In July of 1889, about seven months after the bridge opened the Central
New England & Western Railroad was created to merge the three into a
single, continuous route which stretched from Hartford, Connecticut to
Maybrook, New York. In 1892 the Philadelphia & Reading (the
Reading) gained control of the CNE&W but lack of funding resulted in
the railroad falling into bankruptcy and reorganized as the Central New
England Railway. The CNE remained in operation from 1899 until it came under
the control of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad in 1927,
in which it remained until the creation of Penn Central.
Prior to the formation of the Erie-Lackawanna in 1960 virtually all of the smaller New England Class I's relied on the Poughkeepsie Bridge to ferry freight and passenger traffic between New England and points west and south such as Buffalo, Philadelphia, Chicago, etc. These companies included the DL&W, Erie, L&NE, L&HR, Central Railroad of New Jersey (CNJ), and even to some extent the Reading (who often ferried traffic to and from the CNJ). After the EL merger the new company, to some extent, elected to keep traffic on its own rails for Chicago-bound traffic. However, the bridge still offered an important interchange point for New England-bound traffic carried by the Boston & Maine and New Haven. When it closed in 1970s the EL felt the effects along with many of the other smaller roads previously mentioned.
The bridge saw less traffic after the creation of Penn Central in 1968 as that railroad chose to likewise keep freight on its own rails rather than transferring it to other lines. To make matters worse the PC's declining financial situation and worsening operations (maintenance was in shambles and trains were being lost all over the railroad) caused the bridge to see even less traffic. Then, an arsonist's fire on May 8, 1974 forced the bridge to close and the PC chose to fix the damaged structure. This closure forced the bridge line, Lehigh & Hudson River into bankruptcy, as it was unable to fund the repairs to the bridge which was its only lifeline to freight traffic. For more on the bridge's history please click here.
The bridge passed into the hands of
Conrail which continued to neglect it as now it served no significant
railroad purpose with the government-owned company owning all of the
former railroads' lines that had relied on it. In late 1984 the bridge was sold to Gordon Schreiber Miller and
later Vito Moreno, both of which did nothing with the bridge. Fourteen
years later it was sold to the Walkway Over the Hudson non-profit group
which looked to turn it a pedestrian footbridge. After millions of
dollars either granted, raised, or donated the bridge opened to the public on October 3, 2009. To visit the Walkway's website please click here.
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