This blog highlights some of my adventures with the focus on railroad history. Originally intended as a blog of my rail trail rides, it now also includes hikes, railroad trips and even stop-and-go car trips if they are railroad history related...

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

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