The first rays of sunlight are just hitting the landscape as Amtrak’s Empire Service train #230 passes Pollepel Island. The castle ruins were once the warehouses of a Scottish arms merchant who purchased the island in 1900. He ran a thriving business on this site until his death in 1918 and shortly after 200 tons of shells and powder exploded and destroyed part of the complex. The land, commonly called Bannerman’s Island, was formally transferred to the state in 1967 which has kept it off limits to the public ever since. Recently The Bannerman Castle Trust was established with the goal of preserving the grounds and has allowed the occasional guided tour of the island and ruins.