• New Book "Forgotten Railroads Through Westchester Count

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New York State.
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New York State.

Moderator: Otto Vondrak

  by fordhamroad
-I just got my copy of the new book "Forgotten Railroads of Westchester County" by Robert Bang, with collaboration of John E. Frank, George W. Kowanski and Otto M. Vondrak. It is a fine job, with many new photos and drawings, and a lot of new research. You should take a look at it.

  by nyw&br
I agree with fordhamroad.

...and a must read for any NYW&BR fan.
  by nyw&br
Hi Otto -

Just thought I'd let you know of a few mistakes in your new book:

On Page 96 (displaying the route of the NYW&BR), "Wykagl" should be "Wykagyl" and "West Avenue" should be "West Street".

On the back cover (displaying the route of the NYW&BR), "Wykagl" should be "Wykagyl" and "West Ave." should be "West St."

  by Otto Vondrak
What? No one caught "Port Chestder" yet?

It just goes to show, no matter how many times you read and re-read, check and re-check...

I actually plan on offering an erratta page from the website because I'm sure there are some other minor errors throughout the book.


  by Dieter
I have to get a look at the book. Have any of you ever heard of a rail line running from Yorktown/Crompond to Peekskill or any kind of rails in the woods of Cortlandt Manor? Someone told me there was something in that area, but I can't find anything in a dig.


  by Noel Weaver
I received a copy of the book "Forgotten Railroads Through Westchester
County" some days ago but only last night did I actually finish reading
this book.
It is a fine job by three people with a lot of knowledge of the subject and
provides very interesting reading from cover to cover. I suppose there
are few minor typos but it is a fine job.
I highly recommend this book to everybody reading my remarks here.
Noel Weaver

  by Otto Vondrak
Dieter, it was probably the Peekskill-Verplanck trolley your friend found. Unfortunately, I didnt cover that line in this book.


  by TW1976
Just got my copy of your new book.

I remember seeing the last of the trains going up the "Put" to Elmsford, and the remaining activity in Ardsley and Yonkers after they closed the A&P warehouse.

My mom also had the honor of riding the last train in 1958. She worked in Highbridge and used to commute from the station in Yonkers on McLean Avenue. She remembered it being a sad day with all of the news crews and farewell signs on the train.

Those color photos of the snow storm in Briarcliff make you want to go back in time!

Great Job, I highly recommend it!

  by RussNelson
Otto Vondrak wrote:It just goes to show, no matter how many times you read and re-read, check and re-check...
Mistakes appear between editing and printing. I blame computers.
I actually plan on offering an erratta page from the website because I'm sure there are some other minor errors throughout the book.
Excellent idea. Plus, you could offer links to my http://rutlandtrail.org/list.cgi pages.

  by enwhycentral
Dieter, check out the following for a great old photo.
I doubt that any trace of the line still exists.

  by nh chris
Just finished the book. Great Job! The only question I had was why include the section on the NH electrification? I understand how the Cos Cob Plant is gone, etc., but it seems a lot more people remember it than, say, the NYW&B.

NH Chris


  by Otto Vondrak
Hi Chris-

Glad you're enjoying the book. Not sure I understand your question- why include the NH or why include the NYWB? I'll try to answer the best I can... when Bob Bang first approached me with this project, he had a collection of photos on various subjects that had not been published in a single volume before. This included pictures from the NYC Getty Square Branch, construction of Hell Gate Bridge, and construction photos of the NH electrification. We also had some material on the NYWB that surfaced since our last book. We decided to drop the Hell Gate stuff, since a book just came out on that subject last year ("The New York Connecting Railroad" which I had a hand in producing). We decided if we were going to feature the Getty Square branch, we should also feature the Put. So we decided on a Westchester County theme. The NH only travels through a small section of Westchester, yet we felt the electrification was an important topic. We called it "Forgotten Railroads THROUGH Westchester County" to try to encompass all our topics. And it wasn't just the NH, either. The Put terminates up in Putnam County, and many of the "forgotten" lines we chronicled criss-cross between Westchester and Connecticut. And half of the NYWB resides in the Bronx. So what do to? The alternative was to produce two books- one on the NYC and one on the NH, but we decided against that early on because of the costs and what we felt the market could absorb.

I hope this answers your question!


  by the missing link
OUTSTANDING! This has been a big hit around the Oak Point crew room, some of the guys had anecdotes about working the Put and exploring remains of the Westchester as kids,and relatives who regularly commuted on them as well.
With regards to the proposed Westchester Northern, in coming up with the route map, did you use old property or tax maps? I'm up in that area alot, and interested in "surveying"the route over topo maps, both historically, and as a potential model railroad. Any way I could get copies or find that?
Thanx Otto(and company) for another great book!

  by Otto Vondrak
Wow, glad the Oak Point boys are diggin' the book. Thanks for the feedback.

The Westchester Northern map is an interesting story. It starts with someone named Allison Albee. Apparently had a few stories printed in the Westchester Historian about old railroads of Westchester. Went to the County Archives in Elmsford and found "The Allison Albee Collection" of manuscripts. We had copies of correspondence between Albee and the New Haven when he (?) was writing his story on the NYWB in 1944. The NH apparently send him a copy of a WN map! Unfortunately, we didn't find it in the archive. The letter referenced a New Haven file no., so I checked with the NH archive at UConn, and they did not have it on file (or they werent sure). What we did find was the map that Albee had recreated from his notes. That gave me station names and locations. I compared his map with the maps I found at the White Plains Library. In the local history room are 1911 atlases that show a dotted line for the route of the WN. Unfortunately, parts of the route were missing, but I kinda filled in the pieces from other sources. At the Greenwich Public Library, I found a 1938 property atlas that definitively showed the NYWB/WN route across Greenwich! I found no resources for the Putnam County end, or the area around Danbury, or the immediate area around White Plains.

You want to talk about model railroads, here is my friend Ken Lawrence's interpretation of the WN under wire...

http://railroad.net/articles/modelrailr ... ernorthern