Tuesday Tour of the Pascack Valley Line: Pearl River

Postcard and ticket from Pearl River station

Welcome to the end of the Pascack Valley Line – or at least the end of our tour here. Pearl River is the final station on the line in New York state and considered part of the Metro-North system. From here southbound trains head towards New Jersey – the state line is slightly less than a half-mile from the station. The ultimate destination of Hoboken is about 25 and a half miles away, a train ride that takes around an hour.

Passengers waiting for a train at Pearl River, circa 1910. Photo from the Orangetown Historical Museum & Archives.

Of the three stations on the Pascack Valley Line, I must say that Pearl River is my favorite. In terms of facilities it doesn’t have much more than the other stations – a canopy-covered low-level platform, a few benches, some ticket vending machines, and a shelter – but the station is situated in a lovely part of town. It is surrounded by several shops and a small green area, complete with one of the four-faced clocks that are rather common at area stations. For some reason the place just felt a lot more cheerful and welcoming than either Nanuet or Spring Valley.

Pearl River still has its station building, which is occupied by the Mexican-themed Southbound Cafe and Bar. Fitting the restaurant’s desired festive image, (and matching the red-roofed canopy) borders around the doors and window ledges have all been painted red. The building looks in better condition than it did in 2000, so assumedly it has been touched-up at some point in the years since then, likely around the time the restaurant moved in. Besides the paint job, the restaurant has also placed a few potted plants around the station building, as well as made some outdoor seating available. These little things help make Pearl River a nice little station, and a perfect ending point to our tour of the West-of-Hudson stations.


Believe it or not, Pearl River is the 95th Metro-North station to be featured on the site. We’ve taken tours through each line – except for one. But instead of moving on to the Hudson Line next, I figured I’d postpone the tour there to do some Tuesday Tours of the Hiawatha Line

Actually, I’m kidding. I know some of you have been eagerly awaiting the Hudson Line tour (I’m looking at you, Al), and I’ll be starting that next week!

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Tuesday Tour of the Pascack Valley Line: Nanuet

Postcard views and ticket from Nanuet station

As we continue along the Pascack Valley Line, heading towards New Jersey, the next station we arrive at is Nanuet. Unlike the two other Metro-North stations on the line, Nanuet seems a little bit more quiet – it is not surrounded by cafes, shops, or busy roads. The Nanuet Mall is not too far from the station, but compared with the shops in Pearl River, the mall has little character (though what is left of the mall is apparently going to be demolished and replaced with The Shops at Nanuet – maybe it will be slightly more interesting, but probably not). Perhaps it is character that Nanuet station is missing – unlike Spring Valley and Pearl River there is no station building here. The building that was here met the fate that far too many stations have suffered – destroyed by fire.

Photo of Nanuet station from Daniel Silverman’s Nanuet Postcards and Photos page, photographer unknown.

Like many of the very basic stations we saw on the Port Jervis Line, Nanuet’s facilities are comprised of a low-level platform partially covered by a canopy, a ticket vending machine, a bench or two, and a small shelter. It is the only Pascack Valley station in New York considered to be fully ADA compliant, and at the end of the platform is a ramp and mini-high level to accommodate people in wheelchairs. The station is about 28 miles from Hoboken, a journey that takes a little bit over an hour.

That is about it for today’s quick visit to Nanuet. Pearl River is up next week, finishing the Pascack Valley Line… and then we’ll be on to the Hudson Line!


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Tuesday Tour of the Pascack Valley Line: Spring Valley

Main Street, Spring Valley

Postcard view of the Spring Valley area

Welcome to the Pascack Valley Line – our tour here will be done in nearly the blink of an eye… Only three stations on the line are in New York State and considered part of Metro-North – Spring Valley, Nanuet, and Pearl River. The line is named after the Pascack Valley, an area in New Jersey that encompasses the Pascack Brook. On New Jersey Transit timetables, the line is represented by a pine tree and the color purple. Metro-North only uses the color purple to represent the line, though the station signs on all three platforms look more blue than purple.

Erie K-1 Pacific running commuter service in Spring Valley, 1953.

Another view of Spring Valley, 1966.

By now, I’ve been to a total of 104 Metro-North stations. I can’t recall too many where I seriously felt a bit afraid for my life, but for some reason Spring Valley was one of them. Maybe I’m used to high-level platforms, third rail, lots of fences, and the tracks generally being off-limits. I saw too many people here walking along the tracks, popping out of the woods and crossing over the rails. I was entirely convinced that one was going to come over, whack me over the head, steal my camera, and then disappear back into the trees. As I am still alive and writing, and am still in possession of my camera, this obviously didn’t happen – but there is just something about Spring Valley that made me feel uneasy.

While many west-of-Hudson stations are practically dead on the weekends, Spring Valley (and perhaps Pearl River) seem to be the exceptions to that rule. In Spring Valley’s case, the area near the station serves also as a bus terminal. The station building is also home to a cafe – Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill. For those taking the train, Spring Valley is approximately 31 miles from Hoboken, a journey ranging from 50-80 minutes depending on the train. That is about it for this quick visit to Spring Valley, next week we’ll be moving on to Nanuet!


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