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Past

A vital rail link

Built in 1873, this 2.7-mile rail wishbone-shaped rail spur was created as a link between east-west and north-south railroad lines intersecting in Poughkeepsie. Freight trains delivered raw materials to industries along it and transported their finished products to markets nationwide. They also delivered coal to the newly-completed Hudson River State Hospital.

After World War II, the need for this rail spur gradually declined as many industries in the city and town began moving to other parts of the country. In operation until the closure of the state hospital in the 1990s, it has remained unused ever since.

Past
Present

A new transportation and recreation corridor

Recognizing its potential to link residential and commercial neighborhoods in the city and town, as well as Marist College and the Mid-Hudson Regional Hospital, Scenic Hudson negotiated and funded the acquisition of the former rail corridor in 2019. The following year, the Dutchess County Legislature voted unanimously to assume ownership of the corridor and to develop and maintain a new rail trail — the Urban Trail.

Currently in the planning stages, the Urban Trail will offer safe, convenient access between Northside and Town of Poughkeepsie neighborhoods, as well as a corridor for biking and walking to work, school, and local businesses and parks. The future Urban Trail network complements other initiatives in Poughkeepsie, including planned improvements to nearby streets and sidewalks that will increase safety and support mobility for people of all ages and abilities.

Present
Future

A boost to health and economic opportunity

The Urban Trail will provide a car-free option to walk or bike to work, school, shops, medical facilities, and public parks on the Hudson River. This will benefit people living along it, residents of the Northside neighborhoods and Hudson Heritage (on the former state hospital site), and Marist College students. Combined with planned improvements to city streets and sidewalks, it will make travel through the Northside safer and more convenient.

Future

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