Tommy Meehan wrote:
However, according to a story I heard about fifty years ago -- from a New Haven trainman on a New Haven local to Stamford -- the name was changed from Sound Beach "when they started hiring Italian trainmen. That's because of the way they pronounced it. Approaching Sound Beach they'd open the coach door and yell, 'Soun'a Beach, Soun'a Beach!'"
Very interesting and evocative anecdote - however, and I'm sure this can be verified, the operating department 50 years ago (or 80 years ago when the name was changed), did not have any trainmen/ticket collectors/conductors/engineers (and god forbid a roadmaster) of Italian descent (especially if their English was accented), since back then, that craft was very closed to other than Irish immigrants (or sons of) and the previous generation's male progeny. America was a different place then. When you got off the boat, you started at the bottom, and the operations department was way far from the bottom, no matter how good you thought you were or motivated, you just didn't get the job. Leaning on an Ames shovel was your ticket to steady work.
A Trainmaster of Italian extract I personally knew when he retired (and his son worked for MNCR I think as an example of the back then rampant nepotisim) was around on the New Haven in the '60s, but he spoke perfect Connecticut and I doubt that his
father worked as a trainmen back in the 1920s.
One can do a master's thesis on the discrimination of railroad employees.