Last Saturday I had the pleasure of meeting Lou Grogan, who is the author of the definitive guide to the Harlem Line and all its predecessors: The Coming of the New York and Harlem Railroad. Over the years he has acquired quite the collection of just about everything railroad related – from books, photos, timetables and newspaper clippings, to the train-shaped weather vane atop his house. Wooden trains, plastic trains, metal trains all adorn the inside of the house on shelves and tables and desks, along with many rocks, which he also collects. His wife told me he didn’t really start collecting all of the stuff until he decided he wanted to write the book (which took about ten years to complete), but once it was written he never stopped. All he’s collected fills rooms, and would probably take weeks, if not months to go through.

We did happen to find a binder of photos though, full of photos of the trains around Pawling, Brewster and Towners from the early 80’s, which he graciously allowed me to borrow. The majority of photos were not labeled, except for an occasional date mark from when the photo was developed and printed. At the end of the binder were two photos though, one of the only ones that happened to have labels. The first was a picture of a blue sleeper car in Canada, with the name Elizabeth stenciled on the outside, with a handwritten caption – “My favorite sleeping car.” Alongside that photo was a photo of his wife, with the caption of “My favorite Elizabeth” (how cute!). The majority of the other photos though, do not have captions or dates, so I am not 100% sure of the location, but they all seem to be either on the Harlem Line or in the vicinity. I’ve scanned some of my favorites, and present them here. A few of them may have been in his book (which was black and white), but this is the first time they’ve been presented in color. So take a walk down memory lane and enjoy these photos (or in my case, a glimpse of Metro-North right before I was born).

10 Responses

  1. Harry says:

    Picture A4 was taken at Pawling. That’s Main Street in Pawling.

  2. Harry says:

    and so is B4…

  3. Harry says:

    and so is C3.

  4. Steve says:

    Most of the station shots with the Budd Cars/and the SPV-2000 is Pawling, as well as the work train shot with the Budd cars passing, the 3rd from the last shot would be around 1981-83 prior to work even starting on electrification. And the shot after the train in the yard with the blue flag is Brewster (pre-electrification and high level platforms)

  5. jcm1966 says:

    Nice Pics! I am a railfan that volunteers at the Danbury Railway Musuem.

  6. Bryan says:

    This picture is taken from Mount Kisco, I can tell by the white church in the background.

    Wow, just nice pictures. I knew really knew what the Kisco Train Station was like before Metro North.

    I bet they didn’t have to worry about watching the gap at that station.

  7. SloperySlipp says:

    Emily, keep doing what you are doing. I am not a line buff but I am an aerial photographer so I am a transportation (air) buff.
    But I just have to tell you that your photos on this page are awesome.
    I can feel like I’m on or near that train. So cool. So gnarley. Thanks so much.


  8. Allison says:

    Oh God, I secretly wish they would bring something back like the SPs!!

  9. Dan says:

    Metro-North has locomotives painted up like the old last-generation New Haven Railroad trains, mostly on the New Haven Line. They ought to do the same thing on the Harlem and Hudson Lines by decorating trains in New York Central colors and Port Jervis(and maybe Pascack Valley) Line trains in Erie Railroad colors.

  10. Dr. Frank J. Smith says:

    These are great shots. Would it be possible for me to use one of them for a book I am writing about my late father, who used to live in Westchester County. I would like to add some local color by putting in the photo of the train in Mt. Kisco. Please let me hear from you at your earliest convenience. My email address is and my phone number is 770-241-3946. Thanks!

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