We hope you start your day or weekend vacation and relax as soon as you get on the train. Bring your favorite book or your tunes, a hot cup of coffee, and a snack. These overly-long directions will hopefully answer all your questions about train travel here and put you at ease. If not, email us!
Metro North trains depart from Grand Central Station on the “Harlem Valley Line” to Wingdale about every two hours until late evening, seven days a week. There is no service between midnight and five am. During weekday rush hours the trains run every about 45 minutes apart in the morning from Wingdale, and in the evening from the city. The trip takes about ninety minutes. If you are leaving the city during evening rush hour, try and get on the train fifteen minutes early to guarantee a good seat. The fare per person is based on “peak” or “non-peak” hours. “Peak” means that you are boarding during extended rush hours toward the city in the morning, and toward Wingdale in the late afternoon/evening. As of this writing, the current pre-purchased, one way, off-peak fare between Grand Central and Wingdale is $17, and the peak fare one way is $22.75. (add $6 if ticket purchased from conductor, cash only). There is a restroom in each car; cleanliness may be iffy. IMPORTANT! There are no restrooms at the Wingdale station.
When you get to Grand Central Station (42nd and Park) to start your trip up here, consult the overhead electronic blackboards on the southwest side of the main floor. There, look for the “Harlem Valley Line” heading, and for trains that have “Wassaic” as their final destination. One of the stops on the trip is the town of “Southeast”. (Southeast is a station below Wingdale, and Wassaic is above Wingdale where the train line ends). Don’t get on a train that only lists its final destination on the blackboard as “Southeast,” or you will be waiting at that station for the next through train northbound toward Wingdale. On some trips, one has to change trains anyway at Southeast for the ride northbound from there, even though Wassaic is listed as the final destination. Don’t worry. If you need to transfer, the next train is always waiting at the Southeast station when you arrive at that stop. But if you get on train which lists Southeast as its destination, you might be waiting a long time for a train to take you from there up to Wingdale.
Be sure to pick up a printed schedule at the kiosk at the center of the main floor of Grand Central. The schedule is blue colored, and titled “Patterson, Pawling, Harlem Valley-Wingdale.” Also be sure to get your tickets at the station. They are more expensive to purchase onboard, and the conductor will only take cash (as of this writing) Changing large bills might be iffy. The Wingdale station has a ticket machine.
All tracks from Grand Central are on the north side of the station. (The side directly behind you when you are looking at the overhead electronic blackboards). The track number for your train is listed on the blackboard. There are track gateways on the main floor, and there are track gateways on the level below you. The track numbers are listed on each gateway. If you can’t find your track, it may well be on the level you are not currently on. On the lower level, there are many fast food booths and they will be happy to give you food to go. You can even buy alcohol at the carts in front of, or sometimes inside, the track gateways on the lower level – (mostly for commuters after a hard day at the office). Each track gateway leads to TWO tracks, one on your left and one on your right, so make sure you get on the correct train.
You can also board the train at 125th Street. Make sure you are waiting on the correct platform there. The first express northbound stop after 125th Street is usually White Plains, followed in order by Southeast, Patterson, Pauling, and Wingdale (also known as the Harlem Valley stop, and abbreviated very confusingly on the Metro North web page schedule as “Hlm-Valley”).
IMPORTANT! At the Pauling stop, move to the middle four cars of your train, because only those cars will have their doors open at Wingdale, because the platform can only accommodate four cars. Ask the conductor to advise you if you are in a car whose doors will open. The Wingdale station is in the middle of an old brick building complex which used to be a pre-war spa/rehabilitation hospital. We will meet you on the platform with a sign with your name on it.
From the Wingdale station, your fun starts immediately and you will be crossing an old wood covered bridge over the Housatonic River and passing the Appalachian Trail within fifteen minutes. Have your cameras ready!
For your return trip back to NY City from Wingdale, when we meet we will go over your desired return time, and make sure you are at the station twenty minutes early so you can purchase your return ticket at the machine on the platform, if you do not have a round trip ticket already.
For you serious hikers who do not wish to use a guide, in summer the train may stop at a tiny platform below the Wingdale Station called the “Appalachian Trail” station. Check the schedule carefully beforehand, and make sure your conductor knows you want to stop there. The trail crosses the tracks at that stop. From there, summer AT hikers can set off northeast on the AT and cross into Connecticut at Sherman, and hike up to Kent, where we are based. It is an exhausting and very, very long day hike, and more likely you will want to break it up into two days. (See our hiking section for map links and tips on AT distances and time estimates).
Link to Metro North: www.mta.info/mnr/html/mnrmap.htm
(Go to blue line on map called “Harlem Line”).
NOTE FOR BICYCLES ON TRAINS – we know you would prefer to bring your own bicycle up here – we have plenty of room to transport them from the Wingdale station for you, but you should certainly consult the MTA “bicycle” page for limitations and restrictions. They do not allow bikes on rush hour trains, and you have to pay a one-time five dollar fee: www.mta.info/mnr/html/getaways/bikerule.htm