• 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 Noel Weaver
 
RussNelson wrote:Yup, I believe there's only one Johnny May.
Negative on this one. John's father (John SR) was also in engine service on the NHRR, Shore Line Roster fireman out of New York. Never made it to engineer, they found him dead on an engine in Penn Station one day of an apparant heart attack.
Noel Weaver
  by shlustig
 
IIRC, wasn't there a brother -- Tommy May?
  by Noel Weaver
 
shlustig wrote:IIRC, wasn't there a brother -- Tommy May?
Yes, and a cousin Gary who hired out firing on the NHRR at the time I did in early 1960. He ended up on the Long Island Rail Road as a result of Award 282 and I almost did too. Tom has been gone for quite a few years now and I suspect that Gary is
probably retired from the LIRR for some time too. I haven't seen Gary in many, many years.

Noel Weaver
  by carajul
 
I've been doing some research on the Poughkeepsie, NY bridge fire and had some questions. As I understand it the bridge caught fire in 1974, the fire hose line was in disrepair inhibiting fire surpession, the fire severely damaged the bridge and it was abandoned. Here are my questions...

1. What RR owned the bridge?
2. Was the fire ever deemed suspicious as in the rr wanted the bridge put oos?
3. I've read that the PC wanted the bridge oos because it killed competition. Can someone explain this?
4. In all the old newspaper articles, PC officials repeatedly and firmly swore the bridge would reopen. Why didn't it?
5. How was it that the bridge was deemed so unsafe that it was put oos but it recently reopened as a pedestrian path?
6. What was the effect the bridge closure had on rail traffic?

And if anyone would like to add anything by all means do so!
  by Dick H
 
Regarding #5, some $38 million was spent to construct the walkway.
It attracted over 700,000 visitors in the first year, since opening.
Lots of details here: http://www.walkway.org/
Great place to visit. Bring sunscreen, water and camera.
  by Otto Vondrak
 
1. What RR owned the bridge?

>>Penn Central was the last operator. Conrail was the last owner (Okay, Don?)...

2. Was the fire ever deemed suspicious as in the rr wanted the bridge put oos?

>> Railfans have lots of theories about this.

3. I've read that the PC wanted the bridge oos because it killed competition. Can someone explain this?

>> Railfans have lots of theories about this.

4. In all the old newspaper articles, PC officials repeatedly and firmly swore the bridge would reopen. Why didn't it?

>> Money.

5. How was it that the bridge was deemed so unsafe that it was put oos but it recently reopened as a pedestrian path?

>> Money.

6. What was the effect the bridge closure had on rail traffic?

>> It pretty much put the nail in the coffin of the L&HR, hastened the closure of the Maybrook gateway, and effectively forced all traffic from New England to go through Selkirk.

See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poughkeepsie_Bridge

We have discussed the bridge and the fire on this site numerous times. Consider using the search function, several threads should turn up for you.

-otto-
  by Larry
 
If I am not mistaken, is today the 40th year the Poughkeepsie Bridge went up in flames? May 8, 1974 was a sad, sad day.
  by FLRailFan1
 
Kurt wrote:Yes, May 8,2014 was the 40th anniversary.

Here is a link to the local Poughkeepsie Journal which had a bunch of articles and photos.

http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/sear ... ge%20fire/
The Penn Central said they'll reopen the line, which was BS. Until proven otherwise, I say arson.
  by TomNelligan
 
Hey, lots of people enjoy conspiracy theories, so have fun. But given the complete absence of real evidence (as opposed to rumors) that the fire was deliberately set, I'll go with sparks from a stuck brake or dragging equipment. Lineside fires caused by engine sparks are not unknown, and back then, prior to automated detector, sparks from brakes or dragging equipment weren't either. Penn Central was a mess as a railroad, but given the minimal traffic through the Maybrook gateway by 1974 they had already pretty much shut down the Maybrook line anyway and didn't need to resort to criminal activity to finish it off.
  by FLRailFan1
 
TomNelligan wrote:Hey, lots of people enjoy conspiracy theories, so have fun. But given the complete absence of real evidence (as opposed to rumors) that the fire was deliberately set, I'll go with sparks from a stuck brake or dragging equipment. Lineside fires caused by engine sparks are not unknown, and back then, prior to automated detector, sparks from brakes or dragging equipment weren't either. Penn Central was a mess as a railroad, but given the minimal traffic through the Maybrook gateway by 1974 they had already pretty much shut down the Maybrook line anyway and didn't need to resort to criminal activity to finish it off.
We will never really know what happened. I just wish the PC was either stronger or the NH was NOT included. It is a pain because the NH is my favorite railroad.
  by Noel Weaver
 
FLRailFan1 wrote:
TomNelligan wrote:Hey, lots of people enjoy conspiracy theories, so have fun. But given the complete absence of real evidence (as opposed to rumors) that the fire was deliberately set, I'll go with sparks from a stuck brake or dragging equipment. Lineside fires caused by engine sparks are not unknown, and back then, prior to automated detector, sparks from brakes or dragging equipment weren't either. Penn Central was a mess as a railroad, but given the minimal traffic through the Maybrook gateway by 1974 they had already pretty much shut down the Maybrook line anyway and didn't need to resort to criminal activity to finish it off.
We will never really know what happened. I just wish the PC was either stronger or the NH was NOT included. It is a pain because the NH is my favorite railroad.
You might never know but I do, it WASN'T.
Noel Weaver
  by FLRailFan1
 
Noel Weaver wrote:
FLRailFan1 wrote:
TomNelligan wrote:Hey, lots of people enjoy conspiracy theories, so have fun. But given the complete absence of real evidence (as opposed to rumors) that the fire was deliberately set, I'll go with sparks from a stuck brake or dragging equipment. Lineside fires caused by engine sparks are not unknown, and back then, prior to automated detector, sparks from brakes or dragging equipment weren't either. Penn Central was a mess as a railroad, but given the minimal traffic through the Maybrook gateway by 1974 they had already pretty much shut down the Maybrook line anyway and didn't need to resort to criminal activity to finish it off.
We will never really know what happened. I just wish the PC was either stronger or the NH was NOT included. It is a pain because the NH is my favorite railroad.
You might never know but I do, it WASN'T.
Noel Weaver
OK... I wonder why my friend's dad said it was. Oh well, it is a lost cause anyway. We can't get it back.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
If the New Haven had stayed out of Penn Central recognizing by the Trustees that its only 'salvation' was an ultimate sale to a public rail passenger agency, then one might wonder if the 1974 Poughkeepsie bridge fire was an intentional act. However though C-Day did not occur until April 1, 1976 which included the EL and the other NorthEast Bankrupts, PC, and subsequently Conrail, simply had more efficient means to move freight into New England. After C-Day any hope of restoring an interchange through Maybrook was simply gone, gone, gone.

There is not any point on the AmtraK Northeast Corridor that could not be accessed from an N-S line from either the B&A or the B&M; failing that, youngsters, there is no point of considering any kind of conspiracy behind an act that occurred before any of you were born.
  by TomNelligan
 
FLRailFan1 wrote:I wonder why my friend's dad said it was.
Presumably because he believes rumors. I'm sure he believes the story, but that doesn't make it true, much as some wish to believe that there was a conspiracy rather than an accident. As I wrote above, conspiracies are more fun.
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