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(erielack) Erie Newburgh branch

This WAS the thread on the West Caldwell branch but migrated to 
West Cornwall...

The Erie had two branches called the Newburgh Branch; both came
south from Newburgh (yeah, brilliant).  One came due south to the
Harriman area and joined the Main there.  The other ran southwest
and connected with the main in Chester NY, IIRC.  The Graham Line
was built many years after (I think it dates from about 1920) and
used the Newburgh branch from Harriman to Highland Mills, roughly.
There was a tower there called, appropriately, Newburgh Jct.  The
Newburgh branch took a lower elevation than the Graham line did
going north from the junction.  When you ride Metro-North or the
614 trips, you can clearly see this right-of-way on the left side
of the train (compass west, railroad south).  It clearly goes under
the Graham line at Woodbury Viaduct as both cross over NY32 and 
Woodbury Creek next to the road.  Once north of this crossing, the
branch can be seen on the right (east, north) for a short distance.
There once were stations at Central Valley, Highland Mills (you 
can still find the location of this one easily), and Woodbury Creek
north of the viaduct.  One reason that the Newburgh branch went 
under the Graham Line is that it was built first (that is, to less
demanding construction standards).  The grades were built to the
standards of its day, I'd say somewhere between 1850 and 1880.  The
Graham Line, on the other hand, was designed from the start as a 
'low-grade' (meaning low gradient, not low quality) freight bypass
line to avoid the rollercoaster profile of the original Erie main
line.  As a secondary benefit, it was designed with no crossings
of anything (road or railroad) at grade.  So it went OVER the older
Newburgh branch so it would gradually gain elevation on the way to 
Moodna Viaduct (which the other Newburgh branch went UNDER, on the
north side of Orr's Mill Rd, which is the road that goes under the
north end) and the higher lands beyond.  If they had needed more 
clearance over the Newburgh-Harriman line at Woodbury, Newburgh
Jct would have been south of Highland Mills...

Another ghost railroad in this general area is the NYO&W, which crosses
under the Graham Line west of Campbell Hall, just beyond where NY 207
crosses under the Graham Line.  The NYO&W is clearly visible from 
trains as a dirt road under a through-truss bridge.  Yet another is
the original alignment of the Erie in the Otisville area, and the 
NYO&W's Port Jervis branch.  The NYO&W T&H Society publishes a series
of guidebooks to that railroad, so it's easy to get info on how to
trace the 'Old Woman' over 40 years since she died.

- --
cleveland.Freenet is a mail-drop.
Gary Kazin, Rockaway, NJ

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