by Noel Weaver
August 19, 1955 was the date of the floods in Southern New England and Connecticut in particular. The New Haven management stated that we will be back bigger and better than ever. The railroad came back but it was neither bigger nor better. In my area Waterbury lost its two daily through trains to Boston when the bridge in Putnam was damaged and the railroad chose not to rebuild it. We also lost all the RPO's and in fact no mail was ever carried in the Naugatuck Valley by rail again after August 18, 1955. We lost the through trains to New York out of both Waterbury and Winsted and in fact the railroad considered whether they would even rebuild to Winsted or not but they still had some pretty good customers especially in Torrington and the line got rebuilt. They did not intend to restore passenger service between Waterbury and Winsted but the state had other ideas and forced its return for a period but reduced service, poor connections and indifference on the part of the railroad killed the service in December of 1958 anyway. Bank Street Junction Tower (SS-202) was never restored after the flood but in my opinion its days were probably numbered anyway. One of the biggest losses for the railroad was the decision not to rebuild the bridge in Putnam, this not only cut Hartford - Boston direct service but made a through freight movement much more haphazzard and difficult as it involved a detour via Plainfield and a back up move to continue.. It added hours to the running time when the trustees manged to get a contract to haul automobiles from the Maybrook gateway to Readville. I remember the last train that Thursday night out of Waterbury a passenger special with actress Rossiland Russell, observation car Bunker Hill was part of the consist and they got a way down the valley before they had to return to Waterbury due to a washout. As a result of this the Bunker Hill was marooned in Waterbury until they were able to get a temporary bridge over the Naugatuck River near Bank Street Junction in Waterbury. I remember the freight cars floating down the Naugatuck River, the suspension of passenger service between Waterbury and Bridgeport for a period of about six months following the flood, the day the trains returned and the very reduced service between Waterbury and Hartford consisting of just two round trips a day. Other sections of the railroad got hit as well, The Canal, Berkshire, Norwich Branch and some more as well but the Naugy probably got it the worst of all. Let's all remember this sad but eventful day.