• Housatonic Railroad Thread (Maybrook, Berkshire, Pittsfield)

  • 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

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  by Greg Moore
 
Ayup, I can't think of any business other than B&D in Canaan that has contributed traffic in that section. The old US Gyp plant did for awhile, but beyond that, yeah not much. Sadly.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Within SKS's archives there are photos of a Milk Train that "spilled" along Hatch Pond. I heard of the incident while I was there '56-61. Of course that was well eclipsed by the August '41 Southbound Camp Special that spilled on the curve immediately North of the Pond with the engine ending up in the drink. (no promises this will work, unless you are a Times subscriber).
  by J.D. Lang
 
Thanks for the link Mr. Norman. I've seen pictures of that wreck before but never read any articles about it until your post and link.
  by Jeff Smith
 
What prevents the HRRC from interchanging at Derby or Devon? After some research, it seems to me that after they expanded by acquiring the Maybrook, they had overhead rights from Derby to Devon to interchange with Conrail, much as P&W has overhead rights on the Maybrook from Derby west. It would be ironic, but that would obviate the need to traverse the 32 mile middle stretch through no-man's land that they originally lease, from Boardman's Bridge to Canaan. For that matter, why not interchange with P&W at either Danbury for the stone train, or either P&W or Pan Am Southern at Derby?
  by Jeff Smith
 
One more thought... the "New Housatonic" started out as an excursion service. They own the mileage between Boardman's Bridge and Danbury, and lease the northern Berkshire from CtDOT. Why not restart that excursion service on the weekends Danbury to Kent? Buy some of the Budd RDC's owned by that Vermont outfit. They can use those RDC's for peak passenger service from New Milford to Danbury as well.

I know HRRC has a tense relationship with CtDOT and MNRR, but an operation from Kent (excursion), New Milford (pax) to Danbury seems to be wholly within their existing rights not involving crossing a division post. For that matter, they could do Newtown - Danbury as well.

After that, they can cross the Southeast hurdle. From what I've seen, they'd like to operate down to SoNo/Stamford as well. Yes, you'd have to switch crews at Danbury. Yes, you'd need signalization including ACSES unless you find an exemption for that 100 yards to the westbound pocket track at SoNo. What CtDOT has been figuring out is intrastate is their future.

el Jefe has spoken.
  by Jeff Smith
 
WAIT! There's MORE!

Use one of the RDC's to run Canaan - Pittsfield.
  by Greg Moore
 
I've said for years, properly done (and right now I don't see HRCC doing it) weekend service to GCT (or even exchange at Danbury for now) is an option.

Leave Friday: 4:00 PM, arrive Canaan by 7:00 PM. You can turn on the wye, or continue to Great Barrington or even Pittsfield. Return Sunday.
If you really want, run a Saturday train down and back.

Yes, slower than driving, but no weekend traffic and most weekenders already have a car at their weekend place, or the rest of the family is there while they work in NYC so don't want a car in the city.

Yes, I know folks can drive over to NY and take the train from there, but that's still inconvenient.

You're not going to get enough traffic for daily service, but on the weekend, you just might get enough to cover operations.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
J.D. Lang wrote: Tue Dec 08, 2020 9:44 am Thanks for the link Mr. Norman. I've seen pictures of that wreck before but never read any articles about it until your post and link.
Mr. Lang, were you able to "get in" or are you a Times subscriber?
  by Ridgefielder
 
Jeff Smith wrote: Tue Dec 08, 2020 11:23 am What prevents the HRRC from interchanging at Derby or Devon? After some research, it seems to me that after they expanded by acquiring the Maybrook, they had overhead rights from Derby to Devon to interchange with Conrail, much as P&W has overhead rights on the Maybrook from Derby west. It would be ironic, but that would obviate the need to traverse the 32 mile middle stretch through no-man's land that they originally lease, from Boardman's Bridge to Canaan. For that matter, why not interchange with P&W at either Danbury for the stone train, or either P&W or Pan Am Southern at Derby?
I was under the impression the Maybrook was O/O/S between Lakeland Lumber in Newtown and Derby-- something about a bad bridge. I'm sure P&W would far rather operated the stone train via Derby instead of executing a reverse move across the main at South Norwalk.

What none of this solves, though, is the CSX interchange. The B&A interchange at the north end-- first at State Line, then Pittsfield-- has been the lifeblood of this line going back to pre-WW2. From Pittsfield it's ~50 mi to Selkirk.

In the absence of the middle section of the Housy it's not clear to me where they'd interchange with CSX. Remember, in the years in the '70's/80's when this line was O/O/S (and I can tell you it was REALLY dead-- I have childhood memories of 6" diameter trees growing in the gauge by West Cornwall station) the Danbury yard was still serviced by a daily Selkirk-Cedar Hill road freight that ran via Beacon.
  by J.D. Lang
 
Mr. Lang, were you able to "get in" or are you a Times subscriber?
I was able to open the link about the camp special but not the times link.
WAIT! There's MORE!
Use one of the RDC's to run Canaan - Pittsfield.
If Mass runs the Berkshire flyer next year from NYP-Albany-Pittsfield then it may be a good move if they or BSRM could run an RDC from Pittsfield-Canaan. Mass Dot has already started to upgrade Pittsfield to the CT State line to Class III.
In the absence of the middle section of the Housy it's not clear to me where they'd interchange with CSX. Remember, in the years in the '70's/80's when this line was O/O/S (and I can tell you it was REALLY dead-- I have childhood memories of 6" diameter trees growing in the gauge by West Cornwall station) the Danbury yard was still serviced by a daily Selkirk-Cedar Hill road freight that ran via Beacon.
The Pittsfield CSX interchange is by far the best way to bring cars into western CT all the way down to the Danbury cluster. It would be great if somehow the Maybrook could be brought back on line for the stone trains and some possible interchange between them and HRRC.

I to remember the Berkshire line all the way back to seeing the NH Budds and black and orange RS-3's while playing golf with my father at Canaan CC up to when my friends and I would canoe the Housy from Falls Village down to Cornwall bridge in the early 70's. Yup small trees in the gauge. Thank goodness our 6th district congressman (when CT had 6 districts) Toby Moffat was able to get the right of way landbanked.
  by Greg Moore
 
Unfortunately the canoe business mostly dried up (pun intentional) when the power company went for their dam renewal. They typically can't do pond and release like they used to, so no (or at least far fewer) release events to capture the good water!

Now, silly (and yes, I'm not being serious) anyone know what happened to the ownership of the old ROW from Canaan to Lakeville to Millerton?

Now THAT would be an interesting route to bring back :-)
  by Jeff Smith
 
Honestly, I hadn't thought about the distance... (head slap to me). I guess Pittsfield is ideal, even if it is 32 miles of "dead" track. Too bad they lost that old overhead on the Maybrook/Beacon, but honestly, that's just more dead track with no potential customers west of the "Fair".

Mr. Moore, are you talking about the old NYNE? I was doing some reading on that along with the old Newburgh, Dutchess, and Connecticut, much documented by Bernard Rudberg. I regret not ever having gone on that tour.

I was think Pittsfield - Canaan in conjunction with the NYC service via Albany. I think definitely there's a market on the Danbury end as well.

As for the eastern end of the Maybrook, it is OOS, but has recently seen special equipment moves. It would definitely need a Class III upgrade, though. But if MA can do it for their stretch, I could see CT doing it for certain stretches.

An intrastate route Danbury - Derby could be useful.
  by Ridgefielder
 
Jeff Smith wrote: Tue Dec 08, 2020 3:23 pm Mr. Moore, are you talking about the old NYNE? I was doing some reading on that along with the old Newburgh, Dutchess, and Connecticut, much documented by Bernard Rudberg. I regret not ever having gone on that tour.
I believe he's talking about the old Central New England west of Canaan. West of Lakeville the rails were pulled in the late '30's, but Canaan-Lakeville hung on until the late 1960's. IIRC it was almost bought by a tourist line. I think the entire ROW reverted to the adjacent property owners.
  by Greg Moore
 
Yes, thanks CNE, I couldn't remember the name off the top of my head.

About 5 years ago in my hometown of Falls Village, I managed to attend a presentation by an engineer who ran the last train to Lakeville.
  by NaugyRR
 
by Ridgefielder » Tue Dec 08, 2020 4:34 pm
I believe he's talking about the old Central New England west of Canaan. West of Lakeville the rails were pulled in the late '30's, but Canaan-Lakeville hung on until the late 1960's. IIRC it was almost bought by a tourist line. I think the entire ROW reverted to the adjacent property owners.
There were a few cabooses on what remained of the stub behind the pizza restaurant and the hobby shop. When I was still in high school (Housatonic Class of '09) a few teachers told me that someone was going to turn them into a themed motel. I don't remember when the cabooses were removed and the track ripped up. I do know the railroad was not happy about the wheel-wear the diamond was causing though. I wanna say it wasn't that long after that the passenger car displayed by Jacob's Garage disappeared too.
by Greg Moore » Tue Dec 08, 2020 4:43 pm
Yes, thanks CNE, I couldn't remember the name off the top of my head. About 5 years ago in my hometown of Falls Village, I managed to attend a presentation by an engineer who ran the last train to Lakeville.
I spoke with that engineer at the Danbury Railroad Museum back in January and he had some awesome anecdotes, including the last train to Lakeville. He was a very cool guy with great stories, I hope he's still at the museum when we go back post-COVID.
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