The Boston and New York Air Line Railroad (now and then)

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The Boston and New York Air Line Railroad (now and then)

Postby RichCoffey » Mon May 23, 2016 9:08 pm

Air Line Trail
Photos, maps and detailed historical info of the rail trail and the former RR's history
(of course there’s a one-handed video as well)
http://rc-pedalpoint.blogspot.com/2016/05/the-airline-trail.html

Image
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Re: The Boston and New York Air Line Railroad (now and then)

Postby charding » Tue May 24, 2016 1:46 pm

...the line went through my hometown of Walpole, and the segment between Boston and Franklin is still operational as part of the MBTA's Franklin Line...the hurricanes in 1954/55 really did the line in and after these storms, the line was never rebuilt...
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Re: The Boston and New York Air Line Railroad (now and then)

Postby BandA » Tue May 24, 2016 7:48 pm

Did the original route go out of Boston over the Brookline Branch / Charles River Railroad? Or the Dorchester Branch? Or the NEC? (Boston & Providence)?
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Re: The Boston and New York Air Line Railroad (now and then)

Postby TomNelligan » Tue May 24, 2016 9:07 pm

At the risk of oversimplifying a lot of history and early consolidations and corporate name changes, the Air Line name was historically applied to the trackage between New Haven and Willimantic via Middletown, which was part of a through route between Boston and New York that also involved what became the New York & New England RR east of Willimantic and the New York, New Haven & Hartford west of New Haven. The heyday of Boston-New York passenger service over the Air Line was the 1880s-1890s and through service ended in 1924. Passenger service via the New Haven RR's Midland route (Boston-Franklin-Putnam-Willimantic-Hartford) lasted until the big flood of August 19, 1955 took out a bridge just west of Putnam that was never replaced, although by then it was down to a single daily round trip by a solo RDC. Both of these "inland" routes between Boston and New Haven became secondary once the Shore Line was completed as an all-rail route with the bridging of the Thames River at New London, replacing ferries.

The New York & New England's primary entry to Boston in the late 19th century was the current MBTA Franklin line and Dorchester branch (Fairmount line), and that was the route of the Boston-New York New England Limited (the "White Train"). The Charles River RR was a secondary line for the NY&NE and I don't believe it ever carried any long distance trains.
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Re: The Boston and New York Air Line Railroad (now and then)

Postby trainsinmaine » Wed May 25, 2016 10:26 am

According to what I know of this line, Tom, you've given us an excellent summary of its history. I would add that the Putnam-to-Franklin portion of the route was still active into the Penn Central era as a freight line. It was abandoned around 1983, IIRC.
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Re: The Boston and New York Air Line Railroad (now and then)

Postby BandA » Thu May 26, 2016 12:31 pm

TomNelligan wrote:The New York & New England's primary entry to Boston in the late 19th century was the current MBTA Franklin line and Dorchester branch (Fairmount line), and that was the route of the Boston-New York New England Limited (the "White Train"). The Charles River RR was a secondary line for the NY&NE and I don't believe it ever carried any long distance trains.
Secondary because the Brookline Branch relied on the Boston and Albany to get to Boston proper. [OT] Which points out the difference between a cooperative model and a monopolistic model, where the monopolists won in railroading which had many unfortunate side effects we still feel today.
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Re: The Boston and New York Air Line Railroad (now and then)

Postby RichCoffey » Thu May 26, 2016 7:52 pm

Thanks all for the follow up comments - Duh! I forget to post the Colchester Station photo - that's been added along with the Spur sign.

Also Tom Nelligan - thanks so much for the detailed history info - I took the liberty of quoting and crediting you in the comments section - your info is very valuable for viewers!
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Re: The Boston and New York Air Line Railroad (now and then)

Postby Cosmo » Sat May 28, 2016 7:18 am

Not sure what else I can add to this, but let's keep this thread going! The NY&NE is one of my favorite lines to study as it was the closest RR to the house I grew up in in Westwood, MA, an by default the first line I ever explored on my own.
"It belongs in a MUSEUM!"
-Indiana Jones
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Re: The Boston and New York Air Line Railroad (now and then)

Postby Brendan » Sat May 28, 2016 6:26 pm

I grew up line-side of this line also, in Cobalt CT. In fact my father had old home movies of the scrap train ripping it up in '70-'71 ish. The house I grew up in was about 25' from the tracks. After it was gone I spent much of my youth hiking that section in order to avoid the roads in getting back and forth to my friends homes. My sand box was even made from the ties they discarded over the bank. The line is still active from New Haven up to Portland. I also remember them taking out the crossing at route 66 in Portland (the current end of active track). It was vary early on but I seem to remember that crossing having gates and lights on it. Another vary early memory I have is seeing pared F unit PenCentral engines crossing the bridge over the CT river.
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Re: The Boston and New York Air Line Railroad (now and then)

Postby ebtmikado » Mon May 30, 2016 9:45 am

The Air Line bridge, between Middletown and Portland is still active, currently serving one customer on the Portland side.
Here is a photo of a train crossing the bridge.

Lee

https://www.flickr.com/photos/33786891@N02/22579445348/
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Re: The Boston and New York Air Line Railroad (now and then)

Postby RichCoffey » Mon May 30, 2016 7:02 pm

Although the bridge in Willimantic is done (as noted), looks like it will be extended to Portland...
http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-marteka-air-line-gaps-filled-0207-20160207-column.html
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Re: The Boston and New York Air Line Railroad (now and then)

Postby bobbarbn » Mon Aug 01, 2016 8:34 am

My grandfather, Thomas A. Maher, was one of the Middletown Swing Bridge tenders back in the waning days of the New Haven Railroad. The attached picture is of him sitting on the bridge awaiting the next train. I came to work for the Connecticut Central Railroad back in the 1990's and was with them until the P&W took over. I even had a chance to operate the bridge. My mother recalled that my grandmother made him wear a white shirt and tie, as she knew the photo was going to be taken that day. This photo of him appears in the book "Connecticut Railroads...an Illustrated History", pg. 280.

He started working on the bridge from the cabin on the center swing span, but by this time in history the tenders worked from the small cabin in the stationary span on the Middletown side.
Attachments
grandpa2.jpg
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Re: The Boston and New York Air Line Railroad (now and then)

Postby whatelyrailfan » Mon Aug 01, 2016 9:54 am

Thought that photo looked familiar, I've owned a copy of Connecticut Railroads for over 25 years, and re-read it al least once a year, not to mention it's a great resource. Pretty cool, your getting a chance to actually operate the bridge (go ahead, make me jealous! LOL).
Peace,
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Re: The Boston and New York Air Line Railroad (now and then)

Postby RichCoffey » Fri Nov 25, 2016 8:13 pm

Filling in the Lyman Viaduct

Lyman Viaduct 1913
https://bridgehunter.com/ct/new-london/bh48763/
there are 21 photos (some illustrate hopper cars dumping their contents as the viaduct was being filled in)

also Rapallo Viaduct
https://bridgehunter.com/ct/middlesex/bh48765/
http://www.tylercitystation.info/upload ... 6_orig.jpg
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Re: The Boston and New York Air Line Railroad (now and then)

Postby Mr rt » Mon Dec 05, 2016 2:23 pm

Swam under the Lyman Viaduct ... went to school at East Hampton (now Center School) ... once in a while would see a couple of box cars going over the bridge in the center of town. When my greatgrand father moved from NY to CT he got off in Cobalt & had a horse & buggy pick him up.
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