From: Todd Hollritt thollritt AT yahoo DOT com
Date: Wed, 23 Dec 2009 07:04:22 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Hillsdale's history 'tied' to the railroad
EXIF Image Description: HDtrainwreck_1126_cl (SUBMIT) "Hillsdale_trainwreck.jpg" - image/pjpeg, 1100x818 (24bit)
A story about Hillsdale, NJ. located on the former Erie Lackawanna NJ&NY Railroad line, it includes a photo of an Erie train wreck that happened right in front of the station!
Hillsdale's history 'tied' to the railroad
Thursday, December 10, 2009
BY KAREN F. MRNAREVIC
Pascack Valley Community Life
OF COMMUNITY LIFE
Hillsdale – The passenger trains running through the Pascack Valley are many things to many people. Some consider the trains that run through the area on the Pascack Valley line to be a bit of a disturbance, tying up traffic at crossings during commuting hours, and noisily rumbling through during the night and into the early morning. To others, the trains are a vital part of everyday life, providing a safe route to and from nearby urban centers, allowing locals to enjoy both the calm peace of suburban living, as well as convenient access to a major public transportation artery.
It was, in fact, these very trains, though a much earlier steam-powered incarnation, that brought great growth to the Pascack Valley during the latter part of the 19th century, and contributed to rapid population increases during the early part of the 20th century. It all started in 1856, when David P. Patterson joined with a group of investors to establish the Hackensack and New York Railroad Company, with ambitions of expanding railway service from Hackensack to the New York State Line.
Construction on the 21 mile long line began in 1866, and the first train on the line pulled into the Hillsdale Train station on Christmas Eve, 1869. The railroad did not officially open for public use until March 4, 1870; at that time, Hillsdale was the end of the line, but later that year, an extension was begun, which ran between Hillsdale and Haverstraw, N.Y.
By 1879, the Hackensack and New York Railroad Company was running five round trips per day on the passenger line, as well as one round-trip freight train. The fare for a ticket from Hillsdale to New York City was 75 cents, or $14.50 per month for daily commuters. By 1883, the number of daily round trips was up to 20.
The Hillsdale station was unique for the fact that is housed various important components for the maintenance and service of the trains on the line, including an engine roundhouse and turntable, a water tower (to supply water that was converted to steam in the engines) and a cooling station. Engines were stored overnight at the station, and as a result, many railroad workers lived in Hillsdale. The station also served as a headquarters for railroad officials, who maintained offices on the second story of the building.
In 1896, the New Jersey and New York Railroad was leased to the Erie Railroad, and Hillsdale's prominence as the hub of the line began to decline. However, even today, approximately 300 local residents use the railroad daily to commute to work in points south and New York City, or north in Rockland County, N.Y.
Information for this article was gathered from the "Hillsdale Centennial Journal," published in 1998.
I attached a photo that also apeared in the article.
"This picture, taken at the Hillsdale train station on a spring day in 1906, shows the most serious railroad collision in the area's history. The accident occurred when a freight train traveling south from Park Ridge lost its brakes and collided with a commuter train stopped at the Hillsdale train station. Apparently, no major injuries were reported, but the twisted wreckage of the trains must have been quite a challenge to clean up."