Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Boston & Maine 1109

This 600 HP diesel switcher was part of an order of three SW-1's built by Electro-Motive Corporation (#912-914), November 10, 1939, as Boston & Maine 1109-1111. Along with 1111, these locomotives were used for many years as switchers at Boston’s North Station. Retired in 1959, all three were sold to Montpelier & Barre Railroad in Vermont, a Pinsly Company shortline railroad. The 1109 and 1110 became M&B 27 and 28, entering service in June 1961; 1111 was used for parts and scrapped in 1974. Transferred in 1982 to Pioneer Valley Railroad, a then-new Pinsly operation at Westfield, MA. The former 1109 was acquired October 1986 by RMNE. This unit is an unmodified example of 1939 diesel technology, complete with Allis-Chalmers electrical components and EMC-GM Series 567 Diesel engines that were the first of that type in New England railroad service. In 1992, the 1109 was cosmetically restored to its 1940 appearance as a B&M unit, the oldest existing diesel locomotive used by a New England railroad. In March 2008, B&M 1109 was carefully moved to the Naugatuck Railroad, and is currently on display at Thomaston Station.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Boston & Maine 1732

Boston & Maine 1732 is a GP-9 1750 hp Diesel road switcher, built by GM’s Electro-Motive Division, May 1957 (#23230). Numbers 1700-1749 were built as “trade-in” locomotives, with B&M sending obsolete 1944-era FT road freight units to EMD for “remanufacture” into these GP-9 units. It was a bookkeeping exercise, as the GP-9 locomotives came right off the EMD production line.

This locomotive was used in road and local freight service by B&M and, after the 1981 takeover, Guilford Transportation Industries. GTI renumbered it Springfield Terminal 68. The locomotive was transferred to a rail equipment leasing company in 1996, and was purchased by RMNE from the leasing company in August 1997 along with sister unit 66 (B&M 1728). As B&M 1732, the unit was wrecked at Orange, Mass., in October 1973, and was rebuilt in 1974, apparently receiving a replacement short hood. The short hood now on the locomotive differs in detail (number of side doors) from standard GP-7, 9, 18, and 20 short hoods. #66 was sold in December 1997 to Massachusetts Central Railroad. #68 was painted and renumbered as 1732 in May 1998. The locomotive is currently in our shop undergoing a rebuilding and eventual return to service.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

New Haven 529

New Haven 529 is an RS-3 1600 HP Diesel road switcher, built by Alco, August 1950 (#78176). The first former New Haven locomotive ever to be preserved, the 529 (class DERS-2c) was a member of a large fleet of RS-3s purchased by the New Haven to retire their final steam power. 529 was rebuilt and upgraded to its current configuration by Alco in 1959. The RS-3s were used over most of the system in all services until the railroad’s demise on December 31, 1968 when the Penn Central took over. Because they were equipped with NH cab signal systems, the PC generally kept the RS-3s in freight service on former NH trackage, and the 529 became 5536. Spared a DeWitt shop rebuilding in the early 1970s, 5536 kept its original Alco model 244 prime mover.

Starting up NH 529 for the first time on the Valley Railroad in Essex, CT in October 1985. Photo by Howard Pincus

The former NH 529 was sold to Amtrak, reportedly for $1.00 when Amtrak took over the Northeast Corridor on April 1, 1976. The locomotive continued to wear its “funeral black” color scheme applied by the PC but was first renumbered 1338 and 138 shortly thereafter by Amtrak. The 138 continued to operate in New Haven territory on work trains, but occasionally it would rescue a disabled passenger train such as the trouble-prone SPV car runs on the Hartford line. In late July 1985, the final assignments for the locomotive included the Hartford work train, and the shop switcher in New Haven. Replaced by newer engines, the Alco fleet was put up for sale in August 1985 and the RMNE purchased 138 in September of that year. The locomotive was repainted in the 1959 color scheme in October 1986. Extensive cosmetic and mechanical work was done in 1994-95. 529 operated the first RMNE train onto the Naugatuck Railroad in September 1996, and continues to be one of our primary locomotives.

Naugatuck Railroad 2203 GE U23B Diesel

They say that timing is everything. And certainly good timing and an aggressive, proactive approach to preservation lead to the saving of former Providence and Worcester U23B, 2203. What is so significant about a seemingly run-of-the-mill General Electric U-boat? It is the last unit built of the domestic Universal series of locomotives, the initial fleet of locomotives that GE built to break into the marketplace in 1960.

The 2203 was built as Conrail 2798 in June of 1977, the last unit of an order of 10 U23B’s, which made up Conrail’s first purchase of brand new locomotives. She is the last built of the “U-Boat” series of locomotives, of several models numbering more than 3100 units. She would work for Conrail for 14 years before being retired and then sold to the Providence and Worcester Railroad, along with six other U23B’s from the same Conrail order. At the P&W, she would be renumbered to 2203, retrucked from GSC drop equalizer trucks to the then-standard GE FB-2 trucks and would receive a moderate amount of preventive maintenance work that would keep her running for another 10 years. Hauling everything from mixed freight to stone trains, 2203 and her six sisters would prove to be the backbone of the P&W fleet. In June of 2002, P&W would retire the 2203 (as well as the other ex-Conrail U23B’s) in favor of newer GE B39-8 units. After leaving P&W property, 2203 would await her fate in the shops of her new owner, Susquehanna Locomotive & Railcar Services, at Utica, NY.

In October of 2002, volunteers of the Railroad Museum of New England became aware of 2203 having been retired from the P&W and was out of service sitting in Utica. Upon inquiry on the locomotive, its new owner, sympathetic to our cause, made us an offer that we couldn’t refuse – a price at about less than half the market value of the locomotive at that time. After discussion among museum members of the historical significance of the locomotive in addition to what role she would play on the museum’s subsidiary Naugatuck Railroad, we would aggressively seek to bring the historic locomotive to our home rails. As is often the case in preservation efforts, a small group of RMNE members dug deep into their pockets and quickly raised the not-insignificant sum to save this locomotive. Our timing was right for preserving this locomotive: in 2002 after the CSX-NS dismantling of Conrail, the used locomotive market quickly became saturated with old, worn-out GE locomotives. But in the last four years, the used locomotive market has contracted greatly due to many retired locomotives being scrapped, while at the same time many previously retired locomotives being called back into service. This is the case with all the ex-P&W U23B’s, which have found work on the Susquehanna and other shortlines. Had the members of the RMNE waited rather than acting quickly, 2203 would have most certainly been sold off and would be back to work for another shortline railroad. Preservation depends on generosity of its proponents.

After coming home to the Railroad Museum of New England, 2203 was very quickly put into service in June of 2003 on the Naugatuck Railroad, becoming the regular power on weekend excursion runs. In the last four years, the museum’s loyal band of volunteers have done a substantial amount work to keep this locomotive running. In the fall of 2003, a standby onboard heating system was added to the locomotive to keep its engine warm for winter service. Several significant repairs have been made to the engine, including the replacement of a damaged cam shaft segment, changing a defective cylinder, replacement of a failed oil cooler and rebuilding of the failed equipment blower drive shaft. Much work remains to make her a true museum piece. Additional repair and clean up of the diesel engine is needed to get it running in top notch condition. At some point, our hope is to replace the FB-2 trucks with the original style drop equalizer trucks, or so called “AAR-B” trucks. Finally, a complete cosmetic overhaul is needed – repair of the battery boxes and other rotten carbody steel and finishing up with a fresh paint job. While it hasn’t been decided how she will be painted, a safe assumption would be the locomotive will be painted in a New Haven Railroad-inspired paint scheme and lettered for the Naugatuck Railroad. Also at that time, she’ll get her original road number back – 2798.
—by Andrew Kromer

New Haven 2525

New Haven 2525 is a U25B 2500 HP road freight Diesel locomotive, built by GE, November 1965 (#35733). The 2525 was the final locomotive built for the New Haven (class DERS-7). This class was built to replace the worn-out 1947 Alco FA fleet (represented by NH 0401). It ran in road freight service on the New Haven's major routes in and out of Cedar Hill Yard near New Haven: to Maybrook, Springfield, Worcester, and Boston. This unit survived the Penn Central takeover and was eventually renumbered 2685, a number that it carried into Conrail. Like the 529, the 2525 stayed on former New Haven territory due to its cab signals. After cab signals were removed on the Hartford line and the Shore Line lost most through freight service, the 2685 roamed the Conrail system, receiving a major engine overhaul in Dec. 1977, after being wrecked on the Boston & Albany Division. It ran only a few more years, being stored in early 1980 and then retired around 1982 as Conrail purchased new motive power. It was stored serviceable at Selkirk and later Altoona. In mid-1985 the decision was made to scrap the 2685 and many of its sister locomotives. Arrangements were made by the RMNE through Conrail to have the locomotive donated and transported to Old Saybrook only weeks before the scheduled scrapping. Thanks to Conrail, another historical locomotive was saved. The 2525 arrived at Essex on Jan. 8, 1986, and was test run in October 1986. The fully-operational unit was restored to its as-built appearance in 1987. Additional work to bring the locomotive into FRA compliance was done in 1992. Unit is currently stored, awaiting a return to service.

2525 at Chase Yard, 2009. Photo by Matt Lawson

CDOT 2002 (NH 2005) and 2019 (NH 2049)

While NH 2059 is the first FL-9 the Museum requested, it is the third one to arrive. In 1985, four FL-9s were transferred by Metro-North to ConnDOT for New York-Danbury, CT service, and were rebuilt and upgraded by Chrome Locomotive in Silvis, Illinois. The four returned to Connecticut wearing the dazzling, original black, red-orange and white “NH” colors of the New Haven’s FL-9 fleet. This well-known color scheme became ConnDOT’s standard decoration.

The original four “Chromes” were retired in the fall of 2001. In April 2002, ConnDOT 2019 (former New Haven 2049) and 2002 (former New Haven 2005, the oldest surviving FL9) came to RMNE on a long-term lease. Tired but still operational, they entered the service rotation for the 2002 season on the Naugy passenger train. They were also quite popular when they were used on RMNE’s “Engineer For an Hour” program.

Since 2009, FL9 2019 has been used as a regular engine on our excursion trains, while 2002 remains in the shop pending repairs and reactivation to regular service.

CDOT FL9 2002 at Thomaston Yard and Shop, July 26, 2009. Photo by Dana Laird

Portland Terminal 198 Crane

Portland Terminal Co. (MEC-B&M) 198 is a 25-ton Diesel-Mechanical locomotive crane, built 1954 by American Hoist & Derrick, St. Paul, Minn., serial # 2067. Powered by Caterpillar Diesel engine. Purchased from Guilford Rail System (successor to MEC and B&M) in 1996. Cosmetic restoration completed in 1997 to circa-1979 PTM Co. appearance. The unit is fully operational (thanks to countless hours of restoration work by RMNE volunteers), and sees frequent use on the Naugatuck Railroad.

New Haven 2059 (Metro-North 2033)

The Long Road Home for New Haven 2059

It was November, 1960. John F. Kennedy had just defeated Richard Nixon in a close Presidential race, becoming the 35th President of the United States. And, in LaGrange, Illinois, the Electro-Motive Division of General Motors had finished building a locomotive for the New Haven Railroad, number 2059, an EMD model FL-9 passenger unit.

NH 2059 closed out the production of the most famous, most recognizable series of diesel locomotives on North American railroads—the 7,690 “F-units” built by EMD. Twenty-one years earlier, demonstrator locomotive GM-103, the first of the Fs, rolled out of EMD’s plant near Chicago, and changed American railroading forever. The 103 and its descendants took on the biggest and the best steam freight and passenger locomotives, and swept them from the rails within fifteen short years.

NH 2059 was a specialized F-unit. The New Haven Railroad needed a diesel locomotive that could also run on electric third-rail power into the Park Avenue Tunnels of Grand Central Terminal in New York. EMD came up with a nine-foot-longer F-9 model, with the extra length providing space for the electric traction equipment. The first FL-9 (“Long F-9”) hit the New Haven’s rails in 1957, and NH 2059 was the sixtieth (and last) of the type.

Operating in passenger service over the New Haven’s compact southern New England system, the FL-9s covered routes out of New York’s Grand Central to Boston, Springfield, Pittsfield, and Cape Cod. They headed up express runs like the ”Yankee Clipper” and “Merchants Limited”, as well as New Haven-New York and Boston-area commuter runs, and branchline locals to Pittsfield, Mass.

After the 1969 takeover of the New Haven by Penn Central, the FL-9s were shifted into New York-area commuter service, eventually becoming Conrail (in 1976) and Metro-North (in 1983) property. Some FL-9s were retired due to fires and lack of proper maintenance during the Penn Central and Conrail years. Six were transferred to Amtrak for Albany-GCT service. Numerous renumberings resulted in NH 2059 becoming PC-CR 5059, and finally Metro-North Commuter Railroad (MNCR) 2033.

By the mid-1980s, Metro-North was planning for the replacement of these twenty-five year old diesel locomotives, even as Metro-North was overhauling and repairing the FL-9 fleet. The need for a dual-mode locomotive was still there, and it was not until 1994 that the first General Electric P-42ACDM “Genesis” locomotives were placed in service by Metro-North. The FL-9 fleet slowly dwindled as the “Genesis” units arrived, with the last few (four to six) FL-9s being used in passenger service on Metro-North in late 2001.

In the summer of 1984, knowing that Metro-North was planning to replace the aging FL-9 fleet, two members of the Railroad Museum of New England decided that NH 2059 should be preserved. Not only the last FL-9, they knew that it was the last F-unit, and therefore a rather historic locomotive. Museum President Bill Sample and Acquisition Manager Howard Pincus met with an acquaintance of Howard’s, MTA board member Jane Butcher of White Plains, NY. They presented the Museum’s proposal for preserving not only NH 2059, but another New Haven diesel, 1947-built 0401, which was on the Long Island Rail Road. Ms. Butcher was favorably impressed with the proposal, and on November 2, 1984, a letter from Metro-North to the Museum indicated that, “..we will make the FL 9 locomotive available to the Museum when possible and this probably will be sometime in 1986.”

The replacement dual-mode locomotives would not be ready for a while--- MNCR 2033 went on to provide eleven more years of service to Metro-North, finally being retired in November 1995. At one point, 2033 narrowly escaped a “rebuilding” into one of the ten ill-fated and highly-modified “starships”—the FL9AC units from Republic Locomotive. The late Richard Gladulich, a Metro-North motive power department employee (as well as a noted railroad historian) was able to have 2033 quietly removed from the list of locomotives slated to become “starships”, and he substituted another FL-9 for 2033.

As 1996 dawned, 2033 sat outside the Harmon (NY) Shops of Metro-North. The Railroad Museum of New England prepared to start operating excursion trains for the public at its new home in Waterbury, Connecticut, on the Naugatuck Railroad.

Follow-up letters and occasional phone calls to get 2033 out of Harmon and to the Museum continued through 1997, 1998 and 1999. Metro-North started using 2033 as a parts source to keep the rest of the FL-9 fleet running, although no critical items were removed. The wheels of bureaucracy turned slowly, but finally, on January 23, 2002, the official documents were signed and Metro-North 2033 belonged to Railroad Museum of New England. Moved to Metro-North’s New Haven Shop in August 2002, 2033 was delivered to RMNE at Waterbury on April 25, 2003. New Haven 2059, Metro-North 2033, was finally home, after almost nineteen years of persistence by the Museum.

NH 2059 is one of the least-modified former MNCR FL-9s, retaining the 24-RL brake system, Vapor OK-4625 steam generator, 16-cylinder 567-D diesel engine, and lacking head-end power connectors and ditch lights. Plans are to restore the unit as NH 2059, keeping as much of the original equipment as possible. It is likely that the locomotive may wear some appropriate “intermediate” paint schemes before the final, full-scale restoration to the 1960 appearance.

The locomotive is currently stored awaiting evaluation for restoration.

Canadian National heavyweight coaches

Our heavyweight coaches were originally built for the Canadian National Railway and used in regular mainline service. Built between 1919 and 1923, many were retro-fitted with ice-cooled air conditioning in the late 1930s. The cars were regularly used on trains between Montreal and New England cities such as Boston, Portland, Maine, and Springfield, Mass. After being replaced in the early 1960s by modern passenger coaches, they settled into their new role in Montreal commuter service starting around 1969-1970. Each car is 82 ft. long, average weight w/o A/C is 145,000 lbs each. After serving a long career in Montreal, the coaches were retired and put up for sale in 1991. The cars currently serving on the Naugatuck Railroad were donated to RMNE by benefactor Thomas V.G. Brown in 1997. Cars 5046, 6608, 4952, 4962, 6606 arrived in Waterbury in 1996, the rest came in 1997. Because the coaches are equipped with roller bearing trucks, they were able to have a starring role in a major motion picture production that required a shoot in Grand Central Terminal. As time and resources permit, each coach will be restored to its mid-century appearance and painted standard CN #13 Coach Green, carrying their original numbers again.

The list of CNR coaches, by current NAUG numbers:

4952, built 5-1920, CC&F, orig number 7294, stored
4980, built 1924, CC&F, orig number 5072
4990, built 1927, NSC, orig number 5114
4992, built 1927, NSC, orig number 5089
5046, built 1923, CC&F
5805, built 1923, CC&F, divided 1st & 2nd class, under restoration
6606, built 1923, CC&F, divided coach & smoker, stored
6608, built 1923, CC&F, divided coach & smoker, stored

CC&F: Canadian Car & Foundry
NSC: National Steel Car

Naugatuck "NYC" 133 Side Dump Car

Our air operated side dump car, "NYC 133," was built in 1951 for the Monongahela Railway by Magor Car Co., in Clifton, NJ. It's a 30-cubic yard, 50-ton capacity air-operated side dump, weighs 56,000 lbs. The car became property of Conrail when they merged the Monongahela in 1993, and was passed on to CSX in 1999. CSX gave the car its "NYC" reporting marks, even though it was never owned by the New York Central. Purchased from the Western Maryland Scenic Rwy, Cumberland, MD and arrived at the Nauguatuck Railroad in 2007. Currently in use on the Naugatuck Railroad in maintenance of way service, this car allows us to transport material such as ballast, fill, and rip-rap, and dump it where needed at any work site along the railroad.


45-ton GE industrial Diesel switcher, built 1942 (#15807) for an unknown original owner (apparently the Rohm & Haas Chemical Co., as #RH-1). Purchased used circa 1969 by Stanley Works to replace a fireless steam switcher; the Diesel carried Stanley number 873. Donated 1993 by Cold Metal Products, which acquired a portion of the Stanley facility, including the locomotive. Powered by two 150 hp six-cylinder Cummins Diesel engines, with one traction motor on each truck. Side rods transmit power to the non-motored axle on each truck. The 45-ton units were built to lighter industrial specifications, while the similar GE 44-tonner was designed for heavier commercial railroad service. In 1993, it was repainted orange by RMNE and numbered 42, for the year of construction.

NAUG X-105 Russell Snow Plow

Our former Green Mountain Railway Corp. snow plow was built in 1936 by Russell Snow Plow Co. of Ridgeway, Pennsylvania as Maine Central 70. Eventually sold to GMRC in 1981, it was acquired in 1996 (traded for B&M RDC-1 6154), and moved to the Naugatuck Railroad in Sept. 1996. The wings of the plow are controlled pneumatically, and help push cleared snow away from the tracks. It has already proven to be a useful tool for battling heavy winter snow in the Naugatuck Valley, helping us keep our main line clear during severe weather.

Boston & Maine Freight Equipment

76079 Boston & Maine 40’ steel box car PS-1. Built March 1957 by Pullman-Std., purchased 1997 from Guilford

77843 Boston & Maine 50’ steel box car PS-1 (single door each side). Built July 1957 by Pullman-Std., purchased 1997 from Guilford

70466 Boston & Maine (ex-Norton 374) 40’ wood box car, double sheathed, USRA original. Built 1919

71870 Boston & Maine (ex-Norton 319) 40’ wood box car, outside braced, AAR type. Built 1930 by Std. Steel Car Co.

72480 Boston & Maine (ex-Norton 323) 40’ wood box car, outside braced, AAR type. Built 1930 by Std. Steel Car Co.

W-610 Boston & Maine 41’ drop-bottom steel gondola, built by Bethlehem Steel in January 1942, purchased 1997 from Guilford (originally 92000-series). Formerly B&M 92788, currently lettered Naugatuck Railroad, used in MofW service.

Boxcars listed as former “Norton Company” cars were used in interplant service by Norton Abrasives of Worcester, Mass., and were donated to CVRM/RMNE in 1979-80. They were acquired second-hand by Norton.

New Haven W-943 NH wire train car

Built as Pullman parlor car "Westport" (32 seat-1 day drawing room) for the Merchants Limited service in August 1927. Became NYNH&H commuter club car 5105 (for the New Canaan Branch) in January 1948, and “smoker” (coach) 6845 in April 1955 (was replaced in New Canaan service by then-new MU club car 5111). The car was one of the last NH passenger cars to be painted in the traditional dark green, as the “McGinnis” black and red colors were introduced in May-June 1955. 6845 (“Westport”) was retired in March 1961, converted to wire train service in December 1965, and served on the New Rochelle (NY) wire train until 1972. It was purchased from Metro-North in 1990.

New Haven 6800 Deluxe Smoker (Coach)

The last survivor of a once-numerous fleet, this car was built in 1929 as an 88-seat deluxe smoker by Osgood-Bradley in Worcester, Mass. for the New Haven. The 6800s had pairs of leather bucket seats, brass window sash, and were air conditioned in the late 1930s. Identical cars in the 8100 series had cloth seats and were considered regular coaches. The roller-bearing trucks were applied in the mid-1950s, part of an upgrade program. The car ran throughout the system, most likely ending up in Boston commuter service. At the very end of the New Haven, it was used as the “jitney” coach, a service provided by the railroad that hauled railroad employees between the station area in New Haven and the Cedar Hill Yard complex outside of town. Purchased by the RMNE in January 1972, the car awaits restoration. Stabilization work was started in 1993 and continued in 1994-95. This coach was safely moved to the Naugatuck Railroad in March 2008.

New Haven coaches 8286, 8341

Built by the Osgood-Bradley Division of Pullman-Standard at Worcester, Mass. in November 1936 (8286) and September (8341) 1937 as 92-seat streamlined coaches. These cars are familiar to many a former New Haven passenger as the 205-car fleet remained in service throughout the system until the coming of Amtrak in 1971. Designed in 1934, these landmark cars were the first production lightweight streamlined passenger cars in the U.S. Similar cars served the B&M, Bangor & Aroostook, Seaboard and Lehigh Valley. In more recent years this series has been called the “American Flyer Cars” after the many models of the fleet produced by the New Haven-based A.C. Gilbert Company. A rebuilding program for some of these cars was begun after the Penn Central takeover in 1969, and work on these had just started when the 8341 was pulled from the program. The car was set aside for scrapping and then donated by the Schiavone Company to the RMNE in 1976. 8286 was assigned a PC number (2232) in 1969, used by Penn Central and Conrail in work service at Selkirk, NY, and was purchased by the Museum in 1988. Currently awaiting movement to the Naugatuck Railroad.

New Haven 3844 Wooden Baggage Car

Built by the New Haven’s own shop at New Haven, completed on October 11, 1903 as number 3011, a carriage car (as in “horse and carriage”). The car went through a rebuilding program at Readville, emerging as the 3844 on December 15, 1927. With a steel underframe and steel trucks, it was used on most secondary lines of the New Haven into the late 1950s. Renumbered W-305 at Boston in 1961, it entered work train service. Purchased by the RMNE in January 1972 for the paltry sum of $125.00, the car arrived at Essex to become the “Seat Bag”, used primarily for the storage of seats. Emptied of seats and signal tower parts during 1990, awaiting restoration.

New Haven 3281 Railway Post Office

This car, built by Laconia and completed on March 31, 1914, served for 54 years on the New Haven. It was the first car obtained by the RMNE, being purchased by the organization in 1969 for the bargain price of $250.00. The car has often been mentioned as a restoration project, but, outside of roof repairs, little has been done to date. Perhaps the only remaining car of its type from the New Haven, this car received some attention in 1993-94, having windows replaced and the roof scraped and primed.

New Haven 3040 Storage Mail/Railway Express

A sister car to the 3008. In 1985 this car received the 1948 New Haven paint scheme, and has become a storage car for the RMNE. Donated by Michael Schiavone and Sons, Inc. to the RMNE in 1976. During the restoration of the 3040 in 1985, evidence that this car had gone through many renumberings became apparent. At one time or another this car was also numbered the 3659, 3661, and 3669.

New Haven 3008 Storage Mail/Railway Express

Built by Pullman-Standard in 1945, this car served in the tail end of World War II as one of 1200 Troop Sleepers, modified box cars fitted with windows and three tier bunks. These cars were an answer to the immediate need for more sleeping car space, and were quickly and economically produced in large numbers. Many a World War II veteran experienced transportation in these rather crude conveyances, as published figures state that 95 percent of military movements within the U.S. traveled by rail during that war. It is said that these cars were responsible for the decline of US rail passenger service after the war, as every GI who rode in one vowed never to ride a train again! As the war ended and troop movements wound down, these cars quickly became surplus, and were sold to North American railroads everywhere for quite a variety of uses: the Lackawanna used them, after modification, as bunk cars; the Bangor & Aroostook converted many into cabooses. The New Haven and many other lines converted theirs into “head end service” cars, handling mail, baggage and express. This car has been restored to its final New Haven color scheme. The car was donated to the RMNE by Michael Schiavone and Sons, Inc. in 1976; restoration was completed in 1984. Currently in storage awaiting movement to the Naugatuck Railroad.

New Haven 2313 Dining Car

Built as a wooden dining car by Wason in its namesake city in Massachusetts, in 1904. Often referred to as the “Maybrook Diner” or “The Pie Car” (a circus train term for a concession and entertainment car) due to its days in work train service. This car ran in regular service until 1940, used mainly on the Hartford line due to its wooden construction which precluded its use into New York’s Grand Central Terminal. The 2313 underwent a 1929 Readville Shops rebuild which changed its dining configuration into a parlor-buffet-lounge car. Upon entering work train service, the car was given the number W-153, and it ended its service on the New Haven as the Maybrook Work Train diner, based in that railroad town in eastern New York state. Obtained in 1969 by the ESRM, the car was shipped to the VRR in early 1969, the first car to arrive on the property. It was used for meeting space and dinner service to RMNE members at Essex during the 1970s, making one or two trips up the Valley line on special occasions. Due to the need for yard track space in Essex, the car (now owned by the RMNE) has been mothballed, awaiting future restoration and movement to the Naugatuck Railroad.

Boston & Maine Milk Cars 1910 and 1920

These two cars were the last milk cars built for service in the United States, constructed in 1957-1958 for the Boston & Maine railroad. 1910 was equipped with mechanical refrigeration, for transporting processed milk in one-gallon glass bottles from Bellows Falls Creamery in Vermont to Boston (the Creamery owned the refrigeration units carried by the cars). 1920 was designed for handling “raw” milk in the classic tall 40-quart cans, with crushed ice spread over the load. Both cars last were used for milk service about 1965, and wound up as company storage cars. Both were purchased from B&M in 1989. They look like low steel boxcars, but are equipped with passenger-style trucks, brake systems, couplers, and through steam heat lines. 1920 was restored in 1992, with the interior set up for display and exhibit space. Currently B&M 1920 is on display at Thomaston Station on the Naugatuck Railroad, while B&M 1910 awaits safe movement to RMNE.

New Haven 1613 Wooden Coach

Another of the series, built in 1907, rebuilt as the 4420 in 1929, to work train service in Oak Point and New Haven as the W-156, in 1940. Once used for closed storage by the museum, the carbody was rebuilt to the original open platform configuration in 1981-83, but retained the 1929 steel underframe. The restoration will be completed at some time in the future.

Maine Central 352 Baggage-Express

The original MEC number, 411, was applied to this car, built in 1914 by the Laconia Car Company of that New Hampshire city for the Maine Central, after completion of its 1981 restoration. Originally housing a small Railway Post Office section at one end, the car was converted to a straight baggage-express-mail storage car (as MEC 352) before its sale to the New Haven in December 1963, where it became the 5700. The car later was slated to enter work train service and was assigned the number W-331 on August 27, 1968, but this number was never applied. The car ended up on the Penn Central, was sold to the Schiavone Company of New Haven for scrapping, but was donated to the RMNE, arriving at Essex on March 31, 1976, the day before the formation of Conrail. It was restored 1979-81 for use as a Museum display car. Roof, truck and coupler/draftgear work was started in 1996.

New Haven W-221 Shop Car

Originally built by Bethlehem Steel in 1929 as NYNH&H 2789, one of ten 60-foot long Baggage-Railway Post Office cars in series 2780-89. It contained a 30-foot mail sorting and handling section, and a 30-foot baggage section, for use on secondary trains. Regular assignments for these cars were Waterbury-Boston, New York-Pittsfield, and New York-Winsted trains. This series was out of regular service by 1961, and 2789 was formally retired from the roster in December 1965; it was converted to work train service as the Maybrook Tool car in October 1967, replacing wood baggage car W-186. The car ended its days as Penn Central 28210, a storage shed on a disconnected piece of track at Conrail's West Springfield Yards. Donated by Conrail, it was moved to live track and then to the Museum in April 1989. Work started immediately to set up a workshop in the car. This car was safely moved to the Naugatuck Railroad in March 2008.

Friday, October 12, 2007


Our 25-ton GE industrial Diesel switcher was built in 1952 for Hartford Electric Light Co. It was donated to the Railroad Museum of New England in 2002 by Yankee Gas-Northeast Utilities. It is currently residing at Thomaston Shop and Yard on the Naugatuck Railroad, where it is destined to become our "shop goat."

General Electric manufactured 510 of these unique small switchers betweeen 1941 and 1974. They are powered by a Cummins diesel engine, producing about 150hp. These small locomotives were often found inside industrial plants or at railroad shop complexes where they were used to move equipment from place to place without venturing out on the main line.

Cabooses at RMNE

Boston & Maine C-472, steel, cupola, originally built 1921, by Laconia Car Co as a wood bodied car (104000-series). Rebuilt as steel car in 1959 by International Car Co. Restored by RMNE.

Boston & Maine 104406, steel underframe, wood body, built February 1907 by Laconia Car Co.

Bangor & Aroostook C-67, steel underframe, wood body, built 1947 by BAR shops on a former MDT refrigerator frame. Privately owned, on lease to RMNE.

New Haven C-507, steel, class NE-3A, built October 1929. Built as PRR 477585, class N-5B, became Penn Central 22989, then Conrail 20075. Represents New Haven NE-3 type (500 series).

New Haven C-561, steel, class NE-5, built June 1942 by Pullman-Standard in Worcester, Mass. Later became Pittsburgh & Shawmut 193.

New Haven C-194, steel, class NE-6, built July 1948 by International Car Co. in Kenton, Ohio. Later became Pittsburgh & Shawmut 194.

St. Louis South Western (Cotton Belt) 2305,
branch line caboose, 50 feet long, built 1920. Consists of coach and baggage sections.

Central Vermont 4014, steel underframe, wood body, built February 1925. Privately owned, on loan to RMNE.

New Haven 4418 Wooden Coach

Built in Worcester, Mass. as 1494 by Osgood-Bradley, this car ran from 1905 until 1928 as an open platform, truss-rodded car on the New Haven. It was then rebuilt by the New Haven’s Readville, Mass. shops, emerging as the 4418 with enclosed steel ends and a new heavy steel underframe. After service on Boston commuter trains, the car entered work train service in October 1949, wearing the number W-174. This car was assigned to New Rochelle, NY wire train at one time. Declared surplus by the NH's successor, Penn Central, the car was privately purchased and moved to the Valley Railroad in September 1972. Ownership was transferred to RMNE in 1994. Presently the car is used for closed storage. Extensive roof stabilization and window plug work was done in 1992-93. Currently awaiting movement to the Naugatuck Railroad.

New Haven freight equipment

Thomaston Shop, 2008 - Photo by Howard Pincus

33109 New Haven 40’ steel boxcar, built 1945 by Pullman-Standard. Was later NH work service boxcar W-1586, later Conrail 60737.

71568 New Haven 36’ wood box car, double sheathed, built 190?, rebuilt 1927-1929. (ex-Norton 361) **

71737 New Haven 36’ wood box car, double sheathed, built 190? rebuilt 1927-1929. (ex-Norton 353) **

17219, 17221 New Haven 50’ 70-ton flat cars, built by Readville Shops 1937. Converted for use in piggyback trailer service in 1940s-50s. Sold 1965 to Farrell Corp., Ansonia, CT. Donated to RMNE in 1990.

7447 New Haven flat car, built 1895-1905? (ex-Grafton & Upton, ex-Draper Co.). The car rides on Fox trucks, body stabilized with truss rods.

46203 New Haven 40’ steel high side gondola, built 1930 by New Haven shops. Current number was assigned by Penn Central when converted to work service.

** NOTE: Boxcars listed as former “Norton Company” cars were used in interplant service by Norton Abrasives of Worcester, Mass., and were donated to CVRM/RMNE in 1979-80. They were acquired second-hand by Norton.

“Philinda” Pullman Parlor Car (NH coach 610)

Built in April 1914 as a general service (not specifically assigned) first-class parlor car. Originally containing 26 parlor chairs and a private sitting room for four people (a “drawing room”), it was converted to coach #610 in July 1949, and was retired in 1962 after operating in Boston-area commuter service. “Philinda” is an example of early all-steel passenger car construction. Donated by the estate of Jim Bradley in 1989 and moved from his Stonington property in April 1991. Moved to Naugatuck Railroad in November 1999.

“Mount Royal” Pullman Lounge-Observation Car

Plan 2521, Originally built 1911 as “Malatha”, 10-section buffet-lounge observation, with open platform. Rebuilt by Pullman in 1930 to current appearance with solarium observation end. Used in B&M-CV-CNR service between Boston and Montreal on the “New Englander”, it was sold by Pullman in 1948 to the Kansas City Southern Railway. The 10 sleeping sections were replaced with 48 coach seats and the buffet kitchen was replaced by vending machines. The car was later used as temporary railroad offices by KCS, and was sold in the late 1960s. Purchased in 1971 by museum member Robert Sherwood, it was moved from Houston, Texas to storage in Middletown, PA in 1981. It was donated to the Museum by Mr. Sherwood in 1992, and arrived at Saybrook Yard in 1994. In March 2008, the "Mt. Royal" was safely moved to the Naugatuck Railroad.

Cars like these were built by the Pullman Company in Chicago, and are of a type known as “heavyweight” cars, due to their massive steel construction. Ready to roll, the 83-foot long cars weigh about 85 tons each. In 1948, Pullman sold off most of its 8000+ car fleet in a Federally-ordered divestiture move (similar to AT&T in the 1980s), and the remaining fleet was operated by individual railroads until replaced by newer "lightweight" equipment in the postwar years.

"Breslin Tower” Pullman Sleeping Car

Built in May 1925 as the Pullman Company sleeping car “Point Bank.” In 1939, it was rebuilt into its present configuration of 8 sections (upper and lower berths), 1 drawing room (a luxury two-person private room) and 3 double bedrooms (an inexpensive two-person room), Plan 4090. The “Tower” suffix denoted the type of accommodations in the car; Pullman had 64 “Tower” cars. In 1948, the car became the property of the New Haven Railroad, although the Pullman Company continued to operate the car. “Breslin Tower” and sister cars “Bok Tower” and “Victoria Tower” (also NHRR-owned) operated on the Springfield, Mass.-Washington, DC overnight route until 1960. The three cars were then used as spare or extra cars until their retirement in July 1962. “Breslin Tower” was purchased by Jim Bradley in July 1964; the other two cars were not scrapped until 1969. “Breslin Tower” is typical of the 9000-car Pullman fleet that provided sleeping accommodations for over 90,000 passengers per night across America during the late 1920s. This car’s interior is in very good condition, suitable for display. Purchased from the Bradley Estate, it was placed back on live rail at Mystic, CT on April 5, 1991 and moved to storage in New Britain, CT. Moved to Naugatuck Railroad in November 1999.

“Forest Hills” Pullman Parlor Car (NH coach 603)

Built in August 1927 for first-class service on the “Knickerbocker Limited” between New York and Boston over the New Haven Railroad. Originally a 36-seat parlor chair car, it became coach #603 in June 1949, and operated on most routes of the New Haven until retirement in 1962. Sold to Jim Bradley in 1964, it was moved from his Stonington back yard in April 1991 and stored in New Britain, CT. Moved to Naugatuck Railroad in November 1999. The coach was brought to Thomaston Shop in 2009 for some stabilization work to its roof and sides. The interior is in amazingly good condition, making 603 a good candidate for restoration in the future.

"Stag Hound" Pullman Parlor-Lounge Car

Built in February 1930 for service on the New Haven’s new Boston-New York train “The Yankee Clipper.” All the cars on the “Clipper” were named for fast merchant sailing vessels (clipper ships) built in New England during the 1850s. This train was the most exclusive train on the route between those two cities, and carried the upper class in conservative luxury. “Stag Hound” was the first car in the train, and contained a small buffet area serving beverages and light snacks in an adjoining 19-seat lounge area, as well as a section containing 20 swiveling parlor armchairs. “Stag Hound” was one of the last “heavyweight” cars built by Pullman. It was ice air conditioned in 1934, and after new streamlined cars were bought in 1949, downgraded to use on lesser trains.

A regular assignment in 1950 was the “Day White Mountains” train between New York and White River Jct., Vt. In July 1957, “Stag Hound” became club car #5108 on commuter trains out of Boston, and was retired in 1961. Bought by Jim Bradley in 1962, it was moved to his Stonington back yard for display. Donated in 1988 by the Bradley Estate, it was placed back on live rail at Mystic, CT on April 3, 1991 and moved to storage in New Britain, CT. Along with the other Bradley Pullman cars, it was moved to RMNE’s Naugatuck Railroad in November 1999.

Maine Central 557

Maine Central 557 is an RS-3 1600 HP Diesel road switcher, built by Alco, October 1953 (construction #80567, sales order 20907, works order S-3219, shipped 11/53). One of two RS-3 units built for Maine Central (556 and 557), this locomotive is similar to NH 529 and Amtrak 140. It was originally equipped with a steam generator for heating passenger trains. Sold in 1976 to the (now defunct) Wolfeboro Railroad in New Hampshire, 557 passed through a number of owners while remaining in the same area of the state, finally being sold to the RMNE in March 1995. It was moved to Naugatuck Railroad's Chase Yard in Waterville in November 1996.

New Haven 0401

New Haven 0401 at Chase Yard, 2009. Photo by Matt Lawson

New Haven 0401 is an FA-1 1500 HP road freight Diesel locomotive, built by Alco, May 1947 (#75276). Part of the first three-unit set of road freight Diesels purchased by the New Haven (class DER-2a), this locomotive was the first Alco cab-type Diesel preserved in the United States. The 0401 (and its sisters) eliminated steam power on the New Haven’s Maybrook (NY) to New Haven freight trains. These locomotives were then used in road freight service over most main line New Haven routes. During late 1958, it was one of the four FAs selected to join a number of RS-3s that were factory rebuilt by Alco. Thanks to this rebuilding, his unit escaped the massive trade-in of the FA fleet to Alco and General Electric for new C-425s and U25Bs in 1964. It survived into Penn Central to be renumbered 1330 and painted black. By April 1971 the 0401 had been retired and traded in to General Electric. Once again the 0401 evaded certain scrapping by being resurrected as a head end power-control cab unit for passenger service on the Long Island Rail Road in 1974 when it was renumbered 618. The unit was used in this service until 1982 and was then retired. New York area members of the RMNE kept track of the 618 and, beginning in late 1984, started an effort to obtain the locomotive. After over a year of work, a purchase agreement was reached and the 0401 became the property of the RMNE in December, 1985. She arrived on the property April 4, 1986 and her extensive restoration began in 1987. The unit was moved to safe storage on the Naugatuck Railroad in 2008.

New Haven 0401 at Plainville, CT, 1952. Photo by Thomas A. McNamara

Amtrak 140

Amtrak 140 is an RS-3 1600 HP Diesel road switcher, built by Alco, April 1951 (#78591). A typical “first-generation” diesel-electric road switcher unit, it was designed to operate equally well in both directions, and contained an oil-fired steam generating boiler for heating passenger trains. 140 was built for the Pennsylvania Railroad as the 8912. She, as many of her sisters, led a versatile life on the Pennsy serving time on road and local freights and passenger trains. 8912 managed to survive until the Penn Central merger in 1968 and was renumbered 5562. By PC days the 5562 had pretty much been relegated to service on local freights or yard switching. It was spared a DeWitt shop rebuilding (a “patented” PC technique of repowering 244-engined Alcos with 567-type EMD engines) and was sold to Amtrak (reportedly for $1.00) when Amtrak took over the Northeast Corridor, April 1, 1976. The 5562 was briefly renumbered 1340 before Amtrak settled on the 100 series for the RS-3s with 140 becoming this engine's new number. The 140’s primary role on Amtrak was to primarily serve on work trains and yard switching, but she received occasional glimpses of glory hauling varnish, rescuing malfunctioning E60s, GG-1s, etc. Another popular Amtrak assignment (a carryover from New Haven days) would be to lead a RDC or SPV-2000 up the Springfield line on snowy days in “icebreaker” service, clearing grade crossings for the lighter rail cars. Amtrak placed the RS-3 fleet up for sale in August 1985, and 140 was purchased by Chuck and Eddie’s, a New Haven metal recycler. 140 sat in Cedar Hill Yard for four months awaiting the torch until it was purchased by the RMNE for use as parts to keep the Museum’s growing Alco fleet operational. The trucks and traction motors were installed under FA-1 0401 in August 1987. Plans are to restore the locomotive cosmetically to Penn Central #5562, as funds and manpower become available.

Canadian Pacific 1246

This 4-6-2 Pacific-type locomotive was delivered to Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) on June 29, 1946, by Montreal Locomotive Works (builders number 74906), at a cost of $110,317.33 (Canadian). The G-5 class Pacifics were designed in 1944 under the guidance of CPR’s Chief of Motive Power and Rolling Stock H. B. Bowen, as light road locomotives able to handle medium passenger or light freight trains. The first two of 102 G-5s were constructed at CPR’s Angus Shops in Montreal as 1200 and 1201, class G-5a. They were the last steam locomotives built by CPR’s shops, and were the last new steam locomotive design in Canada. The rest of the G-5s were built variously by Montreal and the Canadian Locomotive Company, with the last (G-5d 1301) being delivered in 1948. CPR introduced this design as eventual replacements for a large group of 1905-design D-10 class 4-6-0s.

The G-5s, while comparable in size to CPR Pacifics of the 1910 period, are modern, powerful locomotives. The engines weigh 115 to 117 tons, have 70 inch driving wheels, 250 pounds boiler pressure, front-end throttle, and are equipped with a mechanical stoker. They were all built with some form of feedwater heater system, and engines 1216 and 1231 were equipped with the first all-welded boilers built in Canada (quite an innovation for steam locos in the 1940s), while the rest of the G-5s had conventional riveted alloy-steel boilers. The G-5s are comparable in hauling capacity and horsepower to a 1800 hp diesel unit. They operated on all lines of the CPR, including the International Railway of Maine Division. In Western Canada, they were extensively used in fast freight service, while in Eastern Canada, the 1200s were used primarily on local passenger runs.

A number of 1200s were overhauled by the CPR at the end of the steam era and stored as serviceable engines. From this group, five G-5s were saved by two American steam locomotive collectors. George Hart of Pennsylvania purchased 1238 and 1286 (along with D-10 4-6-0 972) in 1964, F. Nelson Blount, New England industrialist and founder of Steamtown, USA purchased 1246, 1278, and 1293 in 1964. One of the prototype G-5s, 1201, was preserved by the National Museum of Science and Technology in Ottawa, Ontario, and has operated excursion trips.

Number 1246 operated in Alberta and Saskatchewan in Western Canada, making 655, 773 miles of service for the CPR between July 1946 and March 1958. 1246 was primarily a freight locomotive, as CPR records show only 13 months of passenger service over that time. She was overhauled for the sixth and final time by the CPR at Winnipeg, coming out of Weston Shops on June 15, 1958. After Nelson Blount purchased the locomotive in 1965 for $8200.00, it was restored to service by Blount’s Green Mountain Railway Corporation in 1969. Used on the Steamtown passenger trains between Bellows Falls and Chester, Vermont, the locomotive was sold to Steamtown (along with sister 1293) in August, 1973. 1246 occasionally operated (in company with sister 1278) over the Green Mountain to Rutland, and over the Vermont Railway between Bennington and Burlington, Vermont--all former Rutland Railway routes. For a double-headed (with 1278 as “D&H 653”) trip to Rutland in December 1973, the loco was relettered “Rutland 82”, to represent one of that road’s long-scrapped Pacifics.

After retubing and overhaul in 1984, 1246 was taken to Steamtown’s new home in Scranton, Pa. She operated over the former Lackawanna Railroad route until March 1986, when it was determined that in addition to some heavy repairs that would soon be due, the engine was too light for the heavy grades and sharp curves of the Steamtown line. The locomotive was stored, and ultimately considered surplus by the National Park Service, which was to take over the Steamtown collection. 1246 was sold October 29, 1988 to the Connecticut Valley Railroad Museum, Inc., and arrived at Saybrook in April 1989. In 1996, 1246 was moved to Essex and repainted by the Valley Railroad for display at the Essex station area. In 2008, the engine was carefully moved to the Naugatuck Railroad.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Sumter & Choctaw 2-6-2 103

Built by Baldwin (#58754) in November 1925. A light short-line/logging locomotive which saw service in Alabama, the 103 has always carried the same number. She was sold new to the Sumter & Choctaw Railway in western Alabama. At the time, the Sumter & Choctaw was under the control of the Allison Lumber Company. The 103 was built with a deep firebox designed to burn either wood or coal. In 1961 the Empire State Railway Museum purchased her for service at their Middletown, NY operation, and she arrived there in March 1962. The ESRM operated over the Middletown & New Jersey Railroad on weekends during summers from 1962 until 1966 whereafter the 103 was stored for several years. In 1971, it and much of the other ESRM equipment was run in a “hospital train” to the Valley Railroad in Essex, and the 103 and two of the cars comprised 75 percent of the Valley’s first train on July 29, 1971. She ran for the remainder of the 1971 season and also during the 1972 season. By that time she was struggling with the longer trains on the Valley and the larger locomotive 97 had returned to service. The sepia-toned photo at left shows how she looked while on the Valley Railroad. 103 last ran in 1975 and has since been stored unserviceable, on display at Essex. 103 was transferred to RMNE ownership in 1987.

In June 2009, the locomotive was moved by truck to the Naugatuck Railroad, where it will be cosmetically restored and put on display. Read all about the move here.

New Haven 4418 Wooden Coach

Built in Worcester, Mass. as 1494 by Osgood-Bradley, this car ran from 1905 until 1928 as an open platform, truss-rodded car on the New Haven. It was then rebuilt by the New Haven’s Readville, Mass. shops, emerging as the 4418 with enclosed steel ends and a new heavy steel underframe. After service on Boston commuter trains, the car entered work train service in October 1949, wearing the number W-174. This car was assigned to New Rochelle, NY wire train at one time. Declared surplus by the NH's successor, Penn Central, the car was privately purchased and moved to the Valley Railroad in September 1972. Ownership was transferred to RMNE in 1994. Presently the car is used for closed storage. Extensive roof stabilization and window plug work was done in 1992-93. Currently awaiting movement to the Naugatuck Railroad.