• Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge's History - Connecting New England to the Nation's Freight Network

  • 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.
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  by RussNelson
 
b&m617 wrote:IMHO, you will see fur growing on trout before you see this walkway go; there isn't enough money in the world to make this happen. l
Fortunately, sir, you have been proven wrong. :-)
  by RussNelson
 
nysw3636 wrote:In Sunday's (10-4-09) Kingston Freeman celebrating the opening of " Walkway Over The Hudson ", there is mention ( and picture ) of the last engineer that crossed the Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge. It states... " I've made a thousand trips over this bridge, so I know what it is "- John May, Wallkill engineer on final train to cross span in 1974.
You mean THIS John May? :-) We were pulling our water quality test platform, B1 (visible in the background) out of the Hudson at the boat launch in Newburg, and I saw a fellow with a Walkway Over The Hudson hat. Asked him if he'd been across and he said "once on foot, on opening day, but many times on a locomotive. I drove the last train over the bridge" and went on to explain about dragging brake shoes throwing sparks and starting fires. I practically started jumping up and down and ran to get my camera so I could have my photo taken with him.
john-may.jpg
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  by Jeff Smith
 
Bernard Rudberg wrote:There is one big reason why it was not scrapped. They discovered that it would cost almost twice as much as the walkway just to tear it down for scrap.

Bernie Rudberg
I figured that. I'm just glad that it was salvageable.
  by nysw3636
 
Yes Russ, that would be THIS John May. I would have enjoyed a conversation with him about the bridge ( and Maybrook Route ) as well. Thanks for sharing the picture...
  by Ridgefielder
 
So, I'd guess everyone on this forum can agree that the Poughkeepsie Bridge is one of the most impressive 19th century civil engineering works still standing in the northeast-- despite the fact that it will likely never again see a train. Seeing the pictures and reading some of the recent articles about the walkway got me wondering something, though. How was a railroad as marginal as the Central New England able to find the funds to build the thing?

Even in the 19th century the area the CNE traversed was something of a backwater, and the road managed to miss most of the major industrial centers of Conn. I believe they went bankrupt two or three times prior to their final acquisition by the New Haven. Was there financing from a more well-capitalized or positioned connecting road, like the ERIE or the NYNE?
  by Statkowski
 
The Central New England didn't build the bridge, the CNE was a result of various consolidations/reorganizations. Construction, and who was actually doing it, gets a little convoluted, but when it opened it was operated by the Philadelphia, Reading & New England, which was owned by the Philadelphia & Reading. A more detailed description can be found here (http://academic2.marist.edu/foy/esopus/ ... bridge.htm).

Google "Poughkeepsie Bridge" and see what pops up.
  by chnhrr
 
Contemporary accounts of the Poughkeepsie Bridge’s construction can be found at catskillarchive.com. Here is one example.

http://www.catskillarchive.com/rrextra/pbspecs.Html

As a side note, the Poughkeepsie Bridge Company was headed by Philadelphia financier William Warren Gibbs. His son was William Frances Gibbs who was a cofounder of the naval architectural firm Gibbs and Cox and the designer of famous ships such as the SS. United States.
  by gawlikfj
 
It was 36 years ago yesterday that the Poughkeepsie Bridge fire happened .
  by jaystreetcrr
 
I skipped work and took Metro North up today to walk over the bridge and I can't rave enough about it. What a great reuse of an abandoned asset, so far beyond the usual Ye Olde Historical District full of frozen yogurt shops. On a cold windy weekday the bridge was swarming with people, looked like locals mostly, just out for a walk, jog or bikeride, but some tourists as well.
My only quibbles are that it doesn't have much of a railroad-y feel with the concrete walkway and galvanized railings, unlike the High Line in Manhattan but I'm not complaining.
I explored a little at each end and while there's no formal rail trail yet they are extending the west side and plan to do so in the other direction.
A great day trip from NYC and this might be something that non rail nuts in your party would go for...amazing views, hawks circling overhead...an awesome civic asset and railfan magnet.....John
  by gawlikfj
 
Sam Christiano was also on that last train over the Poukeepsie Bridge . I believe Sam passed away in 2009 .
  by joseph
 
to russ nelson: is that the Johnny May who was a NH/PC/CR/MTAMetroNorth locomotive engineer? if it is, i worked with him some years ago and glad he is alive and well.
  by joseph
 
thanks for the response, Russ. Johnny is a good man. i enjoyed the talks we had on the job together.
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