Transit Adventures

A One-Way Getaway to Dia:Beacon and a half-hour late LOOP Bus to get New Hamburg

I’ve been scheming on how to finally get the Hudson Line up to my website and spent far to long one evening on going through and even making a price list of intermediate fares to the stations in Putnam and Dutchess Counties. I am also a bit of an art museum lover and for years I’ve wanted to visit the Dia:Beacon. I know that Metro-North offers a package there and after making a long list of Intermediate fares to make possible  photo stops in Westchester County I finally checked the cost of the package. From the Bronx Stations is just 25¢ more than a regular round-trip ticket. I also discovered that for other packages with lower admission prices (at least from the Bronx) a one-way getaway package is actually CHEEPER than buying a round-trip ticket (especially those that involve shopping, although I hate to shop). I also need to get New Hamburg that is north of Beacon (and the last stop before Poughkeepsie) and has a Duchess County LOOP Bus that stops a mile away and is luckily in the same fare zone.

Today I awoke to a nice slightly warm day. I discovered Dia:Beacon is open on Mondays (the days most museums are closed) and because I’m in between Weekly Unlimited ride cards (I should of just bought a monthly the day I got back from Montreal, I’ve been busy enough this month it would have made sense but with Thanksgiving losing nearly a week it doesn’t make sense to me now). This trip though would be perfect without one since I can get from my home in Washington Heights to the Hudson Line with just a little more than a two mile walk.

With such a beautiful morning I decided to take the longer (3 mile walk) but much more scenic walk through the parks, through Fort Tyron Park and then Inwood Hill Park and over the Henry Hudson Bridge to Spuyten Duyvil. As I walked, I started to get worried that Spuyten Duyvil would only have Red “Daily Ticket Machines (that is all some stations have) since One-way Getaways can only be purhased at the Grey “All Tickets Machines.”

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I get there and head up to the overpass and to my relief there is a daily ticket machine. I tell the machine the package I want and then strangely I’m asked at which station am I originating, I decide to say Yankees-E 153 Street even though I have no desire to get off there but to just have the Bronx covered (its all the same fare zone) on my round-trip ticket.  I pay my $26.25 all-in-one-go for these two tickets (taken aboard on the vent of the Shoreliner):



It’s about 10:30 (I hear the new half-hour semi-express train that doesn’t connect to a diesel train going further north make its station stop as I’m above the station). I know Amtrak Empire Service #281 with its 10:15 Penn Station departure time should be crossing it’s Spuyten Duyvil Bridge any minute and head over to the New York-bound platform. It soon does:



I then head to the other end of the platform but run out of platform before I can get the perfect shot of the two bridges (one bridge crosses directly over the station).


My local train arrives in Spuyten Duyvil a few minutes late at 10:47. I have to run back part-way down the platform to board since a few cars are closed off and the train pulls way into the station to be closer to the entrance. Winter really feels like its arrived with few leaves on the trees along the railroad. Just north of Greystone I notice some Marinas along the tracks with boats piled up directly along the ROW. No fence in between. This seems a bit old fashioned. Just boer of here we switch onto the normal New York-bound riverside track and wrong-rail into Hastings.

In Ardsley I notice a number of people on the platform clearly waiting for the next southbound train. We’re wrong-railing on the riverside track and soon a southbound diesel express train (that connects with the local train these passengers are waiting for) zooms by on the normal southbound express track.

Just before Tarrytown we switch back onto the normal northbound track at 11:16. I see the southbound train close its doors on the opposite track. After Tarrytown all seat checks get collected. I’m so used to zooming down on Amtrak going through here, there is something nice about riding a local making every stop. This is unlike on the New Haven Line where I’m always taking the local since I get on at Fordham and am sick of making every stop.

We get to Ossining 6 minutes late at 11:25 I decide to transfer there and have a quick 5 minutes getting photos.



The Poughkeepsie-bound diesel train arrives also 6 minutes late at 11:30. It’s all Shoreliner IIs and I immediately feel the smaller windows as we pass Croton Point Park where the Clearwater Festival is and continue into Croton-Harmon at 11:35 where more people get on than off, I’m happy I beat the transferring rush. The conductor comes and my ticket gets a few more punches. She doesn’t collect seat checks but doesn’t give me one. I hear a British couple across from me asking when the return trains are from Beacon, the conductor says there hourly leaving Poughkeepsie on the :43 and the trip takes about 15 minutes. She then tells them to look at a timetable on the platform when they get off. I assume there also going to the museum. There sitting on the right side of the train reading, guess the guidebooks don’t say to snag a seat on the left and look out the window.

We stop in the modern Cortlandt Station that has a single island platform at 11:44 across from a concrete plant, a southbound train passes us right after we stop.
As we enter Peekskill at 11:48 I see the mid-Hudson bridge off in the distance we will soon curve to follow the river. There is artwork and we leave going through one of two grade-crossings on the Hudson Line. The water is just a few feet above the track bed.

  • 11:54 – Bypass Manitou and go trough the grade-crossing at that little station and the few houses to it designed for hikers with weekend service and with one rush hour train in each direction for the small community.
  • 11:58  – Stop in Garrison with two side platforms that have a pedestrian overpass with an. Elevator and no tactile warning strip. The historic station, Philipstown Depot theater is under construction just north of the modern high-level platforms. The Hudson Valley is impressive but not with the stunning foliage like on my last trip up here heading to Montreal.
  • 12:02 – Cold Spring, I notice a narrow road along the track as we enter that is clearly private with a fence just before the station parking lot. The station lacks a facile warning strip and is a precious generation design with the first black and not green overpass (with elevators) and platform fencing for the two side platforms.
  • 12:06 – We pass Storm King and then it’s through the tunnels and the tiny Breakneck Ridge station with tiny platforms on the ballast.

I arrive in Beacon at 12:10 as a train is stopping at the 1980s/early 1990s island platform going the other way. I start my photo essay, and get photos of the next northbound Amtrak Empire Service train #233 (only going to Albany):

I then walk down to the museum. About an hour an a half is the right amount of time for me in this museum of contemporary art, it seems huge but there are mostly large rooms with just a few art pieces in them. It’s extremely abstract art. There is only one artist who’s name a I recognize.

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I leave around 2:00 to return to the station, finish my photo essay and walk up towards town for the 3:05 Duchess County Loop B bus.

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I get to the stop at Main Street and Route 9D at about 2:50, soon 4 other people arrive to wait. One of whom says the bus is always late and probably won’t arrive until 3:20-3:30. That’s not how to run a bus system when buses are only every 1-2 hours, especially when I’m worried about sunset (4ish) and half another mile of walking from the nearest stop done to New Hamburg. In happy there others waiting. I expect buses in the suburbs to be on time, Bee-line always is! I realize I’m planning to use a $1 for the fair that I assume is okay (I don’t know anywhere outside of NYC MetroCard territory where it isn’t).
At 3:20 a loop B bus going southbound finally passes to make a loop (scheduled for 5-7 minutes) I’m happy to see its a transit bus and not a minibus or modified school bus I’ve also noticed the Duchess County Loop uses. I assume this will bus our bus. At 3:30 I decide its time to call the Dutchess County Loop and see what excuse I’m giving. I look up the number and its just a normal phone (no automated system), someone picks up I start asking as the bus finally arrives a half-hour lateI at 3:35, (scheduled for 3:05)!

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The bus has a modern GFI fare box that can issue transfers but no one is getting one. I pay my $1.75 fare (I’m going nearly 6 miles) and for the first time ever one of these boxes (I’ve used them throughout the county) rejects one of my quarters, the driver points to a coin return slot. Other passengers are told to put there fares in an old fashioned silver non-counting fare box installed over the wheel bay. I grab a seat there black, nice and comphy. The driver is clearly doing paperwork and I think randomly pulls over to put out of order sing on the normal fare box! One other passenger walks up to board and the driver is clearly frustrated. It becomes crowded enough that people double-up. The road soon becomes rural. I’m the first one to get off. I pull the cord and get up, deciding to go to the front of the bus and not attempt the rear door on a county highway. The driver says “Where At?” (the LOOP doesn’t have bus stop signs in its rural areas). I tell him the upcoming light. He stops at the light for New Hamberg Road a few cars behind the light and I tell him this is fine to keep him from pulling over again finally at 3:50.


I walk down to the station and get a photo essay in the dusk. I get an Amtrak and a northbound Metro-North. The lights turn on just before the my 4:47 reverse-peak Super-Express (even skipping some upper Hudson stops including all in Putnam County) arrives. It’s a supplemental train to the still hourly service.

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The conductor comes. He accepts my ticket that says Beacon on it. Absentmindedly completely canceling it. In the moment I debate using this as an excuse to get off at Grand Central but don’t feel like paying for the subway and decide I will walk home from University Heights as is my original plan. I tell him “I’m getting off in the Bronx” the conductor apologizes saying we don’t stop in the Bronx and takes out a pen. He rights what I assume is his conductor number and date on the back of the ticket circling the incorrect second punch.

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We stop in Beacon at 4:57, and leave to run express through Putnam County.

  • 5:03 – Skip Cold Spring
  • 5:06 – Skip Garrison
  • 5:09 – The lights of a grade crossing and a few houses, Manitou

At 5:16 we stop at Peeksill

  • 5:21 – Skip Cortlandt

We get to Croton-Harmon a little late at 5:27. I decide I might as well make that transfer and not Tarrytown with my complex ticket. The local electric train comes in right behind it and we immediately get the all aboard. The local train isn’t on the 3 train long departure monitors (a northbound local is connecting to an express at 5:27 and just arriving) leaving at 5:30. There is a human voice that tells us it is boarding on track 2 I’m the only one to board the rearmost open car. As we leave the station the voice announces every local stop to Grand Central.

  • 5:43 – Phillips Manor and southbound Lake Shore Limited #48 finally comes through and the conductor to punch. I tell her the conductor over punched. She asks if I’m going to Yankees? I say probably University Heights and ask if the car will open. University Heights can only accommodate 4 cars. The response is priceless for a reverse peak train “We only have 4 cars” the correct answer is “we have only 4 open cars” I doubt this train will be too crowded, I’m riding the Hudson line that is usually quite empty.
  • 5:45 – Stop at Tarrytown as three people run for the train.

It’s an uneventful local train ride I get off at University Heights at 6:20 and stop at the red daily ticket machine (the only one this station has) and the first screen confirms my fears, it doesn’t sell getaway packages. Good thing I walked to Spuyten Duyvil, it luckily has a grey all tickets machine. I have a two mile walk home, the most direct way over the University Heights Bridge (and its tons of traffic) and via Nagle Avenue and local streets I do use the elevator at 190 Street to get up the hill.