• CSX: 0.77-mile Putnam Branch in Bronx County, NY abandonment

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

Moderator: Otto Vondrak

  by Train60
CSX has filed with the STB to abandon an approximately 0.77-mile rail line that runs between milepost Q## 3.79 and milepost Q## 4.5 on its Putnam Branch in Bronx County, NY
https://dcms-external.s3.amazonaws.com/ ... 306435.pdf

The filing includes a brief history of this section of the line,
5. A brief narrative history of carrier operations in the area, and an explanation of what, if any, changes are contemplated as a result of the proposed action;

The Line, originally part of the New York City and Northern, was built in 1879–80, in an era of intense railroad speculation. It went bust, reorganized as the New York and Northern, and was bought by the New York Central in 1894.

The Old Putnam’s (the “Put”) first terminal was 155th Street in Manhattan, but that was changed in 1918 to Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx for a new connection with the since-demolished Ninth Avenue elevated line. The 0.77-mile Line that CSXT seeks to abandon is part of the Put that ran alongside the New York Central’s (now Metro-North’s) Hudson Division for a stretch in the Bronx, then proceeded north through Van Cortlandt Park and into Tibbets Brook Park. It paralleled today’s Saw Mill River Parkway in Southern Westchester and ran north to Elmsford, Yorktown Heights, Lake Mahopac, and finally Brewster.

A Getty Square Branch, which diverged from the Put’s mainline in Van Cortlandt Park and headed to downtown Yonkers, was the Put’s only service to be converted to electric operation, ending service in 1943. The City of Yonkers tried to stop the abandonment, taking the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Originally, the Put traversed the Rockefellers’ Pocantico Hills estate. But, in 1930, John D. Rockefeller Jr., fed up with its smoke-belching steam trains, paid New York Central to reroute the Put around his land. To make room for the bypass, the multimillionaire purchased the entire hamlet of Eastview and paid about 150 residents and a Christian Brothers winery to relocate.

In the 1950s, ridership declined. Most of the Put’s stations lacked adequate parking, so some riders switched to the faster, more modern Harlem and Hudson lines. Above all, because the Put wasn’t electrified (diesel had replaced steam), Grand Central-bound commuters had to endure an inconvenient transfer to Hudson Division trains at Highbridge in the Bronx. After back-and-forth with state regulators, the New York Central ended passenger service on the Put in May 1958.

Freight service continued and customers included an Elmsford A&P warehouse, Stauffer Chemical in Ardsley, and the last customer, in the early ’80s, was famed cookie baker Stella D’oro.
  by Jeff Smith
Quick admin nots: I'm going to cross-post this to several forums for visibility as it could be placed in several different forums. Ultimately, I will leave it in the New York Central Fallen Flag forum as historically that's where we discuss the Put. "Shadow" topics will remain in the other forums.

Questions I have:

Obviously, the current trail begins where this stretch of still extant ROW ends. Does the proposed abandoned stretch all the way to include BN yard?

Not that it would ever happen, would the proposed "railbanking" allow for reactivation? Doubtful to me, but maybe someone would propose a small transload facility. It would seem to me the actual sale of the ROW to NYC would preclude that. For instance, the abandonment of the Beacon Branch is NOT a sale and does not preclude reactivation.

All emphasis mine:

From page 4:
CSXT believes that the property proposed for abandonment may be suitable for other
purposes but may be subject to reversionary interests that may affect transfer of title for other than rail purposes.
Page 17:
CSXT intends to sell the Line to the City of New York through the NITU process.
Abandonment of the Line will result in the removal of the rail, crossties, and possibly the upper
layer of ballast. CSXT does not intend to disturb any sub grade or sub grade structures. Any trail
related structures, such as bridges, trestles, culverts and tunnels will not be salvaged. Finally, the
operations and maintenance of the Line will cease.
Page 24:
The right-of-way width along this right-of-way is approximately 60 feet wide. The Line
runs alongside Metro-North’s Hudson Division beginning at W 230th Street overpass and
continuing in a north/northeast direction, ending at Van Cortlandt Park S.
  by R36 Combine Coach
I believe MNCR still uses the Putnam Division stub for MoW.

Side note: When the Giants moved to San Francisco in 1958, ridership on the Polo Grounds el shuttle declined,
but the end of Putnam division passenger service later in the year was the final blow.

The Stella D’oro bakery closed in 2009 (the new owner moved production out of state) and a BJ's Wholesale
warehouse opened on the site.
  by jamoldover
Based on the Putnam Division valuation maps I have, it looks like this extends from roughly the end of the track used by MN MOW to where the line crossed Van Cortlandt Park South. While there may still be rail present, they're going to need to do a lot of brush cutting to get to it...
  by Jeff Smith
LIRR?: https://www.bxtimes.com/old-put-line-ha ... way-plans/
How will the Old Put line, now housing LIRR maintenance trains, factor into the Harlem River Greenway plans?

Proponents of the Harlem River Greenway Project — which aims to connect Van Cortlandt Park in the Northwest Bronx to Randall’s Island through a continuous seven-mile greenway path — are concerned that the former Putnam Line west of the Major Deegan, which the MTA uses as a maintenance yard, could throw a wrench into the project.
The Old Put was once a commuter rail route, last carrying passengers in 1958, but MTA officials told the Bronx Times that the remaining stub near the Marble Hill station now houses maintenance trains from the Grand Central Madison terminal after it fully opened service to the Long Island Rail Road in February.
Chauncy Young, a member of the Harlem River Working Group, estimates that at least 30 acres of the Harlem River waterfront would be inaccessible to its residents, without significant change in the Metro-North’s use of the Old Put stretch, as well as the agency’s Highbridge Car Washing Facility.
In March, Young and other greenway advocates called a meeting with Metro-North officials, in which they were informed that the transit agency would be continuing to use the old rail yard to house the Grand Central trains.

  by Jeff Smith
Notice of Interim Trail Use issued:

https://dcms-external.s3.amazonaws.com/ ... /51729.pdf
Interim Trail Use. The City’s request for a NITU complies with the requirements of 49 C.F.R. § 1152.29, and CSXT has notified the Board that it is willing to negotiate toward an agreement for interim trail use with the City. Therefore, a NITU will be issued. The parties may negotiate an agreement during the one-year period prescribed below. If an interim trail use/rail banking agreement is reached (and thus, interim trail use/rail banking is established), the parties
shall jointly notify the Board within 10 days that an agreement has been reached. 49 C.F.R. § 1152.29(d)(2) & (h). If no agreement is reached within one year, CSXT may fully abandon the Line, subject to any outstanding conditions. See 49 C.F.R. § 1152.29(d)(1). Use of the right-of-way for trail purposes is subject to possible future reconstruction and reactivation of the right-of-way for rail service.