• Valley Line Revival by the P&W?

  • Topics relating to the operation of the P&W Railroad, which is a subsidiary of Genesee and Wyoming. Regional freight railroad based in Worcester and operating in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New York.
    Official Website
Topics relating to the operation of the P&W Railroad, which is a subsidiary of Genesee and Wyoming. Regional freight railroad based in Worcester and operating in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New York.
Official Website

Moderator: MEC407

  by thebigham
Can anyone update us on the revival of that abandoned rail line by the P&W in CT?

It was the Air Line, correct?


Last edited by thebigham on Thu Mar 18, 2004 11:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
  by bobbarbn
The P&W does operate on the Air Line...however.....they took over operations from the CT. Central, which ran this line from Portland, CT. to Cedar Hill Yard in North Haven.

You might be thinking of the Valley Line, which the CT. Central operated in Middletown and Cromwell. The P&W rehabed the line all the way to Hartford, but has only made one revenue trip in two years...and that was to deliver 7 hoppers of ballast to the CSOR.

We are all still waiting (and waiting and waiting) to see what is going to happen with this route. I have heard that an agreement with CSX is "almost" completed. Who knows???

  by jwallacect
The state DOT must have egg all over its face on this one. Apparently no one checked with any of the involved railroads before they advanced funds for the rebuild. Also, the line needs more work from Dividend all the way to Hartford. Only about 1 mile of track in Wethersfield was laid with heavy, 107 and 115 lb. rail. The old 80lb. rail predominates and really is too light for today's locomotives and cars. Some ties were replaced under the 80lb. rail, but many more should have been replaced. In any event, lets hope that something can be worked out so that the Valley can see some productive use.

  by XRails
Just a question, if the Valley Line were restored and put to freight use, would it replace or take traffic away from the Airline? It would be a shame to see the last remanants of a historic route like that go. Also, what's the word on the [quite wealthy] NIMBYs in Essex/Deep River?
  by bobbarbn
The Airline (or portions thereof, would still be used if the Valley Line was fully operational. It would provide an interchange route to Cedar Hill without having to use AMTRAK trackage. Additionally, the TILCON quarry at the Gap is located on this line. At a minimum, trains from Cedar Hill would still operate between the quarry and the Hill.

There is only one other client on the Airline Branch between Cedar Hill and Middletown. That is Dyno, a blasting service company, located in Middlefield. This could be serviced from Middletown. Since they are located at, roughly, milepost 17 and the quarry restriction starts at MP 15, there would be a short "intermediate" area on the Airline that could be served from either direction.

The idea of the Valley Line is to lower costs by bypassing AMTRAK trackage between Hartford and New Haven. A lack of a customer base along either length of trackage is certainly a concern. The client base is in Middletown and Portland and could be served via the Valley. In a couple of years a pipeline is scheduled to replace the Poo Poo Choo Choo, which brings sewer sludge from Middeltown to Cromwell on a daily basis.

Any trains attempting to go from Hartford to Cedar Hill along the Valley Line would also have to have power on both ends, or at least additional power waiting in Middletown, because of the switch from the Valley to the Airline requires the ends leading end from Hartford to become the trailing end to Cedar Hill.

NIMBY'S are NIMBY'S til death due them part...or money talks louder. Of course, the ROW there is owned by the State of CT....who couldn't care less about railroads in any sense of the word. If the the State DOT had the guts, they would just tell the NIMBY'S to pound sand (and not over their rails).

  by XRails
Question on the airline: I was looking at a USGS topo map and found just north of Tilcon a siding that forms a long semi-complete loop ending at a the back of a building. It almost looks like a partially complete ballon track. What is it, a long industrial siding? Also, what's the problem with running around a loco if the local is a short consist? P&W's GEs can't run long hood forward?
  by bobbarbn
The track you mention used to go to a plant that manufactured railroad ties, called Permatreat. It was owned by Guilford RR, of all things. Like all things Guilford, the switch was removed and the siding abandoned. I was a conductor on CT Central trains that passed this area a couple of times a week and was always amazed that this track was put out of service.

The problem of running around the train is "where"? There are no runaround tracks on the main between Rocky Hill and Middletown. The train would have to pull off the main at Middletown, take the Berlin lead into the north yard, where the runaround move could be done, then back up onto the main for a southbound move on the Valley branch to clear the quadrant switch for the move to the Airline, with power on the front end. This is what we had to do on NX-1 for the CCCL. Not an economical move timewise or monetarily. Unfortunately, there is not enough real estate to put in a second quadrant switch with north facing point at the junction of the Valley and Airline branches in Middletown.

This option would only work for short trains, as well since North Yard is not that big.

  by jwallacect
There is one short passing track at Dividend, about 1 mile south of Rocky Hill that could be used for short train runarounds (7 or 8 cars). Running off of this passing siding is an industrial spur to Cleary Millwork Co. which was the last customer to utilize the Cromwell-Hartford segment. Check the below link for a photo of the siding. The track curving off to the left behind the track machine is the Cleary spur. I guess with some creative switching it could also be used to increase runaround capacity because it is quite long.

http://photos.nerail.org/showpic/?photo ... jwallacect
  by bobbarbn
Just a note......Dividend is IN Rocky Hill...not south of it. You don't leave Rocky Hill until you round the corner south of the former Belamose plant (former Pratt & Whitney).

It's a minor point..but still verifies what I said...there is no runaround track between Rocky Hill and Middletown. There used to be a 1500'+ runaround in Cromwell years ago, just north of the Rte. 99 crossing where the NH used to run around their train to serve the Cromwell freight station/hardware store.....but that had long since vanished.

  by shadyjay
I think what 'jwallacect' meant was that Dividend is south of the Rocky Hill station, as identified by railroad stations. Further south on the line in Middletown, there is Maromas and Laurel, all of which are east (railroad south) of Middletown 'station'.

There is quite a long passing siding / runaround track in the Maromas area. I have hiked the line up to Rocky Hill several times over the years before it had been rebuilt. I thought a northwest quadrant connection track could be constructed at Middletown Junction but I read up earlier in this thread about lack of real estate. Too bad. I guess this would mean that it wouldn't be possible to realign the Air Line and Valley Line so that the preferred route would be Cedar Hill-Hartford. Is real estate physically there to make this possible?

-Jay Hogan

  by XRails
My guess is you would either need to clear some private land to make a wide quadrant outside the Middletown yard (which is blocking the way), or tear up the yard, which is also unlikely due to the recent construction of the new fuel tank. The latter seems more practical to me, as then the yard (which is really only 2 short stub sidings) could be replaced by added track at North Middletown, which appears to have some real estate to expand with. As mentioned the only problem is that the fuel tank is now in place, meaning P&W plans to keep the "main" yard. Also you have to keep radius in mind if you plan to run mainline freight on it.
  by bobbarbn
I had, for many years, worked as a conductor for CT. Central RR and as a MOW worker for A.J. Belliveau Railroad Const., working on this very same trackage that we are discussing. :D (Smile, so no one thinks I am angry)

It is my understanding that a north quadrant cannot be constructed at Middletown so that a southbound, leading power move could directly access the Airline. The bridge over Hartford Avenue and the adjacent cemetery prohibit the radius that would be needed to make this connection.

This link should produce a photo of the area. (hopefully)
http://photos.nerail.org/showpic/?photo ... y=bobbarbn
Last edited by bobbarbn on Fri Mar 26, 2004 8:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

  by jwallacect
The longest passing track on the Valley between Hartford and Middletown was once located just north of the Rocky Hill station. It held about 40 40' cars. Another one in Wethersfield would take 30 cars. The Cromwell passing track would handle 15 to 20 or so. Most of these tracks were pulled up in the mid 40s. The ones in Rocky Hill and Cromwell were extensively used to store tank cars for Rocky Hill and Cromwell petroleum terminals during the WW2 "U-boat crisis" Back in the "New Haven" days there was no run around track at Dividend. That one was installed in the '70s when Cleary Millwork opened and the line between Dividend and Cromwell was taken out of service. However, it has potential use if that large area of open land just south of the Dividend Rd. crossing could be developed with rail oriented business. I know that the P&W thinks it's one of the best such undeveloped sites in CT. It would be a great site for a rail/highway transload facility. A passing track in the Dividend area would allow P&W to serve such a facility out of Middletown or Hartford without rear power.
  by Mr rt
I read this thread with great interest. Thanks to all for their contibutions.

BTW, a couple of months ago I picked up a 1940's copy of "Transportation" that covered the opening of the Airline route between Middletown & Willimantic. Also a railfan trip under steam in 1948 (?).
And I previously found a NYHH&H Assoc. issue on the Valley line when it needed three pieces to cover it (Saybrook to East Haddam; New Haven to Middletoen & Willimantic; Hartford to East Haddam).
  by Mr rt
Found the two magazines last night:
1. Transportation, Oct 1948.
Railfan train was 5/16/48, behind Class I-4 #1371 a 4-6-0
2. NHNY&H Assoc #22-4 1991. Valley line Saybrook to Hartford.