• Hartford, CT area railroad questions

  • 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 xtcbct
905 is to be repainted/rehabbed for eventual use on the Central New England. I have no idea how long it will be but if current plans stay the course, I'm pretty sure this should be painted in New Haven colors and returned to it's original NH number.

  by Sir Ray
I resurrected this thread because I was in the Hartford area last weekend, on my way to the Amherst Model Railroad show in W. Springfield, and overnighted Friday at one of the hotels by Brainard Airport (very good rate, and the place was clean and decent).

I can see via Google Maps that a significant portion of the industrial block encompassed by Brainard, Murphy, & Maxim Roads is occupied by All Waste, which seems to load plenty of waste gondolas (indeed, there were numbers of such freight cars on the lead crossing Maxim Road). That's cool.

However, that's not the reason for my questions. My question (well, questions) is about the nearby Hartford Regional Market (mentioned in an earlier post of this thread). Searching on-line brought up mentions of various redevelopment pants to make it a "true farmer's market" and all that, although the plans seemed somewhat vague (some did have pretty colored diagrams). Passing by the Market in real-life, I though I saw repairs had been made to the unloading docks in the back, but I was travelling highway speed so didn't have a long time to view it.
-- Have they (They? "The Man", of course) settled on a real redevelopment plan, or will they just fiddle around and spot-repair as needed?
-- One site stated the largest product tenant at the time closed in 2015 and vacated their space - is that true, and what if anything replaced them?
-- Are they doing repair work on the docks in back (which I don't think are user friendly for truck unloading) for actual freight service?
-- When was the last time the market was rail served? (The 2 private passenger cars stored in the back don't count, I mean freight service).
  by Plate C
I don't pass there as regularly as I used to but it seems like a long time since I've seen any freight service there. Some years ago you might have seen 1-2 cars there.
  by FLRailFan1
Plate C wrote:I don't pass there as regularly as I used to but it seems like a long time since I've seen any freight service there. Some years ago you might have seen 1-2 cars there.
The Tampa Produce Market track is overgrown, so I guess most produce markets aren't rail served anymore.
  by YamaOfParadise
The State does have revitalization plans for the Hartford Regional Market (which is part of the Department of Agriculture); in my brief skimming, it seems like despite FreshPoint/Sysco being the biggest buyer situated there, sounds like the small-to-medium sized buyers and sellers aren't too happy with their business practices or the lowball prices they give... FreshPoint/Sysco isn't going anywhere either, they have just signed a 100 year lease for their property there as of 2000. At the end they have a bulleted list entitled "Key findings from tenant interviews", which contains one thing directly pertaining to rail access: under the location section, one entry notes "Rail access – some want to use as their volume increases". Besides from that, the report's summary itself includes "Rail freight expansion with more storage volume" as one of the potential opportunities for expansion.

Seems like the HRM really was just a victim of the fiscal crisis the State has been in in the last couple of decades; it's not a particularly sexy or noticed item, nor absolutely critical or hard to cut funds from, so it's sadly not much of a surprise it got neglected... probably could say the same about the whole DOAG, honestly. Same thing that plagues the railroads, deferred maintenance (and the related inability to finance upgrades). What really summed it up for me was in the "General" section of that tenant interview section I brought up before:
  • Optimism, interest in expanding (doubling), including more food processing
  • Current facilities don’t meet needs (break cold chain, don’t meet food safety requirements), act as a drag on business
  • Restaurant Depot has made a big negative impact on HRM, took away dock business
  • Need to move if something not done here soon
  • Some stated would buy more from CT farmers if they were GAP certified, had higher quality and more consistent products
(Apparently, Restaurant Depot is a fully private place, they opened on the northside of Hartford right near I-91; they have more modern facilities, and offer a lot of nice services to small-to-medium sized restaurants and grocers, I imagine particularly to try and sap them from places like HRM... and it definitely sounds like it worked.)
  by FLRailFan1
YamaofParadise, HRM is getting an upgrade? I would love to see that. My model railroad layout has the HRM and I have a business that ships out Connecticut grown produce, another that ships out ice cream and another that ships out frozen foods. Also, I have Murphy Road Recycling on my layout, too with a branch to Brainard Airport... (a small airplane factory receives Commuter Jets bodies on flatcars).
  by BandA
[somewhat OT] Restaurant Depot is a chain of large box warehouse-style stores catering to restaurants/food service. They require proof such as a tax-id to buy & don't sell to public. Some interesting prices for box goods, but last year on perishables are mostly within pennies of Market Basket (Demoulas Supermarkets MA/NH/ME), romaine lettuce 6 heads/$3.99 identical to BJ's Wholesale Club. So, they are not really selling wholesale, they are selling one-stop convenience, full line of consistent product with no price haggling. Sysco is selling one-stop convenience with delivery!

So for HRM customers consistency & convenience right up there with price...just like railroad customers