shlustig wrote:IIRC, the last through passenger train over this line was a 1972 or 1973 (Penn Central days) excursion from GCT via Norwalk / Danbury / Pittsfield / Chatham / Brewster / NWP/ GCT. Used FL-9's and NH equipment. Went from 8AM to about 11PM. Weather was weird: 75-degrees on the way up and snow on the Upper Harlem on the way back!
I don't have the date handy but it seems to me that the above trip took place a week or two before day one of Amtrak.
In so far as through service between New York and Pittsfield is concerned, Penn Central took over the New Haven on
January 1, 1969 and the through service to Pittsfield lasted for about a month or so and then the standard equipment was
operated between New York and Danbury and a Budd Car took over at Danbury for the trip north to Pittsfield.
This has something to do with the Metro Region but I believe they did not use the Budd Car in Danbury but rather deadheaded a car over from New Haven for this operation to Pittsfield. The parlor car came off at the same time and the
$4.90 rount trip out of New York every Sunday went the same way too. The New Haven reasoned that as long as we have to
run the train, we might as will attract as many riders as possible. Penn Central reasoned that if we can discourage riders we
might be able to cut the train down to a Budd Car and save money and maybe with a little luck, remove it entirely. The
Pittsfield trains came off on day one of Amtrak and the Harlem trains to Chatham lasted into 1972 by a court order. The
Chatham train came off in the middle of the day and passengers were told when they got to Grand Central Terminal that
afternoon that the train to Chatham would terminate at Dover Plains and that was that. No passenger trains ran again to or
from Chatham after that fateful day in late March, 1972.
Today the area north of Dover Plains has grown and there could well be a need for restoration of the commuter service but
unfortunately the tracks north of Wassaic have been torn up.
Update to now, I don't think a Housatonic Railroad passenger operation between Danbury and Pittsfield is a particularly good
idea unless there is a major upgrading of the track and decent equipment is obtained. What intercity traveler wants to ride
25 or 30 MPH over rotten track in an old non AC coach behind a historic locomotive just to ride a train between Danbury and
Pittsfield. The logical thing that should happen in this case is for the two states to get involved, spend the funds to
upgrade the track to at least 50 MPH then have Metro-North operate the service using Metro-North equipment and crews.