Just past sunset, Amtrak's Empire Service plies the West Side Line in northern Manhattan. The line was originally constructed for freight service by the Hudson River Railroad in 1849, and extended all the way to Chambers St. in far lower Manhattan. Shortly thereafter, the tracks were acquired by Cornelius Vanderbilt of the New York Central Railroad. The line served the industrial and dock areas of the lower west side and was the primary route for meat and produce into New York. To alleviate street level congestion, the section south from 34th St. was elevated in the 1920's. In later years, as the industries served by the freight rail diminished, the elevated section was abandoned and has since been converted into the very popular High Line Park. In the 1980s, the section of the West Side Line from 34th St. to the northern tip of Manhattan was acquired by Amtrak and converted to passenger use. With the construction of a new connection from the line to Penn Station, Amtrak was able to route trains using the Water Level Route to Penn Station (instead of Grand Central) and consolidate its Empire and NEC operations at Penn Station.
An ongoing/growing album of photos that IMHO reveal the awesome, but seldom seen beauty of railroads because most of us don't go out after sundown or before sunrise. From dusk to dawn, lights are on! (And I continue to find new "Lights In The Night"!)