Discussion relating to the operations of MTA MetroNorth Railroad including west of Hudson operations and discussion of CtDOT sponsored rail operations such as Shore Line East and the Springfield to New Haven Hartford Line

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, nomis, FL9AC, Jeff Smith

  by krapug
I just have some questions on the route of the Port Jervis Line that I am sure can be answered here.

When was the former Erie Main through Monroe and downtown Middletown abandoned and torn out?, and what former railroads make up the present day Port Jervis Route??

The long out of print book "Commuter railroads" by Patrick Doran published in 1969, shows the Port Jervis Route then via the Monroe and Middletown Route with the mileage between Hoboken at PJ at 87.2

Service back then was probally at it's lowest with 2 inbound from PJ and one from Monroe, and 2 outbound to PJ, the book does not list it but I belive there was single RT from PJ on Saturdays.


  by Lackawanna484
The Graham Line didn't have passenger stations until the Main Line via Goshen was abandoned, the generally favorable grades were the big reason for the construction.

I'd guess the Graham Line was composed of a short piece of the existing Newburgh Branch from just east of the old Harriman station, and then new construction out to Howells Jct. Harriman used to be just west of NY 17, you can still see the station, decaying.

  by JFB
The Main was abandoned by Conrail around 1980 (others here will be able to give a more exact date). Put simply, the Graham Line is a freight bypass, and Conrail was in the freight business. From their perspective, the Main was redundant. MTA, expecting most of its customers to drive to their respective stations anyway, had no problem diverting its trains accordingly.

The entire line from Croxton to Port Jervis is ex-Erie. The Graham Line was built by the the railroad in the 1920s to relieve its heavy freight traffic from grades and congestion. It branched from the Newburgh Shortline (a north-south shortcut between the Newburgh Branch and the Main) just north of Highland Mills (present site of Woodbury Commons), where it climbs the side of Mt. Schunnemunk, eventually breaking out on the famous Moodna Viaduct. From Highland Mills to Middletown was, to my knowledge, all new construction.

  by onder
1984, march or april I think, was the last run. I was there, it started snowing as the train pulled into the station at Goshen.
The line at Hghiland Mills , the original line, went down to
Newburgh via Mountainville, West Cornwall and Vails Gate Jct.
The grade is still there for the most part, in a few months after
a light snow you can easily see it from the Thruway.
If you go down to Vails Gate on Rt 94, you will first pass
over the old Greycourt Branch ROW and then actual
tracks which were the Shortcut...funny how a tiny piece
of the line outlasted the Greycourt Branch!

When CR took over, they didnt want to maintain and pay
taxes on two lines with light traffic , so they pulled the
Main. Most of the elected officials were more than happy to get
the train out of town. In a few years the decision will appear
as short sighted as it was. Orange County legislators wouldnt
bank the line either. The main is paved in the Chester area
for mountain bikes...amusing eh?

I remember years ago an old timer, his dad an old Erie man, told
me that the only reason the cutoff was built was to get the
freights out of the way of the passenger trains. I ve never
completely believed this as the Erie was never a passegner
road. I think the Monroe hill had more to do with it.

So the whole line was Erie except for the area around
Hoboken I suppose. Erie came out of Jersey City until
the merger.

  by onder
Wow! The list is busy! A post snuck in whilst writing a reply...:-)

The cutoff is much earlier than 1920...more like 1907 or so. A really
modern rr if you look at the layout.

Again, the Newburgh line lives yet BELOW the Graham Line ROW...
crossing into Mountainville (station still extant) at a much
lower elevation than the east end of the viaduct.

I think they bagged it about 1938 ...passengers probably
at the start of the Depression.

  by JoeG
A piece of the Erie Mainline is now what was the former DL&W Boonton line. I know the Delawanna station was originally on the Boonton Line, and you can see that the station itself was the characteristic Lackawanna reinforced concrete; the name itself comes from the Lackawanna railroad's name. I don't know how long the piece of the Boonton Line now part of the Erie Main Line is. I assume the route change was done in the sixties but I don't know for sure.
  by cranky2073
I'm about 99% sure the Graham Line opened for business in 1912.

The branch that went to Newburgh cut off by the old Highland Mills station, about 1/2 a mile north of the controlled point in Central Valley, and about two miles north of Woodbury Commons. You can still see the roadbed just off to the west side of the tracks, starting about 500 feet north of where Pine Hill Road goes under the tracks. I think there was a small yard of some kind there as well.

The lower Newburgh bridge abutments are still there at the Highland Mills trestle. Right around there, the abandoned branch cut over to the east side of the Graham Line, following the path described by Onder.

You can see the old alignment along the Thruway too, by Orrs Mills Rd (actually Station Rd) where it crossed the O&W. The coal dealer on Station Road has cleaned up the station nicely.

  by Lackawanna484
JoeG wrote:A piece of the Erie Mainline is now what was the former DL&W Boonton line..
The line from West End through Delawanna to Paterson Jct was part of the DL&W Boonton Line. Paterson Jct was the connection with the Erie's Newark Branch, which connected with the Erie's Main Line at South Paterson.

I don't think I'd describe Delawanna as ever being on the Erie Main Line. It would be accurate to describe it as on the NJT Main Line, though.

  by JoeG
Lackawanna--you are right about Delawanna never being on the Erie Main Line, since the line relocation took place after the Erie-DL&W merger.

The Graham Cutoff was finished in 1909. That, at least, was when the Moodna Viaduct was open to traffic, and I'm assuming that's when the cutoff was opened.