Tuesday Tour of the New Haven Line: Noroton Heights


Noroton Heights, circa 1920. Image is from a postcard that was for sale on eBay, labeled as Norton Heights.

Today’s station visit on our tour of the New Haven Line may deserve the title of “Most frequently misspelled Metro-North station,” which certainly made researching it for today fun. Noroton Heights – or as some would believe, Norton Heights – has even been spelled wrong on a map published by Metro-North. However you spell it, we’re talking today about the place in Connecticut, the one that has the railroad station (a Norton Heights does actually exist in CT, it is in Wolcott). Located about 36 miles from Grand Central, Noroton Heights is on the New Haven main line, and is one of two train stations in the town of Darien.


Noroton Heights, 1946


Noroton Heights, date unknown. [image source]

Although the historic photos of Noroton Heights above are pretty awesome, none of them depict the placement of the station how it is today. When high-level platforms were being constructed along the line (in the early 70’s), the Noroton Heights station was shifted about two tenths of a mile east. Unfortunately, I was not aware of this at the time, so I missed seeing the old Noroton Heights depot, which is still around and is being used as a youth center. When the building’s life as a railroad station ended, it was transformed to serve the population of Darien in alternate methods. In 1972 it became the home of Darien EMS Post 53, and served as their headquarters for 16 years. After Post 53 relocated to a new building across the street, the old depot was set to be demolished. Fortunately, it was saved from that fate when the youth center acquired it in 1989.


The newer, high-level platform at Noroton Heights, 1980. [image source]

The station building that is there today isn’t particularly noteworthy, though it does have the typical amenities one would expect on a main line station – a canopy and shelter, a walkway to cross the tracks, and a few ticket vending machines.

 
  
   
   
  
 
  
  
 
  
 

13 thoughts on “Tuesday Tour of the New Haven Line: Noroton Heights

  1. So that building at the east end of the parking lot just below Noroton Ave. is the old station? Darn, I missed that one too, and I even stumbled across it a couple of weeks ago when I was out taking pictures (of former New Canaan Branch station locations). I saw it while I was getting back on 95, stopped and looked at it, but figured it was probably an old freight station so didn’t photograph it. I’ve got to remember in these days of digital photography, take the picture first and figure out what it is later.

    I always used to pronounce Noroton Heights incorrectly too (with accent on the first syllable) until I heard it announced on the train.

    1. Yep, that was it! It isn’t the first time I missed an old station too – I missed Bethel which is further down the street and is now a bike shop. Anyways, I noticed that you had been out taking photos at stations, I think it was you that uploaded a photo of Fairfield Metro on wikipedia? There is some psycho editor over there that rules those Metro-North pages with an iron fist… he finds linking to this site “inappropriate” (he also took offense to SubwayNut’s site, I think he’s mad because we don’t “donate” our photos to wiki) but has no qualms about using it as a historical source, hah.

      1. Yup, my son thought it was soooo cool that you could update wikipedia that we spent a couple of nights looking for station pages without pictures and added a bunch of them, and that was one. I even dared to correct a couple of pages (Suffern & Whitehall). Anyway, I noticed at least one of your link-backs survived, on Sharon Station. I guess because it’s NYCRR not Metro-North. You’d think they’d be happy to link over since you actually do a ton of research (unlike me who’s much too lazy – I just put up a few pictures and say yeah, I was here). Hope you’re enjoying exploring the Port Jervis Line (I think that’s where you said you were going next). Went under the Moodna Viaduct this weekend while trying to trace an old Erie line from Greycourt to Newburgh.

        1. I took pics of PJ back in… October I think it was. Maybe September, can’t quite remember. Did the whole thing in a day, which wasn’t too terrible. I don’t think any of the photos came out that stellar, besides a few decent ones at Moodna, and the abandoned O&W in Middletown, which I’ve posted already. One of my favorites was definitely Tuxedo, but at the time some large group of people rented the place out… I think a lot of the shots have some fairly drunk people wandering around, hah.

  2. You can see the former Noroton Heights station in image 10 (3rd row, on the right) if you enlarge the shot. The old station is the red structure on the left.

    What’s also neat is that there is still a small section of the old (ca. 1960’s?) still standing – to the right of the station in the same shot.

  3. I left out a word!

    I had meant to say —
    What’s also neat is that there is still a small section of the old (ca. 1960′s?) CANOPY still standing – to the right of the station in the same shot.

  4. Question Emily, is the former Kent Road station going to get a say in the Tuesday Tour? Figure it might be an interesting.

    1. There actually were no plans to do that… in fact I didn’t really know about Kent Road until fairly recently. Is there anything left at Kent Road to even go look at, or are you thinking more historical stuff? I popped on Google Maps and I think I found where the parking lot was, but I don’t seem to see much else.

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