Category Archives: Connecticut

Is a Tool Train a Wreck Train?

The “Big Hook” on the New Haven was referred to as the “Tool Train”.

Penn Central used the work Wreck. What a surprise. On the New Haven Railroad trains were never wrecked they DERAILED, Collided or overturned but never WRECKED.

A “Big Hook” served the New Haven under steam on Penn Central at least until 1975 when it was utilized at a 12 car derailment north of Windsor, Connecticut. It also had been used in 1970 at a Branford, Connecticut derailment.

At the inception of Penn Central, a New Haven Big Hook was immediately hijacked and shipped to Altoona, Pennsylvania. The New Haven had three 230-ton cranes and the mighty Pennsylvania had nothing that big.

Now, the better track and the emergence of contract wreck clean-up outfits like “Hulcher’s Vultures” had reduced the need for the big hooks, although Guilford maintains a “wreck train” of sorts with a hook, which still sees occasional use.

See more stories like this one.

https://penneyandkc.wordpress.com/the-ride-to-choate/

 

Metro-North New Haven Line in the Winter

It’s old wiring, and some of the catenary support towers are original century-old installations.

The ancient infrastructure is way past end of useful life even with Metro North’s excellent maintenance practices. You get more frequent breakdowns with old mechanical systems and the old supports than the newer installations on the line. Do not forget shoreline weather factor. Winter unleashes steady punishment on all shoreline-facing structures during peak storm season. The differences between light/fluffy snow and heavy caked-on snow or sleet/ice are dramatic shoreline vs. just a couple miles inland during most Noreasters, and there’s often a stiff sea breeze even in less-severe weather and even with Long Island Sound somewhat more protected from the worst of the Atlantic elements than other places. Pressure + time takes its toll more rapidly than with inland electrification, and if the weather alone doesn’t bring down a wire here and there it corrodes it enough that you get more pantograph downings on brittle stretches. There’s also a lot of new-growth trees along the ROW that were allowed to sprout and grow above catenary height during the deferred maintenance era. Lot of downed limbs from wind and heavy snow/ice, and MNRR has limited options for clearing a wide swath around the ROW when it runs through people’s backyards… the trees are a natural sound and sight barrier that the neighbors would go ballistic if cut down.

That’s the price the NH line has to pay for being the most congested passenger rail corridor in the country, running high-speed service on one of the oldest ROW’s and the single oldest still-operating electric installation in North America (other extant ones may have been older, but they completely scrapped and changed their type of electric collection method after early experimentation).

And with all due respect, the new, improved, high-tech crap doesn’t perform as well or as long as the old stuff did. It may run faster, when it runs, and it may look prettier, but the simpler the design, the fewer the problems.

See other short stories

https://penneyandkc.wordpress.com/a-collection-of-short-stories-about-railroads-book-two/

 

 

Shoreline Officials Want To Hit The Brakes On Federal Railroad Proposal

A  federal proposal to run tracks for Amtrak high-speed trains through a new route in affluent Fairfield County drew fire Thursday from the mayor of the region’s second-biggest city.

Mayor David Martin said Thursday he likes the plan to expand capacity at Stamford’s busy train station. But he’s against building new track routes to Greenwich and to Westport that might eat into his city’s neighborhoods or commercial base.

“This plan looks more like fantasy than fact, and we’re going to fight it,” U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal told reporters.

The Federal Railroad Administration’s proposal to overhaul sections of Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor route in Connecticut has already hit heavy resistance in southeastern Connecticut, where the agency wants a new 30-mile inland segment to bypass the curving, twisting tracks between Old Saybrook and Kenyon, R.I.

Martin is the first Fairfield County leader to raise concerns about how it would affect the southwestern region, but Blumenthal predicted that opposition will keep growing.

“The feeling in Stamford is similar to southeastern Connecticut: People want safe, reliable and fast trains, but the devil is in the details,” Blumenthal said.

The FRA met stiff opposition in Connecticut last week when it released a massive report documenting how it wants to modernize Amtrak’s heavily used but badly deteriorating 456-mile Northeast Corridor route from Washington, D.C. to Boston.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, Sen. Chris Murphy, U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney and Blumenthal all slammed the proposal for Connecticut, where Amtrak’s Acela and Northeast Regional trains run along the shoreline from Greenwich to Stonington.

The Old Saybrook bypass would “eviscerate neighborhoods, historic landmarks and real estate values,” they said in a joint statement condemning the idea.

The FRA maps also suggest new tracks between eastern Greenwich and Stamford’s train station, and another – far longer – new segment from east of the station to Westport.

The FRA hasn’t specified precisely where it would build new tracks; its report refers to constructing “aerial structures” above I-95 and possibly using the highway’s embankments, but FRA staffers emphasize that exact routings would be have to be worked out with local officials. The report and maps are at http://www.necfuture.com/flipbook/feis_highlights/default.html#4/z.

Opponents and the FRA both acknowledge that there’s currently no funding source, and Blumenthal has said the potential $10 billion to $30 billion cost of a mile-long tunnel beneath Old Lyme is simply unaffordable.

On Thursday, about 100 southeastern Connecticut residents gathered at town hall to discuss a strategy for blocking the Old Saybrook bypass. SECoast, a regional organization leading the fight, warned of a lawsuit if the plan advances.

The FRA wants a plan to rebuild the Northeast Corridor to accommodate a much more frequent schedule of next-generation Acela trains as well as more Northeast Regional service. The corridor links Boston, New York, Trenton, Philadelphia, Wilmington, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., a congested mega-hub of people and jobs that’s expected to grow over the next three decades.

The agency wants to clear chokepoints and slow zones, allowing for faster runs and far more trains as the schedule expands over the next several decades.

In Connecticut, that means shaving 20 percent off the travel time of Acela’s Boston to New York City run by building modern tracks on straight alignments and free of grade crossings.

“Rather than spending billions to save 25 minutes on travel time, why not invest millions to save five minutes on parking, five minutes on ticketing, five minutes on reliability, five minutes on connectivity?,” said Gregory Stroud, head of SECoast.

“For many travelers the 25 extra minutes spent in a comfortable seat, writing email, is the least of their worries. Let’s invest first in longer trains, in safer closer-spaced trains through positive train control. With limited dollars let’s invest in the New Haven to Springfield corridor, which will nurture Connecticut communities, not destroy them,” he said.

The FRA has emphasized that without state support, the proposal won’t move forward.

Cuomo orders higher security measures on mass transit

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo last week signed an executive order that gives New Jersey and Connecticut law enforcement jurisdiction on New York’s public transportation services and facilities.

The order is aimed at allowing security and counterterrorism officials in both states to assist New York in ensuring public safety at locations traditionally targeted by terrorists, according to a press release issued by Cuomo’s office.

“With the busy holiday season in full swing, we are taking every precaution necessary to mitigate potential terrorist threats and keep people safe,” Cuomo said. “This order gives our partners in New Jersey and Connecticut greater ability to help patrol and protect our mass transit networks. Together we will continue to remain vigilant, and I urge all travelers to stay alert and safe throughout the holidays.”

The holiday season tends to be a time of heightened alert and risk of terror attacks as hundreds of thousands of commuters travel between New York, New Jersey and Connecticut each day via mass transit systems, including inter-state rail, bus and ferry systems.

Increased manpower and overall law enforcement presence will allow governments throughout the region to protect public safety and provide an additional reassurance to commuters, Cuomo’s press release said.

The order was issued on Dec. 8 and will remain in effect for 30 days.

Lakeville Anniversary

October 28, 1965, is the 50th anniversary of the last train run on the former CNE/New Haven Railroad between Canaan & Lakeville CT.  It started at the historic Canaan Railroad Station, crossed two rivers (Blackberry & Housatonic), went between the two Twin Lakes, through the towns of Taconic & Salisbury & ended in Lakeville, a distance of 8 miles.  Was active for nearly 100 years & survived previous petitions for abandonment. the trestle in Lakeville over Route 41 was removed in 1950.  Housatonic RR removed the diamond at Canaan about 3 or 4 years ago. the only two businesses serviced before the abandonment in 1965 were Tri State (not sure of the last name) in Salisbury & the Community Service in Lakeville.

LakevilleLakevilleStationLakeville Station

(all photos courtesy of Hopewell Junction Restoration Project

LakevilleSalisburyStationWestSalisbury Station

LakevilleTaconicStationCloseTaconic Station

LakevilleTwinLakesCausewayTwin Lakes Causeway

LakevilleTwinLakesStationTwin Lakes Station

See more pictures of this old railroad

Great Movie of New York Central and New Haven Trains in 1961

PenneyVanderbilt

If you like trains in the New York City and Connecticut area, like New York Central Railroad, and/or like New Haven Railroad, like “old” (well, 1961 was not “old” for a lot of us; then you cannot miss this movie.

http://archive.org/details/6358_HM_NY_Central_and_NYNHH_Electric_Operations_July_1961_01_00_54_11

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Above: New Haven electric locomotive on Park Avenue viaduct.

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Above: New Haven MU train at Stamford (the station before the old station)

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Above: New Haven “Washboard Electrics” at Stamford

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Mail train (called M&E for mail and express) on the West Side Freight Line headed for the General Post Office on 8th Avenue. Motive Power is RS3’s. The old R Motors that used to haul these went to the South Shore.

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Above is a NY Central “P Motor” at the 125th Street Station.. These were the BIG electrics that came from Cleveland when they took out power into/out of Cleveland Union Terminal. None of these were preserved.

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Above is…

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How Did CT Decline?

The Arts Mechanical

It’s simple really.  Too many people here started to get greedy and pushing for their piece of the pie rather than watching what was happening to the pie.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jimpowell/2013/08/01/how-did-rich-connecticut-morph-into-one-of-americas-worst-performing-economies/5/

It didn’t help that the decline happened industry by industry, slowly over decades.  It was all to easy for state officials to convince themselves that the problems weren’t real, that nothing they did was causing the problems. This was compounded by CT’s economic diversity. It was easy to say that the state didn’t need a textile industry or a brass industry when they weren’t significant parts of the economy.  The problem was that the brass industry, the textile industry, the wire industry, the optics industry and all the other supported a bunch of supporting shops and small manufacturing companies that closed up too.  Bit by bit the pie just shrank.

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