I’ve spent the past few weeks posting some relatively boring photographs of some of the stations along the Danbury Branch of the New Haven Line… Despite what anyone seems to think about me, I really do think that I am more interested in train stations more than the actual machine that is a train. But it is undeniable that train station photography, without any actual trains present, is pretty boring. And most of the Danbury Branch stations I featured were like that. In fact, several did not even have any train service on the days I visited, as signal work was being done and buses were carrying passengers instead of trains. Today, however, the station I am featuring has a whole lot of photographs that do contain trains. At most stations that I visited on the main New Haven Line, there was at least one train going by. Here at Southport, you’ll be able to spot both Metro-North trains, and the occasional passing Amtrak train as well.
Not only are the trains pictured captivating – but Southport’s station has a bit of history behind it as well. The original station (on the eastbound/New Haven side) was built in 1859, but burnt down in 1884. A new station was completed in a matter of months (imagine that happening today, it would only take a matter of years!), and is still standing today. Like many of the main line stations, there are station buildings on both sides of the tracks, and they are not directly across from one another. The building on the east (Manhattan-bound) side of the track also had a fire, but much more recently (2008). The fire did not completely destroy the station, and it has since been renovated and reopened.
Southport station is located approximately 49 miles from Grand Central, and is one of two stations (soon to be three) in Fairfield, Connecticut. Although Amtrak trains can be seen passing by, they do not stop at Southport. The two station buildings are still in use – the restored station on the west-bound side operates as a waiting room, and contains restrooms. The east-bound station has been the home to the Italian restaurant Paci since 1996.