Open Letter to the Times Herald Record
As a resident of Cornwall-On-Hudson I am very interested in the re-introduction of passenger service on the West Shore line. My reasons are purely selfish: My commute would become much easier, as I would be able to walk to the train. Additionally, I would receive a windfall regarding the value of my home.
I am writing this letter for somewhat less selfish reasons. For some time I have been convinced that the revitalization of the city of Newburgh depends on the resumption of direct commuter train service (more than any other factor). Look what improved Metro North service has done for Beacon. While train service could be provided using the West Shore line, I would like to suggest an alternative that I believe would be far less costly and which could be implemented in a very short time, relatively speaking.
I propose the rebuilding the old Erie connection from Central Valley to Newburgh. Some modifications to the original route are required, however, to make this plan feasible. In order to avoid having to cross the New York State Thruway, I propose that the track to run adjacent to the Southbound lanes of the Thruway from the point where the two cross, at grade in Woodbury, to Vails Gate, where the existing underpass and track could be used to complete the journey to Newburgh.
There are a couple of additional reasons why this makes sense. First, this would allow Metro-North to add trains on the (overcrowded) lower part of the Port Jervis line without having to originate them in Port Jervis. This should result in a considerable cost savings in terms of revenue miles. The second reason is that the track could easily be extended to connect to Stewart Airport, by continuing alongside the Thruway. Stewart, I believe, would also benefit from direct train service. I recently read a prediction that the number of airline passengers nationwide is expected to increase by a factor of two to three times, and that existing airports will not be able to handle the traffic. This suggests that sooner or later Stewart will become a major airport. A rail link to Stewart will allow it to serve western Orange County, Rockland County, Northern New Jersey, ane even Westchester County (if a rail link were added across the Tappan Zee) without overloading the New York State Throughway..
I do not know if anyone has ever considered doing this. I am not a civil engineer and therefore cannot be certain that there are no obstacles to this plan that are insurmountable. I do believe that it is worthy of serious consideration and that the only way that this will happen is if someone with the authority to get things started sees the potential in it. If there is anything else that I can do to help in this matter please do not hesitate to contact me .