• New Haven Steam Transfer Ferries

  • Discussion relating to the NH and its subsidiaries (NYW&B, Union Freight Railroad, Connecticut Company, steamship lines, etc.). up until its 1969 inclusion into the Penn Central merger. This forum is also for the discussion of efforts to preserve former New Haven equipment, artifacts and its history. You may also wish to visit www.nhrhta.org for more information.
Discussion relating to the NH and its subsidiaries (NYW&B, Union Freight Railroad, Connecticut Company, steamship lines, etc.). up until its 1969 inclusion into the Penn Central merger. This forum is also for the discussion of efforts to preserve former New Haven equipment, artifacts and its history. You may also wish to visit www.nhrhta.org for more information.
  by chnhrr
I would like to know where I could fine more information the New Haven’s steamer transfer ferries. The NH had two at the Bronx and some at New London. The ‘Maryland’ (pictured) was rebuilt after it had burned in 1888. It’s interesting that the NH would have a steamer with this name, since it didn’t ply the waters of the Chesapeake. The other ferry in New York was the ‘Express’

The transfer ferry service in New London was eliminated when the bridge over the Thames was built and service at Harlem River supposedly ended in late 1912. With the Titanic disaster, the traveling public had become a little nervous about sailing on ferries during icy conditions. Passenger train service to Washington D.C. then terminated at Grand Central, with connecting road transport to the new Penn Station. That changed five years later when the Hell Gate Bridge opened, providing direct service to Penn Station.

What happened to both the ‘Maryland’ and the ‘Express’ after the ending of service in 1912? The posting of additional pictures related to the NH transfer ferries would be great.

Links to New York Times Article on the ‘Maryland’

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.h ... 5B8884F0D3

http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-fr ... 5B8884F0D3

Link to a nice website on the Solano, a transfer ferry that was based in Oakland California

  by chnhrr
Here is a picture of the ‘Express’ (hardly a novel name) on the East River at Brooklyn Heights.
  by giljanus
Here are three shots from the Greater Astoria Historical Society website - http://astorialic.org

The Express passing under the Brooklyn Bridge loaded with freight cars (ca 1915)

http://astoriahistory.smugmug.com/Other ... 9Cbd/Large

The Express on the East River loaded with freight cars

http://astoriahistory.smugmug.com/Other ... sx9w/Large

The Maryland on the East River passing Randall's Island loaded with the Colonial Express (ca 1908) - see the extended caption.

http://astoriahistory.smugmug.com/Other ... aQ4T/Large

I'm sure that I've seen other shots of them, but I can't find them at the moment.

You should look for a copy of:

Splendor Sailed The Sound
The New Haven Railroad and The Fall River Line
George H. Foster and Peter C. Weiglin.
1987 - Mid-State Associates & Potentials Group, Inc - ISBN 0-96246-740-5

384 pp; photographic and text celebration of the FALL RIVER LINE and the NEW HAVEN RAILROAD; profusely illustrated with 100's of superb archival b & w photos, deck plans, reproductions of advertising, etc.

either at a library, or pick up a copy - it's well worth it, if you're interested in the NH, marine and railroad transportation along the New England Coast.

Many photos of the various transfer boats, and an entire chapter devoted to Tugs and Transfer - Chapter Fifteen. My copy is in a box at the moment, so I can't give you much more at the moment.

Gil, known as Bill somedays ...
  by chnhrr
Thanks Gil for those great links and that information on the book. With my further research online I haven’t come up with too much, but I did come up with some drawings on the transfer bridge that may have been used at Harlem River. Whether this type used for the transfer ferries is unknown.
  by ExCon90
I believe the Maryland was the same vessel that was built for the Philadelphia, Wilmington & Baltimore to ferry trains between Perryville and Havre de Grace until it became surplus to requirements when the first bridge was built (whose piers are still in place in the Susquehanna, adjacent to the present bridge). It was later moved to New York Harbor. I'd have to check again in the PRR Centennial History, which I don't have handy right now, but I thought it remained in the ownership of the PRR. This would actually conform to a common practice, with one boat owned by the PRR and the other by the NYNH&H.
  by CarterB
Maryland was indeed built for the Philadelphia, Wilmington & Baltimore in 1852, put in service 1854, and used extensively to ferry troops/supplies during the 'late great unpleasantness". When the first Susquehanna bridge was built, it was retired in 1866 and moved to NY harbor for service.

Then ... "11/1/1875 Milestone New York & New England Railroad subsidiary New England Transfer Company, incorporated in Conn., purchases old PW&B train ferry Maryland, which had been laid up at Annapolis since 1866 and sends it to East Boston to be rebuilt from the deck up at the Atlantic Works for a train service between the PRR and New Haven at New York."
Then...."3/1/1876 Milestone Train ferry Maryland being rebuilt at the Atlantic Works in East Boston for New England Transfer Company; visited by 4,000 people before leaving for New York; New York & New England Railroad is to provide four trainsets of eight cars each and run two round trips Boston-Philadelphia via New Haven and Hartford in 12:00 starting Apr. 3; ferry trip is to take 1:30."
Then... "Apr. 4, 1876 Train ferry Maryland blown ashore on Martha's Vineyard by gale
while en route from Boston shipyard to New York; has to be dug out
and returned to Boston for repairs; start of service, scheduled for
Apr. 17, is delayed. (BaltAm)"
Then..."May 8, 1876 Train ferry Maryland route opens with two round trips between
Boston and Philadelphia; one with connections for Washington; cars
are lettered "Boston & Philadelphia Express Line"; daylight Boston-
Philadelphia "Centennial Train" operates for the duration of the fair;
night train with Washington cars runs via New Haven and
Willimantic and is later named the "Federal Express". (RyW, NYT,
Then....."December 7, 1888 Rail car ferry Maryland burns to the waterline moments after arriving at its Harlem River dock with four passenger cars from Jersey City. Occupants of the train are rescued by tugboat and switch engine crews at the wharf."

Alternatively??..."The ferry "Maryland" was sold to the New York, New Haven & Hartford for use in New York cross harbor car ferry service. It later caught fire and the wooden superstructure burned in 1889. Although not properly documented, there are indications that the old iron hull of the "Maryland" was salvaged and used to build another railroad car ferry for the NYNH&H's New York harbor rail service. The replacement car ferry built in Wilmington in 1890 retained the name "Maryland". The second "Maryland" was 238 feet long, 38 feet wide and having one deck less superstructure and fittings, was only 859 gross tons. The second car ferry "Maryland" was converted to a dredge in 1913."

Another photo http://cthistoryonline.org/cdm-cho/item ... =380&y=450

So is the one in the photos the 'second' Maryland?
  by chnhrr
Thank you Excon90 and CarterB for the thorough information and timeline. The Maryland has a very interesting history. The first and early picture shown above is of the Maryland washed ashore at Vinelyard Haven by a storm on Tuesday, April 4th 1876. The second picture is of the new Maryland or the rebuilt ferry. The book New Haven Power states that the boat we rebuilt.
Since the Maryland was converted as a dredge, it would be interesting to know if ended up in the ship’s graveyard off Staten Island. What happened to the Express after 1912?

For those interested in the restoration of great ships, here are two links.

Ocean liner SS United States (1952)


Naval Cruiser USS Olympia (1892)


http://blog.preservationnation.org/2011 ... re-needed/