• Steam Era Helper Districts on the New Haven?

  • 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 Tracer
 
On RRpictures.net Don haskel has a photo with the caption that reads "Remarks: The engineer has this unit wide open to take advantage of the straight fast running track. In the steam era this section between Canton and Sharon Heights was a helper district."

Whats the grade on the line west/south of Canton station? Were there many helper districts on the nec in steam days?

Photo with the caption > http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.p ... 98&nseq=75
  by Ridgefielder
 
Did either the NY&NE or the NYNH&H need helpers over Towantic Summit on the line between Waterbury and Danbury? Just went hiking up in that general area and was struck once again by how steep the grade must have been climbing out of both the Naugatuck and Housatonic valleys.
  by eddiebehr
 
The grade out of the Neponset River marshes near Route 128 is quite pronounced up to Sharon Heights. Most westbound freight trains would have been hauling empties. Here's a note from Arranged Freight Trains Service Book #71, April 27, 1941. OA-2, Maybrook L 1:30 pm, Waterbury L 9:55 pm, Hartford A 11:55 pm. "To avoid pusher from Waterbury, Hartford block should be reduced at that point and overflow held for OA-4 (L Wby 11:30p) or EA-2 (L Wby 2:00a) if practicable." The Framingham-Fitchburg route may have required pushers; while I never saw one in New Haven days, I caught a pusher drifting downgrade through Southboro during Penn Central days. The station at Bolton,MA just barely within the town bourndaries, was known as Summit. If I had lived in Waterbury back in those days there would have been a lot of music to my ears at night.
  by Statkowski
 
When referencing helper districts, it helps to know the timeframe involved. Basically, I'd classify such as Steam Pre-W.W. I, Steam Post-W.W. I, and Diesel. I would differentiate between before the war and after the war due to the heavier, more modern engines coming on board at that time.

From what I remember reading somewhere, Sharon Hill on the Boston Division was a helper district in Steam days.

The old NY&NE territory between Danbury and Waterbury was definitely helper territory, especially before the First World War. I saw a photo somewhere of four NYNE engines working their way up Sandy Hook Hill with a freight.

The Maybrook Line was the last major route with helpers assigned in Diesel times. Stationed at Hopewell Junction, they helped shove westward freights up over the hills. In Steam times, hot freights were sometimes double-headed right from Cedar Hill, running all the way to Modena.

Even the Electrified Zone was not immune from helpers, with a train starting out at Oak Point occasionally needing a push up onto Hell Gate Bridge.
  by Noel Weaver
 
I have a bunch of old records from Waterbury in the steam period and pushers were called out of Waterbury to push both on
the Maybrook Line west out of Derby Junction and from Derby or more likely Waterbury east to Terryville which had and still
has a stinker of a grade although it is no problem for the B & M's GP-40's and small number of cars of today.
Hopewell Junction was the center of pusher activity on the Maybrook Line in the days of steam and they maintained a
roundhouse and a number of pushers out of there.
Noel Weaver