• New York, Westchester & Boston NYW&B Highbrook Bridge

  • 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 chnhrr

Thank-you for the update. I was going to send the councilman some concept sketches showing the bridge and the surrounding area as a park and community center. Unfortunately I had a project deadline at the end of last week, but given the fact that it was not immediately decided to demolish the structure I will see if I can send him a vignette. I also will forward the information on the bridge’s plight to the ACI, American Concrete Institute. I believe they have a group concerned with the preservation of historic concrete structures.

  by fordhamroad
Hi - Slight update. The Pelham Village board is planning to appoint a committee of local residents to look into options and costs. Looks as if the status quo will continue for a while. More when I hear something. It still would be helpful to write to the Board (address up higher) in support of preservation. They need to hear it from others.

  by fordhamroad
Hi Chuck -
I'm glad you are getting into the discussion. The connection with the concrete institute seems a very good approach. I have suggested to some of the neighborhood residents that people get together and erect an historical marker, to act as a beacon, while long range issues are addressed. NY State is no longer erecting official markers, but keeps a record of privately erected historic markers put up by local groups. It would cost about a thousand dollars to have one made by the same foundry which used to do state markers..
Best wishes

  by fordhamroad
-Update on the NYW&B bridge, Highbrook Avenue , Pelham.
-There is a committee, reporting to the Pelham Village Board, studying options of preservation as a park, or demolition. The situation remains fluid. The committee could use ideas. They have contacted rails to trails and various historic preservation groups, and local political leaders. This is a bleak year for private or public funding, but they are getting some positive response in Pelham for preservation of the bridge and the accompanying right of way as a "Bridge Park" of 1.9 acres along the right of way. This might combine a walking/jogging trail, the bridge as a landmark, some wooded areas, used as a wildlife sanctuary, and an open grassy play field. Members of the committee are visiting the Gedney Way NYW&B walking trail for ideas. The situation is still very uncertain. Board members are opposed to landmarking because it might interfere with demolition, sale to a developer of some of the land, and construction of taxable housing. More later...

  by fordhamroad
-Sarge, if you look at the new website "Highbrook Highline"" which Otto just posted, you will note that the movement to save the bridge is evolving indeed toward creation of a local highline park. Although the present Pelham village administration still seems cool to the idea, it is being studied and advocated. Local residents have made contact with the Rails to Trails people, the Westchester Conservancy, the Historic Bridge association, and other groups, as well as several local historians and area politicians. This year is bad on the money, but plans are being made to try to apply in the near future for grants to study and begin repair of the bridge. Progress can be very slow and frustrating in these matters. It is still not sure if the village board will be ready to explore options to demolition. Richard and Susan Seither of Pelham are energetically trying to find ways to save the bridge as part of a neighborhood park.
-please keep following their Highbrook Highline site (above) for any developments. It would still help to direct comments on the historical significance, and the possible alternative uses of the bridge and right of way, to Mayor Ed Hotchkiss, Village of Pelham, 195 Sparks Ave. Pelham NY 10803
-there is hope. But as usual, hope needs to be worked on.

Roger Wines
  by MickD
Great catch with this Highbrook website Otto...
  by fordhamroad
-an update on the NYW&B Highbrook Avenue bridge situation, for the New Year:
-since last fall's discussion, there has been a lot of community conversation and several meetings about saving the bridge. The most viable option, currently being discussed by members of a Pelham Village Board subcommittee, seems to be to save the bridge by incorporating it into a small Rails to Trails project, involving a walking trail over the bridge and for several blocks, a woodland walk, and a small meadow. A group called Friends of the Highbrook High Line has been organized, with support from immediate neighbors , other community organizations, and some village board members. Their web site http://www.highbrookhighline.com has historic and current pictures, maps, and current news as the situation develops. The Friends have had the Bridge examined by concrete bridge engineers and it appears to be quite sound, though needing patching of the concrete stucco in many places. A study of ground pollution issues is underway. Many people in the Pelham community, landscape specialists, engineers and willing volunteer workers for clean ups and tree planting have surfaced. The Village, while not yet ready to endorse the preservation because of potential cost, has cleaned up the site and removed brush, etc. The Friends have received help from railfans, including Robert Bang and Otto Vondrak. I am presently serving on the Board subcommittee and have provided historical information to the group.
-preservation is by no means a sure thing. A lot more persuasion will have to be done, and possible sources of funding from outside organizations explored. A majority of the village population has yet to be convinced that scarce public funds should be spent on an historical monument, in these stringent times. But the hope of saving this NYW&B bridge, and making it a more significant part of the Pelham cultural inheritance is increasing.
-as mentioned before, any railfan expressions of support for preservation of this significant NYW&B relic, could be addressed to Trustee Joseph Marty, Pelham Village Hall, 195 Sparks Avenue, Pelham NY 10803. It could help sway minds.

Roger Wines
  by fordhamroad
-Some Action On the Highbrook Ave. NYW&B Bridge:

-March 1, 2011, the Pelham Village Board heard a presentation about the history and artistic significance of the Bridge, presented by the Friends of Highbrookhighline. The Friends urged that a "rails to trails" walking and bicycle path be laid on the old Westchester ROW, including the Highbrook Avenue Bridge. I made an historical presentation about the railroad and Alfred Fellheimer to the Board. The Board subcommittee on the "Boston Westchester" site introduced a motion, put to the Board by Trustee Joe Marty, that the committee be empowered to approach possible donors. The Board voted to give the Committee six months to locate sources of funds to save the Bridge and establish a Bridge Park. They are going to ask contractors for proposals to repair the Bridge and make it safe.

-so, some progress. The wind is blowing now toward preservation. But money is the big problem. We need a million. Anyone got suggestions? Anyone got a friend with a million? We can't do it all with bake sales.

- We are getting a lot of friendly comments and expressions of support for saving the Bridge, but it is not a done deal.

Roger Wines
  by Otto Vondrak
NYWB in the news!

Pelham residents envision park at old Highbrook Highline rail bed
By Ned P. Rauch
LoHud.com (June 3, 2011)
http://www.lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/arti ... 1106030337
Mayor Ed Hotchkiss said he likes the idea of increasing the amount of parkland in Pelham, but he's not ready to approve the project just yet. First, engineers must determine whether the bridge is sound. And the soil beneath the fenced-off field must be tested for contamination. Hotchkiss said the village would request proposals from firms to provide those services sometime over the summer.
Residents Pushing For Highbrook Highline Park In Pelham
Report by Sean Adams
WCBS 880 (June 3, 2011)
http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2011/06/03/ ... in-pelham/

Disposition of NYW&B Railroad Bridge and Surrounding Property
Pelham Post (April 2011)

Highbrook Highline Group Can Seek Grants to Develop Unused Greenspace
Pelham Weekly (March 11, 2001)
http://www.pelhamweekly.com/atf.php?sid ... 2011-03-11
The Board is moving slowly on making decisions on the future of the Village property because separately it is studying the safety of the Highbrook Bridge structure and also whether soil contamination in the greenspace must be remediated. The land that was the former site of the NY Westchester & Boston Railroad currently is not used except for a fenced walkway from Harmon Avenue and Young Avenue to “Little Young” Avenue off Lincoln Avenue. It also could be accessible from Pell Place. The citizens’ group called “Friends of the NYW&B Highbrook Highline” was formed as an advocacy group for the preservation of the Historic Highbrook Avenue Bridge (ca. 1910) as well as creation of the greenspace that would be open to the public. Its web site is http://www.highbrookhighline.com and includes the presentation it gave to the Village Board.

Friends of the NYW&B Highbrook Highline official website
  by Jeff Smith
Congrats and gratitude for the yeoman's work on preserving the history of this railroad to all our members and those who shall be called "not the site admin" LOL.

I've linked this to Facebook:


Keep up the great work!
  by fordhamroad
-An update for fans of the NYW&B about the Highbrook Avenue Bridge in Pelham. The Highbrookhighline committee has prepared a draft application for landmark status, and inclusion in the National ansd State Registers of Historic Places. It is gathering material on how to design and utilize the greenspace. The Village Board, still hesitant to move forward on saving the Bridge and creating a rails to trails park through the site has tabled the matter until the fall. The Board wants first to cost out and study other options such as tearing down the Bridge or putting tax paying housing on the site. RFP's are being drawn up for study of site contamination and costs of repairing or demolishing the concrete structure.The community is still divided, but opinion is gradually moving toward saving the Bridge and making a walking trail
So, as of July 12, 2011 nothing big has happened, but small things are happening, and hopefully in a positive direction. Local government is a great education in Civics 101.

-anyone celebrating the 100th anniversary?

Roger Wines
  by fordhamroad

-the Pelham Village Board on June 31 and August 9 has twice refused a request by members of the Highbrook Highlkine committee to file an historical landmark application for the NYW&B bridge.
-Board members didn't wan't to take any action which might bind future actions, and want to consider both demolition and preservation options this fall.
-the issue is, that the Board is the landowner of the historic property. The Friends are exploring the possibility of securing some private group in the community which might apply for listing on the State and National Register of Historic Places. Pelham has no local landmark commission. Being listed is a prerequisite for many preservation grants. Catch 22. If there were funds available, the Board might vote to save the Bridge , but because the Board won't apply for eligibility, not much funding will become available.
-local NYW&B supporters are working on it.
-it would help if any NYW&B fans wrote to Mayor Edward Hotchkiss, Mayor, Village of Pelham, 195 Sparks Avenue, Pelham NY 10803, in support of preserving the historic NYW&B Bridge on Highbrook Avenue. Google Highbrookhighline for developments

Roger Wines
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