• NYC High Line Question

  • 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 GSC
I saw a documentary on TV about the NYC High Line in Manhattan, turning it from an abandoned line to a linear park.

In old pics and some newer, it appears that parts of the line were dual-gauged. Looks like standard and wide gauge. If so, why? Leftover six-foot equipment?

I looked in various histories and nowhere did it mention dual gauge, but there are sections with three rails, no one which look like guard rails on curves, etc.

Fascinating story, just the same.
  by DutchRailnut
you sure it was not third rail to feed the tri-modes ?
  by GSC
Not sure. It looked like a wide gauge outer rail. Outer rails went to the ends of the ties. It was regular T-rail, matched the other two, didn't look like third rail power. Not along the whole line either. Switches and crossovers kept in place don't have the third rail. A mystery.
  by NYCRRson
I am pretty certain (like 99% plus) that there was no dual gauge trackage on the NYCRR in any modern era.

I think the photos you are seeing show a single "guard rail" (an additional rail deployed on bridges) to "trap" any derailed equipment on the main track structure of a bridge or viaduct to keep the equipment from departing the main track bed and hitting non-railroad structures.

In the case of the High Line in NYC there was a wide (two track) track bed so the main concern was to keep derailed equipment "on the high line" so it could be easily re-railed. IE: don't let it fall off the high line and hit the street below.

On other bridges (single or multiple track) there was often a gap between the tracks and two guard rails were used to keep a derailed train "near" the main tracks.
  by CP-4070
The above (guard + 3rd) is correct. There was NO wide gauge.
  by GSC
Great pics. Thanks for posting them.

That clears up my question. Some places in the documentary showed the guard rails, other places didn't have them, where the rails were kept intact as part of the walkway.
  by Backshophoss
Some of the remaining rails were put back "in place" by construction crews as the structure was rehabbed that would cover
the missing sections of guard rail
NY Central was very good at tearing out the 3rd rail power grid along the branch. :(
  by GSC
I still wonder about those third rails. I saw that show again last night. The rails seem too wide to be guard rails. I did see normal guard rails as well, but these seem to be outside of the gauge.

thehighline.org/visit/ has pics, one of which shows the wide rails. Tried to copy the pic but couldn't.
  by pumpers
I've read that rails were sometimes moved around and rearranged during the park construction. So I wouldn't take what the rails look like in the current Highline park to represent what they actually looked like in detail when in service. Historical RR accuracy was not the aim of the park.
  by CPSmith
Here's one of the photos as noted in previous posts. If you zoom in to the lower left hand corner, you can see what appear to be (but probably not likely) outside third rails for under running shoes. But then again, they're probably just bumping posts for keeping minor derailments just that - minor. Easy to understand the confusion. Probably some of the same hardware.
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  by ExCon90
Those (with the curved supports) are definitely standard NYC third rails. If you look at the coupler on the diesel, it is centered between the outside rails; the single rail just inside of the left rail is a guard rail. In the gauge of the left-hand track is a corresponding guard rail just inside the right rail; each is intended to prevent a derailed train from veering off toward the edge of the embankment.