Discussion relating to the operations of MTA MetroNorth Railroad including west of Hudson operations and discussion of CtDOT sponsored rail operations such as Shore Line East and the Springfield to New Haven Hartford Line

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, nomis, FL9AC, Jeff Smith

  by danburybranch
Does Vanderbuilt Chemicals (or any other company) have to pay some sort of yearly upkeep fee to keep their switch intact? Considering they haven't shipped by rail in many years I'm surprised that the switch hasn't been removed. On a related note, I was checking out the Danbury/Bethel area using aerial maps on maps.live.com. I noticed that Sperry Rail services has a really long spur running alongside their facility and off into the woods. Did this spur ever continue on to another industry or has it always just ended at it's current location?
  by DutchRailnut
they do pay a maintenance fee, but MNCR could waiv the fee i the the track as beneficial to MNCR.
The spery test track, I have no history on it,other than that it has a lot of planted defects, foor testing the test ars
  by R36 Combine Coach
Did Duracell in Bethel ever have rail service?
  by Tom Curtin
RE the two questions above :

1. The Sperry track going "off into the woods" is (or was) Sperry Rail's equipment test track. Sperry was proud of this, calling it "the world's worst railroad," meaning it had every conceivable defect that their equipment was designed to test for.

2. If Duracell is the plant on Great Pasture Road (I don't live in Danbury any more so I'm not sure) then the story on it is: this was originally built as National Can Co., in the 60's when still served by the New Haven, I think; and did indeed have rail service when built.

God, there was so much local freight on the Danbury it's hard to believe it's all gone. When I was a kid in Danbury in the 50's just in Danbury and Bethel alone there were:
- McCarthy Coal Co. (on the site of new Danbury station)
- Swifts Premium
- Lee Hats
- Sperry Rail (Still there)
- Preferred Utilities
- B J Dolan (coal and masonry supplies)
- Terry Lumber Co.
- Senior Lumber Co. (their siding became Ring's End)
- Vanderbilt Chemical
- Shepard's

And I may have forgotten a couple!!!

Last edited by Tom Curtin on Wed Nov 26, 2008 2:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by DutchRailnut
R36 Combine Coach wrote:Did Duracell in Bethel ever have rail service?
I don't think duracell is even close to railroad, their in industrial park at I-84
  by Tom Curtin
DutchRailnut wrote: I don't think duracell is even close to railroad, their in industrial park at I-84
I believe you're right. I was wondering if what he was referring to as "Duracell" was the plant on the east side of the RR and north side of Great Pasture Rd. crossing that was once (years ago) National Can. I do not know what that facility is today.
  by Jeff Smith
Given the limited trucking options in the area (no limited access highways above what, Merrit all the way to Danbury?), I don't understand why freight isn't a better option. It seems like HRRC does well between Derby through Danbury and up to State Line. Maybe HRRC should be given the rights.
  by danburybranch
Sarge, you have to understand that most of the Danbury Branch runs right through suburbia, wealthy suburbia at that. There really isn't much left along the line that would even have the least bit of potential as a freight customer. Sure 40 or more years ago there were factories along the line but times have changed.
  by DutchRailnut
rights are not given, they are negotiated and bought. in this case P&W has it and they do great work.
You can't force companies to use rail, so no customers is still the problem.
  by Jeff Smith
Good points - most manufacturing has left that area, hasn't it? Very "gentrified" now. I thought the problem may have been service, thanks for clearing that up.
  by Ridgefielder
The manufacturing base along the Danbury-- at least south of Bethel-- was in decline long before any McMansions started going up in this part of the county. A lot went down in the Depression, a lot of what remained got taken out in the Flood of '55. I'm pretty sure the only thing that survived into my day (I was born in the early '70's) was Gilbert & Bennett in Georgetown, which closed in about 1990 or so. Not sure how much they shipped by rail at that point.

With regard to Ring's End: I'm assuming P&W get there by way of Devon and Derby Jct... anyone got pictures?
  by DutchRailnut
P&W if switching Bethel will run New Haven-Devon-derby - Danbury-Bethel- South norwalk- New haven in Summer as part of stone train.
In winter they come New Haven -South Norwalk- Bethel - South Norwalk-New Haven.

stuff runs at night 99.9 times.
  by Jeff Smith
I'd call that "going around the horn"! What a great excursion that would make...
  by MNCRR9000
Is the Vanderbilt Chemical siding in use anymore or are most of their products shipped out?? Be interesting to see if they keep that connected to the main when they do replace the switches as part of the CTC project.
  by DutchRailnut
they have had no service for over 5 years now att trucked now.
To maintain the switch it would cost them big money.