Passenger service along the Norwich & lower Palmer lines

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checkthedoorlight
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Passenger service along the Norwich & lower Palmer lines

Post by checkthedoorlight » Wed Jan 26, 2011 8:19 am

Does anyone have a list of former passenger stations along these lines, or schedules for when passenger service used to run on them? I know Amtrak's Montrealer used to use the NECR, stopping at New London and supposedly Willimantic, and there apparently used to be a New York to Bangor, ME service which ran on the P&W Norwich - I see evidence of stations at the Norwich block limit, Plainfield at the Village block limit, and Putnam (but on the abandoned Airline which is now a rail trail). I've also seen the Norwich station from route 2, although I'm not sure which line that's on. Thanks.

TomNelligan
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Re: Passenger service along the Norwich & lower Palmer lines

Post by TomNelligan » Wed Jan 26, 2011 8:51 am

Passenger service between New London and Worcester lasted until the day before Amtrak (April 30. 1971) and consisted of two round trips a day by a solo RDC that connected with Shore Line trains at New London. Intermediate stations included Norwich, Jewett City, Plainfield, Danielson Putnam, Webster, Auburn and I think a couple more... my old timetables are at home and I'll update the list tonight if someone else hasn't. Much earlier, the New Haven RR did indeed run New York-Maine though service over the line.

Jeff Smith
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Re: Passenger service along the Norwich & lower Palmer lines

Post by Jeff Smith » Wed Jan 26, 2011 9:42 am

I wonder if some of my NH Lines East timetables may have that info?
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TomNelligan
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Re: Passenger service along the Norwich & lower Palmer lines

Post by TomNelligan » Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:23 pm

Now that I have the timetable in front of me, I see that my New London-Worcester station list above is complete for the latter years of NH/PC passenger service. Sometimes my old guy memory still works. :-)

The through trains to Maine ended in 1946. The line was then freight-only for six years until local RDC service was restored in 1952, and that lasted until 1971.

As for the Central Vermont's south end, that went freight -only in 1947 until Amtrak's temporary restoration with the Montrealer rerouting on 1989. And yes, that train made a middle-of-the-night stop at a platform in Willimantic. A 1905 timetable that I have lists 19 intermediate stations between New London and Palmer, seven of which were flag stops only. In Amtrak days, Willimantic was the only passenger stop between New London and Brattleboro.

checkthedoorlight
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Re: Passenger service along the Norwich & lower Palmer lines

Post by checkthedoorlight » Wed Jan 26, 2011 8:17 pm

You forgot Amherst! That was a Montrealer stop as well.

Thanks for the info, it will be put to good use :D

As for the abandoned line which the Putnam, CT station still stands at, where did the southern end of that line go? Was this a shortcut that passenger trains used, to skip some of the current P&W Norwich line?

H.F.Malone
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Re: Passenger service along the Norwich & lower Palmer lines

Post by H.F.Malone » Wed Jan 26, 2011 9:15 pm

From Putnam west to Willi, then either southwest to Middletown (the "Air Line"), or northwest to Hartford. Thruogh passenger service from Waterbury to Hartford to Putnam and then to Boston ended in Aug. 1955 as a result of the Big Flood severing the line as a through route.
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Noel Weaver
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Re: Passenger service along the Norwich & lower Palmer lines

Post by Noel Weaver » Wed Jan 26, 2011 9:21 pm

checkthedoorlight wrote:You forgot Amherst! That was a Montrealer stop as well.

Thanks for the info, it will be put to good use :D

In the summer of 1955 before the August flood Putnam had 2 round trips between New London and Worcester, 1 round trip of the East Wind enroute between New York (GCT) and Portland, Maine (a day train) and 2 round trips between Waterbury and Boston plus a 3rd round trip out of Hartford. This means that it handled a total of 12 passenger trains each weekday, 1 less on Saturday and Sunday.
Under the normal plan every train consisted of Budd RDC equipment except for the East Wind which had coaches, parlor car and dining car through.
There was additioal New York - Worcester service but that ran at night and via Providence.
Noel Weaver

As for the abandoned line which the Putnam, CT station still stands at, where did the southern end of that line go? Was this a shortcut that passenger trains used, to skip some of the current P&W Norwich line?

eddiebehr
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Re: Passenger service along the Norwich & lower Palmer lines

Post by eddiebehr » Wed Jan 26, 2011 10:31 pm

The NYNH & H used all sorts of routings for New York-Portland and beyond trains. The earliest through routings ran from New York to Springfield, Boston & Albany to Worcester, B & M WN&P beyond. By about 1912 the route south of Worcester was all NYNH & H. At least one routing about the time of World War I had the State of Maine running via Middletown-Willimantic-Putnam. Eventually the Norwich-Worcester route was the usual routing for Maine service until 1946. Most of the trains ran at night but by the late 1920s there was a day train, to Maine on Friday returning on Monday. The East Wind was started in the early 1940s but was pulled off as World War II progressed because it was regarded as non-essential, primarily a vacationers' type train. About 1943 for a time, the B & M and NYNH & H hosted a Day Express, squeezing a day trip of the State of Maine equipment into the timetable so that two sets of equipment covered a complete round-trip NY-Portland cycle each day. Seat space was sold in the Pullman cars. The ODT took a dim view of this service and ordered it discontinued and the railroads complied. After local service between Worcester and New London ended in the late 1920s, the State of Maine made intermediate stops only at Webster, Putnam and Norwich. The single track, unsignalled N & W was a very busy place up until the mid-1920s as Connecticut Co. trolleys had trackage rights from Tafts to Central Village on the N & W and their schedules were squeezed in with through and local freight and through and local passengers. I have at least one employee timetable for the era and there's lots of bold face type on most of the times in that area. The East Wind, which was discontinued the day the bridge at Putnam went out in 1955, was running NY-Hartford-Putnam-Worcester at the time.

markhb
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Re: Passenger service along the Norwich & lower Palmer lines

Post by markhb » Wed Jan 26, 2011 11:11 pm

I found this blog post which has a complete scan of the Sept. 27, 1931 Maine Central passenger timetable. It lists the State of Maine Express as going New London-Norwich-Putnam-Worcester with no mention of Webster at all. It also has a fairly nice presentment of The Gull, complete with its own logo!
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checkthedoorlight
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Re: Passenger service along the Norwich & lower Palmer lines

Post by checkthedoorlight » Thu Jan 27, 2011 10:02 am

Upon some closer map tracking, it appears that EVERYTHING used to connect together within a 1 mile section in Willimantic.

CVRA7
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Re: Passenger service along the Norwich & lower Palmer lines

Post by CVRA7 » Thu Jan 27, 2011 10:16 am

The six lines radiating out of Willimantic all could easily host trains using the passenger station. Some trackage from each of these lines remains in Willimantic, including a short section of the line to Putnam at the old passenger station site near the well-known footbridge over the rail lines and river. Trackage of the former Air Line and Hartford route can be seen at or near the Connecticut Eastern Railroad Museum near Bridge St. once the snow melts, anyway.

bruceclouette
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Re: Passenger service along the Norwich & lower Palmer lines

Post by bruceclouette » Thu Jan 27, 2011 5:37 pm

The Putnam station served both lines, the Norwich and Worcester line from Groton, Connecticut, to Worcester, and the Air Line from Boston to New Haven. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There is also a roundhouse still standing in Putnam (or was, the last time I looked).

Norwich had two stations, one serving the Central Vermont trains on the west side of the Thames River (gone) and the one on the east side that is still standing.

Below Norwich, at Fort Hill in Preston, there was a passenger flag stop at one time and also, for about fifteen years, a freight interchange with the Norwich & Westerly, an interurban line that also hauled some coal and the output from a silex mine.

Jeff Smith
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Re: Passenger service along the Norwich & lower Palmer lines

Post by Jeff Smith » Fri Jan 28, 2011 9:02 am

Rich, can't wait to see this! I might have to get this one printed at OfficeMax!
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ebtmikado
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Re: Passenger service along the Norwich & lower Palmer lines

Post by ebtmikado » Mon Jan 31, 2011 4:35 pm

By the time I started school in Providence (1960), the Maine service had been running via the P&W mainline Providence-Worcester for several years. When the Maine service ended that fall, the New Haven began operating a train called the Bostonian, which departed GCT at 9:00PM, same as the old State of Maine. The Bar Harbor Express was a weekend-only train, operating from Washington to Bangor. There were no stops between Providence and Worcester when I was there.

Lee

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