The End Of The Troy Union Railroad

The only reason for retaining the Troy passenger station at the bitter end was the remnant of B&M service from Boston with one or two Budd RDC’s. The NYC and D&H had the alternative of using Albany as their passenger interchange, and actually it switched back and forth between Albany and Troy for individual trains over the years. The B&M had nothing but Troy.

The D&H preferred Troy over Albany, because the distance from Colonie Shops (the Capital District locomotive service point and crew HQ) was shorter to Troy, and then they didn’t have to run the North Albany Yard Engine to Albany to handle the occasional passenger switching. The Troy Station Switcher (NYCRR crew) was in the station anyway. I don’t think the individual railroads paid for it per move, just a on a fixed percentage.

NYC preferred Albany, because it avoided running light engines the longer distance between Troy and Rensselaer, their locomotive service point, if they didn’t come back with a train.

The D&H paid NYC to use the upper level at Albany on a pro-rata basis, but, all three railroads that owned the Troy Union RR paid a fixed percent of the operating expenses. NYC paid 50%, D&H and B&M 25% each, because NYC took over the ownership of two predecssor RR’s – the Troy and Greenbush and the Troy and Schenectady. The Rutland had no ownership – they operated as B&M trains between White Creek and Troy.

The passenger station was demolished as soon as the last B&M train left town, mostly to avoid the high property taxes levied on railroad property in New York State. The Troy Union RR employees once said, only half in jest, that they knew the end was near when they put a new roof on the station. That was usually the kiss of death for any railroad building.

A serious problem that always plagued Troy was the number of highway grade crossings in the city. Every switching move blocked Fulton Street or Broadway, and the TURR needed about ten crossing watchmen per trick, or a total of more than 40 for the 24/7 passenger operation.

As for the demolition of Troy Union Station, the last passenger service left town in January of 1958 and it was demolished by the end of the summer that same year. So, no, there was never a post-classic- era shack.

Probably the reason Troy lost its direct passenger service relativley early is because it wasn’t far from more-than-adequate remaining service in Albany (7 miles, and with good local transit connections) . The cost saving from shutting down TUS was probably enormous.

Around 1959 D&H and NYC had brought running B&M to Albany, but they couldn’t make an agreement with the operating brotherhoods to allow B&M crews to run to Albany. It wouldn’t work out if a D&H crew had to take the train over that distance. The B&M wasn’t about to put any more money into maintaining that service west of Fitchburg, and this was another good reason for them to dump it.

Either way, the B&M would have had to either run via TURR to the NYC at Madison Street or to the D&H via the Green Island Bridge, and they would have still needed most of the TURR with all of its crossings, and the Green Island Bridge. A route via Mechanicville would not have worked, either. All three railroads wanted to be shed of the entire TURR, not only the station, and the best way to get regulatory approval was to let the expenses pile up and then dump the whole thing. The only fly in the ointment was the Rutland operation, and when that went away in 1961 the fate of the TURR was sealed.

Read more about the Troy Union Railroad

https://penneyandkc.wordpress.com/troy-schenectady-railroad/

Man Saves the Day by Delivering Pizza to ‘Hangry’ Passengers on Stalled Train

From TIME via California Rail News

A pizza deliveryman saved the day by trekking out to a stranded Amtrak train and delivering pizza to the hungry passengers.

Jim Leary heard on Sunday during a routine shift at Dom’s NY Style Pizzeria in Newport, Del. that some passengers on a stalled train less than a mile away had ordered pizza. That didn’t faze Leary, who says he has delivered pizzas to passengers on airplanes and boats throughout his 17-year career.
“I was like, ‘hell yeah, I gotta hook them up,'” Leary, 46, told TIME. “I know they gotta be hungry.”

Thunderous applause, tears as the ‘greatest show on Earth’ takes a final bow

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus took a final, bittersweet bow
Sunday, staging its last three shows here after 146 years of entertaining
American audiences with gravity-defying trapeze stunts, comically clumsy
clowns and trained tigers.

“Farewell, from the Greatest Show on Earth!” ringmaster Johnathan Lee
Iverson, an 18-year veteran of the show and the first African American to
hold the job, told each packed audience, offering one of the few signs that
the circus was coming to a close. Yet many spectators said they came
precisely because it was the last chance to witness a spectacle that once
felt as if it might be around forever – until changing times and mores
proved more powerful.

Read more on the CIRCUS and the CIRCUS TRAIN
https://penneyandkc.wordpress.com/circus-trains/

A Trip On The West Shore Railroad…Late1950’s

Let’s take an imaginary trip on the West Shore at some point before the late 1950’s and early 1960’s when the West Shore started to disappear:

Two ferry routes connect to Manhattan; one goes to 42d Street and the other downtown to Cortlandt Street.

The New Jersey Junction Railroad, a five-mile long New York Central affiliate, provides connections for interchange between the various railroads in the Jersey City, Hoboken and Weehawken area. From Weehawken to National Junction is classified as yard limits. There is a grain elevator and a pier originating carloads of bananas. Floats destined for the many ports of the New York harbor originate and terminate here.

Up until 1957, Ontario & Western trains share the line between Cornwall and Weehawken. Diesels replaced steam on the West Shore in 1952. The ferry service and commuter runs will be gone by the end of 1959, ending a decline begun by the 1931 opening of the George Washington Bridge. Just above Weehawken, the Palisades crowd the river and force servicing operations to be located in North Bergen. Four miles west by operating direction, but north by geographic orientation, is the New York, Susquehanna & Western interchange at Little Ferry.

The road is mostly four track until Dumont, where several commuter runs terminate, their trains laying over in an adjacent yard. Beyond Dumont, the line is double track to Selkirk. After the commuters leave, the second track will be torn up. Above Dumont, there are ten commuter stops before West Haverstraw, where other commuter runs lay over. Just beyond West Haverstraw the road reaches the river and winds its way to Newburgh, where long-distance commuter runs terminate. A few passenger runs continue to Kingston and Albany, mostly serving local passengers as train times are exceedingly slow compared to New York City/Albany on the Hudson Division. All told, between freight and commuters, this is a busy line. Kingston is the next major city, and both the Wallkill and Catskill Mountain branches are still active. Beyond Kingston, huge cement plants originate countless carloads.

The West Shore from Weehawken joins the Boston & Albany at the south end of Selkirk Yard. The Castleton Bridge, a high, mile-long span carries Selkirk traffic into the Hudson Division and the Boston & Albany. Tower SK controls this point. Selkirk Yard was originally developed in the 1920’s to ease the strain on West Albany. It was rebuilt in the late 1960’s as the Alfred E. Perlman Yard. A branch runs from Selkirk into Albany (11 miles). Access to the Albany station is over the Delaware & Hudson trackage from Kenwood Junction to the north end of the station at street level.

After leaving Selkirk heading west, the line crosses the D&H’s Albany-Delanson line and Voorheesville and crosses the Normanskill on a high bridge. At Fullers the tracks cross on an overpass and operation is left-hand running. The Carman Cutoff leads into Schenectady. Next, the West Shore crosses over the D&H main on a pair of bridges near Burdeck Street. Rotterdam Junction is the interchange with the Boston & Maine as well as a bridge to the New York Central main line at Hoffmans.

Most freight from the west leaves the main at Hoffmans and follows the West Shore to Selkirk. RJ Tower is located on the river bluff just west of the town. It will disappear when the area goes under CTC control from Utica.

West of this point is little used and portions will be among the first to be abandoned. At Fultonville is an old West Shore station with “NYWS&B” stenciled under the eaves. Proceeding west through scenic territory, the Mohawk River is almost always in view. The line passes nearby the home of General Nicholas Herkimer of Revolutionary War fame. At Little Falls the track goes by the river and canal lock at the bank. Near Mohawk, the New York State Railways interurbans shared the track for several years. A connection with the main line is at Schuyler Junction.

The West Shore proceeds through South Utica to near New York Mills, where both the Lackawanna’s Utica branch and the Ontario & Western’s Utica branch cross it at grade. There is a short branch serving the textile mills in New York Mills. At Clark Mills, the Rome branch of the O&W crosses. The main line of the O&W crosses at Oneida Castle and the Lehigh Valley crosses at Canastota. At Kirkville Junction there is a crossover to the New York Central main line, and a few miles further the Chenango Branch joins the West Shore. Traffic is light on this branch and soon Earlville to Manlius will be ripped up. The section from Utica to Rome was electrified for several years. West Shore passenger trains ran on the main line from Syracuse to Utica and left the “direct” route to the NY State Railways interurbans.

From Syracuse to Buffalo (don’t forget, the West Shore bypasses Rochester), the West Shore and New York Central weave across each another several times. The West Shore goes slightly north of Syracuse, while the Central goes right through town. At Lyons, there is an interchange with the Pennsylvania Division. Before reaching Buffalo, there are crossings with the Pennsylvania, Erie, R&D and Lehigh Valley. Waynesport to Chili Junction and Byron to Buffalo will survive as branches to serve local industry after the West Shore as a through route is eliminated as redundant by 1961. The West Shore terminates in East Buffalo with connections to the immediate world.

Find out more about the West Shore
https://penneyandkc.wordpress.com/more-on-the-west-shore/

Penn Station Repairs Could Divert Trains To Grand Central

From CURBED NY via California Rail News

As commuters who travel in and out of Penn Station wait to see to what extent their travels will be FUBARed this summer due to track closures, a few New York state lawmakers have proposed a solution that might assuage those fears.
That solution: diverting some Amtrak trains to Grand Central Terminal for the duration of the repairs, which those lawmakers—New York state senator Neil Breslin, along with New York state assembly members John McDonald and Patricia Fahy—say will help mitigate the delays, service outages, and general stress that track closures will almost certainly cause.

As of right now, track closures are expected to happen for a total of six weeks in July and August, though Amtrak CEO Charles Moorman recently said that they may not be able to finish before the end of this summer. These are necessary, Amtrak says, to facilitate repairs to aging infrastructure (which has caused derailments and other problems in the past few months), as well as the establishment of a coordinated operations center for the various agencies that use Penn Station.

But Breslin, McDonald, and Fahy, in a letter to Moorman, noted that both commuters and visitors to New York will be impacted by the service changes—which could, of course, hit the city’s economy. Plus, they note, it might be a feasible solution “in light of the fact that 20 years ago most trains were routed to Grand Central rather than Penn Station.”

Tarrytown Chevrolet Plant and NY Central Croton-Harmon

GM Tarrytown Plant

Here’s the story when it closed in the 90’s

Fast facts;

The plant was first built in 1903 – they built MAXWELL automobiles.

The plant was purchased by GM in 1916 and assigned to it’s CHEVROLET Division.

Tarrytown was linked to New York City by the New York Central & Hudson River Railroad in 1849.

In the past 50 years, the plant manufactured Chevy Impalas in the 50’s & 60’s. 1971 – 1977, lots of VEGAS rolled off the assembly line there which have all rusted into dust with their little aluminum engine blocks, the ultimate death of that car. Yes, the Lumina was the final vehicle manufactured in Tarrytown. Here’s a shot of the plant being torn down with a view of the railroad in 1999;

Something hard to believe now in looking at the wasteland along Metro North in Tarrytown is that in 1980, this plant was the MOST EFFICIENT plant that GM owned with it’s best worker/management relations on record. At that time, the plant was riding high with the production of the popular front-wheel drive Chevy CITATION.

It’s a sad story that the plant died, but for a change, this can’t be blamed on nor linked to it’s rail service in any way. The State wouldn’t give them a tax break to keep production in Tarrytown, Tarrytown was too expensive for the workers to live nearby (they commuted two hours one way, ROUTINELY) and poor management in predicting consumer trends killed it. Japanese cars helped kill it too. Let’s be honest. Chevrolet cars didn’t hold up well, and fell sooner to rust than the competitors.

See more on Croton-Harmon railroad facility
https://penneyandkc.wordpress.com/ny-central-shops-at-harmon/

POTUS: Lincoln and NY Central Trains

So what does Abraham Lincoln have to do with the New York Central Railroad?

The plaque at the top tells it all. He rode the NY Central to his inauguration and again to his buriel.

Plaque in honor of President Lincoln at 414 W. 30th Street in NY City

It is at the site of the Hudson River Railroad’s New York City passenger station. Lincoln arrived here February 19, 1861 on his route to be inaugurated in Washington DC as President of the United States. After his assination Lincoln’s body went through here April 25, 1865. The Hudson River Railroad became part of the New York Central & Hudson River Railroad and moved it’s main station to what became Grand Central Terminal. The old Hudson River Railroad line in the city became the West Side Freight Line.

Read more about Lincoln
https://penneyandkc.wordpress.com/potus-lincoln-and-trains/

Read more about the NY Central Railroad
https://penneyandkc.wordpress.com/ny-central-railroad/

Rail Freight In Connecticut: The Service Providers

The Branford Steam Railroad

    is an industrial railroad serving the Tilcon Connecticut, Inc. stone quarry and provides service between its trap rock quarry in North Branford and its barge loading facility on Long Island Sound in the Stony Creek section of Branford. The railroad has an interchange with P&W on the shoreline in Branford, and loads ballast trains for Amtrak. Most of the carloads of stone products are destined for Tilcon/Buchanan Marine barges that ultimately deliver the stone products to Long Island, New York, although significant amounts are shipped by rail to metropolitan New York City. Tilcon also supplies its asphalt and concrete plants in Connecticut from the North Branford quarry.

    Central New England Railroad (CNZR)

is a short line railroad that operates in Connecticut over the Department’s Griffin Industrial Track between Hartford and Windsor (8.7 miles), and over the Department’s Armory Branch Line between South Windsor and the Massachusetts State Line in Enfield (13.5 miles). It interchanges with the Connecticut Southern Railroad (CSO) and Pan Am Southern Railroad (PAS) in Hartford. On the Griffin Line, trains run twice a day, five to six days per week totaling over 2,000 rail cars a year and on the Armory branch, it moves 125 cars a year for a total combined equivalent of 17,000 truck trips removed from local roads and highways. The company’s major customers include Home Depot USA, Hartford Lumber, Crop Production Services, and Blakeslee Wood Pellets. Primary rail commodities include lumber, chemicals, fertilizer, and wood pellets. The two branch lines are maintained at FRA Class 1 and Class 2 standards, and CNZR desires to replace the lighter rail sections dating back to the late 1800’s and increase crosstie replacement. The major impediment to the revival of this route is the removal of track in East Longmeadow and Springfield during the 1990’s, and the selling off portions of the right-of-way for parking areas. The State of Massachusetts Department of Transportation and the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC) would likely be involved in discussions regarding future restoration of rail service on the former track bed of the Armory Branch.

CSX Transportation (CSX)

    operates over a 21,000 route-mile rail network. CSX serves 23 states, the District of Columbia, and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec. It serves every major population center east of the Mississippi River, including the New York, Philadelphia, and Boston markets in the northeast and mid-Atlantic; the southeast markets of Atlanta, Miami, Memphis, and New Orleans; and the Midwestern cities of St. Louis and Chicago. It also serves 70 ocean, river, and lake ports along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, the Mississippi River, the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway.

    In Connecticut, CSX operates nearly 70 miles of railroad and maintains 11 public and private grade crossings. In 2009, CSX handled more than 9,500 carloads of freight and employed seven people in Connecticut. Products shipped include lumber, municipal and construction waste, plywood, limestone, and wood pulp. In Connecticut in 2009, the company invested more than $1.3 million in the network and in partnership with state and local economic development agencies, businesses invested $1.75 million in new or expanded rail-served facilities on CSX Transportation or its connecting regional and short lines. CSX has a TRANSFLO terminal in North Haven that provides transloading (transfers of freight between railcars and trucks), materials management, and logistics services.

    Housatonic Railroad Company (HRRC)

is a regional short line that operates in the western part of Connecticut along the Berkshire Line (50.0 miles), and to Derby/Shelton via its Maybrook Line (33.5 miles) and in western Massachusetts. The Department owns the northern 36.4 miles of the Berkshire Line between Boardman’s Bridge in New Milford and the Massachusetts State line. HRRC owns the southern 13.6 miles of the Berkshire Line between Boardman’s Bridge and Brookfield, as well as the Maybrook Line to Derby. HRRC interchanges with CSX in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and has the potential to interchange with CSX in Beacon, New York. The HRRC has an opportunity to interchange with Pan Am Southern Railway in Derby, should the potential for this particular routing present itself.

HRRC operates trains between Pittsfield and Canaan on Monday through Friday, and between Canaan and New Milford on Sunday through Thursday. It operates a local switching operation in the New Milford-Danbury-Newtown area on Monday through Friday. There are switching yards in N. Canaan, New Milford, Danbury, and Hawleyville/Newtown, along with and an engine and railcar maintenance facility in Canaan.

HRRC handles approximately 6,000 railcars a year of commodities that include lumber, limestone, pulp, paper, and waste. This is the equivalent of approximately 24,000 truckloads. In addition to serving several large industrial customers and smaller shippers, Housatonic also moves a considerable volume of the traffic through its bulk transfer facility located at the intersection of I-84 and Route 25 in Newtown. The Newtown facility has the capacity to load/unload cars within its lumber terminal and on its bulk track with total capacity of approximately 30 car spots as well as additional capacity for car staging.

Naugatuck Railroad Company (NAUG)

    is a common-carrier short line railroad that operates over the Department’s Torrington Branch between Waterbury and Torrington (19.5 miles). It is primarily a historic tourist passenger railroad, operating out of Thomaston, providing sightseeing tours along the Naugatuck River. The regular operating season runs from May to October, and trains operate on Tuesday and Sunday. Additionally, independent charter tours are available throughout the year.

    The NAUG formerly moved regular shipments of lubricating oils to Waterville (section of Waterbury), and recent (September 2011) indications point to an early resumption of this traffic. NAUG handled a series of special overweight and over-dimension transformer shipments for CL&P, to Watertown and Torrington. Along the NAUG line in Watertown, a major Construction and Demolition (“C&D”) transload facility has completed the permitting process, being authorized to handle up to 2500 tons of outbound C&D daily. The preliminary site work for this facility has commenced as of September 1, 2011.

    In addition, the railroad has been the location for filming portions of several major motion pictures in the past few years. It has a maintenance shop in Thomaston and has the capacity to perform contract maintenance for other railroads and rail car fleets.

    Pan Am Southern Pan Am Southern Railway (PAS)

(Spring 2009) is a freight railroad jointly owned by Pan Am Southern (PAR) and Norfolk Southern Railway (NS). Under the PAS operating structure, the Springfield Terminal Railway provides all rail services for the joint venture. PAS operates on 105.7 miles of track in Connecticut over the Waterbury Branch (24.9 miles + 17.2), the Waterbury Industrial Track and Watertown Branch, the Canal Branch (3.4 miles), and the Springfield Line (59.2 miles). To service its Connecticut operations, PAS operates trains between East Deerfield, Massachusetts, and Plainville via Amtrak’s Springfield Line to Berlin, and then over PAS track to Plainville.

Norfolk Southern Railway

    is a subsidiary of Norfolk Southern Corporation, and operates approximately 21,000 route miles in 22 states and the District of Colombia. Norfolk Southern services every major container port in the East and is North America’s largest rail carrier of metals and automotive products.

    Pan Am Railways (PAR) is the Northeast’s largest regional railroad. With operations in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, New York, and Canada, PAR interchanges traffic with fifteen railroads throughout its network.

    PAS has general-purpose rail yards in Waterbury, Plainville, and New Britain. PAS has centralized its’ Connecticut operations out of the Plainville yard, which serves as the logistical support center for track and signal maintenance forces, as well as a location for light mechanical repairs to railcars and locomotives.

    PAS transports carloads of propane, lumber and construction materials, steel, plastics, chemicals, stone, paper, and scrap. PAS is experiencing increased car loadings from several recent local business expansions and new industrial facilities. Perma-Treat Company, a railroad crosstie manufacturer owned by Pan Am Railways, loads several hundred carloads per year of new railroad crossties out of New Britain yard, shipping primarily to northern New England and Atlantic Canada.

    Tilcon’s quarry in New Britain/Plainville is connected to the rail line, but is not presently shipping by rail. The Canal Branch in Plainville and Southington has three active clients: J.W. Green ships outbound scrap metals, Forestville Lumber receives carloads of both plywood and dimensional (structural) lumber, and a new Amerigas Distribution Center receives significant inbound shipments of propane in tank cars for final distribution by truck. Another new rail customer is Clark Western, a manufacturer of steel building studs who receives carloads of steel coils. Clark Western modified and updated a portion of the former New Departure building in Bristol. Firestone’s Roofing Products Division occupies a large section of the New Departure plant that receives significant inbound shipments of liquid raw materials and chemicals for manufacturing. In Waterbury, Albert Bros. Scrap Metals ships several hundred carloads of outbound scrap steel. The Waterbury Republican-American newspaper receives occasional carloads of newsprint.

    PAS connects at Waterbury to the Naugatuck Railroad, which receives inbound shipments of oversize and over-weight electrical transformers for Connecticut Light & Power. Hubbard Hall Chemical in Waterbury receives inbound chemicals in tank cars. Occasional carloads of wood stove pellet fuel are shipped to a distributor at Beacon Falls. Kerite Co. in Seymour manufactures and ships oversized underwater cable that is too large and too heavy to ship by truck.

    A Construction & Demolition (C&D) transfer facility in Waterbury is completing a sidetrack for loading several outbound carloads of material each day. This facility alone will require PAS to increase the frequency of service to Waterbury. Additionally, a second large C&D facility along the Naugatuck Railroad’s Torrington Branch is in the final stages of permitting. This project would drastically increase outbound car loadings in the Waterbury area.

    Presently, PAS runs a round trip from East Deerfield, Massachusetts to Plainville once per week. East Deerfield is PAS’ primary connection to the North American rail network. On alternate days, PAS runs out of Plainville to Southington, New Britain, Bristol, or Waterbury, as demand warrants. New customers coming on line in the Waterbury area will likely require a second locomotive and second train crew to be assigned to PAS’ Connecticut operations.

    The Providence and Worcester Railroad Company (P&W)

is a regional FRA designated Class 2 railroad operating in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Long Island, and as far south as the New York area. In Connecticut, P&W operates over 238.5 miles of track, consisting of 67.9 miles of its own lines, 85.5 miles of line over which it has operating rights and provide service, and 85.1 miles of track over that it operates through trains only. It operates on track it owns in the eastern part of the state, including the Plainfield Secondary Line (53.2 miles) and part of the Willimantic Secondary Line (10.8 miles). It has rights to move trains over the NHL (46.8 miles), over the southerly 4.8 miles of the Middletown Secondary, and over the Maybrook Line from Derby to Danbury (33.5 miles). P&W recently reconstructed the line between Middletown and Hartford (13.6 miles) on the state-owned right-of-way. P&W has exclusive operating rights over the Wethersfield Secondary. The Willimantic Branch line has recently been reconstructed from the Versailles yard to the Willimantic yard for restoration of local and through freight service. P&W plans to upgrade the Branch to permit 40 M.P.H. operations.

P&W has classification yards in Plainfield and Willimantic, and operates an intermodal facility in Worcester, Massachusetts, where it interchanges with CSX Transportation (CSX). It interchanges with Pan Am Railways (PAR) in Gardner, Massachusetts, and the New England Central Railroad (NECR) at Willimantic. The connections at Willimantic and New London provide access to the Canadian Pacific Railway and Canadian National Railway. P&W interchanges with the Connecticut Southern Railroad in North Haven and Hartford, and with the New York and Atlantic Railway in Fresh Pond, Long Island, New York.

P&W serves many industrial facilities and supports a large number of rail and industrial jobs in Connecticut. Among its dozens of clients, P&W serves the Frito-Lay production facility in Killingly, a chemical and bulk plastic transfer facility in Plainfield, several rock quarries and gravel pits, a construction and demolition debris facility in Portland, and metal transfer facilities in New Haven and Middletown. It has a maintenance-of-way equipment repair facility in Plainfield; along with a fully equipped spray-paint facility for locomotives and rolling stock.

P&W operates trains between Plainfield and North Haven and between North Haven and Middletown on Monday through Friday, with trains to Danbury as needed. P&W also operates trains between Plainfield and Groton and between Plainfield and Putnam on Monday through Friday, and to Willimantic nightly for the newly re-activated interchange with New England Central Railroad.

In 2010, the company transported nearly 35,000 carloads of freight that included a mix of chemicals, plastics, and minerals, and nearly 24,000 intermodal shipments, some of which originate or terminate in Connecticut, and estimates it diverts more than 100,000 truck trips from Connecticut’s highway system annually.

RailAmerica, Inc. is a holding company that owns and/or operates 13,200 miles of track on 43 separate railroads in 28 different states and 3 Canadian provinces. RailAmerica, Inc. has two subsidiaries that operate in Connecticut: Connecticut Southern Railroad (CSO), and the New England Central Railroad (NECR).

Connecticut Southern Railroad (CSO) is a subsidiary of RailAmerica Inc., operating on CSX from West Springfield to Springfield, Massachusetts, and on Amtrak from Springfield to North Haven (53 Miles). CSO owns and operates the Manchester Secondary Line (9.6 miles), the Windsor Branch Line (6.8 miles), the Wethersfield Branch Line (3 miles) and the Suffield Branch Line (4.4 miles). CSO also operates on the spur track to Bradley Airport that the State of Connecticut owns (2.4 miles) and operates trains between Springfield and Hartford and between North Haven and Hartford on Monday through Saturday, and out of Hartford daily. CSO interchanges traffic with CSX Transportation at their West Springfield, Massachusetts yard. CSO also moves traffic for CSX between West Springfield, Massachusetts, and North Haven under a haulage arrangement.

The major commodities carried are construction and demolition debris (C&D), road salt, lumber, steel, grain, paper, chemicals, cullet, pulp and consumer goods. It estimates it diverts more than 80,000 truck trips per year. It has switching yards in Hartford (30 acres) and East Hartford (10 acres). CSO provides the only physical interchange access to the Central New England (CNZR) isolated state-owned branch lines – the Griffin Industrial and the Armory Branch. The CSO also has an interchange with the Providence & Worcester Railroad at Hartford via the Wethersfield Branch that is currently inactive.

CSO has two major projects that are under active development. A paving stone manufacturer is interested in constructing a sidetrack in North Haven (off the Amtrak mainline), and a major C&D transfer station is under construction in Berlin (off the Amtrak mainline).

The CSO’s route to Bradley International Airport connects with the New Haven-Springfield Amtrak mainline at Windsor Locks. This route could be upgraded for direct passenger rail access to the airport and should be included in studies involving future rail and intermodal passenger options for Bradley. This route also serves the Connecticut National Guard’s Camp Hartell facility.

The CSO’s customers are in need of 286,000 pound freight rail capacity. This is the current North American standard, in place since 1995, according to the Association of American Railroads. Currently Amtrak’s New Haven-Springfield line is not rated for 286K weight limits, with a limit of 263,000 pounds gross on rail weight. The major impediment to upgrading this route to 286K standards is Amtrak’s Connecticut River bridge near the Connecticut/Massachusetts border. Amtrak has done a study of this bridge and what is needed for its upgrade but lacks funding. South of the CSO’s Hartford yard, Amtrak’s Hartford Viaduct structure is also restricted to 263,000 lbs. and requires upgrade. CSX’s route through Springfield, Massachusetts, which is CSO’s connecting interchange partner, is currently rated for 286K over heavier loads. Thus, if the Amtrak route were upgraded, immediate connection is available for the movement of 286K cars into and out of Connecticut. The majority of CSO’s customers are in need of the higher weight standard, including C&D, road salt, feed ingredients, and cullet. Significant traffic growth for Connecticut and the region can be achieved with the completion of this heavy haul corridor. Without upgrading to modern 286K weight standards, Connecticut will become an “island” that no longer conforms to the equipment and shipping standards of the North American rail network, thus directly affecting Connecticut businesses by limiting their shipping access and competitive options.

The Connecticut Resources Authority (CRRA) at Hartford generates high volumes of ash that could be transported by rail. The facility once had freight rail infrastructure in place. The CRRA could have the rail freight infrastructure restored and convert its existing truck shipments to rail, thus eliminating truck trips along Connecticut’s urban highway system.

New England Central Railroad (NECR) is a subsidiary of RailAmerica, Incorporated and operates on its own line between New London and Stafford (55.8 miles) and on to East Alburg, Vermont, and a distance of 326 miles, where it connects with the Canadian National Railway. It also interchanges with CSX at Palmer, Massachusetts, Pan Am Southern at Millers Falls, Massachusetts and Canadian Pacific via Bellows Falls, Vermont. The NECR is unique in that it offers Connecticut businesses access to all four Class I railroads. It also interchanges with the Providence & Worcester Railroad at Willimantic and New London. NECR transports more than 19,000 carloads annually in Connecticut, consisting of paper, plastics, lumber, copper, wood products, corrugated paper, coal, ethanol, and fly ash.

The NECR directly services the Port of New London, Connecticut and provides access to the Port of Montreal via the Canadian National Railway (CN). The NECR is interested in working with the State of Connecticut and their selected port operator to grow rail freight business at New London.

The NECR is currently cleared for Phase I modified double-stack container movements (one domestic and one international container stacked), after a coordinated effort by the NECR, State of Vermont, and USDOT to remove clearance obstacles. The route needs to be cleared for Phase II containers. CN currently markets its container service to New England customers via this route, utilizing P&W’s Worcester, Massachusetts terminal that is reached via the Willimantic NECR-P&W interchange connection. Increased rail freight business can be achieved by opening up the route to Phase II container capacity. This route is listed as a high priority in the Massachusetts and Vermont State Rail Plans as a continuous corridor. The clearance project has also allowed the movement of modern tri-level auto carriers moving via this route.

Customers served in Connecticut include Freeport-McMoran Copper at Norwich; Kof Koff feed ingredients at Franklin, and AES Thames power plant at Thamesville. The Willimantic interchange with the P&W has been a source of growth for Connecticut and regional New England businesses and is in need of upgrade. The route is also a growing through route for freight moving to and from the NECR’s four Class I railroad connections, such as ethanol, road salt, finished autos, and coal.

In 2012, the NECR will complete its High Speed Rail project in Vermont and New Hampshire. As part of that project, all bridge and track structures will be upgraded to handle the modern 286,000 pound gross weight railcar. A small portion on the north end of Vermont and all of Massachusetts and Connecticut remain in need of similar upgrades to create New England’s first heavy haul 286,000 K multi-state corridor. 286,000 pound upgrades to the NECR corridor are listed as high priorities in the Massachusetts and Vermont State Rail Plans, thus forming a continuous corridor. Significant traffic growth for Connecticut and the region can be achieved with the completion of this heavy haul corridor. Without upgrading to modern 286,000 K weight standards, Connecticut will become an “island” that no longer conforms to the equipment and shipping standards of the North American rail network, thus directly effecting Connecticut businesses by limiting their shipping access and competitive options.

Communities along the NECR in Connecticut and Massachusetts have become interested in reestablishing rail passenger service along the line. This group, the Central Corridor Line Coalition, is actively working together to explore the opportunities that passenger rail service could provide. The Central Corridor Line links Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor at New London with the Mohegan Sun Casino at Uncasville, the University of Connecticut at Storrs/Mansfield, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and Amtrak’s Vermonter service at Brattleboro, Vermont. In addition, a casino is likely to be built in the Palmer, Massachusetts area within the next three years. The service could be provided by a private rail operator under contract with the Corridor.

Valley Railroad Company (VRR) is a tourist railroad that operates between Old Saybrook and Haddam along the right-of-way owned by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. The company began operations on July 29, 1971. It has authority to operate up to the southern end of the P&W’s Laurel Branch in Middletown.

From May through the Christmas season, the VRR runs up to five round trips per day, three to seven days per week, on various segments of the line from Old Saybrook to the current end of usable track at Mile Post 12.75 in Haddam. During some special events up to 40 trips per day may operate. Many patrons additionally make a riverboat connection with company facilities in Deep River. There are additional excursion services provided on a smaller scale during the winter and early spring months. The company’s positive economic impact on the lower Connecticut River valley community is significant, regularly drawing 140,000 visitors per year, with almost half being from out-of-state.

Most public highway/rail grade crossings have been upgraded rail weighing 107 pounds per yard or heavier, and many are in very good condition. Most private crossings are smaller rail, with several being 100-year-old 74 pound rails. Twelve of the fourteen public crossings are equipped with active warning devices. Most of these systems were designed, constructed, and funded by the VRR, and are maintained to FRA standards at the Company’s expense.

There is no “brrreeeport” in Connecticut, but there are plenty of towns that are served by freight railroads. Search them out!

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