Historic Rail Parks

I got an opportunity to travel Philadelphia again last month. I have written about my Philadelphia sojourns in the past. I also try to visit New York during my Philadelphia trips. I am going to write today about couple of unique parks, that too, about railways, I visited in both these cities. I had visited New Delhi’s National Rail Museum way back in 2003. I am yet to write about it, but these two rail parks are not railway museums. Read on to find as to what they are then.

Who does not like railways? These monster machines continue to amuse, despite the jet set world we live in these days. Both Philadelphia and New York are comparatively older cities in USA. The have rich continued preserved history for past 350-400 years. Railways(they call railroads in the USA) also have a very fascinating history in making of these cities, and other ones in entire USA, in terms growth in various sectors. Both these cities had very strong, and busy rail networks, both on ground, underground, and elevated rail lines, serving passenger movement, as well as goods movement, supporting industries in and around these cities. The famous Reading Terminal, now a major shopping hub, in Philadelphia, is right in the city center. I do make a visit to it every time I am in Philadelphia.

The  recently opened The Rail Park in Philadelphia happened to right behind the building on North Broad Street where my office was located. Actually, it is just a phase one of the entire plan which is supposed to cover more than 3 miles. It was designed based on similar park which was created in New York. The Rail Park is situated on two obsolete train lines that served the Reading Terminal, bringing passengers and freight in and out of Center City. The area around abandoned rail line is beautified with greenery, nice pathways, sitting areas, and also public art display.  This stretch of discontinued rail line area which was in shackles and rambles, is part of magnificent railroad history of Philadelphia.

The following weekend while my stay in Philadelphia, I made plans to visit New York. I did not have plans to visit The High Line Park in New York, though someone had informed me about it earlier. I watched famous Broadway musical show The Phantom of the Opera. I also visited few other iconic, historic landmarks such as Grand Central Terminal, Madison Square Garden, Bryant Park, Times Square etc. In the evening, I returned to Megabus terminal to catch my bus taking me back to Philadelphia. I accidentally bumped on entrance of High Line Park near the bus terminal. I obviously was delighted, I had time in my hand, and quickly ventured into The High Line Park. This has been around for quite some time now.

This park is located middle of Manhattan, on the west side. This park is designed to preserve abandoned freight rail line which ran through West Side area of Manhattan. It was elevated rail line, carrying goods from industries around this area during 1934 to 1980. With the advent of interstate highways, it was not used much. I entered it from 34th Street entrance, soon to find myself on a bridge, which overlooked Hudson Yard, where I could spot of many subway trains, and large of rail lines. This nicely designed park in the air, has gardens, sculptures, sit outs, overlooking neighborhood on both the sides. One can view skyline of Chelsea area, and on other side, one can view Hudson river bay.

It was fascinating to walk on this historic rail line, unexpectedly that day. I had walked all day in New York(which is the best way to see it!), despite that, I stretched myself for another 45 minutes to walk and experience this park.

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