The Hudson Point and Hawthorne Railroad
and the place it serves grew from the memories and imagination of Ken Spranza. On the HP&H it's a time when life was simpler: 1956. Gas station attendants still wear uniforms, wash your windshield, and check your oil. Movies don't need ratings. They are still shown outdoors on a big screen without offending the community. If mom is not cooking at home, you may eat in a diner where a uniformed waitress probably knows your name. We are in love with our cars and drive-in restaurants are poping up all over. America is at its capitalistic best: business is booming and shiny new consumer goods are in demand. Pre- war cars, radios, clothing and toys are being tossed out but the only recyling is by the occasional junk man. He still makes his rounds with a horsedrawn wagon. In 1956 you'd have to look up "environmentalist" in a dictionary and OSHA hasn't been invented. America is a highly industrialized and cluttered place, especially in the Northeast.

Ike's Interstate system is still a figment of his imagination. People work, live and play in places that are relatively close together. The metropolis of Hawthorne, Hudson Point and the surrounding communities are such a place.

On the trains, passenger traffic continues to decline in 1956 as it has since the end of WWII. Americans love their cars. They drive to work, go for rides in the country, and vacations are more likely to include a trip in the car. Times are still good for freight on the railroads. There are trucks on the roads too, but most raw materials and finished products are moved by rail.

Hudson Point is the eastern terminus of the HP&H. The terminal here facilitates passenger service by ferry to and from Hawthorne. Passenger service extends westward and northward. Southbound passengers travel west, then must change trains and ride another road. Northbound trains take the branch off the main near Arcadia. On weekdays, commuter service extends out to Lourdes and there is limited service on Saturdays.

The railroad extends to the HP&H Western Division via a tunnel near Crow's Nest. Freight from the South and West interchanges with the Pennsylvania, Western Maryland and Erie Railroads. Much of the stone needed to build Hawthorne and the surrounding communities came from a quarry in the Western Division. The cut stone, gravel and sand from this area are used throughout the Northeastern states. A train leaves the quarry twice daily and the HP&H crews are kept busy returning empty hopper and flat cars to the branch line. A Northern Branch line leaves the main near Arcadia and interchanges with the New York Central and the Northern Division of the HP&H. The Arcadia and Jumpers Perch areas are rather congested and the branch line may be difficult to see. From Hudson Point Yards, freight service to Hawthorne is via rail car loaded onto car floats and bulk loading into various vessels.

Construction of the HP&H began in June 1997 and ended in June 2007. Construction of the Western Division began in August 2013 and continues almost daily.

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