Hudson Valley Railroad Society History

The Hudson Valley Railroad Society (HVRRS) was started in 1966 by William "Bill" Comley. He had a layout and train shop in his basement, so that was where the Society initially held its meetings.

In 1972, the HVRRS had its first Railroad Exposition. It has held a show every year since, in recent years, the second Sunday in November.

In the early seventies, the Society created a 2-piece modular HO layout. This they dragged around to their show and to other shows in the area. It depicted a scene of the Poughkeepsie waterfront, with a working trolley loop above. The backdrop was hand-painted to depict City of Poughkeepsie buildings and scenery.

In 1975, the Town of Hyde Park was about to tear down the Hyde Park station. The Hudson Valley Railroad Society contacted the Town and asked if they could occupy, restore, and maintain the station. The Town accepted, and it was just in time -- when our members came down the next day to take possession of the station, a bulldozer was sitting in the parking lot, ready to knock the station down!

The HVRRS rented the Hyde Park Station from the Town of Hyde Park for fifteen years at one dollar a year. The lease was renewed in 1990 for another fifteen years.

Since 1975, the HVRRS has been restoring the Hyde Park Station. Proceeds from the HVRRS's yearly Railroad Exposition continue to raise funds for restoration efforts.

When the HVRRS moved in, they brought the modular HO layout in and set it up in the upstairs area above the baggage room. The modular layout was permanently mounted to the wall, and the layout was expanded to go all around the room.

Some members of the club have interests in N gauge modeling. The most notable of these has been Mike Rourke. Over a period of 25 years, from 1975 to 2000, he built a 4 foot by 5 foot model of the Ontario and Western Railroad (O&W) in Kingston, New York. His Kingston layout was a fixture at every model railroad show in the area for two decades, until his untimely death in 2001. The HVRRS purchased the Kingston layout from his widow. They then converted it to permanent status. It is currently located in the baggage room.

In 2000, the HVRRS put up its first web site, at a free address. We got what we paid for -- the hosting site collapsed and disappeared in early 2001. We lost just about all of the content that had been set up at that time. In the middle of 2001, the HVRRS purchased two domain names -- hvrrs.org and hydeparkstation.com -- and rented space on the current server. Manny Boccini and Milo Tsukroff rebuilt the site.

In Fall 2002, Bill and Cathy Comley moved away from the Hudson Valley. They will be missed.


Bill Comley

In 2003, the upstairs HO layout began to receive a major overhaul. The old yard was totally removed. A new and smaller yard was installed on the upper level, based on the Smith Street yard of the Central New England in the City of Poughkeepsie. New buildings were added. The old modular layout section was spruced up, with new people figures and more trees. A new DCC system was installed, greatly improving our control over locomotives going around the layout. The HO traincam was fixed and improved, allowing visitors to go around the layout at track level.

Also new for 2003 is a computerized system that runs a telegraph sounder in the ticket office. It can run the sounder continuously while the station is open, recreating the sounds of yesterday when the telegraph was the primary means of communication.

As 2004 approaches, work continues on the upstairs HO layout. More buildings are going in. A new lower yard is being installed. The lower level is being fully double-tracked.

The Hyde Park Station, 34 River Road, Hyde Park NY 12538
E-Mail: webmaster@hydeparkstation.com