Friday, June 29, 2018

Walkway/Poughkeepsie 1888 RR Bridge over the Hudson River

(walkway.orgBridge Hunter, no Historic Bridges, HAER, 3D Satellite (200+ photos))

I labeled this rrMisc as well as rrPenn because several railroads used it. I also labeled it bridgeTruss as well as bridgeCantilever because I might forget that it has cantilevered spans.

There is a river bluff close to the river on the west side, but on the east side there is a long approach trestle. So I also labeled it bridgeTrestle because of the long trestle approach on the east side. That approach is bigger than many complete bridges.

Photo from HAER NY,14-POKEP,8--29 from ny1265
[I wonder if there used to be some industry here. It is now mostly parkland including the Mid-Hudson Children's Museum.]
Photo from HAER NY,14-POKEP,8--3 from ny1265
M'ke Helbing shared a Metrotrails post
Historic postcard image of the Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park, originally the Poughkeepsie Bridge, or the Poughkeepsie-Highland Bridge, 
The Poughkeepsie span was chartered in 1871, and the first train rolled over it on December 29th, 1888.
The bridge was a pinch point. It was relied upon by all of those railroads we’ve hiked that siphoned in to the Hudson. The New Haven Railroad and it’s predecessors relied on the bridge from Hartford and areas east, and the lines we had followed for years, such as the Lehigh and Hudson River and Lehigh and New England made connections to this bridge via the Maybrook Line.
The Maybrook Line was part of the New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad, but that only came after mergers and such including Dutchess County Railroad, New York and New England, and others.
After the mergers and the formation of Penn-Central, the bridge was burned by an arsonist on May 8th of 1974. Many people believe it was the railroad company itself, because Penn Central had a competitor in the Erie-Lackawanna which used it also.
After the fire, about seven hundred feet of the bridge was wrecked. Tracks and ties were removed from that part because pieces were falling below.
Abandonment also led to the removal of the former Dutchess County Railroad and it’s bridges in 1983, and the Maybrook connection on the west side as well. 
The bridge opened to pedestrian traffic in 2009, at which time it was the longest pedestrian bridge in the world. It has since been surpassed, we believe by a foot bridge in Russia.

M'ke Helbing shared a Metrotrails photo

safe_image for Mike Robbins Flickr, Bob Hughes Photo, 1970s

Wayne Deyo shared
Arthur Erdman NE74 was just leaving Port Jervis for Maybrook when the Lehigh and Hudson River train dispatcher called me in Hoboken to report the bridge on fire and Penn Central has a hold on all Maybrook trains. We wound up sending NE74 to Weehawken where the PC took the train to Selkirk.
Bob McCue posted
May 8th, 1974
This would be the last morning that the mile long, 220 feet high, railroad bridge over the Hudson River at Poughkeepsie, would ever serve railroad traffic. Just after noon a freight with E-L colors on the point crossed over heading easttbound. An hour later a fire would close the bridge to all railroad traffic. With it went the last remnants of the Maybrook rail yard that once served six railroads. The bridge would stand, frozen in time until it was reopened as a public walkway some three decades later.
All the armchair experts will tell you now, how Maybrook was on it's way out anyway. But in 1974 the closing of the bridge and yard was a shock and a blow.
James Tompkins
Russ Nelson The engineer, John May, says that his train was starting fires all the way to Maybrook.
Bob McCue i heard that too Russ..
Larry Jones Fire watch employees were eliminated just prior to this event by PC executives.
George Leroy Tyrebytre The firefighting standpipes were too. Coincidence?
Matthew J. Restivo I always wondered, how could the fire close the bridge permanently? I mean the steel infrastructure was clearly not damaged beyond use by a simple fire and couldn't the tracks and other lighter materials be replaced? Any ideas?
Evan Jennings If the fire was hot enough the steel could loose temper (i.e., loose strength) even if otherwise it appeared undamaged.
Bob McCue Matthew J. Restivo, Penn Central didn't want the New Haven, it was forced on them as part of the merger deal, problem one. Then PC was building up it's yard at Selkirk. All Maybrook was doing was feeding the competition (L&HR AND ERIE) . They also cut the Erie off at Newburgh, wouldn't serve the branch. part of the reason the branch fell off so fast.

Barbara McEvoy commented on Bob's post

Francis Otterbein posted
On May 8, 1974, the Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge burned. Sparks from either train brakes or engine exhaust caused the Hudson River span to flare up. Penn Central, which owned the bridge, had no guards or maintenance workers on duty, so the fire was not immediately reported.
For hours, pieces of burned wooden planks, and metal plates almost a foot long, cascaded off the bridge to property below, including U.S. Route 9. Embers from the bridge caused dozens of small fires at nearby homes and yards.
Stephen Lessner That fire pretty much killed the L&HR.

Lance Erickson commented on Bob's post
New Haven Rail map of the area. Every form 1 passenger time table had these center fold maps. Wonderful research maternal.

Mike Helbing shared
Bill Rogerson posted
Railroad Bridge crossing the Hudson River at Poughkeepsie, NY
Wayne Hudak New Haven RR
Ray Peacock When we created his website, we used a shot of a train on that bridge taken around 1954 in the masthead. That bridge was decommissioned in the Conrail era due to a fire. It sat unused until repurposed as a pedestrian trail. John Dziobko photo.

Niel F Davis posted two photos with the comment: "The NYNH&H Railroads Maybrook line crossing the Hudson River at Poughkeepsie NY."

Matt Stern posted three photos with the comment:
Linking Highland with Poughkeepsie NY, the Hudson High Bridge is one of the most incredible pieces of railroad infrastructure on the East Coast.
Completed in 1889 at almost 7000ft in length, rising over 200ft from the river, it was built to serve the New Haven Railroad, before falling into the hands of Penn Central, then Conrail. The last train crossed in 1974, after which a fire caused damage to about 700ft of decking. A decade later, despite federal funding, NY State funding, and an offer of additional funds from Connecticut to repair the structure, Conrail formally abandoned the bridge, along with the rest of the Maybrook Line in 1984.
Today the bridge is used as a pedestrian crossing, known as the Walkway Over the Hudson.
Matthew Moretti Very cool photo. It was actually built by the Central New England Railroad which was eventually merged into the New Haven. Interesting fact, the first train that operated over that bridge was hauled by the same locomotive involved in the bridge collapse accident in Tarriffville CT a few years before. It was repaired and returned to service.
Wayne Wanzor Prior to the closure, it was the only rail crossing of the Hudson between NYC and the Albany area. It’s closure created a rail bottleneck at Selkirk which reduces rail capacity for trains from New England heading southward.
Troy Nolen It didn't create any rail bottleneck. Penn Central, who owned the bridge when it burned, was only running 2 trains over it each day, one of which was an Erie Lackawanna transfer freight. PC was trying to route trains via Selkirk because it was more efficient given the low amount of traffic and a dismal future for the line, they were looking to abandon it anyway. There was some speculation that PC actually started the fire, which was a popular thing to do at the time, burn bridges and then abandon lines... happened VERY frequently in the 70's.
James Teehen I have lived in Hyde Park NY just north of this bridge for 29 years. For many years the bridge was in its abandoned state. During the 90s and early 2000s there were many ideas for developing it. They ranged from building a shopping mall on it to reopening it for commuter rail service. In the end the walkway was chosen. It is a nice addition to the region. As far as rail service is concerned the bridge became redundant with the inclusion of the NH into the PC. The whole purpose of the bridge was to give the NH a connection with the many railroads that served Maybrook NY. However when you add Conrail to the scene all of the railroads that served Maybrook were now part of Conrail. This situation ended any possibility of restoring rail service to the bridge. This is a reality that we have witnessed many times in business and technology.However I do have one concern for the Poughkeepsie Walkway Bridge. At some time in the future the steel should be scraped and painted like any other bridge. Because this has not been done in many years it may be an expensive project.

John Goeller what bridge is that in the distance ?
Dennis DeBruler There are not a lot of bridges to choose from, so it must be the Mid Hudson Bridge,
John Goeller I thought it might be the Beacon-Newburgh Bridge.
Dennis DeBruler I noticed that bridge is the next one downstream,


Greg Fealey posted four photos with the comment: "Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge."




Greg Fealey commented on his posting

Lance Erickson commented on Greg's posting
 Important emergency route around NY. In case of a 9-11 happens again. But that can never happen again, right? A all bike trail is better. Plus the area has continued to grow since the New Haven RR is gone. They owned the Northeast Corridor NY to Boston and alot in between.
Wayne Koch posted
NYC 5431 Poughkeepsie June 1950. Possibly a Godfather of Rails photo.

Wayne commented on his posting
1876 proposal.
Bill Rogerson posted
Amtrak EMD E8A leading Northbound Train No. 63, the "Niagara Rainbow" at Poughkeepsie, NY - March 11, 1978

CatskillArchive from Poughkeepsie Bridge
[1877 proposal. I'll bet one reason they waited from 1877 to 1888 was for steel to become an economic building material.]

Niel F Davis posted (source) four photos with the comment: "The NYNH&H Railroads High Bridge at Poughkeepsie Ny , it was the NYNH&H Railroads Gateway to the west, it lead to their other big yard at Maybrook Ny , it’s now a hiking trail."



Tim Howard commented on Neil's post

Metrotrails posted (source)
A view of the Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge, now Walkway Over the Hudson, at Highland Landing NY along the Hudson

Tim Howard commented on Neil's post
Year 1904

The fire that changed the Hudson Valley: Poughkeepsie railroad bridge blaze turns 45

40th anniversary of the fire in the sky, PoughkeepsieJournal [paycount]
On May 8, 1974, the Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge burned – and changed history.
[The article includes a video.]
"It was the first bridge to cross the Hudson River between Albany and New York City when it opened on New Year's Day 1889, 18 years after the state Legislature charted the Poughkeepsie Bridge Co. to build it. The 6,768-foot bridge was used to move goods, such as coal and grain, from the Midwest to New England. The goal of the bridge developers was to create an economic boom for the area at a time when rail transport was at its peak. But the economic impact never met expectations. By 1974, few trains crossed the bridge.
For hours, pieces of burned wooden planks, and metal plates almost a foot long, cascaded off the bridge to property below, including U.S. Route 9. According to firefighters on the deck, the rails were twisted from the heat, Decker said. When the cold water hit the hot rails, the bridge shifted dramatically, he was told.
A pumper truck on Parker Avenue was supposed to charge the bridge's water supply on arrival. But firefighters quickly realized the steel pipeline that ran the length of the bridge had burst in several spots. Much of the water they pumped fell to the streets below. Firefighters dropped 2½-inch hoses from the top of the bridge to Dutchess Avenue. Those were then connected to trucks, which pumped water up to the deck."
[Home owners put out fires on their property with garden hoses. A pumper truck hosed flaming debris that was falling onto some propane tanks.]

Pete Palmer posted
Always loved this photo of the Poughkeepsie rail bridge circa 1890.
Andrew Keeney shared
Taylor Rush: It’s interesting that the photographer captured another photographer recording the scene as well. The mid-train helper is also burning cleaner than the lead locomotive.
[I'd missed the "distributed power" until I saw this comment.]
Daniel PJ Mantey: Taylor Rush And the woman seems to be watching that photographer, rather than the train? The kid is really into the train! Nice simple, yet complex photo.

Mark Yovella commented on Pete's post
Same deck, different view!

New York's Railroads, Subways & Trolleys Past & Present posted
Poughkeepsie Railway Bridge over Hudson River viewed from steamship, New York c1907.
Marc Dufour Taken when the bridge was being rebuilt in 1907; you can see the falsework on the right and an erecting crane on the left…

Tommy Byrne posted
New York Central Passenger Train with Poughkeepsie Bridge in background, Poughkeepsie, NY c.1953. Jim Shaughnessy.
Anthon Tana This photo appears in the book "Rails Along The Hudson". Enjoyable book for New York Central fans with a lot of nice black and white photos spanning the steam era through Penn Central. Out of print but copies pop up on ebay.
Rafael Castro That doesn’t look like a passenger train to me. I see a bunch of freight cars.
Ellis Simon Rafael Castro Most likely this is a mail train with a rider coach on the rear.
Vince Walker Explain headend?
Jim Kissel Vince Walker , on many trains, express package, mail and baggage were coupled behind the locomotives. They were then followed by a coach or two. Most of these trains made many or all the stops along the route, as opposed to faster trains dedicated to passenger cars almost exclusively. You'll find trains called something like “Fast Mail”, which look like the one in this photo. The Pennsylvania was also known for tacking on express cars to any available train, just to keep things moving.
Ellis Simon Vince Walker Refers to railcars used to carry mail, express shipments and baggage on passenger trains. Since they were usually placed directly behind the locomotive, they came to be known as head end equipment.
When Amtrak was formed, it did not inherit the express and mail business. Thus, the only “head end” equipment on early Amtrak trains usually was a lone baggage car.
In the 1990s, Amtrak tried to go after express business and purchased several hundred cars and containers for this purpose. However, the business was not profitable. Further, the freight railroads opposed this strategy. Consequently, Amtrak exited the market in the early 2000s.

Wayne Koch shared
Kevin Parks Lots of head end cars and even Flexi-Vans on that train!
Thomas Eide Can’t be 53 flexi vans came later maybe late 50s or 1960.
Dave Saums It can be Flexi-vans if the date shown is wrong. Don't go by the dates in the last Jim Shaughnessy book that was published, as there are very substantial errors. Don't know where this image was picked up from.
Scott Hoffman Looks more like mail express.
Dave Saums Scott Hoffman , agreed. Looks like a mail train. There must be either a commuter run or a through passenger on this train's tail, given the number of passengers already out on the platform.
Lincoln Sander IV But it looks like there's a few FlexiVans back there too, so I'd have to put this later than 1953, more like '62. Have to look up train lists to see which secondary trains had this much head end scheduled daytime through Pok.
Hugh Guillaume Dave Saums There would be a rider car on the hind end but no coaches. Definitely an M&E train.
Dave Saums Hugh Guillaume , yes, as I stated. The passengers on the platform indicate a passenger train or commuter is due, right behind this train. Otherwise, they would be upstairs in the st
[Note the frame for a Gas-O-Meter by the right-most pier. It is rather empty.]

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