Get Ready for "Tappan Zee Station"

While residents are considering the new names of Lighthouse Landing and Ferry Landings, the New York State Department of Transportation has just entered the name of "Tappan Zee Station" to our ever-increasing lexicon of things and places collecting on our Hudson shoreline.

imagesThe schematic that accompanies this article comes from Alternative 4A, one of the several alternatives being discussed by the area’s lead transportation agencies as they get ready to replace or remodel the Tappan Zee Bridge, beginning in the next few years. The purple-hued double line literally tracks a Commuter Rapid Transit train as it comes across from the Nyack side of the river to connect up with our own Hudson line going in and out of Manhattan. Depending on a passenger’s final destination, the train could also head over to White Plains, or tie-in to the Connecticut rail lines at Port Chester. No ultimate decision has been made on whether the crossing vehicle will be a bus or a train or some combination of both.

What Tarrytowners are most interested in finding out is how the train actually makes its way into the Village from its height of 100 ft. up on the bridge and how it connects to the main Hudson line near Irvington. The 6-8 car train will come into Tarrytown from the bridge at the toll booth and will head toward a double track underground stop at the NY Thruway Authority property next to the Bridge entrance. That stop, depending on the exact location decision, will be down at the 40 ft. level, and will be reached by escalators and elevators. The station might easily resemble the contemporary looks of the Washington, D.C. underground railway.

The tunnel will then continue inland toward White Plains Road (Rt. 119) at 80 ft. beneath the surface, turning back toward the River at the 100 ft. level, then heading to surface level near Kraft Foods. The "looping" of the underground tracks is due to a 2% elevation rise or declination requirement in order to provide adequate power for the train’s maximum lift or drop. The tracks will join the NYC Hudson line just short of the Lyndhurst property on the River. It will return from Manhattan by retracing its path underground to the Bridge, eventually heading west toward Suffern and Port Jervis, some 75 miles away from the Bridge. "It will disturb nothing in Irvington," says Marty Huss, Metro North’s Tappan Zee Project Manager, and adds that "little in Tarrytown will be affected as well" particularly if NY Thruway property is used for the surface portion of the station and the accompanying 200/300-space parking lot. Huss says that the number of parking spaces has taken into consideration possible switching by commuters from the main station at Depot Plaza to the new Tappan Zee station.

The net effect of commuting by train to Manhattan from the west side of the Hudson through "Tappan Zee Station" can be compared to what is available currently. Getting to the City from the Jersey side now requires a trip through Secaucus and then, over to Penn Station. Depending on a final destination, a trip from central Rockland could take 1 1/2 hours. Through the route in Tarrytown, you could be in for only a 45 minute train ride to Grand Central from the Nanuet area.

As the project moves forward, it is the intention of the MTA, the DOT and NYSTA, the three lead agencies in the project, to bring each river town up to date on what effects the new Bridge will have on individual communities along the river. One worry that Mr. Huss said Tarrytowners are now expressing is whether or not tunneling will go under river dweller homes, possibly causing a collapse in a basement or two. The answer, says Huss, is "no" and that "none or few homes" will be disturbed by the project since there will be no blasting to build the tunnel, with the major work being done by a tunnel boring machine. Nevertheless, all agree that long time Villagers will have to start getting used to a new station with a new name and a train that literally drops down out of the sky and disappears directly into the ground!

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About the Author: Arnold Thiesfeldt