Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Train time along the Naugatuck Railroad... 1940s-1960s

Northbound just north of Highland Jct, Waterbury, shot from the Thomaston Avenue overpass.  Two year old 0504 pulling the through train from New York to Winsted (after dropping some coaches at Waterbury).  Note the new "stainless steel" 8600 coach; unusual first-line mainline equipment for this little branch train.  Photo by Kent Cochrane, labeled only "1949."
Another Kent Cochrane photo, no date, most likely 1947 or early 1948 from appearances. New Haven 164 on the Winsted freight, northbound at Reynolds Bridge with about 20 cars. The engine is right at the whistle post for the Jackson Street bridge grade crossing (the bond wires are still on some of our rails here). That crossing and bridge over the river was taken out by the 1955 flood and never replaced. A cut though the old quarry was then used to access the Jackson Street area. On the extreme left edge, what looks like a late 40s Buick convertible is southbound on Waterbury Road (original Route 8).
As far as we can tell, this was taken at the south end of our current Thomaston Shop Yard, along the tangent just south of the MP 6 curve. The train is coming off the "Stevens Curve."  The hillside and rock formations correspond to those above Route 8 across the river, and the topography of the land in the foreground is identical (except for all the trees that are there now). The engine is one of the F-5 class 2-8-0s, number 164, that were the usual freight power until the diesels took over in early 1948.  164 has 13 cars in tow, including two PRR X-29 boxcars, the same class as the one on display at Thomaston. Photo by Kent W. Cochrane.
Snapshot from a 1961 fantrip over the Naugatuck Railroad. Here we find the trip paused at the new Thomaston Dam, the scene not looking too much different from today.

—Caption information provided by Howard Pincus

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A look back at Thomaston Station

The view looking south at Thomaston on June 29, 1929. Notice the fuel oil dealer at far right, whose tanks are still located here today.

The view looking north at Thomaston,  June 29, 1929. Notice the brick enclosed water tank and the freight house on the right.

Looking across Main Street in Thomaston, Connecticut on June 29, 1929. These photos from 1929 were preliminary "survey" photos taken prior to the construction of the East Main Street bridge.

This view looks towards the west on July 23, 1931. The freight house is located on the far left of this picture.

Thomaston Station in the fall of 1955, only a few months after devastating floods tore through this area. Notice the "temporary" crossbuck flashers installed at this location.

Looking towards the north at Thomaston Station in the Fall of 1955. Plume & Atwood can be seen in the distance beyond the bridge, and the platform of the freight house is seen at far right. With steam engines vanquished from the Naugatuck, the brick enclosed water tank has been removed. Today you can board Naugatuck Railroad excursion trains from the Thomaston Station and enjoy a scenic ride through the Naugatuck Valley!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Starting up New Haven 529 for the first time in 1985

NH 529 on the Valley Railroad, 1985. Photo by Howard Pincus

Former New Haven Alco RS-3 529 was purchased by our museum from Amtrak in September 1985. Once the check was written and the documents signed, NH 529 arrived at our then-home on the Valley Railroad by mid-October. A few days before our first Railfan Day (which was held the last Saturday in October 1985), we prepped and started 529 for the first time in her preservation career. The still-visible outlines of the NH numbers had already been filled out with white paint. Valley Railroad (ex-Morristown & Erie) RS-1 #15 supplied the jump start needed for 529’s batteries (locos placed cab-to-cab for running the jumper cables). The Amtrak 138 numbers are still on 529, but the name has been painted out. More than 20 years later, this former New Haven workhorse continues to pull trains on a branchline in Connecticut, much like she did when new...

Saturday, August 7, 2010

August Order Board

A minor tornado on July 21 brought many trees down onto the Naugatuck Railroad. Photo by Bill Sample


The next General Membership Meeting will be held on Saturday, September 11. This meeting will include discussion of a possible revision of the RMNE by-laws, which date from 2001. The meeting will be held at the Thomaston Senior Center, Town Hall, Main St. and is scheduled for 6:30pm.


An old RMNE tradition is being formally revived – Weeknight Work Sessions are being held on virtually all Wednesdays at the TSY, running from about 4:00pm until about 8:00pm. Sam Walker is heading this – please call him if you wish to confirm the session on cell 860-485-2569. Projects: coach 5805, parts stripping on 4989, and possibly MVD work.

DONATIONS ARE NEEDED - Louis Edmonds, Treasurer

The RMNE will be incurring costs for a number of upcoming developments, including shop development, continuing the refurbishment of coach 5805 (including heating, sidewalls, roofing and seats); continuing progress on the B&M GP9 1732; wheels, carbody and prime mover projects on NH RS3 529. Treasurer Louis Edmonds will get some budget numbers together for an upcoming Opportunity Flyer, but now is the time to plan what financial support you can assist the RMNE with. Louis has a new address - P. O. Box 443, Georges Mills, NH 03751-0443.


A weak but still powerful (EF1 scale) tornado struck the East Litchfield and Thomaston areas on Wednesday 21 July, bringing down a large number of trees with damage affecting the line at the north end of the Plume siding in Thomaston and also north of the route 118 overpass in East Litchfield. A work crew reopened the line north to the Thomaston Dam north cut on Saturday 31 July.


The DMV‘s equipment was ready to assist with tree removal at Plume. Having the equipment available for use in the Saybrook Yard project has been very helpful.


Crews will be needed for most of the following operations, including conductors, engineers, brakemen, car hosts and shop & station support staff. Ed McAnaney is working with crew dispatcher Barb Walcott to set up a computer-based sign-up procedure, and it is hoped that volunteers will sign up ahead of time so that we can fill the vacancies. The start of this program has been quite encouraging. Please help by signing up ASAP!


The final dues billing for 2010 is about to be sent out – if you haven’t yet paid please do so! We could use your financial help.


Our upcoming events include staffing an info booth at the Eastern States Exposition 29 Sep, Fall Harvest Festival operations 16, 17, 23, 24 Oct., Halloween Party at TST station to benefit station 30 Oct., Haight/Brown Vineyard Vintage Express 6 Nov.


Coach 4989 – Stripping of usable parts continues so that the tired, rusted, and rotted carcass can be removed from the property and recycled.

Working on 5805. Photo by Bill Sample

Coach 5805 - From top to bottom: the scissors-lift certainly has helped with the removal of the roof covering down to the wood substructure. A few repairs to the woodwork will be dealt with. The wooden tack strip around the base of the lower edge of the roof was removed and the area was treated to some extensive rust removal using a wire wheel. Tony Pratt led this part of the project, assisted by Matt Andel and perhaps others.

The steel for the new window mountings is being fabricated for installation, and rust-hole repairs around certain windows and the upper half of the sides is underway. Inside, Stan Bogacz, Win Bissell, and Kurt Wiener continue the rebuilding of the north vestibule area including the threshold – this entire area suffered from severe damage to both wood and metal but most of the substructure has been completed. Extensive restoration to wood trim pieces is underway – nail holes, gashes, and other damages are being repaired with color-matched filler.

Caboose B&M 472 – Both couplers have been removed and are having repairs done to the carriers. Uncoupling rods will be converted to bottom type so allow easier hitches with vestibule buffer equipped cars. Car is being prepped for repaint. Al Pomeroy, Sam Walker, Hal Reiser, Jason “Hawk” Hartmann and others are helping.

C&C 50 inside Thomaston Shop - Photo by Bill Sample

Caboose C&C 50 – Al Pomeroy, Bob Harrington and others have cleaned out this ex-B&M narrow-monitor caboose, which has suffered insect and water damage over the years. The roof has been removed from about half of the car to date – thankfully we have the shop that makes this possible. Evaluation of this piece of equipment continues as we peel back the layers.

CDOT/NAUG 2019 at Reynolds Bridge. Photo by Otto M. Vondrak


NH (NAUG/CDoT) 2019, the last FL9 operating on former New Haven trackage, is the current locomotive for our regular runs.

NAUG 2203 (U23B) is receiving new sandboxes and some cosmetic work as it takes some summer time off.


Steve Butterworth is still interested in resuming crossing signal and relay case repainting. Please contact him if you are available to help.


Jack Tarter continues the intricate job of installing needed electrical service throughout the shop. Electrical outlets are now available in most areas, eliminating the need for chains of extension cords. Work on a portable circuit panel continues.

That’s all the news that fits for now. Thanks to all those who helped with this issue – Sue Sample, Steve Butterworth, Barb Walcott, and Bob Harrington.

— Bill Sample, Editor