All aboard!

Have you ever been a part of a historic train ride?  It's possible in the Hudson Valley.

It amazes me how much historical information can be found in the Hudson Valley. Some of it we may already know while a lot of it remains unknown or as a mystery. 

Some of our ancestors may have been the first to discover or settle in one of the historic villages/towns or hamlets within New York state.

The Hudson Valley Has Deep, Historical Roots

New York Heritage Digital Collections, Museum of Rhinebeck History
New York Heritage Digital Collections, Museum of Rhinebeck History

A mysterious Hudson Valley community was once known as "Wagendaal." It was located in Ulster County, NY. The historical markers on site represent what it meant to those who settled the land. 

Also within Ulster County, NY is the oldest intersection in America. It was built pre-revolutionary war and still has historical markers showing its significance.

A 1920's shirt factory once provided jobs for residents who lived in Kingston, NY and surrounding areas. Today, it's somewhere that you can live and call home.

From mysterious communities to historical intersections and factories, the Hudson Valley has a lot to offer to history buffs.

The Hudson Valley Has A 150-Year-Old Railroad That Offers Year-Round Experiences

The Catskill Mountain Railroad is located in Kingston, NY.

According to Catskill Mountain Railroad, they are a,

"for-profit organization dedicated to preserving the railroad corridor for all-season recreational use."

Their shareholders are volunteers and this business relies on their dedicated volunteers and ticket sales to be able to continue to be open and make improvements.

Would You Experience History On A Hudson Valley Railroad, If You Could?

According to The Catskill Mountain Railroad, 

"The tracks you will be riding on are rich in history, having connected and shaped our communities for almost 150 years. Shipping magnate Thomas Cornell made his fortune operating a fleet of steamboats along the Hudson River, providing vital transportation services for a growing region."

It also mentioned how Thomas Cornell imagined a railroad to connect the Great Lakes with the Hudson River. He hoped that this would carry passengers year-round, along with any cargo.

How Far Has The Catskill Mountain Railroad Gone To In The Hudson Valley?

According to The Catskill Mountain Railroad, 

"The Rondout & Oswego Railroad was chartered in 1866, and construction began in 1868. The railroad reached Olive Branch (Town of Shokan) in 1869 and Phoenicia in 1870. The railroad was extended to Arkville in 1871 and Roxbury in 1872, before it was taken over by the New York, Kingston & Syracuse Railroad."

Therefore, the Ulster & Delaware Railroad then took over in 1875. It was an immediate reaction to start an expansion as soon as possible.

From there on out, 

"In 1881, a narrow gauge branch was built from Phoenicia up to Hunter. The connecting Kaaterskill Railway was acquired in 1892, extending the line to Tannersville. in 1895, the eastern terminal of the railroad was extended from Rondout to Kingston Point, allowing for a direct connection with the boats serving New York and Albany on the Hudson River"

When Was The Expansion Of The Catskill Mountain Railroad Complete?

"The railroad completed construction to its western terminal and finally reached Oneonta and a connection with the Delaware & Hudson Railway in 1900."

It was said that these trains brought tourists to and also from the Catskills.

This was soon known as,

"one of the first all-weather routes into the Catskills, the railroad enjoyed considerable success bringing vacationers to the grand hotels and boarding houses by the thousands. In 1913, more than 676,000 passengers rode the U&D to the Catskills"

It wasn't until the early 1900's that the railroad carried supplies that were used for the construction of the popular, Ashokan Reservoir. This is one of the reservoirs that also assisted in the water supply to New York City.

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In the 1930s, the Ulster & Delaware Railroad was purchased and was then known as the Catskill Mountain Branch. There was a period of time when the railroad industry became a part of the industry's downfall.

It wasn't until the 1980's that the Catskill Mountain Railroad was able to be open to serve passengers and freight service.

How Can Passengers Ride The Catskill Mountain Railroad Today?

The Catskill Mountain Railroad provides guests with multiple themed options to enjoy.

The Easter Bunny Express, Peace Train, Catskill Fall Flyer, The Polar Express, Ice Cream Sundays and more options are available. From the months of March until December, there are events happening, weather permitting.

Guests are able to explore the Hudson Valley in all four seasons. Those who visit can see the spring flowers blossoming, the rolling hills of greenery in the summer, the beautiful fall views and majestic winter scenes.

Have You Been on The Catskill Mountain Railroad For The Polar Express Train Ride?

Allison Kay
Allison Kay

I had the opportunity to be apart of the Polar Express train ride on The Catskill Mountain Railroad. Upon the festive train ride, guests were served hot chocolate and chocolate chip cookies. A visit from Santa who came onto the train was the most magical part.

Have you ever been on The Catskill Mountain Railroad? If not, which season would you choose to experience the railroad? Share with us below.


11 Old Upstate Train Stations and Firehouses That Are Now Restaurants

The time comes in every small town in Upstate New York when they must look to giving up the ghost with their old train stations and firehouses. Time has passed these important places for the most part, and (in the case of the old firehouses), new, more modern ones must be built.

So, what to do with the old buildings?

Well, many communities have sold off their "old stock" of train depots and fire stations to private citizens who have breathed new life into the structures as modern, delicious, and very popular restaurants.

Here are some very old train depots and fire stations (some more than 150 years old), that
are now vital places in their communities, serving up delicious meals, a place for high-end cocktails, a venue for live entertainment, and more. And to the credit of almost each of these listed in this gallery, they have all managed to modernize these old buildings while leaving important nuances reflecting back on the DNA of their past, back to when the conductor used to holler "All Aboard" and to when the fire trucks barreled out the huge front doors answering the call in the neighborhood.

I think you will enjoy this list!

"All Aboard" These Upstate NY Polar Express Trains for December

Since the classic book "The Polar Express" came out years ago (and the movie, too) these Christmas trains have become more and more popular throughout the country. There are several Polar Express train rides around the Upstate New York region, as well as other Santa-themed rides too. They all feature an appearance by Jolly Old St. Nick himself as well as fun, games, gifts, elves, hot chocolate and cookies. These are extremely popular so click on the links in the posts and reserve your seat now!