TRACK 61: FDR’s Secret Railway Tracks Discovered, Still Primped for Presidential Escapes

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Pretty cool. Of course, they’re not going to show the whole escape plan though.

These rusted and decaying railway tracks may seem like any of the thousands of feet of disused track that snake under midtown Manhattan.

But this discreet siding, Grand Central Terminal’s ‘Track 61’ – was once a vital tool in the arsenal of wartime President Franklin D Roosevelt – and could yet spring into action again.

Hidden underneath the opulent Waldorf Astoria hotel, the secluded platform was one of many ways Roosevelt, stricken by polio and paralyzed from the waist down since 1921, would hide his affliction.

When visiting New York City, often from his childhood home in Hyde Park, upstate New York, the siding would allow him to make it to the Waldorf’s Presidential suite without attracting public attention.

His private railway car – at that point still the luxury travel option of choice – was able to pull inside the station, at which point his limousine could drive straight off the carriage into an elevator connected directly to the hotel.

From here he could make it into his room where nobody could see him – particularly journalists who may have tried to break the veil of silence around his condition by taking pictures.

Though the media generally agreed to avoid mentioning Roosevelt’s paralysis out of choice, the arrangement was not unbreachable.

Unfavorable outlets would on occasion draw attention to his illness, or publish pictures, much to the frustration of White House officials.

Read more: Daily Mail

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