Let NOBODY forget August 19, 1955

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Let NOBODY forget August 19, 1955

Postby Noel Weaver » Sun Aug 19, 2012 1:02 pm

August 19, 1955 was the date of the floods in Southern New England and Connecticut in particular. The New Haven management stated that we will be back bigger and better than ever. The railroad came back but it was neither bigger nor better. In my area Waterbury lost its two daily through trains to Boston when the bridge in Putnam was damaged and the railroad chose not to rebuild it. We also lost all the RPO's and in fact no mail was ever carried in the Naugatuck Valley by rail again after August 18, 1955. We lost the through trains to New York out of both Waterbury and Winsted and in fact the railroad considered whether they would even rebuild to Winsted or not but they still had some pretty good customers especially in Torrington and the line got rebuilt. They did not intend to restore passenger service between Waterbury and Winsted but the state had other ideas and forced its return for a period but reduced service, poor connections and indifference on the part of the railroad killed the service in December of 1958 anyway. Bank Street Junction Tower (SS-202) was never restored after the flood but in my opinion its days were probably numbered anyway. One of the biggest losses for the railroad was the decision not to rebuild the bridge in Putnam, this not only cut Hartford - Boston direct service but made a through freight movement much more haphazzard and difficult as it involved a detour via Plainfield and a back up move to continue.. It added hours to the running time when the trustees manged to get a contract to haul automobiles from the Maybrook gateway to Readville. I remember the last train that Thursday night out of Waterbury a passenger special with actress Rossiland Russell, observation car Bunker Hill was part of the consist and they got a way down the valley before they had to return to Waterbury due to a washout. As a result of this the Bunker Hill was marooned in Waterbury until they were able to get a temporary bridge over the Naugatuck River near Bank Street Junction in Waterbury. I remember the freight cars floating down the Naugatuck River, the suspension of passenger service between Waterbury and Bridgeport for a period of about six months following the flood, the day the trains returned and the very reduced service between Waterbury and Hartford consisting of just two round trips a day. Other sections of the railroad got hit as well, The Canal, Berkshire, Norwich Branch and some more as well but the Naugy probably got it the worst of all. Let's all remember this sad but eventful day.
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Re: Let NOBODY forget August 19, 1955

Postby FLRailFan1 » Sun May 25, 2014 12:50 pm

Noel:

I wonder what if the hurricane never hit CT? What do you think? I wonder if Winsted would have freight today.
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Re: Let NOBODY forget August 19, 1955

Postby edbear » Sun May 25, 2014 6:23 pm

Probably not. Winsted got its freight and passenger service back a year or so later. Passenger went about 1959-60. Freight lasted a few more years.
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Re: Let NOBODY forget August 19, 1955

Postby Noel Weaver » Sun May 25, 2014 10:08 pm

Winsted went in April, 1963 because there simply was not enough business to make it pay to go there. The 1955 floods had nothing to do with the railroad in Winsted. Even before the 1955 floods the local freight only went to Winsted not more than three days a week and maybe not even that. The bulk of the flood damage in 1955 was between Torrington and Derby, the line between Torrington and Winsted was not badly damaged, had it been as badly damaged as it was between Torrington and Waterbury I rather doubt if it would have ever been rebuilt. While I suppose you might find one or two railroad customers in the Naugatuck Valley that never rebuilt after the 1955 floods, I don't know of any. As I have stated many times both here and elsewhere Western Connecticut has lost nearly all railroad freight operations simply because the freight railroad customers are no longer in that area. I can name a bunch of them between Derby and Winsted that have left the area and they will not return, not today, not tomorrow and not again period. The last passenger train to Winsted, a single Budd Car, ran in December, 1958, I was on the last train and it was packed.
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Re: Let NOBODY forget August 19, 1955

Postby RussNelson » Mon May 26, 2014 11:54 am

I'll never forget it, but not for railroad reasons. My grandfather had a house on Shohola Creek in Pennsylvania. It was well away from the creek, but the swimming hole he paid to have dug in the creek bed was totally filled up. The state (or feds) who came through to clean up the damage probably would have restored it, had anybody been around to ask to have it done. But ... summer home.

McKean Valley Road, where the house was, used to go closer to the creek. It got completely washed out further west from our house, at the place we called "The Washout" for decades to follow.

That's the extent of my "never forgetting", given that I was -3 years old at the time. My father wasn't a railfan, so I didn't get any railroad history from him.
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Re: Let NOBODY forget August 19, 1955

Postby FLRailFan1 » Wed May 28, 2014 3:42 pm

Noel Weaver wrote:Winsted went in April, 1963 because there simply was not enough business to make it pay to go there. The 1955 floods had nothing to do with the railroad in Winsted. Even before the 1955 floods the local freight only went to Winsted not more than three days a week and maybe not even that. The bulk of the flood damage in 1955 was between Torrington and Derby, the line between Torrington and Winsted was not badly damaged, had it been as badly damaged as it was between Torrington and Waterbury I rather doubt if it would have ever been rebuilt. While I suppose you might find one or two railroad customers in the Naugatuck Valley that never rebuilt after the 1955 floods, I don't know of any. As I have stated many times both here and elsewhere Western Connecticut has lost nearly all railroad freight operations simply because the freight railroad customers are no longer in that area. I can name a bunch of them between Derby and Winsted that have left the area and they will not return, not today, not tomorrow and not again period. The last passenger train to Winsted, a single Budd Car, ran in December, 1958, I was on the last train and it was packed.
Noel Weaver


Noel:

Who were the NH customers between Waterbury and Winsted? I guess brass pipes were in the process of being phased out in the 60s in favor of PVC pipes, so I guess Waterburys brass mills weren't get as much shipped from them as before.
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Re: Let NOBODY forget August 19, 1955

Postby 3rd Gen. Brakeman » Wed May 28, 2014 4:51 pm

FLRailFan1 wrote:
Noel Weaver wrote:Winsted went in April, 1963 because there simply was not enough business to make it pay to go there. The 1955 floods had nothing to do with the railroad in Winsted. Even before the 1955 floods the local freight only went to Winsted not more than three days a week and maybe not even that. The bulk of the flood damage in 1955 was between Torrington and Derby, the line between Torrington and Winsted was not badly damaged, had it been as badly damaged as it was between Torrington and Waterbury I rather doubt if it would have ever been rebuilt. While I suppose you might find one or two railroad customers in the Naugatuck Valley that never rebuilt after the 1955 floods, I don't know of any. As I have stated many times both here and elsewhere Western Connecticut has lost nearly all railroad freight operations simply because the freight railroad customers are no longer in that area. I can name a bunch of them between Derby and Winsted that have left the area and they will not return, not today, not tomorrow and not again period. The last passenger train to Winsted, a single Budd Car, ran in December, 1958, I was on the last train and it was packed.
Noel Weaver


Noel:

Who were the NH customers between Waterbury and Winsted? I guess brass pipes were in the process of being phased out in the 60s in favor of PVC pipes, so I guess Waterburys brass mills weren't get as much shipped from them as before.


Torrington alone saw contracts with Torrington Company (later Timken), Stone Container, Grunders Equipment, and Blue Seal just to name a few.
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Re: Let NOBODY forget August 19, 1955

Postby FLRailFan1 » Wed May 28, 2014 7:00 pm

3rd Gen. Brakeman wrote:
FLRailFan1 wrote:
Noel Weaver wrote:Winsted went in April, 1963 because there simply was not enough business to make it pay to go there. The 1955 floods had nothing to do with the railroad in Winsted. Even before the 1955 floods the local freight only went to Winsted not more than three days a week and maybe not even that. The bulk of the flood damage in 1955 was between Torrington and Derby, the line between Torrington and Winsted was not badly damaged, had it been as badly damaged as it was between Torrington and Waterbury I rather doubt if it would have ever been rebuilt. While I suppose you might find one or two railroad customers in the Naugatuck Valley that never rebuilt after the 1955 floods, I don't know of any. As I have stated many times both here and elsewhere Western Connecticut has lost nearly all railroad freight operations simply because the freight railroad customers are no longer in that area. I can name a bunch of them between Derby and Winsted that have left the area and they will not return, not today, not tomorrow and not again period. The last passenger train to Winsted, a single Budd Car, ran in December, 1958, I was on the last train and it was packed.
Noel Weaver


Noel:

Who were the NH customers between Waterbury and Winsted? I guess brass pipes were in the process of being phased out in the 60s in favor of PVC pipes, so I guess Waterburys brass mills weren't get as much shipped from them as before.


Torrington alone saw contracts with Torrington Company (later Timken), Stone Container, Grunders Equipment, and Blue Seal just to name a few.


What was received and shipped... (I guess Stone got paper) but what did the other get.
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Re: Let NOBODY forget August 19, 1955

Postby 3rd Gen. Brakeman » Thu Jun 05, 2014 10:35 am

Blue Seal/Agway are feed stores, Dwan Company is an alcoholic beverage distributor, Stone Container made corrugated paper products, Brunswick made golf club shafts, Timken made bearings, Turner and Seymour still makes chain, Grunder's Equipment is a farm equipment dealer, and Allied Groceries and Iffland Lumber are self explanatory. I'm not sure if Kelly Coal Co. was still in business after the flood, but the yard and buildings are still there. Just a side note on Grunder's.... they did not have property along the right of way. Because of this, they offloaded all the tractors and equipment using a ramp downtown and drove all the equipment up to the east side of town.
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