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Manhattan has the High Line, Poughkeepsie has the Walkway Over The Hudson. Both of which were also viewed not too long ago as crazy ideas.

Turn the Beacon Line into an outside art walk, like Storm King Art Center.

  1. Tourists get off at the train station, head down Klara Sauer Trail.
  2. Pick up the Beacon Line before Dennings Point.
  3. Loop along the tracks to East Main (have you seen the views of the Hudson Highlands and Fishkill Creek from the train tracks? Gorgeous).
  4. The whole while, viewing sculptures and other art installations.
  5. Scenic Hudson, Main Street art establishments, BACA, Howland Art Center, etc., and Dia:Beacon can all get in on this action. Dia can even extend this concept, using the old track lines behind the Nabisco factory to hook up with the Beacon Line at the Dennings Avenue bridge (see this map: )
  6. At East Main, they enjoy the falls and drop some coin for lunch.
  7. $$$
  8. Walk back down to the station along Main St., shopping.
  9. $$$

Going to Beacon for a weekend daytrip would become a huge thing. It can of course interconnect with Scenic Hudson's planned Fishkill Greenway. Bikes too.

This would really work. They run trains on the Beacon Line what, once a year? It could be done in such a way that the art would not interfere with the tracks, the trail can be made safe for tourists, and the whole thing would be temporary.

MTA: give us our frigging Beacon Line. ANYTHING on the Beacon Line, except a weed lot.

Tags: art, beacon line, biking, main street, outdoor art, sculpture, tourism, walking

Views: 1084

Replies to This Discussion


thanks Scott!

did you buy fireworks for the watch party?


Great idea!

Not a crazy idea at all, Ben! This is brilliant!

Thanks for the encouragement folks.

I already am with a group interested in trying to get the Beacon Line used again:

We sat down with Randy for an hour in August to strategize, Randy always championed using the Beacon Line: 

But the thing is, our focus has always been on transportation on the line, not art.

I should talk to people who have already invested time and energy in the transportation focus. This is sort of a 180 degree turn in focus. Or at least a 90 degree turn.

But of course, we've always struggled mightily with what is economically feasible, and what isn't.

Again thank you for the positive feedback. Anyone who might be interested in making something more formal out of the crazy idea, please contact me:

Better Homes and Gardens did a pictorial of the High Line in Manhattan in the last six months, try to find it online - your idea is a good one.

thanks! ;-)

and this is the sort of thing that will really benefit east main and the beacon theatre: shunt all the dia generated tourists thataways

this is really encouraging feedback everyone

ok, i'm running with this

this idea I can get behind - the train idea I thought too far fetched and didn't have a hope of coming to fruition. This seems much more doable and would appeal to more people than the train thing. 


it's such a potent potential tool for Beacon's further growth

and it's owned by a public entity, tasked with regional transportation, of all things

so it's completely unacceptable it should just be sitting there, growing weeds for Beacon

if sculpture walk is something everyone can get behind, and that's modest enough of a goal to actually happen, we have to get this done

When they were doing the work to repair the area where the old tunnel was thought to exist, I spoke with a worker and asked when the last time a train used the line, and he thought it had been over ten years. (which the condition of the track and bridge over the MTA tracks suggests) I wonder if the railroad that owns the track gets some kind of tax writeoff for having the track, even if never used. Perhaps they could be persuaded to donate the track to a non-profit for an even bigger tax writeoff (at least a one time writeoff bigger than a possible annual write-off they may now be getting)


As far as I understand, whenever someone approaches the MTA about using the track they just rebuff the advances. Randy said even just pouring sand between the rails for biking got a cold shoulder. They want to hold on to the tracks for strategic reserve: it's the only way to move trains between the Hudson, Harlem, and New Haven lines without hitting Grand Central. Which isn't an absurd need in a post 9/11, post Hurricane Sandy world. 

I know they ran a sight seeing train in 2004/ 2005. Since then, in Brewster, the condition of some bridges has decayed to the point where it is not safe to move heavy locomotives over them. The infrastructure is still sound here in Beacon. I thought they still ran some trains since then to service their $7 million dog house idea but I could be wrong:

Yes, the MTA wanted to spend that much for a dog training facility along the Beacon Line in Stormville, but they rebuff any common sense attempt to make use of the line here in Beacon, even ideas that would require a tiny financial outlay.

Look, the problem with the MTA is their internal agenda is completely out of touch with the general public and the municipalities they are supposed to be serving. So the only way forward is we have to apply leverage on the MTA at the State Senate level before they listen to us.

Which we can do, which we shall do.

I remember when they were going to have some tourist train trip on the line across the state, going all the way to CT, but I thought it ended up being cancelled because of the condition of tracks and bridges (the bridge over the Metro North tracks has rotten timbers now and I doubt it would pass an inspection for train use; the timbers have been rotten a long time and just get a little worse each year).


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