• 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.
  • 186 posts
  • 1
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  by FLRailFan1
 
Okay, I'll believe it was a accident, but why didn't PC tell the Poughkeepsie reporters that they'll be putting the bridge out of service, instead of saying they'll reopening in a few months. I guess they didn't want to upset the towns officials. I think PC should have been honest that they would not be reopening the Maybrook line.If they were honest, maybe NY and CT officials would get together to discuss a short line. Hindsight is 20/20, so I can say PC goofed.
  by Noel Weaver
 
I am getting tired of a continuous rehash of this line. Penn Central had other far better routes in to New England than the Poughkeepsie Bridge to handle the remaining traffic in Connecticut. The freight business in this area was drying up faster than clothes in a gas dryer and it would never return. There would not have been enough for even a small short line to handle today. Little or nothing remains except abandoned ROW's and empty factory buildings and property in ruin, go there and you will understand what I am trying to tell you.
Noel Weaver
  by ExCon90
 
This is going back, but I think Conrail did a study shortly after its formation and concluded that the most traffic that could realistically use the bridge would amount to one train a day in each direction, and only between Cedar Hill and Allentown because the traffic was widely dispersed beyond those points. Then a group of locals, doubting whether the Conrail study was truly objective, hired their own consultant, who, after independently analyzing the traffic data, came up with exactly the same conclusion. One train a day wouldn't come close to justifying replacing the bridge.
  by Ridgefielder
 
FLRailFan1 wrote:Okay, I'll believe it was a accident, but why didn't PC tell the Poughkeepsie reporters that they'll be putting the bridge out of service, instead of saying they'll reopening in a few months. I guess they didn't want to upset the towns officials. I think PC should have been honest that they would not be reopening the Maybrook line.If they were honest, maybe NY and CT officials would get together to discuss a short line. Hindsight is 20/20, so I can say PC goofed.
Probably didn't initially know the extent of the damage would be my guess.
  by Noel Weaver
 
I agree that the management of Penn Central didn't really realize the extent of the damage to the bridge and its return to active use would have required a lot of money that by that time the railroad simply did not have. As to the comment that "PC goofed" this is total nonsense. The railroad did not need this route by this time, I had only one round trip road freight and that tonnage was rerouted over a different route.
Noel Weaver
  by CannaScrews
 
Noel Weaver wrote:I am getting tired of a continuous rehash of this line. Penn Central had other far better routes in to New England than the Poughkeepsie Bridge to handle the remaining traffic in Connecticut. The freight business in this area was drying up faster than clothes in a gas dryer and it would never return. There would not have been enough for even a small short line to handle today. Little or nothing remains except abandoned ROW's and empty factory buildings and property in ruin, go there and you will understand what I am trying to tell you.
Noel Weaver
Hi Noel:

Unfortunately with these forums you are always getting in new people with the same questions and it is easier to ask than to do the research, such as type something in the search box in the upper right hand corner.

But, at least you are willing to rehash the story which is appreciated. Sometimes, through the rehashing, some new bit of information gets revealed which makes the journey worthwhile.


Anybody willing to take bets when there will be bungee-jumping off the center of the bridge?????
  by ExCon90
 
For Noel Weaver: I don't know whether you follow Worldwide Railfan, but a question has come up as to whether the bridge had a gauntlet track. I think I've heard that it did, but you would know. (I couldn't find an existing thread.)
  by Noel Weaver
 
Yes, it did. The gauntlet was established back in the early teens or so when the two tracks were centered and overlapped in order to center the weight of the 2-10-2's on the structure. The gauntlet lasted until sometime around 1957 or 1958 when they took up the second track between Highland and Maybrook and established CTC operation there. The Maybrook Line from Poughkeepsie east to Derby Junction except between Fair Grounds and Berkshire Junction where they left the second track in use was converted to CTC in the later 50's or very early 60's, I would have to dig to find the exact dates that this took place and it took place in stages. They did not do a particularly good job with the CTC having cut every corner that they could but they did not really need double track all the way either for 6 or 7 freight trains each way a day. I worked that line a fair number of times over the years and rode passenger trains over the bridge as well. It was an experience to say the least. I think the walkway is a great use at least at this location as future rail use was and is absolutely out of the question.
Noel Weaver
  by ExCon90
 
Noel, thanks very much for that.
  by Noel Weaver
 
Here is a video of retired engineer John O'Connor relating his experiences running over the Poughkeepsie Bridge. He is a fantastic person and an excellent railroader. Nice stuff!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1-k-gjM1C8" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Noel Weaver
  by Statkowski
 
The ride on a freight train was indeed something to remember. The bridge groaned and swayed (just enough to feel it) as you crept across it at 12 m.p.h.

From Time Table No. 20 (effective April 21, 1965) we get Rule 1860, which reads in part:
Trains must be handled so as to avoid stopping and starting on bridge; brakes must not be applied unless absolutely necessary and then in the most careful manner.

Multiple diesel operation of more than five units coupled is prohibited.

Emergency application of the air brakes must not be made on the bridge.
The 12 m.p.h. speed limit applied to the entire train and there were markers along the line to let the engineer know when the caboose was clear of the bridge. Only when the head end reached such markers could the engineer then increase speed above 12 m.p.h.
  by Noel Weaver
 
Statkowski wrote:The ride on a freight train was indeed something to remember. The bridge groaned and swayed (just enough to feel it) as you crept across it at 12 m.p.h.

From Time Table No. 20 (effective April 21, 1965) we get Rule 1860, which reads in part:
Trains must be handled so as to avoid stopping and starting on bridge; brakes must not be applied unless absolutely necessary and then in the most careful manner.

Multiple diesel operation of more than five units coupled is prohibited.

Emergency application of the air brakes must not be made on the bridge.
The 12 m.p.h. speed limit applied to the entire train and there were markers along the line to let the engineer know when the caboose was clear of the bridge. Only when the head end reached such markers could the engineer then increase speed above 12 m.p.h.
There were also boxes with tapes in them at both ends of the bridge. They timed every train over that brildge. The folks working those trains were very aware of the bridge as it was their "bread and butter".
I worked Maybrook jobs quite a few times and I always considered the bridge the high point of the trip. Some of the Shore Line firemen did not like going to Maybrook as they were afraid of the bridge.
Noel Weaver
  by Engineer Spike
 
My uncle told me a story about getting called as the head brakeman to Maybrook. The guy who was called as the flagman said that he wanted to switch, since he wanted to review the road. My uncle said that that was just an excuse, since it was raining, and the flagman had to walk the train back to the hack.

Uncle agreed to switch. He said that he never told the other guy why. The real reason was that he didn't trust the bridge. He figured that if the units, and 125 cars made it, most likely the hack would too.

One other reason he didn't like it was the weight ratings. He said that a 4 unit consist had been the limit. A bulletin came out, which increased that limit to 5 units. No evidence of strengthening had been noticed. I wonder if the factor of safety had been just overly been conservative.
  by TCurtin
 
CTC was effective Berkshire Jct - Derby JCt on 3/10/1961 and Poughkeepsie - Fair Grounds 5/22/61
  • 1
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13