Official Naugatuck Railroad thread (NAUG/RMNE)

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Re: Official Naugatuck Railroad thread (NAUG/RMNE)

Postby shadyjay » Tue May 02, 2017 12:56 pm

Link to the photos I took during the Mass Bay RRE excursion:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/shadyjay/ ... 0113611694

And my photo runby compilation video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RH6Ud8c_6Tg
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Re: Official Naugatuck Railroad thread (NAUG/RMNE)

Postby NortheastTrainGuy1965 » Tue May 02, 2017 1:17 pm

Otto Vondrak wrote:
NortheastTrainGuy1965 wrote:Has anyone heard if a Thomaston to Torrington tourist excursion might become a regular event?


No one has heard that. Have you?

-otto-


No, I haven't heard anything. Just wishful thinking on my part.

Probably not a realistic venture for it to be a regular tourist excursion with the lack of scenic view during the summer, although a few fall foliage runs would be nice.
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Re: Official Naugatuck Railroad thread (NAUG/RMNE)

Postby NaugyRR » Tue May 02, 2017 1:37 pm

Ridgefielder wrote:
NaugyRR wrote:I thought it was a great trip, and the weather was actually decent from what they were calling for. I was expecting some oppressive heat, but there was a nice breeze throughout the day. My window even managed to stay open for most of the trip, although she dropped and tested my reflexes a couple times on the ride back from Torrington, haha. It was kinda funny seeing the reception from the general public we received in Torrington; it was a mix of friendly waving to confused faces. I'm glad I went, and really enjoyed seeing the remaining industrial trackage in Torrington. Maybe sometime in the future the MBRRE could arrange a trip to run on Pan Am's trackage to Bristol, and possibly a run on the branch into Albert Brothers scrap in Waterbury.

The branch into Albert Bros. is the remaining stub of the Watertown Branch, correct?


I believe so, and I think it was mentioned over the intercom, which of course was spotty at times in my car during the trip, haha
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Re: Official Naugatuck Railroad thread (NAUG/RMNE)

Postby shadyjay » Tue May 02, 2017 4:10 pm

NaugyRR wrote:I believe so, and I think it was mentioned over the intercom, which of course was spotty at times in my car during the trip, haha


There was a narration on the initial (Thomaston<->Waterbury) leg? My car (the first, SB, 4980) had none. It came on sometime after leaving Thomaston, NB. Prior to that, we were a little clueless about the initial photo runby, about 5 minutes out of the gate.
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Re: Official Naugatuck Railroad thread (NAUG/RMNE)

Postby H.F.Malone » Tue May 02, 2017 10:24 pm

The very nice, printed trip handout done by MBRRE covered the details such as the stub to Albert Bros being the remaining portion of the old Watertown Branch, etc. A few PA system glitches were corrected during the trip, sometimes those things happen. At one point, there was commercial (FM) radio interference over the PA system. The first photo stop was just under a mile from Thomaston station, so communicating that stop was a bit iffy. Once the train stopped at The Patch, everyone figured it out quickly!

As for any regular, scheduled passenger operations to and from Torrington, those will be on a case-by-case basis for now. Watch the RMNE website www.rmne.org and the RMNE Facebook page for any announcements of such trains.

This season will see some final bits of trackwork in Torrington, as well as a culvert replacement project just north of Chase Bridge. That project will eliminate a long-standing slow order over that culvert.
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Re: Official Naugatuck Railroad thread (NAUG/RMNE)

Postby NaugyRR » Wed May 03, 2017 8:24 am

H.F.Malone wrote:...At one point, there was commercial (FM) radio interference over the PA system...


I dunno, I thought "Runaround Sue" was kind of a fitting coincidence during the reverse move for the first photo stop, haha.
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Re: Official Naugatuck Railroad thread (NAUG/RMNE)

Postby Scalziand » Wed May 03, 2017 11:27 am

shadyjay wrote: It was pretty neat seeing the remnants of the old right of way and old Route 8 north of the dam. With the dam being built after the 1955(?) flood and the line relocated for a few miles to a higher grade, could this be the newest rail line in the state?


Not quite. The Thomaston dam was completed in 1960 after the '55 flood. However, the nearby Hancock Brook Dam in Plymouth was built 1963-1966 and required relocating 2 miles of the Highland branch. These two dams are part of a network of 7 flood control dams built in the Naugatuck River watershed after the flood.

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Re: Official Nauygatuck Railroad thread (NAUG/RMNE)

Postby FLRailFan1 » Mon May 08, 2017 10:15 pm

Noel Weaver wrote:I am glad the trip worked out good for you and probably everybody else as well. It was a good opportunity to ride an interesting and historic piece of railroad. I wish I could have been with you, I would have pointed out what was what in Torrington back when the line handled a lot of freight seven days a week. All gone today. Thanks for the photo.
Noel Weaver


Noel, what was serviced in Torrington? I guess most were box cars? Am I correct? What businesses were served in Watertown? Thanks...
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Re: Official Naugatuck Railroad thread (NAUG/RMNE)

Postby J.D. Lang » Tue May 09, 2017 8:01 am

Noel, what was serviced in Torrington? I guess most were box cars? Am I correct? What businesses were served in Watertown? Thanks

Noel would be the best source for this but I did work for Penn Central for a brief time as a brakeman on the Naugatuck roster in 1971-72. I did manage to get the Torrington job (NX-16) a few times and this is what I can best remember of what customers were served by rail in the Torrington area at that time. Blue seal feeds on the Litchfield Torrington line would get boxcars of bag feed and covered hoppers of bulk grain a couple times a week. Dwan company would get a boxcar of wine about once a month, Hotchkiss Bros. would get an occasional boxcar of lumber, Allied Groceries would get an occasional boxcar of caned produce and Iffland lumber would get an occasional boxcar of lumber on the team track in the center of Torrington. The biggest customer in Torrington at the time was American Brass as they would get switched each day on the Monday through Friday run of NX-16. I posted a few years back on this in the PC forum and at the time I thought that it was Charter Oak Container but it was actually American brass. As far as the Watertown branch goes I’m not very familiar about it but I believe that there was a lumber yard in Watertown and maybe another customer in Oakville. Again Mr. Weaver would be the one with the best knowledge here.

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Re: Official Naugatuck Railroad thread (NAUG/RMNE)

Postby Noel Weaver » Tue May 09, 2017 1:49 pm

American Brass was the biggest customer in Torrington and the local spent much of the day just switching this one customer. The casting shop was close to Prospect Street and is gone, the rod mill was seen from High Street and I think at least a portion of it is still around. There were more sidings around Summer Street although the line itself crosses Summer Street on a bridge there was at least one track that crossed Summer Street at grade to service probably the casting shop. Incidentally American Brass had a nice stone office building just down the grade from Water Street not too far beyond the railroad crossing and this building is still there and used for something. The most fascinating operation to observe in Torrington when the local was not switching around the area was the powerhouse operation which could easily be seen from the walkway on the Prospect Street Bridge. They had a huge coal pile for the powerhouse, the local brought up cars of coal on a daily basis and they had a crane with a mechanical shovel to move the coal around the area after being unloaded from hopper cars. It was interesting to stand there and watch this continuous operation. American Brass generated enough electricity for their entire Torrington operations from this powerhouse including all the shops plus the office and maybe more as well. For water they built the Stillwater Reservoir which is along the Norfolk Road (I think it is 272 today, years ago it was 49). This facility is still there and I think it might be owned by the City of Torrington. The dam is still called the "Brass Mill Dam" and the road to the dam is Brass Mill Dam Road. Dwan and Company, Iffland Lumber and Hotchkiss Brothers all have been in business for a long, long time and were railroad customers for many, many years. Maybe they could return if decent service could be provided. Hendy Machine (the switch was close to the Litchfield Street crossing) is long gone but they were once a very good customer. Turner and Seymour was another good customer in the south end of Torrington. Turner and Seymour was the only outfit in Torrington to have their own switch engine but I never saw it. Between Turner and Seymour and Albert Street the main track had a track on both sides for a fair distance and the local would often stop there and sort out their cars rather than do it up in the station area where there were more problems with crossings this area was known as the "railroad plains. When I was a little kid, real little) I would see them working over the crossing at Albert Street which at that time had a warning bell and a flagman for protection. Albert Street was the first crossing in Torrington to lose the flagman to automatic flashers and for many years it was the only crossing in Torrington so protected. Litchfield Street had a flagman. Water Street, Church Street and Pearl Street all had manually operated gates which lasted up until the passenger trains came off in December, 1958. North Elm Street also had a warning bell and a flagman and a year or so before the passenger trains came off they abolished the flagman and made it a stop and protect for all trains, passenger and freight. The Allied Grocery concern was somewhat newer customer in Torrington opening maybe around the time we moved from Torrington to Waterbury in 1951. The team track was a stub end track that ended close to the Church Street Crossing and functioned as a public delivery track. Some railroads called these tracks town tracks and some called them bulk delivery tracks but on the New Haven they were known as "team tracks". Torrington Company was another customer which located between Forest Street overhead bridge (the only OH bridge in Torrington) and North Elm Street, they existed until maybe the 1990's or so but I don't know how much business they provided for the railroad in their last years. The end of the line in Torrington was the Wadhams Company which delat with coal, oil etc and was just north (railroad east) of Newfield Road crossing and the main track ended at that location after the line to Winsted was abandoned in 1963. There is probably more to this story, I did this from memory.
A little more about American Brass is probably in order, they had big operations in three locations in the Naugatuck Valley, Waterbury was the biggest and also the location of their headquarters on Meadow Street across from the railroad station, Torrington and Ansonia were also big operations. Their switching was conducted differently at all three locations. In Torrington they contracted with the New Haven for all their swithing and the local did that job seven days a week at one time later reduced to a Monday - Friday affair. Waterbury they had two fireless steam engines that lasted until the late 50's, 0-4-0 T's and they had a very neat whistle on them. One was used around the Freight Street plant and the other one was at the South Plant around South Main Street. They even had their own yardmaster in Waterbury to run their operation, it was that busy. Ansonia was switched by the New Haven using the Derby switcher which up until at least the 1960's was a 24/7 operation. They had other industries that they switched in the Derby/Shelton/Ansonia area as well as handling switching moves involving set outs and pick ups from the Waterbury and Maybrook freight trains. The train crews loved the Derby job but the engine crews did not love the job and they ducked the job as much as they could if one of the regular men on that job happened to take a day off. The Waterbury spare boards were responsible for covering the jobs in Derby. Winsted in the 1950's was badly on the skids even at the time of the 1955 floods and the flood damage between Torrington and Winsted was not very bad or they probably would not have rebuilt the line between Torrington and Winsted after the 1955 flood. The last train to Winsted ran in 1963, I have the B/O when the line was taken out of service. The New Haven took up the track themselves using an American Crane and gondola.
Chase and Scovill were the other two that made up the "big three". Chase had a plant on North Main Street that was served by the Connecticut Company and Connecticut Railway and Lighting until buses were substituted for trolley cars in Waterbury in 1937 but their biggest plant was in Waterville and was right next to the railroad track for the Naugy. They had a fireless steam switcher there as well. Scovilll had big facilities in the east end of Waterbury and this was served by the Dublin Street Switcher that worked five days a week, on weekends they also got switched by one of the other switchers in Waterbury Yard. Scovill also had a plant in Oakville that stradled the Waterbury - Watertown line, I don't recall whether the railroad served that plant or not, it was smaller than the others. As for the Watertown Branch, I don't know much about it except that the railroad had a siding off that branch to serve Princeton Knitting Mills, they got a car of oil from time to time. I think Watertown might have had a lumber yard but I am not sure. I rode the line a number of times but today everything is long gone.

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Re: Official Naugatuck Railroad thread (NAUG/RMNE)

Postby J.D. Lang » Wed May 10, 2017 8:24 am

Noel,

Thanks for the great history of the industries served in the Torrington area over time. This is very dear to me as I grew up in the area and still am in Torrington a couple of times a week. I belong to a model train club that has a long term lease on the old CL&P building on Lewis Street just north of Turner and Seymour and there is an old siding that comes off the East Plains track that long ago was used to unload poles and transformers. When I worked NX-16 in 71-72 we did use the East Plains track to sort out our cars before heading to the center of town. West Plains was OOS at the time. I always did wonder why Albert Street had the flashers while the busier New Litchfield Street only had crossbucks at the time. I use to have to flag both. Anyway thanks again for taking the time to share all of this valuable history with us.

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Re: Official Naugatuck Railroad thread (NAUG/RMNE)

Postby GirlOnTheTrain » Fri May 19, 2017 7:35 pm

I feel like this may/may not be the right place to ask but I've always wondered...

Between where the line ends today and that greenway along Winsted Road, where was the old ROW? I gathered bits and pieces from Noel's description above - re: Newfield Road, etc. but never was quite clear on what the approximate alignment was. Did it continue north from where it was, go through where K-Mart was and then end up paralleling Winsted Road?
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Re: Official Naugatuck Railroad thread (NAUG/RMNE)

Postby H.F.Malone » Fri May 19, 2017 8:16 pm

That's pretty much correct. This is an interesting source for tracing long-gone ROWs-- http://www.openrailwaymap.org/

Zoom in on the area(s) of interest and you can see individual buildings that are now in place on the Winsted route. I highly doubt the railway will ever be relaid though north Torrington and on to Burrville and Winsted.
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Re: Official Naugatuck Railroad thread (NAUG/RMNE)

Postby J.D. Lang » Sat May 20, 2017 7:50 am

The line ran along the back of Kmart then crossed Newfield Rd. through Center Subaru along the back of all the buildings on the west side of old Rt. 8 then is obliterated by Mountaintop Truckings quarry. About a mile north of the quarry old 8 passed over the right of way on a bridge (since filled in) and right after that Grossman trail starts and heads to Winsted.

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Re: Official Naugatuck Railroad thread (NAUG/RMNE)

Postby Noel Weaver » Sat May 20, 2017 1:33 pm

The line from Torrington to Winsted remained on the west side of route 8 (compass direction not railroad direction) all the way to a point maybe a mile or two south of Burrville where the road crossed the railroad on a bridge. This was called sinkhole bridge at one time. South of the bridge the old route 8 swung off to the left (northbound) and followed the track, this involved a crossing as well. North (compass) of Burrville to Winsted the track remaioned on the east side of route 8 until another point maybe a mile or so short of Winsted where it was again crossed by a bridge. I think the sinkhole bridge is still there but I am not sure about the one closer to Winsted. Another crossing remained for a number of years not far from where route 8 crossed US-44 and it was a concrete bridge that carried the CNE over route 8. This bridge remained for a long time after the CNE was abandoned as there was at least one freight customer in that area, I think they got coal. Incidentally one of the last if not the last customer in Winsted was the Burrwell Lumber Co. which was owned by a gentleman named "Jiggs" Burwell. I used to caddy for him at Greenwoods Country Club which is on Torringford Street at the Winsted - Torrington town line. This is route 183 today. "Juggs" was a really nice person with a big sense of humor. My caddy days were in the late 1940's and early 1950's before we moved to Waterbury. We lived on Torringford Street south of the golf course and I used to pedal my bike up to caddy. It was not a bad ride up to the golf course but the ride home was tough, I had to pedal hard or walk up Pluck Hill and it was over a mile. Sometimes my folks would drive me up and come up a get me, I called them on an old manual telephone from the locker room at the golf course, the phone was in the Winsted exchange and it cost a dime to call Torrington from Winsted. Local calls were a nickel.
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