The Outer Rails

 

With a little help from our friends - traction and railroad museums and other sources - we hope to provide a vision of their workings and advances over the last few years. We believe you will enjoy the narrative, photos and get a sense of what others are doing to preserve and protect our rail heritage.

 

 

 

GUIDE TO ARTICLES

 

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North Texas Historic Transportation

 

 

Canadian National Railway (Boxcabs)

 

 

Milldale Depot Preservation

 

 

Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum

 

 

Rockhill Trolley Museum - TV Interview on new acquisitions

 

 

Narrow gauge WW&F 8 years later  

 

 

New Jersey Transit loses PCC # 15 to the CTM

 

 

 


 

 

 

We are going to digress just a bit and provide these links to interesting videos.

When you arrive at the featured movie you will find other links to like-items displayed.

You may have already been there but if not, you are in for a treat.

 

Like trolleys?

We think that you will enjoy our choices here...have fun but do come back!

 

just click on the subject line below

 

 

Pennsylvania Trolley Museum

(They have a new (Sept.27th) YOUTUBE video you might enjoy...)

 

 

The Old South Shore

(America's Last Classic Interurban Railway)

 

 

Rockhill Trolley Museum

 

 

What's Up CT - The Shore Line Trolley Museum

 

 

Baltimore Streetcar Museum

(references to Ma & Pa RR: Maryland & Pennsylvania RR)

 

 

Seashore Trolley Museum

 

 

 

 

Save the Dallas Texas Turtlebacks

 

NTHT (North Texas Historic Transport) was formed for the purpose of helping to preserve the North Texas area's transportation history. It is a wholly volunteer organization. Article four of its Texas Articles of Incorporation creates its future in stating; "NTHT, Inc. is organized to promote and further the general public knowledge and appreciation of transportation.by acquiring, preserving, restoring and displaying historic examples of such transportation."

Our efforts are not only limited to acquiring and restoring streetcars and interurban electric trains (cars #25 and # 411, known as the Crimson Limited). The broadly worded "historic transportation" allows us to accept all forms of historic transportation. The early concentration on restoring antique streetcars and the interurban electric trains was a matter of opportunity and a good place to start. We have subsequently purchased some of the cars from the Tandy Subway when it closed, and also a Stone and Webster standard streetcar, thanks to a City of Forth Worth Code Official 's efforts.

The North Texas Historic Transportation organization would like to preserve, for future generations, three Dallas streetcars in danger of being scrapped.  These cars were owned by the Mckinney Avenue Transit Authority. These cars were built to a common Stone & Webster company design known as the turtleback due to the shape of the car roof. MATA had planned to eventually restore these bodies back to working condition.  But over the years they just continued to sit in storage.  Now McKinney Ave. is short on shop space.  They would like to build a new car repair and restoration shop on the land where these car bodies are stored.  Thus the car bodies have been offered to and accepted by the North Texas Historic Transportation / Texas Traction Company.  This is a group of historically minded electric railway preservationistsfrom the Dallas Fort Worth Texas area.  NTHT/TTCo currently has several different streetcar bodies and artifacts in storage.  The long term goal of the group is to establish a streetcar and interurban museum in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

Phil Randall

www.northtexastransport.org/

 

We are awaiting additional photos...

 

 

 

 

 

Canadian Nationals class Z1 (A) - CTM Engine 6714

 

With renewed interest in the Canadian National box cabs, specifically our 6714, we wish to bring some additional background forward on this page. Primary data may be viewed in our "Collection Section" under locomotives. The CN Boxcabs serviced the Mount Royal Line that included a 3 mile tunnel necessitating electromotive traction much the same that New York's Grand Central couldn't tolerate steam or diesel pollution in its approach tunnels... editor

 

 

One of the first stops for the train after it has left the tunnel on its way north is Mount Royal in the Town of Mount Royal. My grandparents lived on Canora Road just across the tracks, and I vividly remember the commuter trains on this line during the 1970's, both the long peak hour trains, made up of six-axle heavyweight coaches pulled by the same box-cab locomotives that pulled the first trains through the tunnel, to the three and six car EMU's that where built in the 1950's. A couple of times a week - it might even have been every day at some point - a diesel-hauled train from further north than the centenary stretched would be pulled through the tunnel by a couple of box-cabs, making a bit of a change from the routine. In the opposite direction, the pair of box-cabs would often leave the diesel train just outside the tunnel at Portal Heights, the first station after the tunnel; sometimes they would pull the train on past Mount Royal, later to return 'light' at high speed back past the station and through the tunnel.

 

Most of the trains in those days were in the black-and-white CN livery, with the red CN 'wet noodle' logo on the sides. I do remember some of the heavyweights still being in the old dark green livery though, probably just at the start of the 1970's.

 

In the summer of 1980, as a young teenager with a definite interest in trains, I decided to document the area around Mount Royal station. After almost twenty years, these images are now becoming historical. Hopefully you'll find them interesting; if you knew the area in those days they might even provoke a smile of remembrance or two. What can't be conveyed here are the other senses: the 'clang clang clang' of the engine's bell as it entered and left the station, the perpetual smell of impregnated ties in the hot sun or the combined smell of hot grease and ozone as the engines pulled by, nor the sound of the traction motors of the accelerating engines struggling to pull their load.

 

 

In this first video you can see a box-cab tandem about midpoint...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVdIcWWYL9M

 

 

This video features a static study of our own 6714 - captured in 2008

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMDxG_D3We8

Catch some boxcab action around Montreal in this video - look for 6714

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdS7i18usmA

 

 

Last but not least - 6714 distinctly flashes past about 2/3's of the way thru this video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9REvpxq-OhI

 

Overkill you say? Not for box cab lovers, and there are many, that do not believe that

these rugged, less than glamorous, machines ever recieve their just dues!

 

click on photos for enlargements

photos by Ricard Wanderlof and CTM members

 

 

 

 

Milldale, CT - Depot Preservation

 

 "Many modes of transportation served Milldale"

Because of its centralized location in the state, Southington became a transportation hub, a place where there were many ways  of moving products and people.  The history of those different modes of transportation can particularly be seen in the Milldale and Plantsville sections of town, both which had several large manufacturing plants and businesses.

 

Early on, Southington roads were used to transport products and passengers up and down the valley. Unfortunately the roads, many of which were not much more than dirt trails established by American Indians,  were narrow, bumpy and sometimes muddy, especially in the spring. Wagons and carts pulled by strong beasts of burden could take products and people within town, to neighboring communities and weather permitting, the region.  During the early and mid-1800s, stagecoaches became popular.

 

In 1828, the Farmington Canal opened, and proved to be a technological transportation improvement.  After taking three years to dig, mostly by hand, the canal operated from 1828 to 1848 and was located between Northampton, Mass., and New Haven.    Although products, produce and passengers could be more easily taken back and forth from this area to Long Island Sound on small freight and packet boats, the canal was limited to being operated in good weather and would shut down during the winter.

 

The next  transportation improvement was the train, which could move more materials and people via rails, some which were placed on the canal towpath. In the region, freight and passenger trains became the way to go in the mid-1840s. The locomotives, freight and passenger cars of the New Haven and Northampton Railroad operated between those towns.   Stations were built to serve Southington, Plantsville and Milldale. Passenger service ended in the mid-1920s, but freight stations served the region for many years. The railroad, also called the Canal Line, last hosted regular freight  service circa 1996.

 

Hollywood also came calling to the region - in 1958, a motion picture comedy, "It Happened to Jane," starring Doris Day and Jack Lemmon, was filmed using familiar sites in Southington and Milldale.

 

During the late 1800s, trolley cars also proved to be a convenient way to move goods and people. Locally, three trolley companies served Southington, including the Southington and Plantsville Tramway Co., the Meriden, Southington and Compounce Tramway Co. and the Waterbury and Milldale Tramway Co.  The Waterbury and Milldale's tracks were located along Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike. However, by the late 1920s and early 1930s, the automobile became king and the trolleys ended their run.  For many years, a trolley carbarn used for the storage and maintenance of streetcars was located behind the former Clark Brothers Bolt Co. in Milldale.

A network of improved roads later became the primary way to move products and people.  Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike and later,  Interstate 84 and nearby I-691 were well-built thoroughfares. I-84 from Waterbury opened in 1961, but the interstate highway wasn't linked to Hartford until the late-1960s.

 

Today, the town has purchased and renovated the former Milldale Depot, a longtime freight station that served to transport passengers and manufactured goods up and down the region. Originally established in the late 1800s, it was mostly rebuilt after being damaged by a serious fire in the early part of the 20th century. Regular area passenger service ended in the 1920s and the depot primarily became a freight depot, transporting goods to and from local businesses.

 

After freight trains stopped running in the late 1990s, the railroad right of way became a popular rails-to-trails corridor. However, Southington's last surviving train station virtually languished, used for storage, until the town bought the old depot in 2010, officials hoping to use it as a historical display and rest stop along the trail.

 

A depot committee made up of local officials, including parks and recreational personnel, train and transportation buffs, and members of the Southington Historical Society, oversee the displays, some of which were donated and others that are on-loan from historians and collectors. The displays underscore the depot's use as a transit hub and focus on local rail history. After renovation, the old depot opened for its new rails-to-trails purpose in 2013. More than 400 visitors from many states stopped by to see the display, according to Phil Wooding, a member of the depot committee and former vice president of the historical society. A water cooler was provided for thirsty hikers and bikers. Cameras on the premises are connected to the Southington Police Department and monitored to discourage vandalism. Before the depot reopened this year, nearby brush and trees were cut back and picnic tables were added. The floor inside the depot's display area was varnished and air conditioning will keep the interior climate controlled during warmer months.

 

The depot is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays from Memorial Day until Labor Day. Wooding said he is optimistic the 400-visitor-benchmark will be surpassed this year.  On many weekends, Wooding, local train buffs and members of the committee, volunteer their time to give tours and answer questions.

 

The display was changed just before the depot reopened the weekend of May 24 and 25. It is hoped to change and move around key aspects of the display to keep it fresh, committee members said.

 

For Wooding and other members of the depot committee, the old Milldale station remains the "little train station that could."

 

 

Ken DiMauro,

Former president, Southington Historical Society

YESTERDAY

 

 

TODAY

 

 click on photos for enlargements

 

 

 

Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum

 

Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum (SFTM) is one of the newest and smallest trolley museums.  We have one trolley car, but it is very special.  Built in Springfield MA in 1896, it has always worked right here in the valley in one way or another, for 117 years.  From 1896 to 1927 our Car No. 10 worked from Shelburne Falls to Colrain on the seven-mile-long Shelburne Falls and Colrain Street Railway.  In 1927, No. 10 was given to a local farmer who wanted to save her when all the other cars were to be burned when the line closed.  On the farm she worked as a tool shed and play house, and the farmers tried to raise chickens in her, until 1992.  Then some local rail history buffs started SFTM and the famer's descendents gave the trolley to the museum for restoration.  Many grants and donations and professional and volunteer hours later she ran again in 1999.  Now she operates on weekends and holidays from Memorial Day weekend through October, and Mondays in July and August.  Our ride is short, but you cannot find many places to ride a trolley car this old, especially one that still runs on the tracks it originally ran on.

 

You can read a childrens version of this story in "The Little Yellow Trolley Car", a true story by Marie Betts Bartlett www.thelittleyellowtrolleycar.com or buy it at your favorite local trolley museum gift shop.

 

We also have an antique hand car or pump car that you can ride on, and a 1910 Central Vermont caboose to explore.  We are right on the Pan Am Southern mainline, and most days you can watch several trains with a variety of locomotives and cargo.

 

When the SF&C St Ry went out of business, they gave the concrete bridge that the trolleys used to cross the Deerfield River to the local fire district.  After it got weedy for a few years, the local folks decided to plant it to a 400 foot long flower garden, and now it is known as the Bridge Of Flowers.

 

SFTM's major effort this year will be to build a metal car barn to more safely store No 10.  Once the two-track barn is ready we will be able to accept another car body for restoration, Fitchburg and Leominster Street Railway No. 60.  No 60 (Wason 1904) was a lake-side cottage for many years, but soon she will be keeping No. 10 company.

 

See www.sftm.org for more details, and come see us soon!

 

Sam Bartlett

 

 

view the SFTM video here

 

 

 

 

 

Rockhill Trolley Museum

 

 

Click on above photo to view their latest acquisitions...

(bear with the short commercial intro)

 

Can't view the video? Here is the gist of Rockhills info.

The Rockhill Trolley Museum, is happy to announce the return of its historic Electroliner/Liberty Liner streamlined train to operating condition. Two of these historic trains were constructed in 1941 by the St. Louis Car Company for the Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee Railroad, which provided high speed electric service from downtown Chicago to downtown Milwaukee until 1963. These trains were specially designed to provide the most modern comforts at the time yet still be capable of operating in the tight confines of the Chicago elevated railways and with automobile traffic in the streets of Milwaukee. These trains were studied by the designers of the original Japanese "Bullet" trains in the early 1960s and perhaps influenced some of the features of these trains. Both of these historic trains were sold in 1963 to the Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company of Upper Darby, PA, commonly referred to as the "Red Arrow Lines". These trains were refurbished and returned to operation on that company's Norristown division in January 1964 and operated in regular service until 1978. Railways To Yesterday purchased train #803-804, named "Independence Hall", in 1982 and moved the train to Rockhill Furnace where it was returned to operating condition.

 

The train was set aside for display-only purposes in 1996 due to significant problems with the train's electrical control system. Museum volunteers again restored the train to operation in 2011 for a special Membership event but electrical problems again sidelined the train in 2012. Thanks to a substantial donation, replacement control system components were assembled and more than a dozen volunteers from several museum departments worked as a team over the past four months to return the train to operating condition once again. The train made its ceremonial roll-out and first trip on Saturday evening, February 15, at an annual gathering of volunteers from many east coast trolley museums. The museum intends to maintain the train in operable condition in the future and operate the train on special occasions.

 

The Rockhill Trolley Museum is one of the oldest continuously operating trolley museums in the Middle Atlantic, having operated trolleys every year since 1962. The museum offers a very scenic three mile round trip ride along scenic Blacklog Creek. For more information on the museum, as well as information on how to contribute to museum projects, when to visit, how to become a member, or how to volunteer, please visit the museum online at www.rockhilltrolley.org

 

 

 

 

 

The WW&F Railway Museum at 25 Years

The Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington (WW&F) Railway Museum was founded in 1989 - this year (2014) marks our 25th anniversary.  Those brave souls who signed on with founder Harry Percival to start up a railroad museum literally from scratch in the Maine wilderness (or so it seemed) could not have imagined how far the museum would go in 25 years.

 

At the beginning, there was nothing except a plot of land and remnants of a flatcar - no track, no buildings, no intact rolling stock.  It would take a few years to assemble an enclosed building, which would become Bay 1 of our car shop, with track inside it.  With the building, Flatcar 118 was able to be restored.  Things took off from there.

 

Today, there's now 2.5 miles of track with 2 coaches (3 and 8), an open car (103), caboose (320), two flatcars (118 and 126), two boxcars (Turner Centre Dairying Assn. 65 and WW&F 309), two steam locomotives (9 and 10), a diesel locomotive (52), Model T Railcar, and several maintenance-of-way cars.  Sheepscot Station, located just 5 miles north of Wiscasset, is the headquarters of the operation, complete with a multi-bay car shop, well-equipped machine shop, and several visitor-oriented buildings including restrooms and a gift shop.  During the summer season, 6 trains a day depart Sheepscot on the weekends.

 

The largest project undertaken since the 2006 article is the restoration of WW&F Locomotive #9.  Built by the Portland (Maine) Company in 1891 for the Sandy River Railroad (Farmington, Maine) as their #5, it served that road and the successor Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes RR (as #6) until the early 1920s, when it was sold to the Kennebec Central RR in Randolph, Maine, becoming #4 there.  After the  KC shut down in 1929, chances are that would have been it for the engine, except that in 1933 the owner of the WW&F, Frank Winter, bought the entire KC for its two stored engines in order to solve an engine shortage on the WW&F.  The haulage of the two engines was also one of the first instances of heavy haul tractor-trailers in Maine.  #4 became #9, and #9 ran from February until early June.  A discovered frame break sidelined the engine, and #8 did the work for the next day and a half until a wreck caused Winter to shut the railroad for good.

 

Fortune again smiled on the engine when in 1937, during the road's scrapping, it was bought by a railfan, William Moneypenny, who stored it on the farm of a Connecticut friend, Frank Ramsdell.  The two hoped to start some kind of amusement park - Moneypenny also bought a large quantity of KC rail, a WW&F boxcar and flatcar - but plans didn't pan out, the two had a falling out, and all that equipment sat on the farm, surviving WWII-era scrap drives in the process.

 

Frank died, and his daughter Alice inherited the farm.  Eventually WW&F Museum founder Harry Percival, Jr. befriended Alice, and with the efforts to begin the Museum Alice gave Harry the flatcar remnants.  However it wasn't until her death in late 1994 that her heir, her nephew, allowed the equipment to leave the farm for the WW&F on a lease arrangement.  It took a number of years to formalize a longer-term lease, and a few more years to raise the funds to start restoration of the engine. 

 

 

 

view the WW&F video here

This restoration began in 2006 with the beginning of the construction of a new boiler for the locomotive.  Since that time the locomotive has been torn down to all its constituant pieces, each examined for reuse, and either repaired, built up, or replaced.  Major work done since that time include the new boiler, new frames, repaired and sleeved cylinders, quartered drivers, and reassembly of frames, drivers, and castings.  We hope that restoration work is nearing the end, and that the engine will be returned to service in 2014 - but stay tuned!

 

Also since 2006 has been the addition of a former Edaville RR coach (coach #8), the construction of a new flatcar (#126), a new creamery car (a replica Turner Centre Dairying Ass'n #65), and another half-mile of railroad track.  The track now extends about a mile beyond Alna Center station, and is about a mile from where the original right-of-way crossed ME-218, near the village of Head Tide.

 

Another project that has come to successful completion is the construction of a new railcar with a Ford Model-T engine.  This railcar is based off an existing railcar that was built in the 1920s for the Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes RR, in Farmington, and currently resides at Owl's Head Transportation Museum in Owl's Head, ME.  The carbody was constructed by one of our volunteers, Leon Weeks, in his garage over the course of several years.  This was delivered about 3 years ago, and after some break-in problems has run quite reliably, and is a favorite of visitors.  The railcar can run as a second section to the regularly-scheduled train, or take the spot of the regularly-scheduled train.

 

Our 2014 operations schedule start in April, with our first event our "Easter Eggspress".  We fire up steamer #10 and take families to Alna Center station (about halfway up the line) where easter egg hunts are held.  It's a great way to start up the year and get the equipment rolling again.  Normal operations in April and May consist of 3 trains per day during Saturdays only.  Memorial Weekend  starts our summer season of 6 trains per day on both Saturdays and Sundays, until Columbus weekend.  After Columbus until snow flies we go back to 3 trains per day on Saturdays.  We try to run steam each weekend during July and August.

 

If you're in Maine for any reason this year, please drop by.  We're just 5 miles off of busy US Route 1, north of the Midcoast town of Wiscasset, on Maine Route 218.  And keep an eye on the internet (www.wwfry.org) for when Locomotive 9 returns to steam!

 

James Patten

 

 

 

 

 

Editors note: Maine's narrow gauge WW&F last appeared on our website 8 years ago (2006). It has come a long way since while continuing to enjoy a member strength of over 1000.

 

click on photos for enlargements

 

 

 

 

 

Newark, New Jersey: The City Subway - PCC #15

 

The Newark City Subway is operated by New Jersey Transit, a state agency that operates local public transportation throughout the state of New Jersey. It opened in stages in 1935-40 to provide several streetcar lines with grade-separated access to downtown Newark. It was built in the bed of an abandoned canal. By 1952 all of the "feeder" streetcar routes had been abandoned, and only the subway service itself remained. In the tunnel, one can still see where the former streetcar lines branched off.

 

The route is about 5.1 miles long and extends from Newark Penn Station in the south to Grove Street in the north. Four of the thirteen stations are in the underground subway portion. The rest of the route operates in open cut or on the surface, and is mostly grade-separated from automobile traffic. Much of the surface portion of the route runs along the edge of Branch Brook Park.

 

At Penn Station, connections can be made with New Jersey Transit commuter trains, Amtrak long-distance trains on the Northeast Corridor, and the Port Authority Trans-Hudson rapid-transit line to Jersey City, Hoboken and New York City.

 

 

Until 24 August 2001, the City Subway operated PCC streetcars built by the St. Louis Car Company in 1946-49 for the Twin City Rapid Transit Company of Minneapolis, Minnesota. On abandonment of the Minneapolis streetcar lines, they were sold to Newark, and began running there in 1954. Despite their age, they were in very good condition at the end, thanks to an overhaul in the 1980s and expert maintainance.

 

The PCCs were replaced with modern light-rail vehicles of the same type that run on the Hudson-Bergen light rail line in nearby Jersey City. In 2004, several of them were sold to the San Francisco Municipal Railway for operation on their F-Market streetcar line. Currently (fall 2007) there are plans to use some of the remaining PCCs for a streetcar line connecting a new residential development in Bayonne to the Hudson-Bergen light rail line.

 

The northern terminal was originally at Franklin Avenue. In the fall of 2001, that station and the nearby Heller Parkway station were replaced with a new Branch Brook Park station about halfway in between. In June 2002, the route was extended from Branch Brook Park to Grove Street.

 

Photos of the 1999-2001 era - NJT PCC's in operation

       

   

click on photos for enlargements

 

Photos are courtesy of Dr. Jon Bell

Presbyterian College - Clinton, South Carolina

 

 

 

Connecticut Electric Railway Association, Inc. Copyright 2017 Connecticut Electric Railway Association, Inc. All rights reserved.