The West Shore Railroad in North Rockland

 

The Jersey City and Albany Railway Company reorganized as the New York, West Shore, and Buffalo Railway on February 18, 1880. The southern section of the line was completed to Haverstraw in 1879 through the temporary long clove switchback. The tunnel was open in 1883, and the newly formed company inaugurated service from Newburgh through to Jersey City, New Jersey.

The New York Central  bought the New York, West Shore, and Buffalo Railway on November 24, 1885 and reorganized their new acquisition as The West Shore Railroad on December 5, 1885 and leasing it back for 475 years from January 1, 1886.

The Haverstraw Station was located at now East Railroad and Samsondale Avenues in West Haverstraw, its location in direct competition to the NJ&NYRR’s Railroad Avenue station . The West Shore also shared track rights with the O&W north to Cornwall and later west to Middletown both originating in Weehawkin, making this a well known stop on the line.

The first two months of service had trains stopping at the top of Fairmount Avenue for rider convenience  but was discontinued quickly.  Soon after, residents of the Village of Haverstraw, who without a station were forced to travel a mile and a half north, on a road “apt to be infested with bad characters” had 534 signatures on a petition resulting in this decision.

The South Haverstraw station was at the foot of the Long Clove Road, built as as a concession to the landholders for rights through the property. In testimony given to the Board of Railroad Commissioners in 1884, it was reported there was never a ticket sold at South Haverstraw, and in the first month, only one passenger alighted there. Never a true station, a stylized postcard from the era was very popular in it’s day. The platform was closed around 1885.

The Fairmount Avenue Platforms and later Main Street Depot  were completed in 1903 with numerous sidings along the track north to Haverstraw Depot. Around the same time, the Gurnee Ave, Beach Road, and Long Clove, single lane viaducts were constructed. To this day, 120 years later, the railroad still refuses to upgrade this critical infrastructure.

Coal, lumber, brick, and manufactured goods were shipped and received from any number of factories and warehouses in North Rockland along both the West Shore and Erie, while many local families handled local freight deliveries.

Meanwhile, regular passenger service from Haverstraw was terminated in the early 1950’s as automobiles and the Thruway became the prevalent. The Fairmount Avenue platforms are still visible, and what would become Haverstraw Station in 1903 we call Railroad Square.

 

The Stations in North Rockland

South Haverstraw

Fairmount Avenue/Haverstraw (1903)

Haverstraw

Stony Point

Tompkins Cove

Jones Point

Iona Island