As many of you surmised, yesterday’s post about the Metro-North Heritage Unit Program was most definitely an April fools’ joke. Here are some of the reactions from our little bit of tomfoolery:

I was about ready to share this with a friend when I remembered what day it is.

Enough of this nonsense. Just try to get me home on time.

Unless there is a formal press release by the MTA or CDOT, no one should buy this.

That is the UGLIEST paint scheme on a Genny I’ve ever seen!

Metro North Heritage
Nope. Not real.

Admittedly, I designed the scheme to be as ugly as possible, while still looking like one of the New York Central’s old designs, just to get everyone’s goat. While at some point in the future it would certainly be cool to see a heritage unit program at Metro-North, there are a lot of more important things the railroad needs to do, and has begun to do, before any of that.

While clearly the main goal of this site is to present history and photography, I Ride the Harlem Line itself has a long history of pulling everybody’s leg on the first of April. Here’s a look back at some of the pranks we’ve pulled over the past few years, April Fools’ and otherwise.

April Fools’ 2013: Turtle fossils found in East Side Access Tunnel

Turtle fossil!

Some strange turtle fossils discovered in the East Side Access tunnel have set the project back indefinitely… The very large fossil could be a “completely new species, or perhaps a mutant of some sort…” Also found with the turtles were “metallic items which appear to be tools” and “several colored ribbons.” Young citizens of New York were inconsolable… who the heck killed the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?

April Fools’ 2012: Ride the Harlem Line to Millerton


Most likely the best prank we’ve ever pulled, it is also the one I would most love to see happen in real life – Metro North restoring the Harlem Line to Millerton. As most of you know, the Harlem Line once extended all the way through Columbia County into Chatham. In 1972 it was truncated at Dover Plains, and many years later was extended back into Wassaic by Metro-North. Restoring the line back up to Millerton certainly sounds nice, but I wouldn’t count on it in your lifetime.

2011 Prank: Preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse, Ragnarok

To make sure you are ready for any issue, the MTA has released guides on how to prepare yourself for a wide variety of emergencies – hurricanes, blizzards, pirate attacks, the zombie apocalypse, alien invasions, even Ragnarok!

April Fools’ 2011: We’re repainting the M8s blue and putting them on the Harlem Line instead

April Fool's Day!!!

Some spiffy new trains on the Harlem Line? Not an exceptionally believable prank, this one was from before the M8s actually went into service on the New Haven Line. Then again, we did fool News12…

We fooled News12...
Comically, News12 decided to use our photoshopped image while running a story about Metro-North earlier this year.

2010 Prank: Giant Pigeons on the New York and Harlem Railroad

Pigeon Attack!

Some of the New York and Harlem’s earliest trains were pulled by a special species of oversized pigeon, alas we New Yorkers hunted them to extinction in a panic after a bird flu epidemic.

4 Responses

  1. Chuck Brandt says:

    Hey, that’s my hometown – where I got hooked on the Harlem. Copake Falls. No pigeons there!

  2. Lee says:

    Given the Norfolk Southern’s heritage program, it seemed reasonable that MNRR would do likewise. The paint scheme was simple and would be easy to apply. Also, Amtrak and SEPTA use various heritage schemes on various equipment. But then I realized the date . . .

    Emily, you do a great job retouching photos and graphics! The Millerton timetable and tickets and the MNRR locomotive look completely realistic.

  3. Backshophoss says:

    Did you use a photo of a Baldwin “shark nose” loco when you created
    that “photoshopped” P-32dm?? Well done!

  4. William Hays says:

    Two-tone grey, with lightning stripes, would be cool! Red oval herald, too. The ‘cigar band’ works for me. Just don’t do a Penn Central or Conrail job, nor an early MNCR ‘snot nose’.

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