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, August 15, 2021

Hop River Rail Trail - Part 2

It was perfect weather today - especially welcome after a long oppressive hot and humid spell last week.

I rode south from Hop River State Park to where the actual rail trail ended and you had to ride on the road which was almost in Willimantic.

It was a bit of a long slow climb going back - no wonder it felt so easy at first going south!

It was a very scenic ride with rock cuts, riverside views, meadows, swamps, deep forests and even a covered bridge!

At the start
Loved the rock cuts!
And lots of stretches of raised embankments...
There were old telegraph poles along the way.
It's a bit hard to tell, but there was a beautiful gorge and small waterfall 
A Covered Bridge (Andover)
Under the highway  - the echo was nice inside it!
A beautiful stretch where the river runs parallel...
Crossing the River.
Loved the green along the edges here!
Another short "tunnel" under a highway
Blowdown! At least it was easy to ride around it!...
Short video (I reduced the audio volume as there was lots of wind noise from riding)

Details on my previous Hop River Trail ride and info on the railroad history can be found here:

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Rockville Spur

This morning I rode the Rockville Spur Rail Trail. It's an easy ride...

A bit of history

This spur opened in 1863 - Rockville was a booming textile center and need a railroad connection. The last freight train from Vernon was in 1970 and in 1975 the rails were torn up for scrap.

The Ride

The kiosk at Vernon Junction was very informative!
Riding under I-84
This building looks like it might have been an old freight depot...
A mysterious foundation here
This 1915 Valuation map proved my hunch that there was a siding here
The embankment into Rockville
Remnants of a stone lined waterway on the left
At the end of the line at Vernon Street

The Town

I continued up the streets on my bike and discovered there are quite a few beautiful old buildings!
An old mill converted into apartments
The stream that powered the mills...
Don't be confused by the sign title - this is Rockville!

A super short one-handed video 

I next ventured over to Hockanum River Trail and later rode the Charter Oak Greenway...

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Portland Airline Trail

Although I had ridden the main Airline Trail from East Hampton to Willimantic way back in 2016, this trail section was recently built since then and I was curious...

note the embankments


There was a climb to get to the Rail Trail. At the top of the climb, I turned left and headed westward. It was short as it dead ended in a only a few minutes...
I turned around and rode the whole trail eastward. There were a few kiosks along the way explaining the trail's railroad history.

Beautiful stone arch!

Short Video of Ride Highlights

Rail racks...
Cobalt was/is a small town. Why the name Cobalt? Cobalt ore was mined here way back when...
The station location

Bummer - end of the trail

This warrants a return on the mountain to explore further...
The ride back was sweet - loved this rock cut!!

A view where the power lines crossed.

For further details on the railroad history of the "Airline Route", refer to the links at the bottom of my 2016 ride:

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Hop River State Park Trail

What an awesome ride - the scenery is magnificent! I started the ride in Manchester and went to a little past the Bolton Notch where I turned around and returned. Kudos to the Towns of Vernon and Manchester for all the wonderful kiosks detailing the railroad history - everything was super informative and a pleasure to see such a tribute to the history of this trail.

Manchester  - where I start my ride
It was great to see the rails preserved here!
Remnants of a telegraph pole
All the kiosks were great! :-)
Some stretches of the trail had ties still (on the side!)

Dobson Mills

The Dobson Mills were a short downhill walk off the trail
You could barely see the falls from here
The ravine was gorgeous!
The Falls

Short Video (includes footage all the way to The Notch)

At the former Vernon Depot Area

There was a big yard here including a turntable. Kiosks were once again marvelous!
Yep - that's the remains of the turntable!
 The parking lot was full at the Vernon Depot Area -locals know the railroad history!

Onward to the Notch!

Rail racks

Ah yes - there were plenty of these telegraph poles still standing!
There were long stretch of tall embankments
A road tunnel below!
Google Street view!
I love rock cuts and there were plenty to enjoy riding through!
I stopped for a nice chat with two lovely ladies here - we chatted about our mutual fondness for finding old foundations and mill ruins, etc. They sent me off with a mouthful of wasabi coated almonds - mmm mm good!

At The Notch

Wow - this was great!
Photo on the kiosk
Riding under Interstate 384
The Notch Road Bridge above...
I turned around and headed back
Tunnel Ahead!
Going back under i384!

What a fantastic ride! 

Historical Maps

Ride Details

Further Info

Source >