"Road previously skirted the edge of the ridge and ran on land side of tracks. "
Tom, Ya got me! I left out the "back over to the land side" parts! "...innocent misprint"? You are the first one that ever said I was innocent of anything!:)>
Now, so we don't confuse our friend Holger any further:
Before the highway tunnel was built, the road from Cold Spring to Beacon, as it does now, came North up the land side (East) of the tracks, crossed the tracks to the West, curved around the lip of the ridge (over the present site of the aquaduct gate/elevator house) and recrossed East back to it's current land side of the tracks. The two crossings each required a gateman. Gatemen must have had a fun job there owing to the speed of trains emerging from the tunnel.
Also just South of the tunnels there was a water plug and wooden tank visible in some of Ed Nowak's photos. I fished for striped bass all along that shore and in the Sixty's the concrete bases for the stand pipe and tank legs were still visible next to the tracks. The water comes from Lake Surprise in a stream that runs down the valley between Breakneck Ridge and Bull Hill. (Mount Taurus on effete new maps. "Bull Hill" sounds so... primitive!)
For what it's worth there was a large estate with a perfect view of the South portals half a mile below the tunnels. Owned by a major player in the lead (metal) market the estate contained an extensive dairy farm and large greenhouses for plant experimentation.
Today you can go through the iron gates just North of Little Stony Point and walk 3/4 mile up the curving driveway past the main house site and greenhouses all enclosed by overgrowth. A year or two after the property burned down (early 60's) I hiked up there and down the marble steps to the lawns. Though a bit long the grassy slope made a perfect place to photograph the railroad, river and the tunnels. Poking around I found a sign that said "Gray Gables", not the name of the estate on any maps that I have of the period however.
I guess the ever protective Hudson Highlands State Parks Department has let it all go wild to keep folks from finding and falling into the foundations of the main and guest houses. No place anymore to enjoy the view until you climb higher on the trails. All you can do there today is "listen"!
Sorry for the opinionated regression to my youth but it was a very serene and beautiful hike then and should still be today. And Holger, if you need the story of how Bull Hill and Breakneck Ridge got their names Email me. The rest of you can find a local copy of Blake's History of Putnam County and read the account as it was written in 1849!