Monsey Memories: “Rapid Transit Line to Reach Spring Valley”

Monsey Memories: “Rapid Transit Line to Reach Spring Valley”

Yitzy Fried 

It was the winter of 1928, and the Rockland County Leader reported on the plan to build an electric railroad from Manhattan to Spring Valley: 

“Electric railroad from New York to Spring Valley. William L. Staley, promoter of the plan, gives an interesting talk in Spring Valley Frieda. William L. Staley, engineer, capitalist and promoter, who just as present is promoting a rapid transit electric line from the heart of Manhattan to Rockland County, was in Spring Valley last Friday night and told his plan about a dozen representative citizens of the place who met with him for that purpose. 

“Mr. Staley is promoting a rapid transit line which would start in the heart of Manhattan, run under the Hudson River and the Palisades to a point on the New Jersey meadows somewhere near Babbitt, then proceed north through Bergen County, N.J., and five miles into Rockland County, crossing the New Jersey-New York line somewhere near Tappan. From the New York terminal to this point, there would be four tracks, two express and two local tracks.  

“From this Rockland County terminal lines would run in three directions, to Nyack, to New City, and to Suffern by way of Spring Valley. Mr. Staley, Friday night, assured the Spring Valley men that the line would pass close to Spring Valley, so close that the Spring Valley station would be located within easy walking distance of the heart of the business section of the town. The Nyack terminal would be located somewhere near where the Main Street Ice Pond Is, the company having secured options on the entire Lydecker estate in that locality. 

“The cost of the of the project is estimated at $160,000,000 based on costs of similar work now being done in New York city. These figures have been checked, Mr. Staley said, by competent authorities, and are believed to be accurate, the length of time required to complete the work would depend entirely on the length of time required to tunnel under the Hudson, which might be done in three years and certainly would not take more than five years. By the time this tunnel was finished, all other work could be done. 

Express trains could be run from Spring Valley to the New York terminal in thirty minutes, Mr. Staley said, and the fare would be much lower than railroad fare.”

It is unclear what became of Mr. Staley’s elaborate and ambitious plans, but 95 years ago, in the winter of 1928, this plan represented the future of train travel to and from Rockland County.

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