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Friday, February 7, 2014

Rare Map of the New York, Westchester and Boston Railway

Source:  Linder, B., " The Westchester's Last Days" in The Bulletin, Electric Railroaders' Association, Vol. 56, No.1, January, 2013, p. 7,8.  Drawing of Map is from Marvin L. Landsman, et. al. Electric Railroaders' Association, May, 1962.

The New York, Westchester and Boston Railway, which ran in Bronx and Westchester counties ended service after midnight on December 31, 1937 as a result of the Great Depression.  Many books have been written on the subject.  My experience with the line is riding the IRT Dyre Avenue Line in the Bronx which took over part of the right of way (see map) on May 15, 1941 as a shuttle line.  (Present Day IRT Number 5 Route). Much of the right of way north of the Bronx has been taken over by roads and general development.  I came across the map which was republished in "The Bulletin" and I thought it would be interesting to post.  The railroad was built according to high standards and I did not believe how extensive the coverage.  Notice that the end of line was Harlem River where there was a transfer to the Third Avenue Line.  We covered the area mentioned earlier in the blog.  Users of the NY, Westchester and Boston did not have a one seat ride to the "city ".  Perhaps if the NY, Westchester and Boston traveled up the ramp to the Third Avenue El station at 133 Street, where a cross platform transfer could have been arranged, or through service provided from Westchester, the histories of both railways (El and NY, Westchester and Boston), would have been different.


  1. is a good place to start on this subject. Also, look for the late Roger Arcara's cab video (he narrates) on YouTube. Ripping out this line was one of the stupidest and most wasteful moves any urban/suburban society ever made. The line to White Plains was potentially viable (the "main line" to Port Chester always seemed redundant). It could have redirected on to the New Haven at Columbus Avenue to get to Grand Central (there had been a construction track connecting them at that point) or at the foot of the viaduct south of E. 180 to go to Penn. As it turns out, that viaduct was also discussed as part of the Second Avenue Subway extending into the Bronx and terminating at Dyre Avenue - but it's gone now, sadly.

    What a waste.

    On a personal note, I rode a NY Transit Museum excursion a few car lengths beyond the Dyre Avenue Station, although they were afraid the less-than-well-maintained track might put the train on the ground, so we didn't go all the way to the bumper. Nonetheless, it's as close as I'll ever get to riding on a part of the NYWB that didn't become the in-service subway. (I did get up to the E. 180 platforms - with permission - before the viaduct came down. It was rather heartbreaking to see it all just sitting there....)

    1. Hi Paul:
      Thanks for your input. My experience with the Dyre Avenue Line is not that extensive; I rode it a few times when I lived in the Bronx. In my humble opinion, the New York transit history is filled with missed opportunities of not using the transit facilities that we have or were built in the past. Take for example the High Line or the Bay Ridge Division of the LIRR in Brooklyn and many more. In Manhattan, an underground facility with tracks at Delancey - Essex Street could have been the focal point of starting a new light rail transit system over the Williamsburg Bridge; instead there are plans to make it into an underground park. Although New York City is blessed with many transit facilities, New York is not in the lead of innovation and new openings. The last new subway station
      opened in Brooklyn in 1956 and the Dyre Avenue LIne was the last new line to open in the Bronx since the 1940's. "We are not in the lead anymore", and in fact, probably New York City (and Chicago) are only the last "World Class" cities without light rail or trolleybuses. Think of any important city in Europe or Asia that does not have some form of electric street transit.

      Thanks for you input;
      Tramway Null(0)