Carl Weber's ConRail in Connecticut

As a life-long resident of central Connecticut, railroad operations in the state were literally "close to home" for me. I took the opportunity to photograph trains and get to know some of the local crews. ConRail's presence in Connecticut began to wane through the decade of the '80's. In June, 1982 they gave up the Hartford to Waterbury line with the associated Torrington branch and freight rights on the Metro-North Waterbury branch between Waterbury and Bridgeport to the Boston & Maine. Freight rights on Amtrak's ex NHRR Shore Line between New Haven and Old Saybrook eventually went to the Providence & Worcester. Other rights on the Amtrak Springfield line and service on the Manchester, South Windsor and Suffield branches were taken over by the Connecticut Southern, a RailAmerica subsidiary

1
WNHA-20, behind the 1659, arrives in Manchester, CT. on May 27, 1982. Brakeman George Damaschi is at the switch and brakeman Ron Hay has just made the cut. Manchester station used to occupy the space behind George in the present parking lot. The track veering off to the left is the old South Manchester RR, a 2 mile long branch built by the Cheney Brothers to reach their silk mill in the south end of town. It was independent until about 1933 when it was finally taken over by the NYNH&H. ConRail suspended service in 1981 and it was abandoned in 1986.
2
The 1659 has his train behind him and heading west back to Hartford as he crosses the north end of Main St. in Manchester.
3
GP15-1's 1696 and 1698 at Waterbury, CT. in November, 1979. The last four (highest numbered) GP-15's, 1696-1699 were assigned to Hartford for awhile back in 1979/82, handling the locals out of Hartford yard. This pair was working the Waterbury job, WNHA-21.
4
WNHA-20 arrives in East Hartford, CT. behind GP15-1 1696 and RS3m 9972 on Nov. 19, 1980. Both engines were regulars in the Hartford area around this point in time.
5
Hartford to Waterbury local WNHA-21, powered by GP15-1 1697 and an RS3m, drilling cars in New Britain, CT. on May 15, 1980. The open lot in the background used to be the freight yard. Operation of this route was taken over by B&M/GTI in June, 1982 and is still operated by Guilford, to date.
6
The last of the "Baby tunnel motors", GP15-1 1699, arrives in East Hartford with local WNHA-20 on May 5, 1980.
7
CR 1910 trundles southward at Windsor Locks, CT. on Sept. 7, 1988 with local WNHA-22 returning to Hartford after servicing the Suffield and Airport branches.
8
CR N8B 23531, an ex New Haven NE-5 buggy is on home rails at Windsor Locks, CT. Operating on Amtrak territory requires the caboose.
9
WNBR-7 heads southward at Derby, CT. on Metro-North's Waterbury line on Oct. 12, 1981. This is on the southern end of the origional Naugatuck RR, although this particular section through Derby is actually a short stretch of the old New Haven & Derby which replaced the Naugatuck which had been built on the east side of the Naugatuck River.
10
CR 2000 and other assorted 4 axles lead southbound tonnage (SENH?) in Windsor, CT. on the Amtrak Springfield line sometime in January, 1980.
11
B23-7 2003 and GP38-2 8025 take a work train southward through Meriden, CT. on Amtrak's Springfield line in January, 1980. The train was headed for Wallingford to aid in cleaning up a derailment.
12
CR 3150 leads a cab hop northward on Amtrak's Springfield line past the old depot in Windsor Locks, CT. Amtrak "replaced" the depot in Windsor Locks with an "Amshack" about a mile south of this location along Rt. 159 between the Rt. 159 and I-91 overpasses over 30 years ago. There has been an ongoing effort by local citizens to have the station restored to it's former glory and use but, so far, nothing is happening.
13
CR OCS301, a shipper's special designated the "Constitution State Special", roars southward on the Amtrak Springfield Line at Windsor Locks, CT. on May 3, 1990.
14
OCS301 southbound at Hicks Ave. in Meriden, CT. on May 3, 1990.
15
CR 4020 and 4021 leading OCS301 southward at Hicks Ave. in Meriden, CT. on May 3, 1990.
16
Pan shot of CR 4020 leading OCS301 southbound at Hicks Ave. in Meriden, CT. on May 3, 1990.
17
85 foot Full-length dome #55  on OCS301 at Meriden, CT. on May 3, 1990.
18
Theater car #9 at the rear of OCS301 in Meriden, CT. on May 3, 1990.
19
SENH southbound for New Haven/Cedar Hill at Berlin, CT. on July 10, 1987.
20
The 6425 et. al. head south with SENH on Amtrak's Springfield line at the Meadow Rd. crossing in Windsor, CT. in Feb., 1979.
21
SENH through Berlin, CT. on July 10, 1987 with the 6456 in the trail.
22
CR 2001 and Jordan spreader have just come off the Manchester secondary and begun a little ditching on the old Armory branch, now the East Windsor secondary, near the end of Ranney St. in East Hartford, CT. on March 29, 1985. They'll pause here to retract the wings for a couple of grade crossings before proceeding north of Park Ave.
23
Lifting the wing to fold it up on the East Windsor secondary in East Hartford, CT.
24
Folding the wings on the 64611 on the East Windsor secondary in East Hartford, CT.
25
With the wings folded up, the 64611 and 2001 are ready to proceed over a couple of crossings and then continue ditching along the East Windsor secondary north of Park Ave.
26
Once past the crossings, the 64611 and 2001 start ditching the east side of the East Windsor secondary north of Park Ave. A "conveniently located" footbridge off of McKee St. provides an excellent vantage point.
27
The 64611 making a ditching pass on the west side of the tracks after completing his ditching on the east side.
28
The 64611 making a ditching pass on the west side of the tracks toward the footbridge.
29
The 64611 and 2001 passing under the footbridge as they make the ditching pass.
30
The 64611 and 2001 continue northward on their ditching pass.
31
After making the ditching pass, the 64611 and 2001 back up and then make a spreading pass to level off the dirt berm pushed up by the ditching pass.
32
The 64611 continuing his spreading pass on the East Windsor secondary on March 29, 1985.
33
On March 20, 1985 ConRail Jordan spreader 64611 was working on the Manchester secondary with B23-7 2000 providing the motive power. They are seen here coming up on William's crossing on Tolland Turnpike at the Manchester/East Hartford town line.
34
Jordan spreader 64611 ditching along the Manchester secondary between William's and Risley's crossings on Tolland Turnpike, which is the road at right.
35
Folding up the wings on the 64611 preparatory to crossing Tolland Turnpike at Risley's.
36
With the wings safely folded away, the 64611 and 2000 are ready to proceed over Risley's crossing. The road coming in at right is Chapel Rd.
37
GP9 7083 and mates struggle mightily with WNHA-21 ascending the 1 % grade coming up from Berlin to New Britain, CT. on Nov. 23, 1981. The train is crossing South St.
38
WNHA-21 coming up on Whiting St. in New Britain, CT. on Nov. 23, 1981. The open area at right was the Freight yard in town and the factory in the distance is the former Landers, Frary and Clark branch plant, where my Mom worked the second shift for several years back in the '50's. Lots 'o memories for me in this area when I was growing up....
39
RS3m 9981 has the trail in WNHA-21 as the headend passes over Whiting St. in New Britain, CT. on Nov. 23, 1981.
40
Ex PRR GP-9 7200 working as WNHA-23, switching out local businesses at Strong Rd. in South Windsor, CT. on the old New Haven Armory branch.
41
GP-9 7249 blows through snow berms at Risley's crossing with WNHA-20 on the Manchester secondary on Jan. 25, 1982. You wouldn't recognize this location today, with the I-291 overpass directly behind the train and Tolland Turnpike, which the train is crossing, 4 lanes wide.
42
The 7249 shuffling cars at Main St. in Manchester, CT.
43
NW2 9257 and RS3m 9980 arriving in East Hartford, CT. in November, 1979. The train has just crossed the Connecticut River from Hartford and is diverting off the Manchester secondary main onto the yard lead.
44
NW2 9257 and Rs3m 9980 arriving at the west end of East Hartford yard in November, 1979.
45
Forget the full-out PC markings, it's June of 1980 as the 9972 takes local freight over Risley's crossing on the Manchester secondary in Manchester, CT.
46
CR 9972 with local on the Manchester secondary at Gilman's crossing in Manchester, CT. in 1978.
47
RS-3m 9972 takes local tonnage to Manchester, CT. in Aug., 1978. The train is on the Manchester secondary at Risley's crossing.
48
RS-3m 9973 shuffling cars at the Tilcon quarry in Cooke's Gap, which is on the New Britain/Plainville, CT. town line. This is on the old NYNH&H Highland Div. line between Hartford and Waterbury. Guilford/B&M/PAR has served this line since 1982.
49
WNHA-22 has his train together and is ready to head north on the Amtrak Springfield line to Windsor Locks as he sits in the yard Hartford waiting for that "Spivvie", running as Amtrak tr. 490, to pass and clear up. The old engine house which was at this location was later torn down, but Connecticut Southern which has the freight rights in central Connecticut just completed a very nice combination engine house/office facility on the same spot.
50
WNHA-22 arrives at the old Windsor Locks depot, where he will pause for a moment to let a crewman dismount and line the switch for the Suffield branch. Amtrak's Springfield line was still double track at this point in time, but was single-tracked around 1989-1990. Now Amtrak is restoring the second track between CP QUARRY in Meriden and CP NEW in Newington.

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