Transit Adventures

“Up the River” – A Weekend Day Trip, 3 Buses all the way to Peekskill (Mile 41) to Finish the Hudson Line (including Manitou!)


I still have a couple days left on 30 day Unlimited I’ve purchased for a summer course I’m taking. Afterwards I have enough travel planned that I won’t buy a 30 day one and 7 day cards I have a harder time justifying. Anyway, it was time for a trip to try and finish the Hudson Line (to finish the first goal is at least a few photos of every station, The Hudson Line is one of my favorite places to photograph trains so having stops I need more photos of or a full essay is a good thing). I like to play a game with myself about not riding a Commuter Train a single stop, $3 to go just a few miles feels like a rip-off. The original plan to finish the Hudson Line was going to do Garrison and Cold Spring stops going in each direction to Beacon (with the bus from there to New Hamburg). When I discovered that buy buying a round-trip ticket to Beacon from the Bronx would basically cover DIA:Beacon Museum Admission I did that as a separate trip last November.

Luckily PART (Puntnum Area Regional Transit) the Cold Spring Trolley (a tiny mini-trolley) connects Cold Spring and Garrison with a fare of only $1, but only runs during the summer and fall. As of 2014 it only runs on Saturday’s and Sundays. On Thursday I’m thinking of juts doing Peekskill and Cold Spring and saving Putnam County for another trip. Then I start looking at Bus Schedules and realize the two buses I need north of Tarrytown, the 13 and 14 both have the same hourly service on Saturday as they basically have during the week so there is no reason not to head north on Saturday. The only problem is Route 1 to get me up to Tarrytown. Route 1’s Saturday service is abysmal, the 1T and 1C branches don’t operate and only the 1W hourly with supplemental plain 1 service to the Yonkers County Line. The 1W I realize does stop a mile from the Tarrytown Station although, I do realize I will have to through in the ticketing towel and pay for a train ticket ($4.25 to Yonkers, $5 to the Bronx) back from Croton-Harmon or Ossining. A lot better than Jamaica to Nassau County on the LIRR! I do some more internet mapping and realize that the MTA has added a midday stop in each direction for Hiker servicer to Maniou and Breakneck Ridge. I decide to include a 4 mile hike with the first part through a nature preserve to get Manitou and walk up to Garrison. Breakneck Ridge I got a few photos off when I got there by car to go hiking that will tide the website over until I go up there for a proper hiking (and train spotting) expedition.

I leave the house a little late at 8:35, knowing I’m cutting it really close for the 9:00 Route 1 Bus that would give me a nice early start. I just make a 1 train at 8:47 and am a bit optimistic until we crawl into 207 Street, leaving I see why. There is a garbage train on the middle track with Redbrids at one end and a lone R62 at the other. I now officially know I’m going to miss the 9:00 bus, leaving me with the 9:30 bus. There is just hourly service on Saturdays on Route 1w (none on Sundays) north of Yonkers and the next bus is only going to the Yonkers Town line. This means I can take the 9:30 bus and get Greystone, a secondary goal for the day. I get off at 215th to photograph the garbage train and leave the station. I also enjoy seeing the museum trains in the yards and shops.


As I walk along the 207th Street Yards I walk back to 207 I hear the switch set and I’m not on the platform where I’d like to be to photograph this train curving into the yard.


I run up to the platform and get the tail end with the sun in a bad place.

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I get up to 242 Street at 9:16 with 15 minutes to wait. One per peeve of the Bee-Line stop at 242 Street is the lack of a park bench, the city can’t even install a shelter for this transit hub, just a park railing to lean against.

Route 1 only going to the Hastings Town Line pulls up for us to board at 9:28 for the usual prompt on time departure. On my last Bee-Line trip I just made the bus, only because it was leaving a minute late due to a wheelchair. I’m in Yonkers within 6 minutes. I put my music on and doze off. I get off at the one road down to the Greystone Station at 10:00 and have a good 25 minute stop, just getting two passing diesels. The morning light reflecting off the palisades.

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I walk up a streetstair back to Worburton Avenue. I hear 4 trains as I wait for the 1W bus. It’s definitely a stop I will return to some afternoon. Someone else is waiting for the bus with me. It comes 10 minutes late at 10:41, a full articulated bus! Perhaps this route should run every half hour on Saturday to run another branch. It’s moderately crowded but everyone would still get a seat on a regular bus. In Hastings, the Worburton Avenue Bridge out detour takes up even more time. The bus ends up detouring around downtown Hastings entirely. A couple of people get off in Dobbs Ferry, but no one in Irvington. This bus turns at White Plains Road and I get off around 11:10 (about 20 minutes late) for what turns out to be about a 30 minute walk down Main Street.

I do enough of a photo essay of Tarrytown to write a summery but basically skip the platforms, assuming I will be at least transferring trains in Tarrytown at some point.


The 13 Bus to Ossining pulls in on time at 11:57. I soon see signs for the Philipse Manor Station, that stop will have to wait for another trip. 3 of us are on the bus through Sleepy Hallow. I have an awkward connection in Ossening. My 13 arrives at 12:20, the 14 I need to continue north to Peekskill leaves at 12:19. I would like to spend an hour in Ossening to get the station but need to try and make this connection to get Manitou. As we enter Ossining I see the 14 is a few cars ahead I go to the front of the bus and the driver says “If there weren’t those cars ahead of me.” When we get to large-ish bus stop in the center of town we box the 14 in (the 13 terminates) as its passengers and me and someone else make the transfer. Both buses are slightly early, they clearly wait for each other.

We leave Ossining and soon I see the Croton-Harmon Station off in the distance across a wetland. We don’t go over there for a stop. I notice most of the bus stops have Indian Point Evacuation Bus Stop signs below the usual Bee-Line logo. We go trough the sleepy town of Croton. This bus is more crowded, someone even sits next to me. The people getting on and off all seem to pay with coins. Hard to buy a MetroCard up here. We pass the two entrances to Cortland, a modern park and ride station that combined Crugers and Montrose, villages in the town of Cortland that this bus ride is going through.  I’m staying on this bus all the way to Peekskill, just over an hour at Cortlandt seems excessive. We head into the Veterans Hospital making a diversion. I should have gotten off and then back on the bus to get the Cortlandt Station entrances! I’m returning on the train to Cortlandt and will transfer back to the bus. I’m quite happy with this northbound ride, planning my walk to get the two entrance roadways.

I get off the bus in Peekskill by a sign for the station around 1:00. I get my photo essay having bad luck with a southbound Metro-North and then Amtrak after my train has a track change to the northbound track, and is 8 minutes late waiting for two northbound trains to pass it.

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My train finally arrives 10 minutes late, the announcement is just “Next Stop Manitou”. A poor showing for announcements of what door to open. I walk towards the back. There a good dozen of us getting off. A conductor come out of the cab as we approach. He says because we’re wrong railing he can’t open up the cab door. We switch back to the proper track and the engineer is radioed “I’m just going to spot you, I have all my Manitou’s at the front of the last car. It’s Amtrak style and he spots us to the grade-crossing, not the tiny platform just beyond.

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My plan is to spend some time train spotting here, and then walking the nearly 4 miles to Garrison that I also need to get for the trolley to Cold Spring. I get the next Southbound Metro-North followed by an Empire Service train in each direction. Most of the possible combinations of trains that pass through Manitou.

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Then it’s time for my hike of the day. I head down the narrow station road that leads to the couple of houses. I find a dirt road with a gate at the entrance to a nature preserve. I check my phone and see this is a road Google wants me to use, great a walk in the woods not all on roads! I start walking and am soon by a stone bridge over the tracks near a couple houses. I hear a train and photograph the next hour’s northbound and getting it from this little bridge.

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After this first mile I end up on Route 9D that doesn’t have a great shoulder and in some places I’m basically walking in the highway. The walk gets old as I pass the final golf course and make the turn for the final half-mile down Lower Station Road to the Garrison Train Station at about 3:55. The timetable for the Cold Spring Trolley simply says Garrison Landing/Train Station and the trolley is due at 4:10. I enter a parking lot that is complete with dirt around the spaces and start my photo essay with the attitude of I can always return here. I find the modern station configuration with the high level platforms and the old station, including the historic depot, complete with the pedestrian tunnel still open to the public and the canopy (better than the platform today) on the northbound platform. I’m by the historic depot near Garrison Landing at 4:03 when I see a little trolley arrive in the parking lot of the station. The next northbound train soon cuts it off. I finish my photo essay and use the neat original pedestrian subway to the remains of the northbound platform and the next time I see the parking lot its 4:05 and the Trolley is gone. I’m observant for the next 5 minutes wondering if the trolley has looped around to the Landing by the depot theater but its officially left, 5 minutes early!

The next northbound train isn’t for another hour so I can get up to Cold Spring. I get more photos of the station, including of a couple Amtrak trains. I’m unfortunately on the bad sun angle northbound platform when the Lake Shore Limited passes, just before my northbound train arrives a few minutes late. One very strange part of this consist is there is a Viewliner Sleeper deadheading in the back, behind the baggage car. This is a stupid move on Amtrak’s part, their is revenue to be made by operating that car in service. The conductors can’t be bothered to walk to the middle of the train for my ticket (that’s a Cortlandt to Cold Spring ticket) and I have no shame about that, there should be a cheaper way than $3 to go one stop.

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I get off this train in Cold Spring at 5:03. The next southbound is at 5:20, followed by 6:20 and I still have Cortlandt to get from with a bus connection, so spending an hour here seems out of the question. I get off to the modern 6 car high-level platforms with an overpass with elevators and notice the platforms continuing southward. The New York-bound platform is already crowded with day-trippers. I skip the overpass and walk south. I see two brick enclosures that are the sign of a New York Central track underpass and yes, the underpass at Cold Spring is still in use at the Foot of Main Street. A second brick enclosure is used a Visitor’s Center window and public restrooms. Farther down I find the historic station, its now a resturant that’s hopping on a Saturday night. My photos look terrible (although I do like the historic New York Central sign). I walk back to the current platforms and the next southbound train arrives. I photograph the locomotive at back and jog up, making the train, getting an extremely poor photo essay but enough to tide me over until I make it up to Cold Spring again (hopefully on a weekday or in winter when the town is less bustling)! This was the primary goal of the day.

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I take this train and enjoy the evening sun, glaring over the Hudson. We slow down just before Manitou and I have a fun time spotting the little station were skipping. As we approach Peekskill there is still no sign of the conductor and I wonder if there being lazy and are just going to do one ticket sweep on the express jaunt. She then comes just before we arrive in Peekskill and I get a crumpled version of my ticket as my seat check. I get off at the modern Cortlandt station across from a northbound train on the narrow island platform. It’s not a great platform and station for photos. I do enjoy getting the infrastructure of the area with the modern overpass that at first only led to the parking lot on the east side of the tracks until a west parking lot opened in 2012. Each has its own access road. I do my plan getting the entrances to both parking lots and walking the west entrance first that is across from the entrance to the VA Hospital before walking down 9A (with a sidewalk) nearly a half mile over neat old bridge above the tracks (with a separated sidewalk) to get the Cortlandt Station East Entrance sign with the Cortlandt Recreation Center visible, not any station parking.

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I cross to a bus stop on a sign with no real stopping area. The schedule on the post (I’ve yet to find a Bee-Line Bus stop without a bus schedule on it! Unlike in Long Island where that’s extremely rare) only gives three minutes for the bus after the timepoint of 6:24 at the Hospital. Needless to say, I’m not surprised when the bus shows up at 6:29, 5 minutes late. Perfect, fares are $2.25 more from Cortlandt and I don’t feel like walking back into the station. The bus meanders its way through the town of Croton-on-Hudson and I dither again about getting off at Croton-Harmon to switch for the train there when where on the approach road but don’t ring the bell in time and the next thing I know I’m getting off in Ossining.

I get off the bus in town and from there its a couple of blocks down to the station, just north of Sing-Sing Prison! I’ve just missed the 7:04 local. Luckily service is now every half-hour so I get a photo essay and buy my ticket home to Marble Hill for $5.00. I get the southbound Lake Shore Limited, running 2 hours late.

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A southbound diesel train comes in at 7:35 when my train is supposed to leave. This is something I find strange.


Turns out it’s the semi-express originating in Croton-Harmon. I nearly don’t board and nothing about the train’s station stops are announced. There is no Poughkeepsie train this hour. The conductor comes immediately and I ask if this train stops at Marble Hill. I’m told yes, it’s a diesel covering an electric’s schedule! When we stop in Tarrytown the conductor does better announcing the semi-express stops (the electric Hudson Line’s off peak schedule is now regular, two trains per hour, one local, one semi-express, with all semi-expresses making the same stops) “Irvington, Dobbs Ferry, Hastings, Yonkers, Riverdale, Sputyen Duyvil, and Grand Central.”

At that point there is confusion, some foreigners flash a MetroCard thinking its fare payment. The response “That’s only valid for the bus” and they buy their tickets on board $32 for two passengers. Someone is solded for having a ticket originating in Phillipse Manor The conductor gives them the remember to buy your tickets at the machine next time. When we slowly pass Greystone there some people fishing in the waterfront access park by the river. Coming to a stop in Riverdale I see someone sitting on a rock outside of the public waterfront access and then that the gate is open at the grade-crossing across the gated freight siding with some other people hanging out in the tiny park by the river.

As we approach Marble Hill I’m waiting for the first four cars only announcement. It doesn’t happen. I haven’t heard the announcement in a while come to a matter of fact (I’ve had unblogged about trips up the Hudson Line recently for non-website business), running trains with just four open cars off-peak is pretty much the norm although I’ve never seen just two M7s attached to each other.  I know I’m in the back of the open portion of the train and as we go around the curve I realize I’m in the forth car.  I get off at Marble Hill at 8:13, making a point of using the rear door of the Shoreliner II. I get photos of a northbound diesel train skipping the stop.

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Then its up the steps to the street and more steps to the 1 train (I really should count the number of steps required here). Then I’m off to the 1 train for the short ride home. A ride short enough that I’m now in the habit of walking when I don’t have an Unlimited Ride MetroCard in my pocket.