• FDR's Siding at Hyde Park

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New York State.
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New York State.

Moderator: Otto Vondrak

  by Dieter
In reading something else, a forgotten item came up; the siding on the New York Central, below the FDR estate in Hyde Park.

Anybody know if this siding still exists, if it does, is it used at all, and how long it is/was? If it's gone, when was it removed?


  by DonPevsner
The siding is long-gone. Only two high-speed mainline tracks remain.

  by Dieter
I had imagined that, but was wrongfully optimistic. Thanks for the input! :-D

Looking at Google Earth, I can't even find where it would have been, there's a steep slope, and no sign of a roadway for a car to go back and forth from the estate to the tracks. Given the proximity of the station, I wondered if the siding was at the Hyde Park Station?


  by RichM
I believe Roosevelt was driven to a siding at the station, I think there's a photo in "The President Travels By Train" but I can't locate the book now.

  by DonPevsner
The siding was directly adjacent to the station platform, and east of the two (four until 1962) mainline tracks.
  by CarterB
Wasn't there a siding closer to the FDR Hyde Park estate either at or near Crum Elbow Point, or perhaps a tad bit North at Rogers Point? I had heard that there used to be a coal dock there, that they used to haul coal up a steep road to the estate, and that was what FDR used when he took train to Hyde Park using the NYC route, and where his funeral train/s stopped. Acme mapper shows a steep road from Crum Elbow Point up to the estate @ N 41.76986 W 73.94717 Rogers Point has 'coal dock lane' @ N 41.77578 W 73.94774 Can anyone clarify?
  by NYCRRson
Near as I can tell the siding at the NYCRR Hyde Park station was to the East of the mainline tracks and South of the still extant station building.

At about 1:15 in this video you can see the siding with some boxcars (ca 1920's ?)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-iK9Z0Q98o" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

In that film there is what appears to be an "underpass/tunnel" under the mainline to a station platform on the west (along the Hudson River) side of the tracks. It seems that later the west side (railroad "east" towards NYC) platforms disappeared.

It seems that FDR simply got in an automobile at that station and took the usual roads up from the station and through the town of Hyde Park to his estate. From the current satellite maps it looks like maybe 4 or 5 miles away ? 10-20 minutes at 30 mph.

Maybe the railroad "spotted" a Pullman car on the siding for FDR to use, but I suspect they simply ran a special train (an engine on the south end and one or two cars on the north end) up the line to Hyde Park and then reversed direction back towards NYC (with an engine in front and one/two cars with the president behind the engine) ? It was a stub end siding, not much switching could take place there. They could put the President's car in the siding and use push poles to switch the engine to the other end of the car ? Or they could send two engines up there to handle the switching, but that seems like a bit much.

When FDR was Governor of NYS they may have spotted a Pullman Car on the siding and picked it up to go on to Albany, but that seems like a lot of extra work. They probably just sent a special train out of Mott Haven (the passenger car servicing yard) with a "fresh" car for the Governor and simply stopped on the mainline tracks at the Hyde Park Station to pick up FDR. Usually a siding that is meant to support Passenger Cars has at the very least some "House Power", an electric hookup to keep the lights on in a parked passenger car. Most of the bigger stations had tracks with live steam and potable water hookups to support a passenger cars overnight.

Would be interested to learn more.

Cheers, Kevin.
  by BR&P
From Borntrager, page 120:

"....in the summer of 1943...Mr. Churchill, Vincent Bracken and others came up from Washington in a special train.....Mr. Churchill was to spend the day with Mr. Roosevelt. There was a little siding on our line about a mile south of Hyde Park Station, which was near the Roosevelt home. This was the point where the Churchill party was to detrain."

"Mr. Roosevelt appeared down a winding road. He was driving his specially-equipped Ford, which could be operated with his hands."

The story also indicates the train stopped on the main line, not in a siding.
  by CarterB
Still think they used a siding located near either Crum Elbow or Rogers Point. Not the tiny one right at Hyde Park Station.
  by NYCRRson
If you go here;

https://www.historicaerials.com/viewer" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

And type in Hyde Park NY, you get a bunch of aerial photos and maps. The typographic maps of that area from 1939 and 1948 show about a 1000 ft stub end siding to the SE of the station building. The north end of the siding connected to the eastern most mainline track, the south end did not connect to anything.

I cannot see any other sidings in the area. At Crum Point there was just 4 main line tracks.

There does not appear to be a "paved road" down to Crum Point, those maps show a trail marked by dotted lines. The paved road to the station is shown as two solid lines, meaning a 2 lane paved road. There is a "3 lane" highway running North South through "downtown" Hyde Park (The Albany Post Road).

There appear to be some overpasses over the tracks in places, but these may have been walkways for people, there are no heavy roads between the tracks and the river in that area, just foot paths.

Cheers, Kevin.
  by shlustig
The Roosevelt Siding was a stub-end off Tk. 3 at the family estate.

When that area was part of my territory when I worked out of GCT, senior crews on the division runs showed me where it was and that if his car was to be held over it was placed on the siding. Otherwise, after he got off, it went to Albany - occupied - for servicing and turning.

Apparently, the siding was removed c. late 1940's. Exact date would have to be determined from the Hudson Division track charts.
  by NYCRRson
The FDR Estate is right at Crum Point (about 2 miles south of the station). I do not see a siding on the typo maps anywhere other than at the station.

Would be interested if there was another siding (besides the house track at the station) that was not on the typo maps, that would be odd.

The maps show an overpass over the tracks at Crum Point, and a short (500 ft) section of road between the river and the mainline tracks. But the road is shown as "unimproved" (dashed lines) on the typo map from 1939. Was it a dirt road ? Or since it was private property maybe the map makers did not show any details about it.

Was the siding between the river bank and the main line ? An Aerial photo from 1956 does not show a siding, but there might have been enough space for one at Crum Point ?

An interesting mystery.
  by BR&P
Borntrager was Super there in the early 40's, his book was copyright 1974. You can forget a lot of details in 30 years. Or, given that it was wartime, maybe a spur for FDR's use was deliberately left off some maps. I'm not prepared to insist either way whether there was another track or not.