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New York – August 2011

New York is intense. The city is amazing and, as per any metropolis, perpetually under construction. I happened to be staying in 'serviced apartments' in the Financial District near Fulton St. subway station... but this turned out to be a Jewish synagogue. Pretty bad false-advertising on the website, but survivable. Either way, the place was only to be a bed... there was too much to do outside and no reason to care as long as there was a roof.

As per usual, I'd google-mapped NY prior to coming and new that there wasn't much freight action on the island. I had seen a few yards on the the east coast of Long Island near Brooklyn and had decided that would be a first stop once I had time.

Car floats and empty lots on Long Island

I thought we all called them train ferries or rail ferries, but it turns out they're known as car floats in America. The New York New Jersey Rail, LLC run one from Bay Ridge to New Jersey on-demand. Turns out that when I visited there was no demand whatsoever, to the point where I was actually sure that the whole site had been abandoned. It wasn't until I google'd today that I realised it is the end of the Bay Ridge Branch owned by the Long Island Railroad....
Actually, as I'm writing this I'm seeing conflicting information on Wikipedia as to what carfloat service is actually still in operation...

Train ferry yard near Belt Pkwy Train ferry yard near Belt Pkwy Train ferry yard near Belt Pkwy

I then walked north to the other visible yard on google maps but it turns out the photos are old and the yard no longer existed. I turned east to see the subway depot near 9th Ave Station. It was pretty cool, nice diesel maintenance equipment, but I'd failed to take any good photos.

CSX: The Bronx

This was a fun trip... on my last day in NY I decided to venture north to see a yard just across Harlem River. At the time of research I'd neglected to check suburb names and so just went for it, on foot. I found the CSX depot with quite a lot of rolling stock, random Amtrak services shooting through and a track gang working.

CSX Yard - The Bronx CSX #1304 CSX Yard - The Bronx
CSX #2804 CSX #8842 Caboose!
More box cars Heavy duty hi-rail Old wooden sleepers
More box cars Power gantry

I walked the length of the yard south after coming from the intersection at Baretto Street. In the distance there were two CSX locomotives doing some minor shunting. Fortunately I waited around long enough for an Amtrak service to bolt through.

CSX shunting the port CSX #1305 Amtrak heading north
Amtrak #2026 in the lead Amtrak heading north Amtrak #2026

The next part was meant to be a leisurely stroll across to the large junction of the Metro North and Amtrak railway near 149th Street 'Grand Concourse'. As I crossed the streets I started feeling slightly self-conscious... it wasn't until I saw a portable police turret keeping an eye out on an intersection that I realised a tourist should probably not be walking through the district with a large camera hanging around their neck.

Metro North and Amtrak near 149th Street

This area provided a nice amount of action. Around 1 train every 5-10 minutes in both directions and from both Metro North and Amtrak. Although the sun wasn't in the best position, and there were a lot of fences preventing clear shots, it was a good location to just relax in the high 20-degree temperatures + humidity.

Ex CPR stock NY MTA Northbound MTA

Harlem River

I then walked south and crossed Harlem River. There seems to be a lot of freight infrastructure on the northern side, including a low-lying viaduct allowing the trains to traverse the border of the northern shore. The main Metro North rail bridge is also a great backdrop.

Freight rail viaduct near the Bronx Rail bridge near E135th St

Harlem-125th Street Station

This is one of the first stations on the south-side of the line on the bridge shown previously. Therefore it carried the expresses and locals stopping at this station. Fortunately the sun was in the right position for anything heading south. It was a pretty busy location and the foyer of the building was amazing.

Harlem-125th St Station Harlem Station NY Harlem Station
Metro-North at Harlem Metro-North departing Harlem Loco hauled Metro-North at Harlem
MTA at Harlem Metro-North heading North Metro-North Commuter Railroad

And that was it for New York... the next day was Amsterdam...

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