• Harlem Line- Mount Vernon West Station

  • 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 twancho
Is anyone aware of any old photos of the Mt Vernon West Station pre and post 1914?
  by Tommy Meehan
I can't say that I have ever seen photos of Mt. Vernon station going that far back.

One thing to consider is, before about 1910 the right-of-way ran along (or on) what is now MacQuesten Parkway (it was then called Railroad Avenue), two blocks east of where the tracks are now. When the Harlem Division was electrified through Mt. Vernon the tracks were relocated to the embankment upon which they still run. (A similar relocation was done at White Plains at the same time.)

In old New York Central records (I've seen at the New York Public Library) there were two reasons given for relocating the tracks. 1) To eliminate grade crossings and 2) to allow the ROW to be expanded to four tracks.

Here's a map view of the station area in 1868. I marked the later location of the station with a red 'X.'


Ironically, West Street is still there, though now it's east of the station (see below):


  by twancho
Thank you. I grew up in that neighborhood in Yonkers and have been doing some research about the area. It is mostly about the building of the Bronx River Parkway and the evacuation and relocation of many homes along where the parkway is now. I do have some photos from that era right when the tracks were moved. In fact I have one that shows the interlocking tower just north of Oak street being built. Are there any records of the freight businesses on the Harlem line from that era?
  by Tommy Meehan
That's interesting. The Bronx River was obviously relocated and straightened out. Do you know if that was done by the New York Central or for the Parkway?

I was going to suggest, you might try Mount Vernon Public Library on South First Avenue near East First Street. They have a local history collection that has photos. I'm curious as to what kind of station the New York & Harlem used when the tracks were along MacQuesten Parkway, and where it was. They might have some photos.

By the way the tower above Oak Street was called VO. Back in the 1950s-1970s (and possibly earlier) there was a small layup yard for MU cars on the parkway side just north of the tower. These were for trains that originated or terminated at Mount Vernon and Fleetwood.

As for freight service, I know some former employees that might have a list of active consignees at various times. I'll be glad to ask them and post it here if they do.
  by twancho
The river was moved several times. Once for the railroad in about 1910 and then again when the parkway was being built. Thank you for the information. I live in PA now so I'll have to try to get over to the MV Library when i have a day off. My dad took me over to that "train yard" back in the 60's. I remember the pullman green passenger cars. There's also a freight house at this location. Any history on that?

Here is VO being built in the background. As you can see the photo is from July 1916
  by Tommy Meehan
Thanks for posting that photo, it is amazing. Between the NY Central relocation and then the parkway coming through, the whole area is radically different today.

The freighthouse at Mt. Vernon I'm not too familiar with. It was on the east side of the tracks I believe? North of Oak Street?
  by twancho
Yes, that's where it is. I'm not sure if it's still there. Here is a really poor photo of a photo that shows it. This photo is from the 1920's
Here is another photo from 1913. It shows Bronx Place on the left, the Bronx River and the railroad to the right. This was taken about where the Oak Street Bridge is. Just out of the photo would be VO, although it is not yet built. The house on the left is the same house that is in the photo in my previus post above. This house was relocated as well as the third house from the left. Both are now on Villa Ave

Prior to the railroad being built the river was further to the right. There was another street called Washington Place right where the river is in this photo. The river curved over to the right almost to Railroad Ave at one point
  by Jack Shufelt
The freight house was located on the east side of the railroad and west of RR Avenue. The freight house was aligned west of Elm and Howard Street both of which ended at RR Avenue. The mile post was approximately 13.50.
  by Tommy Meehan
That's quite a photo, showing the neighborhood that was there before the parkway. Thanks for posting twancho. I guess Bronx River Road was moved too?

I recall seeing the freighthouse, yes I think it's gone now. In the last years I think it might've been used to store MOW material. What was it's the purpose with Central? Railroad-waybilled LCL? Did it handle REA shipments, too?

What I think is still there is this old coal trestle. The Google street view from below was dated April 2012.

It doesn't really stand out in the photo. But it's center-right, on the side of the embankment and within the parking lot.


In NYC ETTs it's identified as the Adlee Coal Co. siding, track 9A. The site, at N. West St and Oak St., was later (in the 1960s?) the location of an A&P food store. That's gone too.
  by twancho
Thank you! Any idea how long that coal trestle has been there? I have a picture I'll post later with a question about the coal trestle. I've been trying to figure this out. I remember it back in the early 70's when shopping at the A&P with my mom!

No Bronx River Road wasn't moved

Here are a few more pictures of the same area.
  by Tommy Meehan
twancho those are some great photos. Thanks for posting. Btw I realize now, the reason it seemed to me that Bronx River Road must've been shifted to the west. I was overlooking that fact that instead, all the buildings on the east side of Bronx River Road were demolished (or moved).

As for the right-of-way being built on a trestle and then filled in, yes that was a common technique. Due to shifting, it might take quite a while for an earthen embankment to settle in and become stable. With the tracks located on a trestle they would remain stable while the embankment settled.

The Adlee Coal Co. trestle, when was that constructed? A 1921 NYC Employee timetable shows a weight restriction on locomotives (from 121-ton G6 2-8-0s on up) on the West Side Coal Co. trestle at Mount Vernon. That's probably the company that later became Adlee but the trouble is, Central's timetable doesn't include the siding's track number. The Adlee Coal Co. trestle on track 9A near Oak Street shows up in a 1948 timetable.

It's possible the coal yard was located there reasonably soon after the start of electric service to White Plains in March 1910. Coal was an essential home heating fuel in that era.

Jack Shufelt would know better than me the identity of the small building along the tracks north of the tower. (New York Central would've considered that 'west of the tower' as it was an east/west railroad. Towards New York City was eastbound and away from New York City was westbound.) It looks to me like a tool shed or small material storehouse used by track maintenance crews.
  by Jack Shufelt
The small building was a Maintenance of Way Section House. That was where people and equipment were based that maintained the tracks in that area. The territory they covered was defined as a "Section." In the 1910's they likely cover something less than ten miles of track.
  by twancho
Thanks Tommy and Jack. I grew up in that area and it's great learning this stuff.

I have a photo that's also from the same era taken from around the Yonkers Ave bridge looking north. On the right you can see some sort of "shed". We think it may have been a shed for the coal company. Looking back at some old newspapers i found reference to a company called Urban Coal and Supply from this time but I'm not sure if that's what it says.
  by Tommy Meehan
I have a map to show and a photo.

The first is a map that shows the location of the original West Mt. Vernon passenger station, located where the New York & Harlem ran in the right-of-way east of the later (and current) post-electrification location. I marked the current station location with a red circle.

What's especially interesting to me is, the tracks were west of Railroad Avenue. As those of us from the area know, today Railroad Avenue (renamed MacQuesten Parkway) is a two-way street with a median separating the northbound and southbound roadways. In the area near Mt. Vernon Avenue the southbound roadway is at a lower elevation than the northbound roadway. So apparently, as I long suspected, the southbound roadway is located on the grade of the old Harlem Railroad line.


The map is undated but I can narrow it down a bit. It's labeled New York Central & Hudson River. This railroad came into being in 1869 and took on the old New York & Harlem by 400-year lease in 1873. So I would guess it's after 1873 and before 1910.

Here's another great photo which I found on a forum site that discusses the history of Yonkers in great detail. They said they had no problem with me posting it here (for which I thank them).


This was shot looking west on Mt. Vernon Avenue in about 1951. The driveway to the West Mount Vernon train station on the left, an MU train on the overpass and two Yonkers Railroad No. 7 cars underneath. The one on the right headed for Yonkers and the other inbound to Mt. Vernon.

Here's a link to the thread on the site from which this image was borrowed.
  by twancho
Thanks Tommy. I have actually contributed a few things to that forum and was given some of the photos I posted here from one of the gentlemen who posted on the thread you linked to. I have seen the Yonkers part of the map you posted. It's from 1907. I never really realized that the tracks on Railroad ave were on the west side (or the southbound lane) of MacQuesten. Interesting.