The Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge, located approximately halfway between Albany, NY and New York, was built in the 1880s, crossing the Hudson River. The bridge opened in December 1888 “and was considered a technological wonder.” When trains started crossing it the next year, “it was the longest bridge in the world.” It linked “New York and New England to an extensive, nationwide railway network. For decades, it was a major rail corridor for both freight and passengers. At its height, 3,500 train cars crossed the bridge on a daily basis.” During World War II, “the bridge carried troops to be shipped overseas.”
However, after a devastating fire in 1974, possibly caused by spark from a train’s brakes, allowed the bridge to be abandoned, sitting “for decades as an orphaned relic.”
Then, in 1992, a nonprofit organization called Walkway Over the Hudson started its campaign “to provide public access to the bridge and link rail trails on both sides of the Hudson.” It “assumed ownership of the bridge” in 1998, then partnered with a foundation “to access public and private funding in order to transform the bridge into the world’s largest pedestrian park.” Construction work began in May 2008, and on October 3, 2009, Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park opened to the public.
The new trail…provides public access to the Hudson River’s scenic landscape for pedestrians, hikers, joggers, bicyclists, and people with disabilities. The bridge also provides important connections to an extensive network of rail-trails, parks and communities on both sides of the river.
When the family was down in the Mid-Hudson area on vacation in early August, we crossed the bridge round trip, It was lovely, though the Daughter expressed “seasickness” when we were over the water, about half the sojourn each way. Recommended.