I know there are some fans of "The Put" on the forum... this came across my Facebook feed this morning from the NY Transit Museum:

#TodayinHistory: On May 29, 1958, the New York Central Putnam Division commuter line made its final run between the Sedgwick Avenue station in the Bronx and the Brewster station in Putnam County, NY. Commonly called “the Put,” the line was decommissioned due to low ridership resulting from the line’s lack of both commuter parking and direct service to Grand Central Terminal, both of which were features of the parallel Harlem and Hudson Divisions. However, because there were no tunnels on the line, its tracks continued to be used by oversized freight trains until 1962, when the West Shore Railroad upgraded to accommodate “high and wide” freight traffic. Today, a remaining stub of track at Marble Hill is used for storage by Metro-North Railroad and much of the former roadbed has been converted to bike trails.

These #NYTMCollection photos were taken at the Sedgwick Avenue and Briarcliff Manor stations on the New York Central Putnam Division commuter line’s final run fifty-nine years ago. The original Briarcliff Manor station building reopened last year as a village community center dedicated to former mayor William J. Vescio.

Last edited by Apples55
Original Post

59 years ago....I would be 5 years old in about a week. Starting Manhattan College in 71, I always saw a single track along the Major Deegan and I crossed over it on West 240th St. I basically ignored it.    Little did I know that less 20 years later, I would become obsessed with its history and would subsequently search out all I could learn about it.....

Peter

Well, it looks like the last passenger train on the Put was pulled by an Alco.  What a great way to celebrate the end, with a cloud of black smoke after each station stop.  

I am curious:

  • Was the Putnam Division signaled, semaphores perhaps?
  • Did it connect with a main line on both ends?
  • How long (in miles) was it?
  • What was the maximum authorized speed for passenger and for freight trains, respectively?
  • Was it really a Division with its own Superintendent. or was it just called a Division for a different reason?

Thanks, Peter.  I bookmarked the link to the pennyandkc - and, by the way, that answered almost all my questions, and the one remaining was answered by the map on Wikipedia.  What an interesting segment of NYC the Put was.

Stella D'Oro no longer uses rail service?  The company has passed through multiple corporate hands and the factory is closed?  Fie!  Fie!  A pox upon their houses!  May they choke on their biscotti!

THE PUT IS DEAD!  LONG LIVE THE PUT!

Ah! Stella Doro.....the smell of cookies coming through my car's heater on cold winter mornings is one of those sensations that evokes great memories.....

Peter

Some good New York Central books that cover the area.....1st, a New York Central map of the Putnam's area.....

IMG_0105IMG_1742IMG_1743IMG_1744IMG_1745

The last book is authored by the Forum's own...MNCW.

Peter

 

 

 

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Last edited by Putnam Division
Putnam Division posted:

Ah! Stella Doro.....the smell of cookies coming through my car's heater on cold winter mornings is one of those sensations that evokes great memories.....

Peter

Could say the same thing about driving past the old Entenman's plant in Brentwood.

Bob

I used to drive the Deegan to work every day passing the remains of the Put.  There were still may of the tell-tales still in place.  Wasn't the Stella D'Oro building torn down or was that a Nabisco factory?

Is anyone young enough to remember the Silvercup bakery when it was still a bakery?  You could smell fresh bread halfway across the 59th Street bridge.  You have to go to the Rockland bakery if you want that smell today.

Side note, newsman Gabe Pressman covered the last day...used to live in Yonkers NY,Gabe is still with us in his 90s.Always well liked.....anyone from the metro area will know his name...

Am I correct?  I seem to recall reading that trains arriving in Brewster via the PUT were actually facing south on the Harlem Line.

Peter/Putnam Division, Thanks for my inclusion! 

I grew up in Yonkers, NY and except for 10 years in Peekskill, NY, my wife and I are still here---approximately a mile and a half from The Old Put's ROW. Back in the 1970's, I played little league baseball at Cook Field (now Redmond Field). I would often be bored in the outfield except when an occasional short freight would head north, powered by an RS-3. 

Today, The Put is part of a fine rail trail system. In Westchester County, the southern portion is the South County Trailway and the northern section (as you can guess) is the North County Trailway. I still find it amazing that there are tell-tale poles, coal and spikes that you can find and even sections of rail (some of it still in Yonkers).  

http://parks.westchestergov.com/trailways

If you have any interest in The Put, I would recommend the Dan Gallo and Fred Kramer paperback, The Putnam Division. Also pictured by Peter are the 3 hardcover versions of The Old Put by Joe Schiavone. These are great additions for anyone interested in this line. Many photos were never seen before and came from private collections. When the initial release, "The Old Put" came out, there was a DVD that came with it called Walk the Put. In that DVD, Joe covers all stations from Van Cortlandt in the Bronx to Put Junction/Brewster. Brian Vangor did a superb job with the videography. As he walk along, Joe talks about the history of several stations. I talked about a few stops in Yonkers, too on the same DVD. It was a fun project. 

Tom 

Kent Loudon posted:

Am I correct?  I seem to recall reading that trains arriving in Brewster via the PUT were actually facing south on the Harlem Line.

You memory is fairly good.  The Put entered Brewster via a "Y" in the yard south of the station.  Geographically, the Harlem line ran north/south while, approaching Brewster, the Put was east/west, so a train could be facing south if it took that leg of the "Y".

Stella Doro, I was just talking about them with a friend from Westchester just this morning. Back in the 70s didn't they have a restaurant next to the factory. I remember the food being plentiful and amazing.

Miketg

Another item from my Facebook feed today... the description reads:

The last remaining track of the Putnam Line from the Bronx to Pleasantville.

 D9027B77-B57B-460F-91C1-9011A59DD2F5

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Last edited by Apples55

My wife works at the Bronx VA and I sometimes have jobs in Kingsbridge and there are 2 tell tales still up. One is just south of the Van Cortland exit with wires and all hanging and the other is just off Putnum st in the same area. I was just there on Monday and they were still up. There is actually track as Metro North uses it for contractor train and such.

Peter, as I read your post about smelling the cookies from Stella Doro I am sitting here downing a cannoli from DiLillo's on 'a hun eighty seventh'.  Yesterday was my 50th reunion at Cardinal Hayes, so I ran up to Arthur Ave for some bread and pastry. Oh, back to Stella Doro: my father was a cop in the 50th pct when you were at Manhattan College. Often we were the beneficiaries of the end-of-day 'overage' there. They were nice guys who ran that bakery and a loss to the Bronx with their departure a few years ago.

Just to update some points...there are still several sections of rail that can be found, Elmsford for one, quite a few in Yonkers. Last I looked there were tell tales still up by Gray Oaks. Coal is still easy to find as is the occasional spike or tie plate along the whole line. 

On a sad note, for those who were not aware, Joe Schiavone passed away recently. Thanks to Joe for doing his share to keep The Put's history alive for future generations. 

Tom 

Alentown posted:

Peter, as I read your post about smelling the cookies from Stella Doro I am sitting here downing a cannoli from DiLillo's on 'a hun eighty seventh'.  Yesterday was my 50th reunion at Cardinal Hayes, so I ran up to Arthur Ave for some bread and pastry. Oh, back to Stella Doro: my father was a cop in the 50th pct when you were at Manhattan College. Often we were the beneficiaries of the end-of-day 'overage' there. They were nice guys who ran that bakery and a loss to the Bronx with their departure a few years ago.

Where did they go?.... Never mind!

http://www.nydailynews.com/new...ars-article-1.383855

Last edited by prrhorseshoecurve
MNCW posted:

On a sad note, for those who were not aware, Joe Schiavone passed away recently. Thanks to Joe for doing his share to keep The Put's history alive for future generations. 

Tom 

May he rest in peace.....A really nice man.....I spoke to him a few times on the phone.

Peter

Last edited by Putnam Division
MNCW posted:

Just to update some points...there are still several sections of rail that can be found, Elmsford for one, quite a few in Yonkers. Last I looked there were tell tales still up by Gray Oaks. Coal is still easy to find as is the occasional spike or tie plate along the whole line. 

Tom 

Thanks for the correction, Tom. Guess it’s true what they say... you can’t believe everything you read on the internet/Facebook   

The Put was a unique and interesting piece of a big railroad.  It was interesting enough that even those of us in the opposite corner of the USA (southern California) knew of it, thanks to Trains Magazine.  And now we have passed 60 years since its last run.  

Does the right-of-way easment revert to the landowner in a case like Putnam?

In Nevada we have a number of old railway routes (track long gone). complete with early tunnels that people often hike. There are also quite a few miles of abandon track the people ride with home built contraptions with small motors.

I know railroads don't want to give up rights, but we also have a number of routes (like to Hoover Dam) that have been paved over where it crosses streets. So I often wonder why/if the railroad (probably UP) still ownes tracks that can't be used.

GVDobler posted:

Does the right-of-way easment revert to the landowner in a case like Putnam?

 

In Westchester County, it took a long time to finish the trail as businesses had encroached onto the right-of-way...not sure what finally convinced everyone to cooperate, but in the end the Old Put is useful once again, now reincarnated as a walking/running/biking trail. I believe Westchester County owns that portion that exists within its borders. 

Tom 

MNCW posted:

Just to update some points...there are still several sections of rail that can be found, Elmsford for one, quite a few in Yonkers. Last I looked there were tell tales still up by Gray Oaks. Coal is still easy to find as is the occasional spike or tie plate along the whole line. 

On a sad note, for those who were not aware, Joe Schiavone passed away recently. Thanks to Joe for doing his share to keep The Put's history alive for future generations. 

Tom 

Yes, sad news about Joe. Living in Carmel, New York where Joe taught middle school I ran into him all the time. He was my son's 3rd grade teacher. One of the nicest men you could meet and cared immensely for his students. 

Mike

I remember reading about the situation with the High Line in NYC and the rules around railroad lines and abandonment and so forth. With a rails to trails it depends on the agreement between the railroad and those who build the park, with the high line the property actually was transferred over to the NYC department of parks I believe by CSX, they no longer own the right of way. In other cases the railroads allow the rail  to trail conversion and the sponsoring agency is in charge of the trail, but the property is still owned by the railroad and they can retain the right to 'claw back' the trail if they ever decide to re-activate the line (for example, I think they did that with the route that was supposed to become the so called Lackawanna cutoff, I believe that they took back rights to what had been a rail to trail including the Paulinskill viaduct (and I could be wrong, they may have talked about doing that but didn't). I remember reading about the process where a railroad makes a rail line having suspended operations versus formal abandonment, the latter is a big deal. 

I had to go to a funeral home in Mahopac the other day that is across the street from the Lake Mahopac station. It is part of a business now but the sign is still up on the station. I would love to find where the Harlem station was. I understand it was very near the Put station.

This Friday ( weather permitting), I will be driving up the Saw Mill River parkwaY on the way to the "Big E" . I always like to study the old put on the way up .... And down if it's not too dark!

Cincytrains posted:

I had to go to a funeral home in Mahopac the other day that is across the street from the Lake Mahopac station. It is part of a business now but the sign is still up on the station. I would love to find where the Harlem station was. I understand it was very near the Put station.

Cincy;

Hope this pic is clear enough... according to “The Last of The Old Put...”, page 103, the sign is on the old train building (which is, at the time the book was written, an American Legion Post):

 4BD4AF5C-D537-493E-85DC-8B474F17B143

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Last edited by Apples55
prrhorseshoecurve posted:

This Friday ( weather permitting), I will be driving up the Saw Mill River parkwaY on the way to the "Big E" . I always like to study the old put on the way up .... And down if it's not too dark!

PRR;

Good news/bad news... the good news:

If you have time... the Saw Mill ends at I-684. The first exit you will hit on 684 is 6A - Goldens Bridge. You will exit on to Rt. 22. Make a left and Follow 22 for a short distance - make a right  on to North Street (you should see a Metro-North parking lot on the far corner). Follow North Street around the curve (past a small strip mall on your right) till it ends at Rt. 138. Make a left on to 138, cross over 684 and the Metro-North tracks at the Goldens Bridge Station - continue on 138 for a short distance and on your left you will see Bridge L158 from the Lake Mahopac branch of the Put.

Now the bad news... on 684, Goldens Bridge only has an exit going northbound and an entrance going southbound. If you decide to have a look, make sure you have a GPS!!! You can use the address of the MN station (1 Old Bedford Road, Goldens Bridge, NY 10526). Going in either direction, you will need to go use exit 8, Hardscrabble Road, which has an entrance and exit in both directions.

B96C1520-9CA3-46AF-9847-6E13D5424AA7

My brother lives 5 minutes from there, so I’ve seen the bridge many times.

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Last edited by Apples55

My grandfather used to run the putnam valley coal and lumber in elmsford in the 1930s 

Growing up in white plains we used attend church in elmsford i have a picture somewhere of penn central rs 3 in the early 1970s by the old elmsford train station which was turned into a italian restaurant later

I am also a Jasper from manhattan college fondly  remembering the smell of the stella dora bakery 

Kind of funny as a child I wanted to be a train engineer wound up engineering aircraft.

Still love trains just need to build that layout I’ve been planning for 25 years lol.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That bridge was not a Put bridge but a Harlem Line bridge. The Harlem line a had a branch to Mahopac until 1958 or near and it stub ended in lake Mahopac  only a couple of hundred feet from the Put main line. There was a cross over to permit interline trains.

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