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Earle Baldwin

"Rails Through the Hudson Highlands" (Video)

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In 1990, the former New York Central Hudson Division was abuzz with a never ending parade of trains of Metro-North Commuter Railroad, the line’s current owner, along with those of tenants Amtrak and Conrail. Vintage equipment was still the order of the day with MNCR’s ex-New Haven FL9’s providing motive power for conventional consists. Supplementing the classic cab units were Budd SPV2000’s and “Metropolitan” electric multiple unit cars. Amtrak trains were in the capable hands of that carrier’s own FL9 and workhorse F40PH fleet. Turbo trains built by Rohr were a frequent sight as well. Since their running gear provided generous clearances for the third rail in electrified territory, Conrail relied on General Electric four axle Universal and Dash 7 Series locomotives to move its freight up and down the east side of the Hudson. Given the variety of equipment, train frequency and stunning scenery, Metro-North’s Hudson Line was a train watcher’s paradise.

 

Let us now fast forward to the present day. The line’s traffic and ridership are more intense than ever; however, many changes have been implemented since 1990. General Electric P32 “Genesis” locomotives are now the power of choice for MTA Metro-North Railroad, no longer known as Metro-North Commuter Railroad, and Amtrak. The older “Metropolitan” cars have now been supplemented with and in some cases removed in favor of new generation M7’s. Even Conrail has become a fallen flag, having been split between CSX and Norfolk Southern in 1999. CSX EMD four axle units have replaced the “Big Blue” GE’s which once roamed these rails.

 

It has been said one can not return to the past; however, thanks to the good folks at Highball Productions who recognized the need to document this action, railroad hobbyists can again visit the Hudson Line in 1990 courtesy of its video “Rails Through the Hudson Highlands.” Coverage begins in Ossining and extends north to Poughkeepsie, pausing at many intermediate points along the way. Some of the locations visited are Croton North, Peekskill, Cold Spring and Roa Hook. FL9’s in Metro-North’s tasteful red, blue and silver scheme abound. It is this reviewer’s opinion these units were most attractive when wearing this scheme. Several Metro-North trains on the tape are powered by ConnDOT New Haven painted FL9’s. Amtrak’s FL9’s are seen in charge of numerous trains. One particularly interesting consist has an FL9 on the head end with an F40 positioned at the rear. A number of Conrail freights with B23-7’s providing the muscle put in appearances. CR also provides a treat for us on the opposite side of the Hudson with several northbound movements, including a hopper train featuring run through Norfolk Southern units on the River Line. Mix in some Rohr turbos and MNCR SPV2000’s and we have the recipe for a very entertaining program.

 

As with a number of other railroad video producers, many of Highball Productions' early programs have been reissued on DVD; however, I believe “Hudson Highlands” is not among them as of yet. Do not be deterred as VHS tapes remain available in dealer inventories and on the secondary market. I did a recent check of this title on the web and several copies popped up as available. Its original list price was $29.95 but current pricing for an out of print program will undoubtedly vary according to condition and perceived demand. Fans of New York City Metropolitan Area action will certainly want to keep their eyes open at stores, meets and on the web for this program. Given the historical significance of the vintage equipment featured, it is definitely worth the search.

 

Happy railroading,

 

Earle:)

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Hello Earle, Highball has reissued "Rails through the Hudson Highlands". Would you like a free copy? Blu-ray or DVD? Shoot us an email at info@Pentrex.com

DVD-HBP-RTTHH-DVD-BRD-3D.jpg

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