Transit Adventures

A Port Jervis Line Train Ride to Tuxedo and a 50 mile Bike Ride Home via Some More Stations

Today I decided it was finally time to go and get some more rail stations on New Jersey Transit except by using my bike to get between far apart stations instead of walking like I normally do. The original plan was to go with my bike and get every station on the Morristown Line between Catham and Morris Plains before heading south down the Patriots Path to Bernardsville on the Gladstone Branch. The big issue of the day was dinner plans required me to be home by 6:00pm so no getting the few MidTOWN Direct Trains on the Gladstone Branch (a website goal) before heading back home late was out of the question. I miscalculated the time it would take to ride to Hoboken Terminal leaving my house at about 8:30 for the 12 mile, mostly downhill ride over the George Washington Bridge and down River Road to Hoboken Terminal. I got to Hoboken Terminal at 9:36 and realized I just missed the 9:36 Gladstone Branch Train and that the next train on the Morris & Essex Lines wasn’t for another hour. Looking up at the departure board I noticed a 9:47 train to Port Jervis, NY. The Metro-North Port Jervis Line has poor service  Thinking quickly I decided a great bike ride would be from Tuexdo, NY to Ramsey, NJ stopping to get photo essays of the stations in between. I buy my NJ Transit ticket to Tuxedo, $10.25 for the 37 mile ride, grab a timetable and ask the conductor if there is a particular car I should put my bike it. He says “Either one but remember it must ride in the middle of the car.” I carry my bike up the steps on the Metro-North owned and labeled Comet Vs and into the second car rolling it down the aisle to the ADA tip-up seats. The seats are down so I tip them both up and take out my two bungee cords to secure my bike to the pole between the two seats following the instructions on the seats that I’ve noticed before.

I sit down across from my bike (on the right side where I normally don’t like to sit since I can’t see the station houses) and open my timetable. To my dismay I realize this train is a local (skipping just two stops) operating via the Bergen County Line that I know well, not the more mysterious Main Line that I’ve ridden a lot less it seems. I didn’t take any photos during my boarding procedures at Hoboken.

We leave Hoboken 9:47 for a ride through the Bergen Tunnels over a couple rail lines including the Bergen Cut-off, and through the Meadowlands.

We get to Secaucus at 9:57 where they announce were being held for a connection, we finally leave at 10:01, one additional passenger boarding. I notice that passengers in NJT territory get regular seat checks but going to Metro-North destinations our tickets are used. We curve off the Main Line going by the town of Secaucus before crossing a separate bridge at 10:05 across the Meadowlands and pass a southbound train. We continue through the Meadowlands with MetLife Stadium off in the distance but farther away then from the Pascack Valley line which curves around to be closer. We diverge from the Pascack Valley Line at 10:08.

  • 10:09 – Rutherford with its mini high platforms.
  • 10:13 – skip Garfield
  • 10:14 – skip Plauderville with its high level platform
  • 10:16 – over the Garden State Parkway and into tiny Broadway-Fairlawn
  • 10:20 – Radburn-Fairlawn
  • 10:26 – Glen Rock (Borough Hall)
  • 10:29 – Ridgewood, many more mope people get on then off I realize most are transferring from a Main line train that terminated at 10:15. Most are Hispanic.
  • 10:32 – Ho-Ho-Kus we leave through the trees passing a quite disguised cell phone tower in the trees.
  • 10:34 – Waldwick, the historic 1887 is fenced off with banners. These banners say it is the future home of the Waldwick historic museum and to donate today. The yard north of the station has a few BiLevels inside it
  • 10:38 – Allendale with a stone underpass
  • 10:41 – Ramsey to a bunch of people getting off. The crew swiftly walks the train putting the traps down for the next stop
  • 10:44 – Rte 17-Ramsey, the new high-level platform station with its empty garages. Then the banging of the traps back up.
  • 10:48 – Mawah. The car really feels empty again
  • We slow down and cross the New York border at 10:51, I see the sign.
  • 10:52 – arrive Suffern, the station in New York State with NJT signs. One lady is boarding. We leave at 10:54.

Leaving Suffern we pass an old depot as we leave and a yard with some freight cars inside. I see the thruway as we cross an old steel bridge. We follow the Ramapo River that flooded during Hurricane Irene passing some clearly new ballast. Entering Sloatsburg for a very quick stop construction with cranes is happening along the line I assume fortifying it to avoid future flooding. In the Sloatsburg Station itself to my disappointment are a bunch of track workers on the platform. Never good for photo essays. We keep following the Ramapo River and Route 17 in the narrow valley and arrive at Tuxedo at 11:05.

Getting off, this is the closest photo I get of the locomotive but it does a good job at showing the Metro-North owned but operated under contract to New Jersey Transit that is how operations are handled on the Port Jervis Line.


I then get a photo essay of the station with the wonderful, old station house. It’s waiting room is even open and unstaffed (just the way I like them to be for photo essays)!

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I also head down to the parking lot. Its in the trees with tons of signs warning motorists that its a flood zone along the Ramapo River.


Then I ride down NY-17 to Sloatsburg where I just manage a few photos from afar because of the work going on the simple and plain two car platform.


I head down NY-17 and it becomes more of an expressway with a central median as I pass through an interchange with the New York State Thruway. I soon take route 59 and cross the Ramapo River with this nice view of the train tracks.


Then I see some Norfolk Southern Locomotives in the yard coming into Suffern.

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I continue riding into Suffern and find this historic freight house from 1908 that is now a museum (the original depot has been destroyed)

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I get to the Suffern Station at about 12:15, lock my bike up and to my surprise the station house is still open (until 1:30) with a New Jersey Transit employee in New York State. See seems to be spending the last hour of her shift on her iPhone (with an earpiece) making personal calls as I go inside to get water at the station sink. I get a comprehensive photo essay (these are all just teasers).

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I keep riding south and cross back into New Jersey to Mahwah where I photograph a Metro-North F40PH and find its station house also open although its not supposed to be.



I continue south to the modern Ramsey Route 17 station with its huge parking garage, I get a full photo essay and even brave going up to the top fifth level for some photos where there is one car parked.

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Riding south I have one last station to get to before I’ve now getting every stop of at least the Bergen County (photos are on my hard drive with the broken USB port I still haven’t resolved). This station house is locked, its staffed but the ticket agent leaves at 8:50am.


After that I decide to ride home. I start heading east and southeast wending my way until I get to Montvale. There not any trains coming and I don’t even bother to get my camera out. Riding with my camera for long distances isn’t all that comfortable so it lives in my bag. I enter its station house (maintained by the town, like most on the agent-less Pascack Valley Line) and use the bathroom, the sink isn’t in great shape and there isn’t a water fountain so I don’t get water here. I ride and follow the Pascack Valley line tracks down to the next station, Park Ridge. This station house/community center is unlocked and empty with a sink (and microwave) where I refill my water bottle. I ride west through Cloister and up the big hill to 9W on top of the Palisades that I cross to head home.

All in all a very good day (enjoy the teaser photos, don’t know if I’ll get these stations written before my California trip next week) getting a few more stations and a 50 mile bike ride.