Some Varnish on the Water Level Route

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My girlfriend and I took a New Year’s Day drive into the Hudson River Valley by Bear Mountain.

Here at Fort Montgomery, New York, the Hudson River is about one-third of a mile wide. We were by the old NYWS&B (now CSX River Sub) hoping to catch a freight.

Of course, Murphy’s law had different ideas. Red signals and the only thing going through the tunnel was a hiker.

However, we did catch some passenger action across the river on the old Water Level Route, once home to the New York Central’s 20th Century Limited and other famous NYC trains as they sped to and from Grand Central.

Here we see a Metro-North commuter train out of Grand Central heading toward Poughkeepsie, New York, the end of the line for Metro North.

The other train we caught was Amtrak’s Ethan Allen heading to Penn Station after its journey from Rutland, Vermont.

Both trains are headed by GE P32ACDM, dual-mode locomotives that run as diesel-electric or third rail straight electric for entering New York City.

In a few months life will return to the mountains and the hills will be back to a nice, lush green, but for now the only colors in the area are the passing trains. Happy New Year, everyone.

Article and Photographs by Jack Norris

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