The two above photos were on a single postcard, showing the old and new stations at Harriman. The station at left was known as Turners, and was replaced with the station on the right in 1911. From the collection of Steve Swirsky.

As we continue north on our tour of the Port Jervis Line, the next station we encounter is Harriman. When the railroad first arrived here in the 1800’s, the station was known as Turners, after original landowner Peter Turner. The first station built by Turner burned down in 1873, and was replaced with a smaller wood structure (above left). By 1911, that station was falling into disrepair and was again replaced with a brick and stucco structure with a tin roof (above right). The land for this new station was donated by Edward Harriman, and after he passed away in 1909, the name of the station was changed to Harriman in his honor.

Postcard of Harriman station, built in 1911. From the collection of Steve Swirsky.

Erie railroad photograph of Harriman station, taken shortly after construction was completed.

The location of today’s Harriman station, however, is in a totally different place than those shown above. Harriman was originally on the Erie railroad’s main line, which was abandoned in the 1980’s when Metro-North took over passenger service. A simple station, which retained the name Harriman, was built by Metro-North on the railroad’s new route, which was formerly known as the Graham Line. The new station is basic, consisting of a platform, canopy, small shelter, and two ticket vending machines.

Edward Harriman’s “special train.” Photo from the GG Bain Collection at the Library of Congress.

Besides being known for his badass moustache, and the namesake of this station, Edward Harriman was a wealthy railroad executive that owned a large estate which he named Arden (some of that land was donated upon his death, and is now Harriman State Park). Although he was associated with the Union Pacific and Southern Pacific railroads, he did influence the Erie Railroad as well – and two stations were named for him. In addition to Harriman, the station of Arden was named after his large estate. Reflecting his status as a wealthy executive, Harriman, of course, had his own private train – which is in the photo above.

The years were not particularly kind to the old Harriman station. The dilapidated structure was torn down in 2006.

Although the tracks running past the old Harriman station were torn out, the station building did survive for at least a few more years. Unfortunately, the run-down building was deemed unsafe, and in lieu of renovating it, the station was torn down in 2006.

Though these stations built by Metro-North aren’t very spectacular, the canopy on a few of them depicts a small sketch of the railroad in bygone years. Harriman’s sketch features a steam train, passing in front of what appears to be the old Harriman station. This is probably the only remotely interesting thing going on at Harriman, other than the weekend bus that will take you over to Woodbury Common. Well, at least you can get to the city in about an hour and fifteen minutes.

I’ll just wrap things up with a few of the terrible photos I took during my visit to Harriman. Have I mentioned that I really want to reshoot the entire Port Jervis line on a day that actually has nice weather? Perhaps someday…


7 Responses

  1. Bob says:

    Apparently the old Harriman station was also pretty significant as far as train orders being sent by telegraph.

  2. Adam Moss says:

    Bob, if we went into full detail, we may never finish this post. Charles Minot was a great person. Of course, the naming debate also eats a lot of time.

  3. Adam Moss says:

    Also, Emily, for whatever reason, using the Wikipedia link to my Wikipedia userpage seems to be blocking out from me commenting. Is there a particular reason? I had some posts I wanted to make on Sloatsburg, Tuxedo and now Harriman towards some interesting facts that would take up too much room on these boards, and apparently it wasn’t letting my comments through. I just removed it and now it posts. I don’t get it.

    • Emily says:

      Hmm, that is strange. Must be my spam blocker. Is it giving you a a particular error? What if you try using to shorten the links? I don’t really mind if you post long comments on here, though.

      • Adam Moss says:

        It wasn’t posting any error. The post would just disappear. I got kind of worried you didn’t like me adding all this info.

        • Emily says:

          No, definitely not me! I think if you put too many links in a comment it will throw it into the spam comments folder. I don’t normally go through there, because I get hundreds of spam messages per day. If it happens again, let me know and I will make sure the message gets approved! Your messages should automatically show up, so if it doesn’t then there is a problem.

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