Manhattan Freight Cars


One today perhaps doesn't normally equate the island of Manhattan with freight, much less rail freight, but at one time the Hudson River side was all but covered in tracks. Freight trains were such a presence and considered such a menace that the city undertook several major projects to at least minimize their visual impact, covering up and separating the west side line from as much as possible. Of course, long term shifts in manufacturing, competition by truckers and containerization completely wiped out rail freight traffic in Manhattan eventually leading to the complete closure of the line in 1980. Fortunately however, those city projects left behind a wonderful photographic record of a long lost Manhattan, now preserved in the New York City Municipal archives where one can find photos of the NYC 60th Street yard chock full of freight cars of many a variety: 

Gondolas carrying what is likely a very pungent load (that's a cattle barge in the background):

Jim Matthews


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