"The White Train" Aka "The New York and New England RR" Could have been a better alignment for high speed trains to Boston

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"The White Train" Aka "The New York and New England RR" Could have been a better alignment for high speed trains to Boston
Posted by CandOforprogress2 on Monday, May 15, 2017 4:55 PM

This route avoids the coastal congestion and many sea bridges that the New Haven route has to deal with.

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 10:01 AM

How much of this line was actually built?  The route avoided a lot of the congestion because it avoided a lot of the better traffic sources.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by NorthWest on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 10:06 AM

It was built in its entirety, but swallowed by the New Haven around 1900 who eventually abandoned much of it.

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Posted by RME on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 10:27 AM

CSSHEGEWISCH
How much of this line was actually built?

All of it was built, and some other expedient connections as well; some of the trackage actually survived into the 1970s in passenger service.  When Dave Klepper gets his high-speed Internet access back, he can fill in the details again.

We have had a number of threads on this, some fairly recently in the 'second spine' discussions.  A major concern is that large portions of the HSR alignment would have to cross, not follow, fairly extreme rocky terrain, so all the construction would involve either substantial blasting and tunnelling or fill/viaduct construction in areas remote from easy heavy-equipment access.  Compare the recent numbers given for segments of the new German HSR lines (with, I believe, much lower peak speed) in terms of miles in tunnels or on bridges.

Note that it almost goes without saying that you WANT very few 'better traffic sources' on any HSR spine, as it is the most winsome of poster child examples of a 'bridge line'.  Of course there are now plenty of back yards belonging to soon-to-be-aggrieved classes of homeowners on any high-speed alignment, whether to the Hudson or via Hartford and/or Lon Guyland.

I personally think establishing 'true' HSR on the inland spine represents another long-term advantage: no possible surge or even river flooding from future storms will impair service, as it assuredly will on substantial parts of the current alignment even if all the current capital work on it through 2040 were completed.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 6:42 PM

Other more direct NY-Boston alignments were proposed, but they bypassed Providence, who had the poltical pull to nix any bypass.

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Posted by 54light15 on Wednesday, May 17, 2017 2:57 PM

I wonder how serious they were about a bridge between Fishkill and Newburgh? I was living in Poughkeepsie when they tore out the tracks between the Poughkeepsie bridge and Hopewell. There was a proposal to put on a highway on the roadbed but I guess that never happened. There was a guy who ran for county executive who was pushing for a road. Can't recall his name, but he did own a car dealership. 

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Posted by CandOforprogress2 on Wednesday, May 17, 2017 3:42 PM

54light15

I wonder how serious they were about a bridge between Fishkill and Newburgh? I was living in Poughkeepsie when they tore out the tracks between the Poughkeepsie bridge and Hopewell. There was a proposal to put on a highway on the roadbed but I guess that never happened. There was a guy who ran for county executive who was pushing for a road. Can't recall his name, but he did own a car dealership. 

Good Question about a Bridge between Newburgh and Fishkill. The end of the Erie Line and the rest of New England would be a good point.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Wednesday, May 17, 2017 8:23 PM

A ferry originally ran between Newburg and Fishkill Landing.  I presume it ended when the Poughkeepsie Bridge was built.

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Posted by 54light15 on Thursday, May 18, 2017 3:46 PM

I have a book called, "A Farewell to Steam" and it covers the auto ferries from Newburgh to Fishkill. There's nothing in it about a rail car ferry. The road bridge between the two caused the ferry to shut down in 1963. I would think the line would have been diverted up to Poughkeepsie to save the cost of a second bridge to be built only about ten miles south. 

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Posted by MidlandMike on Thursday, May 18, 2017 7:10 PM

54light15

I have a book called, "A Farewell to Steam" and it covers the auto ferries from Newburgh to Fishkill. There's nothing in it about a rail car ferry. The road bridge between the two caused the ferry to shut down in 1963. I would think the line would have been diverted up to Poughkeepsie to save the cost of a second bridge to be built only about ten miles south. 

 

The Fishkill-Newburgh rail ferry ran between 1881 and 1904.

http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=91&t=26341&start=0

https://penneyandkc.wordpress.com/fishkill-landing/

Also the passenger ferry between the two has been revived.  It takes commuters to the Beacon MetroNorth RR station.

http://www.nywaterway.com/newburghtobeaconroute.aspx

 

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Posted by 54light15 on Friday, May 19, 2017 9:34 AM

So there was a rail car ferry there? I had no idea. There are other ferries such as the one between Cold Spring (I think, or maybe Garrison) to West Point for army football games. Maybe that one runs year round? 

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Posted by RME on Friday, May 19, 2017 1:31 PM

54light15
There are other ferries such as the one between Cold Spring (I think, or maybe Garrison) to West Point for army football games. Maybe that one runs year round?

The Garrison ferry now runs only to the south dock of the USMA at West Point, and only at particular times of the year.  Here is a useful page with information.

There were, of course, many more ferries before the Hudson was bridged: see here for an interesting list, circa the time of Lindenthal's great harbor bridge project to Manhattan.

.

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Posted by Paul3 on Saturday, June 03, 2017 11:31 PM

For starters, folks, the "White Train", AKA the "New England Limited", was a joint train with the New Haven RR.  It ran from Boston to Willimantic (via Putnam) on the NY&NE, then it ran on the old Boston & New York Air Line (owned by the NH) through Middletown, CT to the City of New Haven, thence upon the current Shore Line to NYC.  The "White Train" never went through Fishkill or even Hartford, and only ran for 4 years before being replaced by the conventionally painted "Air Line Limited" in 1895 (but whose 4-4-0's had twin oil headlights).

Please note that the terrain of Conn. has rivers that flow North-South.  This means that there are multiple river valleys that rail lines have had to cross.  For example, the B&NYAL built the Lyman Viaduct at 1100 feet long and 137 feet high.  The NH filled it in, it was abandoned, and now the viaduct is getting exposed today due to erosion.  The rest of the line may look straight on the above map, but they curved the RoW around & around to make it up and over these river valleys.  Just follow along the Air Line State Park Trail on Bing Maps or Google.  There's not too many straight stretches.

As for the White Train itself, this is its claim to fame:

"Without a jar, or roll, or antic,
Without a stop to Willimantic,
The New England Limited takes its way
At three o'clock each day,
Maids and Matrons, daintily dimited,
Ride everyday on the New England Limited;
Rain nor snow ne'er stops its flight,
It makes New York at nine each night,
One half the glories have not been told
Of that wonderful train of white and gold
Which leaves each day for New York at three
Over the N.Y. & N.E."  - Rudyard Kipling

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