Archive Sleuth

The Eastview Trestle


This is the first in a series of articles about the New York Central Railroad’s Putnam Division, commonly known as the ‘Old Putnam Line’, and it’s various routes through Pocantico Hills, NY. Originally planned as the New York and Boston Railroad in 1869, and after a series of bankruptcies and mergers, the line was opened as the ‘New York City and Northern Railroad’ in 1880 and passed through the village of Pocantico Hills on its way from NYC to Brewster, in Putnam County NY.

The initial route of the Old Putnam Line through Pocantico Hills was in use for only 1 year (from 1880-1881) and was notable for the large wooden Eastview Trestle, which crossed the valley in what is now the Tarrytown Reservoir, but was then only a low-lying marshy area.

Because the weight & speed of trains was limited by the trestle, the line was quickly re-routed in 1882 along a sweeping curve westward to Tarrytown Heights, before climbing back north-eastward to Pocantico Hills. The trestle was then torn down in early 1883.

The first two routes of the Old Putnam Line are visible in this map (the 1880-1881 route in orange, and the 1882-1930 route in red).

The Eastview Trestle was located where the orange line crosses the reservoir on the map above.

(Courtesy of the Rockefeller Archive Center.)

As the trestle crossed the valley below it also crossed what is now Neperan Road between Tarrytown and Eastview on the north shore of the reservoir:

And here’s a view from the north side of the valley, looking southeast:

(These two stereographs are part of a series available through NYPL’s Digital Gallery.)

Although the northern abutment of the old trestle is now on private property (where the four gentlemen above are standing), the southern end of the trestle is now County-owned park land. As trains approached the trestle from the south they would pass through a rock cut on the hillside above the village of Eastview. The rock-cut (red) and trestle abutment (blue) are visible in this current aerial photo:

And here’s what the rock-cut looks like today (or rather, last winter):

Fallen rocks from the cliff on the right now cover the former track-bed. A train hasn’t passed through this rock-cut in 130 years.

Only 50 feet north of the rock-cut are the remains of the trestle’s southern abutment, as seen in this image from slightly downhill:

After crossing the Eastview Trestle the line continued north before curving west toward the village of Pocantico Hills, and passing through an even larger rock-cut. Let’s look at that map again:

The railroad line then leaves the rock-cut (red) behind the present site of the Union Church of Pocantico Hills (blue), and passes along what is now Willard Road.

And here’s a photo from inside the northern rock-cut (circa 1950s):

(Courtesy of the Rockefeller Archive Center.)

Other interesting sites along the Old Putnam Line through Pocantico Hills will be explored in future posts. So stay tuned.