"In the field" railroad history adventures...

Friday, September 16, 2016

Adventure on the Rails

I had a corporate trip this week where I had to fly out of Newark, NJ. I opted to take the train connections to the airport for a short adventure.

Path Train

Working out of Newport that day, I grabbed the Path Train to Journal Square and then switched to the Path to Newark's Penn Station.
NJ Path System

Newark Railroad Station

I spent a short time at the busy Newark train station and frustratingly, as I waited on the platform, trains were very crowded and delayed.
Photos gleaned online
My Photo
NJ Transit Double Decker


The ride was fairly quick to the station where you switch to the AirTrain to get to the airport.
At the AirTrain station, looking back toward Newark.
A glimpse back from the AirTrain at a NJ Transit double decker
The AirTrain was a monorail.  Interestingly, the AirTrain cars were actually short and functioned as separate compartments (like in Europe).

On My Return 

On my return I took a NJ Transit train directly to New York's Penn Station and then walked to Grand Central Terminal to get back home via MetroNorth. The NJ to NYC train ride was very quick and it is always a pleasure walking the streets of Midtown Manhattan.
My trip back to NYC - all on one train
This was the NJ Transit train car I rode in

Sure, some folks may think I am crazy taking the train but I enjoyed it despite the delays and crowding. It's really nice to NOT be in a car stuck in traffic and to walk a bit as well - the fresh air did me good :-)

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Armchair Exploration - New Haven & Derby Railroad

Its amazing these days just how productive it is to use online mapping tools to research and discover old railroad right of ways (ROWs). Comparing Google Aerials (and Street Views at crossings), Acme Topo Maps and Bing Bird’s Eye Views to ITO World’s wonderful interactive Historic Railways map yields a treasure trove of info.

While browsing online the other day, I came across this street view photo of a railroad crossing sign and immediately wondered: Where are the rails? Sure enough... just a few minutes using the mapping tools mentioned above and I was off on an exploration toggling back and forth between maps; retracing the now defunct railroad ROW I discovered that crossed at this spot!
Orange Center Road

What's The Big Deal About Tyler City?

If any of you have even the slightest interest in old railroads and railroad stations in Connecticut (I confess, I am somewhat obsessed with this subject :-) ) - the TylerCityStation site is an amazing repository of info. Its an unusual name for a site but the story behind the chosen name is a great story that warrants explaining. Story Details >
Quick Synopsis:
Tyler City was supposed to be a suburban metropolis nurtured by the New Haven & Derby Railroad but this 1870s railroad boom town billed as a “Gateway to the West' never really materialized. The promising two-story station burned down in 1936 and all that remains of this “dream city” is the in naming of small road in the vicinity:- Tyler City Road (location >)
My online "aerial sweep" of this ancient ROW includes the Tyler City area.

About The Line

The New Haven and Derby Railroad was chartered in 1864 to run from New Haven west to Derby, Connecticut and north to Ansonia. It opened in 1871. On November 14, 1888 a 3.79-mile extension from Derby Junction to a point in Shelton was opened. Stops included Orange, Derby, West Haven, Alling’s Crossing and Turkey Hill.

The Housatonic Valley Railroad took over the line in 1887; the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad took control of the Housatonic Valley Railroad in 1892. Final passenger service on the line was on June 13, 1925. Track was abandoned and ripped up starting in 1938.

Aerials, StreetViews and Maps

Starting near the edge of New Haven on the west--as mentioned--it is easy using aerials maps (in conjunction with the ITO map) to retrace the entire ROW.
The Tyler City Station was located near the far left of the is aerial

The Railroad crossing sign in the GoogleStreet View below prompted this posting :-)
Orange Center Road
Note: RR Sign
Moving Westward...
Arrowhead Drive
Turkey Hill Road
The embankments northwest of Turkey Hill Road are noted in the Topo map
It appears this was a bridge (or trestle) abutment where the ROW crossed over the Derby Milford Road.
Derby-Milford Road Abutment