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Would there be any reason to rebuild the New York and Westchester and Boston?

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Posted by MidlandMike on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 2:52 PM

The rapid transit system, the NYCTA, and the Metro North Railailroad are both subsidiaries of the NY State's MTA, but it is a political entity, and nothing is going to happen on the transit line without NY City's consent.  But the point is moot when you consider what has happened beyond NYC.

I downloaded the Mt. Vernon 7 1/2 minute topo map, edition of 1947, from the federal website.  Luckily it was surveyed while the NYW&B tracks were still extant.  Comparing it with Google Earth, from the end of the present transit line (40°53'26.78"N  73°49'45.41"W) you can project the old ROW thru a line of trees until it runs thru a factory on the ROW.  From there it curves to the north and runs between Fulton and Frankln Ave's, closer to Franklin.  Crossing 4th St, the old line curved to the NE, then straight under the present MNRR line to the former Mt. Vernon Jct, which was near the north end of Pelham Lake.  The Port Chester Branch ran along the North side of 3rd St.  At that point I quit, as I could see that the former NYW&B ROW described has been obliterated by buildings, houses and other cultural features.

It's hard to see that demolishing all the development that has taken over the old ROW, and reinstalling miles of track and electrical and installing flying jct's at both ends of the transit incursion, would be less costly than building a burrowing junction at New Rochelle for a southbound NEC connecting track.

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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 3:25 PM

I agree with that last statement.  Also, rather than a burrowing junction, which might reqqurie reduction to 2-trck or 3-track operation through the New Rochelle area while construction took place, a less expensive and more flexible alternative, keeping  four tracks through the area during construction, would be flyovers east of the station, where there is  plenty of land, and then maximum use of track 5, the old Harlem Shuttle track, on the  south or east side of RofW, for trains to and from   Penn.

But what you say about  the expense is still a fraction of an all-new line as proposed by Boardman.  The stretch from Portchester to New Rochelle has the greatest density of traffic, since there are trains that terminate at Portchester, or at least  loose their passenger load and run empty or nearlly empty beyoond that point (Rush hour locals).

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Posted by Randy Stahl on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 3:29 PM

I'm all for it if they build some new Stillwell MU cars !!!! One of THE most distinctive car designs ever.

 

Randy

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Posted by MidlandMike on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 7:10 PM

I guess the the expensive Boardman line refers to the proposed new HSR second spine line which is to take off from the NEC north at New Rochelle.  Despite the fact that the old NYW&B ROW adjacent to the NEC from the NR area north to Port Chester has been build upon, especially around the stations, I admit it  would be hard to pass up this section that still has a lot of intact ROW, when you consider the alternatives.  The former New Haven line is fairly straight in this stretch.  North of PC where the NH starts to get curvy and beset with drawbridges, they are going to have to do something else for HSR.

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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, June 20, 2013 6:53 AM

Exactly, and they might do well to do the easier part , the most congested part, first.

Beetween New Haven and Readville, I vote for using the White Trrain route through Willimantic as much as possible, some of the same reasoning.

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Posted by Bonas on Friday, June 21, 2013 11:25 AM

The "White Train" route is faster then the Coast route thats why Megabus beats the Regional Amtrak Route schedule between Boston and Chicago.

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, June 23, 2013 4:00 AM

You mean, of course, Boston and New York

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Posted by John WR on Sunday, June 23, 2013 9:35 AM

But if you need to go from Boston to Providence, Kingston, Westerly, New London, Mystic, Old Saybrook, Bridgeport or Stamford Megabus will tell you "You can't get there from here."

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, June 23, 2013 9:52 AM

And the Shore Line will of course continue to serve those cities and towns.   But the new service could drastically reduce Boston - Wshington times, perhaps some trains even  bypassing New York City if Penn Station and its approaches cannot be expanded without extreme expense.   Anyone know the density of air traffic Boston - Washington and what percentage Amtrak has?

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Posted by Jaydub on Sunday, May 24, 2015 10:16 AM

North Avenue to Dyre should be rebuilt over the old RoW-buy it back up-to serve low income communities with cheaper access to the Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn 24 hours a day. We in westchester pay taxes to the MTA and massive tolls and massive fares. Our underserved people below the poverty line should have access to these areas to improve the local economy.

The RoW is mostly intact here, oddly. Areas where it is filled in are Webster to Memorial, two blocks (glenwood and storer), five blocks between seventh and the Mount Vernon border, Lorraine Terrace (13 houses), and the rest is filled in with two blocks of housing units, a supermarket, and factories, half of which can be abandoned at any time and could probably be bought cheaply. Land rights should not even approach $200 million, it is already graded, and you'd get five miles of access for well under a billion if it is done competently. Combined with extending the White Plains road line to Columbus Avenue in Mount Vernon access to low income houses in two cities would be a reality improving incomes at the bottom.

The White Plains line would be somewhat redundant via Metro North, except it crosses areas unserved. Community opposition would be high here and I doubt ridership would make much sense without higher densities...the only reason to consider such a route is that again most of the ROW is intact: between Lincoln and Chester Heights; in the way would be some dwellings between Chester and Wykagyl (20 units). Between Wykagyl and the bypass is much more expensive land and probably another 20 units. Once on the bypass, you have a parking lot with Dunkin Doughnuts, and can be built along Bloomingdale easily, minimally disripting traffic on the underused route. It would, however, make a lot of sense if it was connected to HPN.

If you think in terms of actual land cost and integration into the subway, it makes tons of sense.

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Posted by mike0227 on Tuesday, May 26, 2015 10:50 PM

daveklepper
I also favor electrifying Newark - West Trenton to provide an alternate Newark - Philadelphia route through West Tremton.

You're not the first.  The Reading Railroad originally proposed electrification of the line from West Trenton to Bound Brook, linking with an electrification to be done by the Central Railroad of New Jersey(Jersey Central), then a Reading subsidiary, of its main line out of Jersey City.  (They may have also proposed to electrify their connection to the New York and Long Branch, though it probably would have been a quasi-isolated electrification...it would have met the PRR at South Amboy, but probably would have had no connection with a Jersey Central main line electrification.)   The Reading's proposals were based on the PRR's system in the Philadelphia area, and since the Jersey Central was a Reading subsidiary, it would have followed Reading practice, and to an extant, PRR practice. Sorry to hijack this thread, but had there been an electrified alternate to the NEC, service issues could have been different in the days between May 12 and May 18. 

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Posted by mellowone on Tuesday, June 16, 2015 8:38 PM

The overbuilt NYW&B should have never been.

Mellow One
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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, June 21, 2015 8:38 AM

If it had been built with more reasonable costs, double, not four track, to the same standards as the C&AE and North Shore, and at Willis Avenue station had a through connection and operated through to Park Row on the 2nd Avenue elevated, which had both the capacity and the structure to support such additional service and heavier cars, both it and the 2nd Avenue elevated would have lasted longer.  But in the end, it still would not have lasted much past the end of WWII.   The slower trip as compared with the Harlem Div. and the New Haven would have been compensated by a one-seat ride to the Financial District and better distribution to multiple Manhattan destinations, like the North Shore and C&AE provided commuters to Chicago.

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Posted by Firelock76 on Sunday, June 21, 2015 4:38 PM

The impression I got from the "Railfan and Railroad" article I mentioned earlier in the thread was that the NYW&B was really ahead of it's time.  Westchester County didn't develop as fast as the NYW&B's backers thought it would, then came the whammy of the Great Depression, so the 'road just couldn't survive.  Those that did ride it were fanatical about it.

Would it make sense to rebuild it today?  Well, if the right of way still exists, and if the patronage is there, then certainly. 

Same old story though, it come down to money, and lots of it!

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Posted by Jaydub on Wednesday, June 24, 2015 6:26 AM

The right of way indeed exists, but some has landfill in it; I have trouble, however, believing clearing landfill would cost anywhere near as much as blasting.  And a lot of those factories on Fulton may simply have very large basements-the retaining wall on Sanford looks like it replaced a bridge which was probably scrapped...

The crossing at 3rd and Harford is still intact.

Whether or not it makes sense to repossess some factories in the zone and move them I think is the real question.  I would say that a new stop at Sanford (Sixth) would go a long way to helping the conditions of poverty in the area and unemployment, and open lands in Mount Vernon to much higher density commercial-not too far away (but too far to serve the line) are large commercial complexes near the Pelham border.  Little reason these couldn't be built near a reopened line to get Bronx Business.  This means...jobs.

I think, however, doing something like this requires two things:

1. Creativity

2. Political will-there are a lot of people who are against making Westchester "Suburbs" more dense.  But this is inevitable if NYC continues to grow and Westchester doesn't want to suffer a dramatic brain drain.  It to me is kind of a no-brainer: Improve access to jobs, create temporary construction jobs, and be able to support a higher population density in order to spread the tax base and lower taxes...but, some people cherish a smaller community-even though young middle class people generally won't touch Westchester with a ten foot poll because they simply can't afford it.You can have suburbia or lower taxes.  Not both.  Revising our transit infrastructure in Westchester would make this question existential.

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, May 1, 2022 12:37 AM

Three photos in the area of the East 180th Street Hq. of the NYW&B.  The picture of NYW&B in its years of operation and the celebration of the start of throuugh Lexington Avenue subway service to Dyre Avenue were sent me by Nathan Gersten.  The ex-NYW&B RoW between E. 180 and slightly north of Dyre Avernue was restored to service by the Transit Authority during WWII with two-car ex-elevated gate-cars as E-180 - Dyre Avenue shuttles, and I photographed one in December 1947 through the window of a Lexington Avenue train headed to 241xt Street and White Plains Road:

 

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, May 1, 2022 9:35 AM

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Useless Kalmbach IT duplicate #1

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, May 1, 2022 9:39 AM

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Useless Kalmbach IT duplicate #2.

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, May 1, 2022 10:09 AM

Glad to see this necro thread, and much of the treasure it contains, revived again.

The Morgan version of the NYW&B reflects a great number of assumptions peculiar to the time money was thrown at it.  Very few if any of those are still applicable enough to 'rebuild' it; in fact the only real 'logical' thing would be to build on the Dyre Avenue 'experience' and try to convert to subway-compatible 3rd rail with subway equipment clearances to give an actual one-seat ride, albeit hella slow by any modern alternative standard.

The crayonista thing would be to see where logical extension to unserved areas of Westchester are.  I doubt there are many that would get adequate service for the capital cost involved.  On the other hand if a single track were to eventuate across the Tappan ZEE bridge replacement, relatively small subway-type cars would be just as much an 'answer' as IND cars would have been -- and still could be -- on the Martha Washington Bridge.

The West Trenton line would be reconnected to the Raritan line at Bridgewater anyway.  Many Raritan trains have dual-mode power to use Manhattan Direct, so incremental electrification could be done on any scale...  or perhaps not at all.  The ex-Reading electrification south was to PRR-compatible standards so the ALP45-DPs could easily run through "end to end" if you could stand to ride commuter cars that long (all you'd need is an agreement with SEPTA comparable to what NJT has with Metro-North for Graham Line service to Port Jervis).

The 'second spine' line needs to run places the current NEC doesn't, with the limited stops a true 220mph railroad requires.  I think the Chinese have built out the necessary infrastructure to build a true HSR line on the White Train routing without colossal earthmoving and rock blasting of all those ridges, with a great part of the line hundreds of feet up on self-launched viaducts.  I am also tempted by the 'Hartford alternative' that runs south over the long-delayed mid-Sound rail/highway bridge and goes into NYP from the Island without involving Metro North and its crappy crap.

Yes, I still pine for SBIII's Orient Point Bridge, and for the Narrows tunnels too.  But I doubt we'll see the former -- Fisher Island alone killing the idea -- and the latter will likely be an expensive and slow freight-only kludge.

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Posted by roundstick3@gmail.com on Sunday, May 1, 2022 4:00 PM

A lot of NYWB was constructed in antispation of a real estate boom much in the way Brightline is being built today. Somehow with timing it did not work out as expected in the 1940s as needed however it was high tech for it's time like Brightline is today

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, May 2, 2022 1:38 AM

The real-estate boom along the Bronx portion of the line did come after subway service was inaugurated and after WWII.   So demand increased.  And the line went from 2-car shuttles only to E.  180th St. to today's ten-car "5" trains running all the way to Utica Avenue or New Lots Avenuem Brooklyn.

Suppose they had built bthe catenary with insulation bfor conversion to 11000V AC, but energized at 600V DC.   Cars similar to H&M's, which did test on the 2nd Avene Elevated before the 1905 H&M opening, and, via  the Willis Avenue connecting track provided through sevice on the 2nd Avenue Elevated to Park Row - City Hall?   Like the North Shore and CRT.  Excuse me for repeating myself!

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Posted by MidlandMike on Tuesday, May 3, 2022 9:22 PM

Overmod
The West Trenton line would be reconnected to the Raritan line at Bridgewater anyway.  Many Raritan trains have dual-mode power to use Manhattan Direct, so incremental electrification could be done on any scale...  or perhaps not at all. ...

Is Bridgewater near Bound Brook?  It would be great to see the line from there to West Trenton electrified and double track again.  Amtrak trains could use it during problems with the NEC.

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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, May 4, 2022 2:36 PM

I agree an electrified Newark - Bound Bruuk - Jenkintown - Wayn Junction - Philadelphia makes lots of sense.

Nate Gerstein sent this photo, what had been NYW&B track:

 

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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, May 5, 2022 4:46 AM

My previous post'/s caption needed correction.  Here is the full story:

FRom NaTe Gerstein:  Only the center door of the deck-roofers was air-operated, they were only operated in two-car shuttles or as one car at one end only of trains of other modified-HV (high-voltage-control) cars, with the conductor at the end abutting the other  cars.
 
The train is made up of deck roofers. They were used as horses to bring in new R-17s from the NHRR using the old NYW&B connecting track. They also moved scrap cars from  the IRT tfor the scrapping of MUDCs, Gibbs, Decks, Gibbs, Flivvers and even BU gate cars. They were burnt on the grounds of the Starlight Amusement Park below the old Coliseum (Surface Transit Bus Garage)
 
I would date the photo as 1955. Later on the train was reduced to 4 cars. They would fill the steel cars with wood taken from the mass destruction of apartment housed demolished th build the Cross Bronx Express-way and set them on fire.
 
East 180 also had hoppers with coal and ballast and gondolas with rail delivered there. It was a busy place. Back to the deck-roofer with the skirt. I never knew about this car. It was a surprise to me and nobody I know  ever saw it.
 
The Decks were built with the provision to add the center door. The openings were reinforced in the original design. A small double sided steel framed seat was  in the area where the door would be installed.  The Gibbs  and Composites cars were never meant  to have center doors. The Gibbs cars window arrangement prohibited the door to be added in the center of the car so two smaller windows were built to compensate for this flaw. The door pocket had to be the correct size for the open door. The skirt was added for strength as you stated. The 1939 Worlds Fair. cars also did not need the skirts. All the other cars were delivered with skirts. One LO-V 4719 had the skirts removed early on, with the reason unknown.
The deck roofers were a total of 50 cars. They were all HI-V motors. They were pilot modified which meant they had manual end doors and air-operated center doors. The IRT considered Pilot modified cars MUDC cars. The cars were modified with MUDC indication and in cab lights (monkey boxes) that signaled door positions (open-closed) to the motormen. They were used on the ends of the MUDC trains. They were also used on the shuttles, Bowling Green, Grand Central-Times Square, Dyre Ave, and the Polo Grounds. They were used on the shuttles in two-car trains. They were also found in work service along with the Gibbs work motors that had the center doors without controls or MUDC indication.  
 
(DLK:  They did not MU with the Gibbs cars, which could only MU with other Gibbs cars.  Also, I’m sure the Dyre Avenue shuttles ran with more than two cars before through service brgsn.))

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Posted by Joseph Frank on Friday, July 15, 2022 9:28 PM

Hello Dave

A correction I must offer --- see below;

The TOP PHOTO (of the 3 you state as being at the Bronx E. 180th Street station area) -- is actually looking northeast miles further south, from the Willis Avenue auto bridge (Bronx side) to the Willis Ave. southern terminal station and company (NHRR - NYW&B) office building of the NYW&B -NHRR at Willis Ave & E. 132nd Street, within the New Haven RR S. Bronx Harlem River Freight yards.  In the foreground are seen two of the low steel trestles that connected the NYW&B track ends to the IRT 3rd Avenue Elevated tracks.  The end of the stone wall marked the separation of tracks between NYW&B RR and IRT 3rd Ave EL systems.

The ONLY thing remaining in that scene today are the closed up stone stairways from Willis Ave up to the embankment top where the railroad terminal was.  Everything else is completely gone.

Regards - Joe F

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Posted by BEAUSABRE on Saturday, July 16, 2022 10:59 AM

Newark-Bound Brook electrification was proposed in the form of converting the LV -  CNJ "Aldene PLan" route to an extension of PATH in the Sixties (presumably LV and CNJ freight traffic would have continued - gotta wonder about clearances) The Newark riots put an end to that and no one has dared to bring it up since. The CNJ had an order of round roof commuter equipment in the Twenties that was identical to RDG MU cars and just needed the electrical equipment and motormans' compartments added

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, July 16, 2022 12:45 PM

Do you mean 'an extension of PATH' through installing extended third rail, or reconstruction and extension of the PRR cat to Exchange Place?

Converted Reading-MU size cars would not fit in the Tubes no matter how carefully you provided depressed pans for them...

Catenary extension would provide a big leg up on electrifying the rest of the way to West Trenton...

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Posted by BEAUSABRE on Sunday, July 17, 2022 6:47 AM

It was to be third rail all the way to Bound Brook running PATH rolling stock. The idea was a one seat commuter ride from home to Manhattan. Like I said, the Newark Riots ended any chance of that. The CNJ cars were built for an aborted 1920's plan to electrify Jersey City-Bound Brook via 11,000 V AC catenary. It was to link up with the equally abortive plan to electrify the RDG New York Branch West Trenton-Bound Brook. 

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Posted by anglecock on Sunday, July 17, 2022 11:55 AM

Well this post has been around since 2013...After reviewing Google Satlite maps and Google Earth the right of way has been built over too much and had been the line used for freight and kept alive untill the 1980s it could have been rail banked and a possible rail trail. No idea how dence was population was in the 1920s when the NYW&B was running

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