• New York, Westchester & Boston NYW&B Heathcote Station

  • Discussion relating to the NH and its subsidiaries (NYW&B, Union Freight Railroad, Connecticut Company, steamship lines, etc.). up until its 1969 inclusion into the Penn Central merger. This forum is also for the discussion of efforts to preserve former New Haven equipment, artifacts and its history. You may also wish to visit www.nhrhta.org for more information.
Discussion relating to the NH and its subsidiaries (NYW&B, Union Freight Railroad, Connecticut Company, steamship lines, etc.). up until its 1969 inclusion into the Penn Central merger. This forum is also for the discussion of efforts to preserve former New Haven equipment, artifacts and its history. You may also wish to visit www.nhrhta.org for more information.

  by RDL 879
BaltOhio, if only the NYW&B had gone "somewhere" (i.e. Manhattan) we'd be seeing trains today as we crossed over at Heathcote. That's the story of the NYW&B: "If only, if only..." :(

I explored the station area in January of 1992. The coal siding branched off the southbound siding track (which remained in use for accessing the siding until the end) and ran parallel to Heathcote Road. I found coal scattered along the right-of-way, and one of the wooden catenary poles was still standing. It's interesting that the freight siding r-o-w has been preserved, probably because it's in no one's way.

I also remember exploring the mostly intact Wykagyl Station platforms in the early 1980's, and the r-o-w south of there, but that's a story for another time. :-D
  by nyw&br
Well, BaltOhio, I must disagree: the NYW&B did indeed go "somewhere" (from White Plains and Port Chester to the South Bronx.) However, as RDL 879 notes, the NYW&BR did not provide direct single seat service to Manhattan...

- RDL 879, the siding at Healthcote remains well preserved; to the keen observer, it is clearly visible from Heathcote Road and is easily accessed. Are you sure you found coal and not ballast? (Cinders may have been used as ballast.) And, I was unaware siding catenary poles were wooden (I walked the siding a few years ago and saw no trace of anything standing.)

- BaltOhio: was there really a "freight station" at Heathcote? Is it possible for you to post your 1950s picture? And "a track or two for the Scarsdale Supply Co" - The siding contained a single track...

  by BaltOhio
Regarding Westchester freight stations: NYW&B listings in various Official Guide issues in the 1920s and '30s show freight stations at White Plains, Heathcote, Wykagyl, and Mount Vernon (SE of 6th St. station) and a non-agency siding (which presumably was a public team track) at Gedney Way. I have to assume that the "stations" shown in the Guides were actual buildings for handling LCL, with agents. There were also team tracks at White Plains and Mt. Vernon, and perhaps Heathcote and Wykagyl -- I don't know for sure. The Guide also showed that the NYW&B received freight at two East River piers (presumably NH-leased piers) and at 132nd St. and Lincoln Ave. at the Harlem River terminal. (The latter would have been west of the passenger terminal.)

The only actual station building I've ever seen was at Heathcote, but this was about a decade after the line was dismantled. Sadly, I don't have a print and don't have the proper equipment to scan my negative (after all, I'm a computer-incompetent mid-septugenarian), but one of these days will get the thing printed and scanned. I can tell you that it was a utilitarian concrete building quite unlike the passenger stations. Presumably it was built in the 1911-12 period, since the early view of the track side of Heathcote station shows the freight siding, and Scarsdale Supply Co. didn't locate there until 1923.

  by BaltOhio
I should add that if anyone's convenient to the Scarsdale Historical Society and interested, I donated a print of my 1951 Heathcote freight house photo to them through a local friend. The photo was taken from what had apparently been the track side of the station, since there's some drooping catenary wire hanging in front of it, although somebody regraded the ground in front so that it was built up to the platform level.

Also at the historical society (I hope) are copies of the two college theses on the Westchester that Otto mentioned in another NYW&B thread. One, dating to 1953, is mine, and the other is by Michael Weinman, done in1965.

I wouldn't be surprised at wooden catenary poles (presumable supporting span wires, from which the catenary was suspended) in the Heathcote "yard", and/or as anchor poles. There would have been no particular need for steel supports at that kind of location.

  by Otto Vondrak
"I have terrific news to report! Last Friday, February 23, 2007 , the Village of Scarsdale issued the final version of the RFP for the Heathcote Station property. On the second page of the RFP, it states that “the main structure and certain architectural features are required to be preserved.” Further down on the same page under “Terms and Conditions of Sale,” the document states: “The Village will place a covenant in the deed that will require saving the main building and the key existing and conspicuous design elements.”

There is a Village Board meeting tonight at 8 p.m. at Scarsdale Village Hall, 1001 Post Road , in the Village of Scarsdale . For those who are able to attend this meeting, it would be very beneficial to speak during Public Comments and lather the Board with praise for taking this position on the preservation of the building."

--Andy Bass

  by RDL 879
Otto, thanks for the updates. I'm glad to hear the station building will be preserved. Since I no longer live in Westchester it's a bit harder for me to keep an eye on my favorite station.

nywb, even though I've only been in the cab of a steam engine once :-D I'm pretty sure that I found coal, and not ballast (though there was some of that) near the end of the siding. I would think cinders would be crumbly and soft and what I found was hard and chunky.
I remember taking ballast from the r-o-w south of Wykagyl and tossing it onto the tracks at New Haven Line stations. Hey, it was the least I could do :P.

When I walked the siding in 1992, there were some catenary pole stumps, and one standing pole. It's quite possible it fell or has been pushed over since. I could still see the NYW&B using massive steel structures on the sidings given the overbuilding of the railroad as a whole :wink:.
  by nyw&br
Hello all -
This past Sunday, I walked the Heathcote Station area and the rail siding with my friend Eliot Goldfinger. As a result of our excursion, I must correct my original comments to RDL 879. Yes, you are right – that was a catenary pole. The standing pole is in extraordinary condition, with cables of varying lengths and thickness still attached, but no catenary wire. Another pole lies on its side near a pile of huge boulders positioned along the Heathcote bypass. This second pole is in excellent shape as well (what ever preservative was employed was truly magical.) In-between these two poles, is evidence of a third – but all that’s left is a hollow stump, about a foot high. Eliot and I were unable to determine if lengths of rusted wire and cable we uncovered along the siding was original catenary wire (but it would be real cool if it was.) And, if you explore the siding, while at the boulders, be sure look up towards the bridge (Heathcote Road) and you’ll see an original builder’s plate dated 1911! And yes, RDL 879, you are correct again - there is plenty of coal and cinders (as well as ballast.)

Finally and much to my amazement and delight, while exploring the area opposite the siding, we discovered a heavily rusted section of two inch rail. It was lying in a stream bank near a cement culvert (constructed by the NYW&BR), channeling the stream under Heathcote road.

The section of two inch rail is about 6 feet long, with a series of holes in the bottom flange for attaching the rail to ties. And, judging by its condition, it was in use during the time period the siding was in service. And so, some questions:
1) What connection, if any, does this artifact have with the NYW&BR?
2) Who or what would use of rail of this modest size?

Any comments would be greatly appreciated (Otto - what do you think)?.

  by BaltOhio
That "two-inch rail" is a puzzle, but it doesn't sound like rail railroad rail. For one thing, standard railroad "T" rail doesn't normally have holes in the base of the rail for spikes. The NYW&B used 90-pound rail for its mainline, and considering that it was brand-new and didn't have any relay rail, possibly the original siding(s) were 90-lb. also. That would seem to leave it as some adjunct to the Scarsdale Supply Company, which had its storage yard there after 1923. Just a guess, though.

One other possibility: It might even date back to the contractor that built the railroad.
  by [email protected]
In the March 16, 2007 Scarsdale Inquirer, there is an interesting article about The Heatchote Station and the NYWB. In the article it states the following: "A freight spur banked north at the Heathcote Station to the Scarsdale Supply Company, a leading local coal and building materials dealer. Ballast still remains on the former roadbed of the frieght spur in the the wooded area between the Heathcote Bypass and the Supply Field.

I have lived at 6 Quaker Center which is a 200 yard road extension of Brookby Road ( which enters from Heathcote Road across from Supply Field) which ends in a "T" at Catherine Road. In the course of landscaping over the years on the Brookby side of our property, we have noticed a deep depression in the wooded area from our property along Brookby which extends back to past two neighbors' property whose addresses are 53 and 51 Brookby. I am convinced this was a track spur extension for that freight line. I don't know if tracks were ever laid and where the tracks ended, or where exactly the Scarsdale Supply Company was located.

Most accounts I have read about do not speak of the tracks going down Brookby but just up to Supply Field. My house was built in 1934 ( as was the house across the street at 7 Quaker Center) and the other houses referred to above were not built until years later.

Can anyone enlighten me on this aspect fo the freight spur and its actual locations? Where might I find photographs of the area from that time?


  by BaltOhio
You are on the north side of Heathcote Rd.; the NYW&B freight spur, freight house, and Scarsdale Supply Co. materials yard were immediately south of Heathcote Rd., and immediately to the west of the mainline right-of-way, which is now the bypass road. The freight spurs (there were two) stopped short of Wiltshire Rd. I haven't been in that area for 50+ years, so I don't know what is there now, but by the evidence of the posts above, there doesn't seem to be much.

That leaves your "depression" as a bit of a mystery. There was an abortive railroad project in this area in the early 1870s called the Southern Westchester, which was to run from White Plains to the Harlem River. It acquired property and supposedly did some grading, but nobody seems to know exactly where. Maybe you've found some.

Was the Inquirer article written by Andy Bass? He is heading the efforts to save the station, which so far have been reasonably successful. The chief problem at the moment, however, is that they can't find someone to take the building and restore it. I helped Any a bit with the article (which is in two parts?) but haven't seen the final result.
  by nyw&br
BaltOhio and [email protected] - the March 16, 2007 article in the Scarsdale Inquirer was indeed authored by Andy Bass.

Andy has worked hard to lobby for the preservation of the Heathcote station. So far, my understanding is the station property has attracted no bidders.

The 2", 12 lb. rail I found was located on the north side of Heathcote Road. Heathcote Nurseries, Inc. was located on this site in 1930.

BaltOhio - I thought there was a single spur, on the south side of Heathcote Road, running from the NYW&BR main line to Scarsdale Supply Company...
  by BaltOhio
nyw&br wrote: BaltOhio - I thought there was a single spur, on the south side of Heathcote Road, running from the NYW&BR main line to Scarsdale Supply Company...
A single spur diverged from the mainline at the south end of the SB platform, as shown on p. 40 of Bang's book. Towards its west end, the spur split, with one track running parallel to Heathcote Rd. (probably a public team track) and the other angling south to the freight station. Originally, the Westchester owned all the property between Heathcote Rd., Wilmot Rd. and the New Rochelle-Scarsdale boundary, but sold the southern two-thirds (including the freight house spur) to the Scarsdale Supply Co. in 1923 for their yard. The freight house was on the Scarsdale Supply Co.'s part of the property and remained there intact at least into the 1950s, when I photographed it.

  by Otto Vondrak
Scarsdale station, once part of "Westchester's Forgotten Railway," on the auction block
(Original publication: April 24, 2007)

SCARSDALE — Standing at an intersection called "Five Corners," it's hard to imagine there were once not enough commuters in this bustling village to support a state-of-the-art railroad.

It's true.

The year was 1937 when the New York, Westchester & Boston Railway went defunct in part because the elite communities north of Manhattan did not develop fast enough.

With sleek green cars and plush, spacious interiors, 43 bridges, 23 tunnels and a 3,940-foot subway tunnel, the NYW&B railway was ahead of its time. And the stations were called "one of the most attractive group of railway stations in the country," according to the Electric Railway Journal.

Now, Scarsdale's former Heathcote station is for sale and the opportunity to own one of the few relics of "Westchester's Forgotten Railroad," will go to the highest bidder willing to preserve its history.

Read the rest of the story at: http://www.thejournalnews.com/apps/pbcs ... /704240347

  by South Ferry

I visited the site in 2004 and JUST NOW found this thread regarding it's sale and preservation.

When I saw it in 2004, the SVAC was in full-swing and seemed to be fully utilizing the facility.....

After "finding" Heathcote Station, we scouted out the Willis Ave. Terminal and managed to capture images of it
before it came down in 2005.

THANX for the note on Heathcote!!

HERE I share the photos from Willis Ave & Hunts Point NYWB vicinity--
http://s3.photobucket.com/albums/y56/ri ... ainz/NYWB/


  by Otto Vondrak
From Andy Bass:

"The Land Use Committee of the Scarsdale Village Board of Trustees will meet on Tuesday, July 10 at 6:45 p.m. in the Trustees Room in Village Hall to discuss the Heathcote Station (a.k.a. 300 Heathcote Road). This will be the second meeting of the Land Use Committee on this subject since the submission of the two bid proposals for the purchase of the property. The official meeting notice is below. It lists six sub-topics that will be on the agenda. It promises to be a very interesting meeting. Hope to see you all there."