• Pioneer Valley Railroad

  • 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

  by District D RTC
Stopped by the PVRR yard in Westfield, MA. There were two OTHER groups of railfans there, even despite any action on the B&A in the last 90 minutes.

We observed the US Army GP-10 #4601 (I think) tied up to a red caboose parked right next to the PVRR shop building. The PVRR was dormant today, but I will admit, the yard had a good number of cars in it.

Can anyone provide me a history/geography lesson about operations in and around Westfield? It's quite obvious there was once a diamond there where what is now the PVRR crossed the B&A and then the Westfield River... Where did the line go south of there? Whose line was it? When did it get pulled up? (Was that all at once, or in sections?)

  by Pj
I believe this was the north end of the "Canal Line?". This track use to go south all the way into Simsbury CT and pretty much to the sound I believe. I use to 4 wheel part of the line that went thru Suffield before it was turned into a rail trail. The ROW is/was very visable thru some farmers fields.

Along this line use to be a canal that also went about the same distance and some traces of it can be found. I believe it was last operated (at least in the Westfield area) in the 1960's.

I know there is a webpage or two around that had a decent history. May want to try yahoo or google

  by TomNelligan
The former New Haven RR Canal Line ran from New Haven to Northampton via Southington, Plainville, Simsbury, and Westfield, following the route and in some cases the exact path of the New Haven & Northampton Canal (hence the name), which had been built to transport freight from the interior to New Haven harbor in the pre-railroad days of the early 19th century. It was always a lightly-used secondary route, and following Penn Central's takeover of the NH in 1969, sections started being abandoned. All that's left at the moment is a small piece south of Plainville that's operated by Guilford's Springfield Terminal, and the Pioneer Valley trackage north of Westfield.

From Westfield north there was the Holyoke branch that is still in use by the PVRR, and the "mainline" to Northampton. From Northampton there were also branches that continued even farther to Turner's Falls and Shelburn Falls, both mostly abandoned in the 1930s. When the PV started up in the early 80s the Westfield diamond was still in place and there was about a mile of track south of the B&A to reach one remaining customer.

At Northampton, the NH shared the B&M station that still exists as a restaurant, using a track along the west side of the building. A portion of the Canal Line right-of-way in that area is now a bike trail.
  by caboose9
District D RTC said, "Stopped by the PVRR yard in Westfield, MA, and observed a red caboose parked right next to the PVRR shop building."


This caboose is likely PVRR C457.

Is it a steel, cupola style car?

Is this buggy is ex-B&M 457?

Thanks, Roger
Last edited by caboose9 on Sat Feb 04, 2006 11:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

  by Trackmobile
The PVRR has 2 US Army owned geeps on their tracks,4601 & 4602.I think both are GP10s.The Army uses the trackage for training missions and the PVRR will use them every now and then to give a chance for the geeps to move at a higher clip than yard speed,almost "stretch."
  by caboose9

There is a caboose in the Pioneer Valley Railroad Yard, Westfield, MA. The caboose is likely PVRR C457.

Is it a steel, cupola style or a transfer style car? Is this buggy ex-B&M 457?

Does anyone have a photo to post?

Thanks, Roger
  by csrrfan86
When is a good time to catch this railroad in action? I am guessing they run "as needed'?


  by CSX Conductor
Daytime for sure.

I walked over there around 1130pm last night and noone around. Tried to look inside their caboose, but it was padlocked at each end. :(

  by boatsmate
Where is this operation at???

  by CSX Conductor
westfield, Mass.

  by NRGeep
former B&M ROW?

  by TomNelligan
NRGeep wrote:former B&M ROW?
No, it's a former New Haven/Penn Central/Conrail branch, the upper end of the NH Canal Line from New Haven, which in turn began life as the New Haven & Northampton RR.

  by csrrfan86
Where are their customers located? And how many?

  by cpf354
List of PVRR customers as of August 2006
Westfield CSX Transflo terminal
Westfield Delta Bulk
Westfield Jen-Coat
Westfield Little Rill
Westfield Railroad Distribution Services
Holyoke Sealed Air

Kleer Lumber
Westfield General Polymers
Westfield Barker Steel
Southern States Dist. Center
Westfield Duke Energy Field Services

"This information was compiled by Malcolm Laughlin and was copied from files of the Yahoo group nerrfreight"

  by B&A_Railfan
To add to that list...

Superior Carriers in Holyoke- Receives Wax. Off loaded and trucked up to Yankee Candle.

Sonoco in Holyoke- New customer that receives Starch.
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