shepaug wrote: ↑Sun Dec 13, 2020 10:04 pmA footnote :::::::::::::::: Anybody know of any source of info on the Southbury line ? Historical. I have never seen such an elusive line as to history. I guess it was abandoned from Waterbury late 30's but from Hawleyville to Southbury the late 40's ? Ever see any pictures or timetables or ?? What was serviced in the 40's ? (I know a wandering subject change)
This was part of the New York & New England Railroad's main line, which ran Boston-Woonsocket-Willimantic-Hartford-Waterbury-Danbury-Beacon/Poughkeepsie. The NY&NE was a New Haven competitor in the latter half of the 19th century. Management had quite a history of financial shenanigans. The company could never get a decent entry into New York City, though they tried hard-- at one point even operating a car float from South Norwalk to an LIRR connection at Oyster Bay. They collapsed into bankruptcy in 1893 and were ultimately acquired by the NH in 1898.
The climb out of the Naugatuck valley and over Towantic Summit on the NYNE was hard, and the New Haven downgraded the route in favor of going "around the horn" through Derby. Waterbury-Southbury was abandoned in 1939. The ROW was purchased by a Dr. Larkin in 1943 and gifted to the state for use as a bridle path-- thus becoming what I think is the oldest rail-trail in the US.
Southbury-Hawleyville held on until 1948. In Gregg Turner's Connecticut Railroads: An Illustrated History
there's a photo of the New Haven's scrap train at work on the Housatonic River bridge at Sandy Hook. I don't know who the customers would have been at the end, but my guess would be the usual small-town stuff of the time- LCL freight at the depot, maybe a lumberyard and coal or oil dealership. The stone bridge piers and abutments are still there-- you can see them clearly from River Rd. in Southbury. https://goo.gl/maps/4guVs9pJYHSTazfM6