Remembering the Putnam Line and its champions
But all that changed in 1981 when Conrail, the successor of the New York Central, filed for abandonment, meaning no service restoration ever and granting Conrail rights to pull up the tracks and sell the real estate. The abandonment filing started a “clock’’ giving governmental agencies narrow time frames to opt to purchase the line
In Yonkers, Mayor Angelo R. Martinelli hosted an emergency meeting with shippers on The Put. I was an assistant to the mayor at the time and would work with him on the issue for the near term and, years later, as a consultant for Westchester County.
Martinelli appealed to DelBello and Deputy County Executive Roger Biagi. They moved immediately to stop the clock and with it, Conrail’s plans to sell the 14- mile right of way parcel by parcel.
In 1991, County Executive Andrew P. O’Rourke and his deputy Biagi were determined to acquire the line for public use. A new plan was made, negotiations resumed and 90 days later, on the Friday of Labor Day weekend that year, a deal was struck in the county executive’s office in White Plains.
The route of the former Putnam Division of the New York Central Railroad was preserved. Forever. After 10 years.
RussNelson wrote:The Tarrytown Lakes Extension is a pleasant ride, although not completely paved. I rode it to the then-current end of the trail last summer, where there was a bridge without a deck and orange snow fencing. Looking at aerial photos, I see no reason why the trail couldn't be extended, so maybe it will be?
Environmental activists in the northwest Bronx want the city’s Parks Department to buy the land and turn it into a hiking and biking trail, or greenway. It would pick up where the trails of Van Cortlandt Park leave off, and would lead southward, passing close to Broadway, with its shops and restaurants.
The trail “would be a real economic boom,” said Laura Spalter, the chairwoman of the environment and sanitation committee of Community Board 8. “You could bike or hike and then go have lunch at a restaurant on Broadway.”
The land is owned by CSX Transportation, a major railroad. While talks on buying the land have stalled, CSX agreed last week to clean up the trash by the end of April, Spalter told The Press last week.
CSX has been willing to sell, but for a price that the Parks Department says it cannot afford. CSX had been asking $10 million for the land, although a spokesman recently said it would review the price.
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