• Berkshire Division, Bridgeport

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New England
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New England

Moderators: MEC407, NHN503

  by Jeff Smith
And again: http://naugatuck.patch.com/articles/a-long-ago-trip
At the head of the train sat an enormous black engine with drivers as tall as a man. As if the distinctive arched cab windows weren't enough to distinguish it's lineage, the ornate script herald of The New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad was boldly emblazoned in gold on it's oversized tender. Today it's headlight was pointing north along what the New Haven called it's Berkshire Division, but what most locals still referred to as "the ol' Housatonic Railroad".

In the cab the seasoned fireman carefully trimmed his fire, while the engineer oiled around the engine. From time to time the compressors would kick in as they maintained the air pressure in the break line. Steam hissed from a number of fittings, and when the pops would lift, to let off excess steam, the sound could be heard all the way up Fairfield Avenue. The effect was more that of an impatient beast than that of a machine.

Soon after being seated the mother and daughters heard the familiar drawn out "all aboarrrd" from the conductor, which was soon followed by a deep throaty whistle from in front. The brass bell began to ring as the train began to glide effortlessly from the station.

The engine led the way along the trestle that carried the track from the center of the city, down the long ramp past Borden's Dairy, and out to the north end of town. Soon trees were flying by the windows as the tracks skirted Beardsley Park. The trackside houses began to thin out and a more rural landscape began to emerge. Barns, fields and livestock replaced the more urban setting

Shortly there after the train passed into the Long Hill section of Trumbull. It than began a long climb that would eventually lift it all the way up into the Berkshire Hills and finally to Pittsfield. With her nose pressed to the window, the girl watched as the Pequonnock river rolled over rocks and waterfalls far below, and as massive rock formations came right down to the edge of the tracks on the other side of the train. The engineer opened the throttle and adjusted the Johnson Bar to compensate for the grade. The sound of the exhaust changed from a muffled whoosh to a sharper bark as the big machine began it's long fight against the pull of gravity.