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Posts Tagged ‘melrose’

Taking the train to the game – 1966 style Train History

Friday, April 6th, 2012

It is about that time… baseball season just beginning, and again this year you can take the train to the game on Metro-North. Although the new Yankees E. 153rd Street station stop makes it easier to get to the stadium, taking the train to the game really isn’t a new idea. The railroad has operated special game trains for years – even back in the New York Central days! And we’re not just talking about baseball – football too! Before Giants Stadium was completed in 1976, the team’s home games were played at various locations – and from 1956-1973 that location was the original Yankee Stadium. Instead of accessing the stadium on the Hudson Line (like today), train riders would take the Harlem Line to Melrose station, and from there walk the short distance to Yankee Stadium.

Below you will find a few of the brochures the New York Central printed about taking the train to Yankee Stadium for baseball and football games. With the exception of the final two (which are more current Metro-North versions), they were all printed in 1966. Special thanks to Otto Vondrak who owns and scanned most of them for me!


New York Central’s special Yankees trains, from 1966


Taking the train to the football game, 1966


The back of the card shows how to get from Melrose to Yankee Stadium, 1966


A little bit more current “Take the train to the game” brochures.

Melrose Station, in the late 1800′s Train History

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to talk to some really interesting railroad people recently, one of whom is Joe Schiavone, better known in the area as the “Old Put Guy.” He’s just completed his third book on the New York Central’s Putnam Division, but has been a railfan ever since he was very young. When I met him for the first time several weeks ago, he told me that as a young boy taking photographs, getting an invite into the engine happened somewhat frequently. I told him that Metro-North does the same thing for me – except the invite is from the police, and the ride is in a cop car and not a locomotive engine. For me, posting about Melrose is almost like returning to the “scene of the crime.” That is, if photography were a crime. Which it isn’t. Or at least, it shouldn’t be. I will admit that I have bit of a phobia of police, so every time I go out and photograph, this event is on my mind. That, and the fact that some of my conductor friends will never let me live it down.


Plan of the Melrose station, built in the late 1880′s, or early 1890

Today, Melrose isn’t the most spectacular-looking station on the Harlem Line. But at one time, it did have a nice station, built in the late 1880′s, or early 1890. It had all the amenities a station of that era needed: a baggage room, ticket office, telegraph office, a waiting room, and of course access to the low-level platforms and trains. The area was four-tracked even at this early date, though the two middle tracks were separated from the outer tracks by a fence, visible in the station sketch below. The Chief Engineer of the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad at the time was Walter Katte, and he oversaw the work on the Harlem Division, north of the Harlem River Bridge. The line was four-tracked, and the tracks were lowered into the “Harlem Depression,” extending from Melrose to William’s Bridge. He also oversaw the construction of the Park Avenue viaduct, and a drawbridge over the Harlem River.


Sketch of the Melrose station

The only available land owned by the railroad was occupied by the tracks, and thus the logical solution for building the Melrose station was over the tracks. The plans for Melrose were duplicated for several other stations located in the depression, including Morrisania, Tremont, and Fordham. Chief Engineer Katte oversaw the construction of these stations. Built 17 feet above the tracks, the Melrose station was 73 feet wide, and 26 feet long. The waiting room was 18 x 32 feet, and the baggage room was 11 x 12 feet. The station framework was made of iron, and the interior of oak. The exterior was covered with iron panels, and was topped by an ornamental shingled roof. The cost of the station was $22,000, and the platforms cost $1,500.


Photograph of Tremont after construction, circa 1890. The fence dividing the center two express tracks has yet to be built.


The former Morrisania station was one of the other similarly designed stations, photo taken circa 1960.

Chief Engineer Walter Katte is actually an interesting figure in New York railroad history, though not often remembered. Not only did he work on the Harlem Division, but he also oversaw work on the New York Elevated Railroad Company. Between 1877 to 1880 they built the first parts of the Third and Ninth Avenue Els. Katte was born November 4, 1830 in London. He studied at the Kings College School, before serving as a civil engineering apprentice for three years. In 1849 he migrated to the United States and began work as an engineer for various railroads, including the Central Railroad of New Jersey, and the Pennsylvania Railroad. When the Civil War broke out, Katte served as a Colonel of Engineers in the Union Army, and oversaw the construction of several bridges. After the war, he worked for the New York, Ontario, and Western Railroad, and the West Shore Railroad, before becoming the Chief Engineer for the New York Central in 1886. He served in that position until his resignation and retirement in 1898 (William Wilgus ascended to the Chief Engineer’s position in 1899). Katte died in his New York City home on March 4, 1917.


Walter Katte

The Harlem Line, in panoramas Photos

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

I’ve spent many months posting various panoramas of the Harlem Line stations. I’m now excited to be able to post the entire Harlem Line, viewed in panoramas. You can watch as the farmland and rural greenery morphs into the suburbs, before changing into the concrete jungle of New York City. If you want to see more photos from each of the stations, just click on the picture. Anybody have a favorite panorama? I think my two favorites are Tenmile River and Harlem-125th Street – the two of them are polar opposites in terms of the scenery visible while taking a ride down New York City’s oldest railroad.

For those who like maps, I place all of my panoramas on a Google map, which you can see below. I also add photos to Panoramio, which provides the photos for Google Earth.

View larger map

Tuesday Tour of the Harlem Line: Tremont Train Photos

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

The next time you’re riding a train out of Grand Central, give a little wave goodbye when you pass Tremont station, at mile post 7.9. For Tremont is a lonely station – it may have four tracks, and it may see every Harlem and New Haven line train pass by, but only a handful of them stop. Like Melrose, Tremont is a Bronx station with somewhat more limited service than most other Harlem Line stations. During non-rush hours, that means a train about every two hours. Tremont is also small – the platform can accommodate only two train cars.

Enjoy this quick look at Tremont station through various panoramas… This pretty much wraps up our tour to the Harlem Line’s more limited service stations. Melrose and Tremont are like the big brothers of the bunch, as their limited service is much more often than the once or twice per day Mount Pleasant and weekend-only Appalachian Trail. These are the final weeks of my Tour of the Harlem Line, as I’ve featured most of the stations so far. Next week we’ll go and visit Crestwood, the last station to be featured that was part of the Mid-Harlem Station Improvement project (all of which have photos preserved in the archives of the Library of Congress).

 
   
 
  
 
 
  
 
 

Tuesday Tour of the Harlem Line: Melrose Train Photos

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Just as Fleetwood will always remind me a bit of the incident with chicken teriyaki, Melrose station will always another incident… as such, I figured it would be best to get it over with and take a tour of Melrose today. Plus it was kind of easy to go through all the photos for Melrose – there weren’t nearly as many as the other stations. But there is something actually new and cool about these photos – they are the first batch of Tuesday Tour photos that were automatically geotagged by my new GPS logger. What exactly does that mean? Similar to the GPS devices you are most likely familiar with that determine your position on the road and give you directions, this GPS logger just tracks my location and at what time I was there, and stores it. Then when I connect it to my computer along with my camera, it looks at the photo’s timestamp and determines where I was when I took the photo. It can also plot a rough map of how I moved around:


View larger map

The logger isn’t 100% accurate… nor are the google maps that the data has been plotted upon. But it does give the rough idea of me going back and forth on the platform, taking photos, then crossing over on the road to the other side of the platform and doing the same. On my end (meaning you can’t see it on the above map) it lists speed, so I can tell when I was on the train, and how fast that train was going at the time. But the coolest part is to see the photos plotted on a map of where they were taken – like this: Melrose photos on Panoramio.

Back to Melrose though – it, along with Tremont, is one of the smaller stations on the Harlem Line. The platform is only large enough to accommodate two train cars. Service to these stations is also less frequent than most on the line. Like most of the stations in the Bronx it is a nice place to train watch. With four tracks, two of which are devoted to express trains, you are bound to see something pass by quite frequently, even if it isn’t the rush hour.

Anyways, enjoy the photos of Melrose, with a gorgeous blue sky…