The origins of a railroad in this area date back to 1836, when the Hudson & Delaware Railroad was chartered to build a rail line from Newburgh, New York to Chesterville, New York (now known as Greycourt) with the intention of extending the line to the rich coal fields of Pennsylvania, However, funds soon ran short and the plan was eventually picked up by the New York & Erie Railroad. The New York & Erie Railroad (later reorganized as the Erie Railroad) built its mainline west through Chesterville in 1841 and by the end of 1849; the Newburgh Branch was completed, giving Orange County a direct rail link to the Hudson River.
On April 1, 1862, the Warwick Valley Railroad completed a 10-mile rail line from Warwick, New York to the Erie's Newburgh Branch in Greycourt. Originally a branch line of the Erie Railroad, the Warwick Valley Railroad gained its independence in 1880. Two years later, it merged with several other lines to form the Lehigh & Hudson River Railway. By 1889, the Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge (now known as the Walkway Over the Hudson) was built across the Hudson River, providing a faster link to New England. The L&HA soon expanded the line south into Pennsylvania and also north, past Greycourt. and into Maybrook. New York. At Maybrook, freight traffic delivered by the L&HR would be collected and then taken across the Hudson via the Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge. The L&HR's main function was to act as a "bridge line"; to transport freight from other railroads and forward it to Maybrook.
In 1960, decreasing profits drove the Erie Railroad to merge with the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad to form the Erie? Lackawanna Railroad. Then, a crippling blow was delivered on May 8,1974, when the Poughkeepsie Bridge burned. By 1976, freight revenue had declined to the point where the L&HR. the Erie-Lackawanna, and four other railroads were forced to merge to form Conrail. Trains continued to pass through Greycourt until 1983. when the Erie Mainline itself was abandoned. Today, trains running on the former L&HR still utilize the siding in Greycourt as storage and for local farm deliveries, but it is only a mere shadow of what it once was.
1918 Erie Railroad Track Evaluation Map Courtesy of Doug Barberio
From the Lehigh & Hudson's bridge above Greycourt, the Erie Railroad's main line can be seen curving west toward Chester. The Greycourt freight house is at the left. The freight house was operated by both the Erie Railroad and the Lehigh & Hudson River Railway (which is located to the rear of the depot).
From the Simms Family Collection.
Looking west from the Lehigh and Hudson's bridge, most of the Greycourt Yards can be seen. On the right, the L&HR tracks are visible leading into the interchange yards (hidden behind the station), and on the left is the Erie Railroad's main line. In the distance, at left, the water tank can be seen at the beginning of the Newburgh Branch. At one time, Greycourt was home to two railroads, a branch line, railroad station, freight house, post office, general store, and two hotels. Today little remains.
From the Ray Brown Collection Courtesy of Doug Barberio
By the turn of the century, when this photograph was taken, Greycourt had become an important part of the Orange County transportation system. Passengers and commuters would ride the Lehigh and Hudson River Railway to Greycourt, depart at the ornate Greycourt Station, and then wait for the Erie Railroad to take them to Jersey City. One of Greycourt'a two hotels can be seen behind the station.
Courtesy of Robert McCue.
On July 8, 1939, the Lehigh & Hudson River Railway ran its very last scheduled passenger train. During the 20's and 30's, the L&HR's passenger train revenue had plunged significantly due to the increase in automobile usage and later, the poor economy. Among the few in attendance that Saturday afternoon is the train crew of the ?63, who posed on the front of the locomotive.
From the Simms Family Collection.
In July of 1960, an Erie commuter train thunders westbound past the abandoned Greycourt depot. Within a few months, the Erie Railroad would become the Erie?Lackawanna Railroad. The station had been abandoned since 1939, when the L&HR discontinued passenger service, Eventually, the nearly 100-year-old station would be destroyed.
From the John Stellwagen Collection Courtesy of Doug Barberio
Alan Arthur Held
Eagle Scout Service Project
Boy Scout Troop 45
Warwick, New York