The Town of Lloyd Historical Preservation Society (TOLHPS) will bring back popular historian John Duda to talk once again about railroads. But this time, the man who recently shared the story of far-off trains and train stations in the country’s west in pioneer days, will describe some unique train lines much closer to home – small and unusual railroads that served the pioneering settlements of Ulster County. Duda’s presentation, “NOT the New York Central,” will take place in Highland in the Vineyard Commons Theater/Meeting Room on Monday, February 3 at 7 p.m.
If you live in the Hudson Valley, the word railroad probably instantly brings to mind the two train lines that flank the Hudson River: sleek passenger trains on the east shoreline and long, lumbering freight trains on the west side. But as the title of Duda’s upcoming presentation suggests, audience members in February can expect a far different take on trains. Among the railroads he’ll describe are a logging railroad, inclined railroads, and a railroad only five miles long. There’s a story behind each one, and an even bigger story behind the “railroad insurrection” of the 1860’s when the governor of the state called out troops to quell the confrontation between two train companies each claiming control of the line between Albany and Binghamton, NY.
Plus, says Duda, “Each time I do the talk, I add a segment on a local area line.” To the delight of the Lloyd Historical Society, this time the local part will be about the trolley line that once ran between Highland Landing and New Paltz. For the past many months, the Society has been focused on the trolley line, periodically displaying model trolley cars throughout the town, followed by auctions, which have placed model trolleys in many local homes and businesses.
Professionally, Duda, a resident of Fleischmanns, is a retired postal clerk, who still does mail runs under contract. But his passion is history. A life-long history buff, he frequently speaks to regional historical societies. He is the long-time secretary of the Kaaterskill Post Card Club, trustee of the Greater Fleischmanns Museum of Memories, trustee of Skene Memorial Library in Fleischmanns, and a member of numerous regional historical societies.
TOLHPS sponsors free monthly public programs from September to June, usually on the first Monday of the month at the Vineyard Commons theater/meeting room in Highland. Vineyard Commons is at 300 Vineyard Avenue, about a mile and a quarter from the Hamlet of Highland on Route 44/55, just south of the Hudson Valley Rehabilitation Center. To reach the theater, turn into Vineyard Commons and follow the signs to Building 6. At the request of Vineyard Commons management, audience members are asked to park their cars in the lot at the far right (west) end of the row of buildings that includes Building 6.
For more information about TOLHPS programs and plans, consult the organization’s website, TOLHPS.org, look for Town of Lloyd Historical Preservation Society on Facebook, or call 845-255-7742.