Northbound NYC train near Fishkill Landing.
The Hudson line which became part of the NYC had been in operation for nearly 20 years when the first east-west railroad was built. The Dutchess & Columbia connected to the Hudson line at Dutchess Junction in 1868. In 1881 the NY&NE built a connecting track and ferry service at Fishkill Landing just north of Dutchess Junction. This NYC train is along the shore of the Hudson River between those two points. Fishkill Landing became part of Beacon in 1913.
Fishkill Landing was built on trestles and fill.
The shoreline at Fishkill Landing changed shape many times when the railroads needed more room. The lettering on the tender of this engine says “Walsh Construction Company, Davenport Iowa”. Most of the train cars are NY Central.
Bridge over Fishkill Creek.
Here is the Walsh Construction Company crew working on the bridge over Fishkill Creek. The creek was the dividing line between Fishkill Landing and Dutchess Junction. In the background you can see what appears to be a cliff at the edge of the NYC main line. This was the fill leading up to a bridge over the main built by the BH&E RR that went bankrupt in 1870. That bridge and a trestle over the bay was to be the access to a deep water port on Dennings Point which is behind the locomotive to the right. Dutchess Junction was just beyond the BH&E fill and bridge.
The Hudson line south of Fishkill Landing.
Beacon Historical Society collection
The Hudson line south of Fishkill Landing
South end of the tunnel at Breakneck Ridge.
When this photo was taken there were only two tracks and no road tunnel. This looks like a very dangerous road crossing with almost no visibility to the north through the tunnel. This tunnel was one of the obstacles that slowed the construction of this line in the late 1840’s. There was no room to go around the cliff because it drops into deep water in the Hudson River at left.
Tunnel at Breakneck Ridge.
The story says that Breakneck Ridge got it’s name because of a farmer’s stray bull that fell down the cliff and broke his neck. You can see a bit of the Hudson River at far left.
Twentieth Century Limited Wreck 13 March 1912
The Hudson River seems to be frozen over. There are people walking on the ice.
NYC rotary snowplow.
When clearing the Hudson Line the plows could conveniently throw the snow in the river in many places.
NYC tunnel ice breaker.
This modified hopper car was used on the Hudson Line to break ice that formed around the tunnel ports along the river. In warm weather you could often find it parked south of Beacon.
NYC Niagara pulling a passenger train.
This train is southbound at Beacon. You can see the road bridge over the tracks in the background. At left is the former NY&NE ferry yard that later was occupied by the CNE and the New Haven.
See the specifications for this locomotive.
ALCO PA and PB at Beacon.
A New York Central ALCO PA and PB are charging past Beacon on the way north and west. The National Biscuit Company building at left was the carton printing plant for Nabisco products. That building today is a museum of modern art in Beacon. The tracks at right were the CNE and New Haven which crossed over the NYC main on a bridge to Fishkill and the Maybrook line connection at Hopewell Junction. These tracks are still in use by MTA Metro North and AMTRAK.
New York Central 20th Century Limited along the Hudson
In 1947 a trio of EMD E units are powering the 20th Century Limited southbound along the banks of the Hudson River. This train had just thundered through Beacon and was heading for the engine change at Harmon. Since these diesel engines were not welcome under the streets of Manhattan, an electric engine would pull the limited the rest of the way into Grand Central Terminal.
Dutchess Junction in 1950.
Lee Beaujon collection
When the CNE took over operation of the ND&C RR they began a program of abandonment. Among the first things to go in 1907 were the ND&C shop facilities at Dutchess Junction. In 1916 the passenger service stopped. Over the year the rest of Dutchess Junction followed. By 1950 all that was left was a lonely passenger shelter. Today even that shelter is gone. AMTRAK and Metro North riders might glance up from their newspaper to see only woodland and maybe a few bricks as the train thunders past what was Dutchess Junction. In the distance along the tracks you can see the bridge over Fishkill Creek. Beyond that short bridge is the Fishkill Landing section of the City of Beacon. In the left distance across the bay is Dennings Point.
Dutchess Junction today.
Austin McEntee colletion
You can still find some weathered concrete and a few bricks where Dutchess Junction used to be.
The Hudson Line south of Beacon.
Austin McEntee collection
The Hudson Line is no longer a four track main. AMTRAK and Metro North make do with two tracks. At left is Bannerman’s castle on Polopel Island. At one time the castle housed a collection of war relics and surplus ammunition. The City of Newburgh is along the river bank in the distance. Dutchess Junction and Beacon are out of view around the bend to the right.
Beacon station in the 1980’s
Jim Moseman collection
In this photo there is no sign of the stations and platforms built in 1915. In the background is the outline of the Beacon Newburgh bridge which drove the ferry out of business in 1963.
Beacon station today.
B Rudberg photo
In 2005 the passenger ferry service has been revived and seems to be doing well with commuters who take the Metro North trains to New York City.
The Maybrook Line was a line of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad which connected with its Waterbury Branch in Derby, Connecticut, and its Maybrook Yard in Maybrook, New York, where it interchanged with other carriers.
If one looks at the most popular Pages on our WebSite, over half directly reference the Maybrook Line. Lot’s of folks have an interest in it. The “Maybrook Line” was important to New England before the advent of Penn Central and before the Poughkeepsie Bridge burned. This piece of the railroad carried freight from Maybrook Yard, across the Poughkeepsie Bridge to Hopewell Junction where it joined a line from Beacon. The railroad then went to Brewster, then Danbury, and finally to Cedar Hill Yard in New Haven.
WHY and How To Fix The “MAYBROOK LINE”?
Container port/intermodal facility/rail bridge
The construction of a railroad bridge between New Hamburg and Marlboro is likely the least expensive place to build a Hudson River crossing between Manhattan and Albany. The stone for ramps, sand and gravel for concrete and a steel beam assembly and storage area would be right on sight. All materials and equipment could be transported by barge or boat. The bridge itself would have only four or five piers (the most costly part to build) since the Hudson River is about the same width as it is in Poughkeepsie.
The Hudson River component connects Dutchess, Ulster and Orange counties to the world economy (finished goods, spare parts, components parts, raw materials, food stuffs) and the railroad and interstate road components connect these NY counties to the rest of North America (US, Mexico, Canada).
With the container port/intermodal facility/rail bridge, the flow in and out of raw materials, spare parts, partially finished goods, foodstuffs and components will allow for new industries and businesses to locate near this facility and add to the tax base of these three NY counties: Dutchess, Ulster and Orange counties.
Although the Dutchess County Airport is a tiny regional airport with a 5,000 foot runway, it has some big potential. The airport land extends a mile Northeast of the present runway end at New Hackensack Road and borders on the former New Haven Maybrook Line/Dutchess Rail Trail. As the NY Air National Guard gets crowded out by international air traffic at Stewart International Airport their operation could be moved over to Dutchess Airport without disrupting the lives of the guard members and their families through forced relocation.
Beacon itself is exploding with “developer” activity, and it needs a trolley or light rail for the city only to transform back into a pedestrian oriented city.
Other activities include: Solidization of rail links in Connecticut to handle increased traffic; a possible HYPERLINK for improved service along the Beacon Line and in/out of New York City
Now you are going to ask. What does the New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority have to do with the “BEACON LINE”? IT OWNS IT! Must realize that NYCMTA is a “regional” organization. With all that went on with Penn-Central and CONRAIL somebody had to own it!