• nyc's 60th street rail yard

  • General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.
General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.

Moderator: Robert Paniagua

  by nupagodie
i'm interested in any and all information about new york's 60th street rail yard from its conception to its decline and its current tranformation into a park and condos. i'm also interested in the overall loss of freight in this area (and across the overall new york waterfront) and about the decisions that led to the current/proposed use of this site specifically.

i've also been trying to track down a copy of the 1934 booklet on the west side improvement. i appreciate any and all help. thanks - m.
  by eddiebear
NYC issued a booklet when the West Side improvements were dedicated, 1934 or thereabouts. Look around at train and paper shows. Copies show up now and then.

  by ElTrain
Freight around NYC disappeared beginning in the 60s and through the mid 70s. It declined with the decline of manufacturing and the waterfront. Shipping to Jersey or to Southern (less unions, less mafia) was much less expensive. The High Line, on the West Side, is going to become a linear park.

  by Rockingham Racer
Not so; I lived on West 70th St. until 1968, and the 72nd St. NYC yard was still in operation. Couldn't tell you when it shut down, though.

  by ElTrain
Parked on the West Side to watch the fireworks in 1976 near the 72st yard and it was almost completely abandoned.
  by Sir Ray
Frank DCP wrote:If you wanna know what really happened to the 60th street yards contact me at [email protected].
Just noticed this - did anyone ever take take Frank (seems to be a one and gone poster) up on his offer?
I always thought that rail freight traffic just sort of petered out on Manhattan's West side by the start of the 1980s (althought the site would have been great for a MSW intermodal transfer yard), and car-float traffic was gone with the advent of ConRail (except NY Dock/NYCH, more or less). In the Big Money Property era (starting in the 1980s, but really taking off by the 1990s), those (relatively) big waterfront rail yards were destined for redevelopment (heck according to the Industrial & Offline terminal site, the BEDT on Kent Ave. was abandoned in 1983 for eventual real estate development, which only started to take place around the turn of the century).
The industrial & offline terminal site also answered a question I had for years - what businesses did they clear off the land to get space to build the Javits Convention center (it was PRR and other float rails yards)
  by philipmartin
Just to get my oar in, I got my first railroad job in 1955 as a freight handler with the NYC. I just worked the west side freight stations, not the east side ones, but all of them, from 60th St. to Saint Johns Park; and Weehawken and even the banana yard in North Bergen. It was nice work, with a hand truck, moving freight off lighters onto piers, onto box cars or highway trailers. I even worked the United Fruit pier in Weehawken once, (free bananas.) The first place I worked was the parcel post station, around 29th St. and 11th Ave. No mater how fast you worked at that place, there was always another mail sack coming down the chute from the floor above. Cars there had to be loaded on schedule for the drill to take to Spuyten Duivel, (I can't spell Dutch names,) to tack on passenger trains. I did that for a year, and then became a round house laborer in North Bergen; another nice job.
  by philipmartin
One day when I was working at the Parcel Post station, there was a hell of a bang. The switcher had hit the backstop, with a cab full of men. Inside the building the noise was really loud.
They still ran box cab third-rail diesel switchers in the 60th St. yard while I was there. Two years later, I was working in Penn Station and we had another kind of third-rail locomotive, with side rods on the drivers: the DD1, clanking around the station, on third trick, pulling the wire train. I loved it, it sounded like a steam engine clanking around.
I worked the 30th St. freight station too. These days it is the LIRR's west side yard.
  by philipmartin
The Banana yard was in North Bergen, near the round house, where they stored reefers for the United Fruit pier. Our job was to sweep them out; the easiest freight handler job on the railroad. You worked for a couple of hours, and then loafed the rest of the time. You had to watch out for scorpions though. Getting there from New York was a rail fan's dream. The ferries ran from 42nd St. and another slip further down town. Commuter trains would pull into the Weehawken terminal. The drill would couple to the hind end and pull them into the yard, leaving the uncoupled road engine in the terminal. Guys going to North Bergen would crowd into the cab for a ride to the banana yard or the engine terminal. Sitting on the engine, watching for a signal to clear was painful for me.
At that time we had 15 or 1600HP Alco road switchers. A year or two earlier they had used Limas; I know because I saw them in Weehawken. I was in high school, but an active Hudson County rail fan.
I took a ride through the Weehawken tunnel on the Hudson Bergen Light Rail a few years ago. It was the first time I had been through it since 1956.
Freight handlers pay was $1.65 an hour, except at the Parcel Post Station you got a dime more, and earned it.