One of my favorite day trips in my neck of the woods here in New Jersey is a ride on the former Erie up to Port Jervis, New York, a 94-mile ride from Hoboken.
The ride has two scenic highlights, Moodna Viaduct and Otisville Tunnel. Moodna Viaduct crosses Moodna Creek and is 3,200 feet in length and stands 193 feet high above the creek.
The trestle, the longest east of the Mississippi, was built in 1909 when the Graham Line was constructed to bypass severe grades, tight curves and many grade crossings.
The downside is that the Graham Line, which runs from Harriman, New York, to Howells, New York, adds 7 miles to the trip between Harriman and Howells.
Otisville Tunnel, 5,314 feet long and opened in 1908, was the only tunnel on the Erie between the main yard in Croxton (Secaucus, New Jersey) and Chicago.
The attached photos show the view from the train as it crosses Moodna Viaduct as well as a shot of the bridge itself.
Needless to say the view is spectacular on a sunny fall day. It is interesting to note that this view was never available to Erie or EL passengers back in the day, as passenger trains used the main line through the New York cities of Goshen, Monroe, Chester and Middletown.
In 1983 as Conrail was trimming excess trackage, it decided to abandon the old main line and transfer everything to the Graham Line.
Although the Graham Line had easy grades, gradual curves and no grade crossings, it also bypasses all inhabited areas.
That is not a problem today, however, since most everyone has automobiles and can drive to reach a train station.
Three new passenger stations were built on the Graham Line at Salisbury Mills, Campbell Hall, and the edge of Middletown.
The lots at these stations, ranging from 300 to almost 1,000 cars, are almost filled every weekday.
Article and Photographs by Jack Norris