at that time) and the Piermont branch.
Awesome! That confirms for me that it is indeed the Piermont branch that I've been thinking about, and it shows the junction on the west side of Middletown Rd to what is now the active line. So I was wrong in speculating that it ended somewhere in NJ.

And, it shows the dirt road to my parents' neighborhood (now paved)!! (and it shows that the current site of the Nanuet Mall was a swamp back then).

Actually, it's still called Ehrhardt Rd (south of Townline). It's called Blauvelt Rd north of Townline Rd -- and I think it was Blauvelt Rd back then too.

That's a great link - I love maps - I can't believe I never stumbled across this map site before. I see from an adjacent quadrangle that the tracks I played on as a child, which I now know went to Piermont (not NJ), are the same ones that crossed a one-lane tunnel on Sickletown Rd. Driving through that tunnel always seemed like such a death-defying act when I was a kid! Whichever sibling sat in the front got to lay on the horn (big thrill!) as we drove through that tunnel. I'll bet the tunnel is gone now - without the tracks, it would make no sense to have a dangerous road like that, these days.

I live in Poughkeepsie now, of course we have Metro-North running alongside the Hudson, but there were other trains running through here as recently as the 80's. I used to drive past the train that went through Hopewell/Fishkill after picking up the kids from daycare. They loved to see the choo-choo! Now that I have links to more sites, I can figure out which train that was.

I tried to get the book mentioned a few posts back, but Amazon sez that it's no longer available. Darn.

wantsrail
Posts: 121
Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2004 10:53 pm

Post by wantsrail »

Wrong!

The one lane tunnel is still there over Sickeltown Road. But, traffic lights now control the autos entrance to the tunnel.

However, the bridge across the Hackensack River that was a few hundred yards to the east has been removed.
Albert F. Cafiero

thebigham
Posts: 3632
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 2:27 pm
Location: Arcade, NY

Abandoned tracks south of Suffern

Post by thebigham »

I was traveling north on the Thruway a few weeks ago just below Suffern.

NJ Transit tracks cross over the Thruway near that big mall.

Just north of there, the Thruway crosses over an abandoned section of tracks.

Which railroad is this? How long has the line been abandoned?

Thanks,

Chris

henry6

PROBABLY

Post by henry6 »

Probably the Erie original alignment to the Hudson, the Piermont Branch or the Suffern Industiral track. Only the Erie lines were up there.

RichM
Posts: 854
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 8:04 am

Post by RichM »

Surprised you even saw it from the Thruway... as Henry said, it's the Piermont Branch that connected Suffern with Nanuet and Sparkill. This was the original Erie main line.

There are several really interesting stone arch culverts along its east-west path.

There are several threads that discuss parts of it... there is one customer left just east of Suffern, the rails are in place to the Nanuet connection... ocassionally the subject of utilizing this as a bypass or crossover for NJT/MN comes up and is immediately discarded... maybe someday...

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