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Posts Tagged ‘danbury branch’

The branches of the New Haven Line, in pictures Train Photos

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

Yesterday I featured the only outstanding New Haven Line branch station on our Tuesday Tour, Springdale. Now that the branches are complete, I thought it might be nice to post one of my favorite images from each station in a single gallery. It gives you a quick idea of what each branch is like, and a glimpse into the life of a commuter from each station. The locales photographed vary from outstanding examples of historical stations and well-known landmarks, to bare-bones, concrete platforms that are just barely stations. Each branch terminates at a historically-important station, though only one of the three is being used in its original capacity as a passenger station.

The photographs below were taken on eight separate days, ranging from early March to mid-October.

The New Canaan Branch:

The New Canaan branch is the shortest of the three (8.2 miles), and the closest to Grand Central. It is also the only branch that is currently electrified. The branch first came into being when chartered as the New Canaan Railroad in 1866. By 1890 it had become a part of the The New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad.

The awesome: New Canaan station may be the nicest station of all three branches (one could argue that Waterbury is more iconic, however it is no longer in use by the railroad, whereas New Canaan is).
Most underwhelming: Everything other than New Canaan.


The Danbury Branch:

Of the three New Haven Line branches, the Danbury Branch has the most stations, with a total of seven. Though the line continues further north, Metro-North service terminates at Danbury. The original Danbury station still exists, though it is not used by Metro-North. Service first began here in 1852, and the rail line was known as the Danbury and Norwalk Railroad. In the late 1800′s the line was leased to the Housatonic Railroad, and later the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad. By 1925 the track was electrified, but due to a poor economic situation, it was de-electrified in 1961.

The awesome: Danbury’s original station, yard, and turntable, now occupied the Danbury Railway Museum. Bethel’s old station is now a bike shop (I never got a photo of it). Cannondale’s old station is also lovely.
Most underwhelming: Without a doubt, Merritt 7. It is the only New Haven Line station without the typical Metro-North station sign, and is probably the most bare-bones station listed here.



The Waterbury Branch:

The Waterbury branch is Metro-North’s easternmost branch, and it diverges from the main line just east of Stratford. Although service terminates in Waterbury, the tracks do continue further north, and are used by the Railroad Museum of New England. Waterbury is located 87.5 miles from Grand Central – making it the furthest from the city in rail miles. The branch was originally chartered in 1845 as the Naugatuck Railroad (named after the river the tracks run alongside), and construction was completed by 1849. It was merged with the The New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad in 1906. Today, the branch has a reputation of serving both commuters and many sketchy people.

The awesome: Waterbury’s historical station (no longer used by the railroad) is one of, if not the most iconic structures in the city. The Naugatuck Historical Society is housed in their old station, which is also nice. You can get cool photos of the railroad bridge in Ansonia.
Most underwhelming: Beacon Falls and Ansonia. Oh, and don’t leave your car or any other valuables at Waterbury.


Do you have a favorite?

If I had to pick the branch that I liked the best, I’d have a difficult time of it. New Canaan is certainly my favorite station, but the rest of the branch is relatively boring. The Danbury branch has the adorably-cute Cannondale, and the old station which is now a museum. The sketchy people of the Waterbury branch make me weary of choosing it as my favorite, despite the fact that I like that little railroad bridge over the Naugatuck river. It is, however, undeniable that Waterbury has the most recognizable old station – though it is debatable whether people actually realize it was once a train station. We can settle this right now, with a poll. Vote for your favorite branch here:
[poll id="2"]

Tuesday Tour of the New Haven Line: Wilton Train Photos

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011
With this post I’ve achieved my first significant milestone on the New Haven Line. Thankfully, it has nothing to do with having the police called on me on another rail line (has yet to happen here, but I am very much expecting it. Especially after reading this post by Jim Cameron, chairman of the CT Commuter Council). No, this milestone is the Tuesday Tour’s completion of the Danbury Branch! In the 1800′s this was the Danbury and Norwalk Railroad, but of course today it is just a small branch of Metro North’s New Haven Line.

Despite growing up close to the Danbury Branch, I was never a passenger on it. I was always one of the people that made the slightly longer trek to Brewster and the Harlem Line. It was enjoyable to explore a line that is so close to my home-town, especially since most of the stations have their historical station buildings present.

Tuesday Tour of the New Haven Line: Danbury Branch:

Wilton is our final stop to check out on the Danbury Branch. The station is located not far from Route 7, and is 48.5 miles from Grand Central Terminal. Surrounded by trees and small stream, the area around the station is relatively peaceful. Like many of the other Danbury Branch stations, there is little that is particularly noteworthy here, besides the small station building which was closed at the time of my visit. In fact, on the day of my visit a busing schedule was in effect, making the platform exceptionally quiet. I could have made a sound recording for you, and titled it “The Sounds of Wilton.” On that day it would only contain the sound of the stream, unpunctuated by the normal wail of a train horn and the rumble of a diesel engine.

Without any further rambling from me, here are a few photos from Wilton…


Tuesday Tour of the New Haven Line: Branchville Train Photos

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

In my endeavor to finish up the Danbury Branch on these Tuesday tours, today we’ll make a quick visit to the small station known as Branchville. Located in the Branchville section of Ridgefield, the name derives from the branch rail line that once ran through here to Ridgefield village (that branch is now a rail trail). Branchville station is located 54 miles from Grand Central Terminal, and the platform is long enough to accommodate three train cars.

Branchville’s station building, completed in 1905, still stands and has been occupied since the 80′s by the Whistle Stop Bakery. The History of Redding website has some pretty cool historical images of the station, a few of which I’ve also posted below. Enjoy a quick look at Branchville then and now.


Tuesday Tour of the New Haven Line: Redding Train Photos

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

Before you know it, I’ll have done the complete tour of the Danbury Branch… my first little milestone as I continue to tour the New Haven Line. Today we’re visiting Redding, a little Danbury Branch station with a bit of an identity crisis. Though all schedules refer to the station as just plain old Redding, all of the station signs refer to it as West Redding. The station is just shy of 59 miles from Grand Central, and can be found in a quiet little area not far from Route 7.

There isn’t too much that is noteworthy here, but I do have to admit that I think the miniature library found in the station is pretty cool. The Mark Twain library keeps a small shelf stocked with books for commuters to read and swap out at their leisure. Whenever I see any sort of book arrangement at a station, I always think it is the coolest thing. Books, after all, are great for those who regularly ride trains in order to pass the time. I’ve only seen a few stations that have done anything similar – Scarsdale’s library has a small kiosk outside the train station, and Westport has a similar book arrangement as Redding.


Tuesday Tour of the New Haven Line: Merritt 7 Train Photos

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

For the most part my New Haven Line tour has thus far focused on quite a few barely-stations on both the Danbury and Waterbury branches. Today we’re going to look at what may be the leader on the barely-there stations, Merritt 7. I figured now would be a good time to take a look at the station, as it has recently been in the news and is slated to get a five-million-dollar upgrade. The low level platform will become a high-level with pedestrian bridge, and the 88-car parking lot will be enlarged. Hopefully a new station sign will also be included – one that looks like the signs at every other Metro-North station (the only other exception I am familiar with is Suffern, which barely counts. The hundred-plus other Metro-North stations all have them).

Merritt 7′s name derives from the Merritt 7 Corporate Park which the station is adjacent to. Merritt obviously refers to the Merritt Parkway, and the 7 from Connecticut’s Route 7. The corporate park houses well-known companies such as Kodak, GE, Siemens, and Canon. The station was built in 1985, partially to service the corporate park, but also to serve the citizens in the northern part of Norwalk. Unlike Norwalk’s other stations which are on the New Haven main line, Merritt 7 is part of the Danbury Branch. The station is located 45 miles from Grand Central, and travel time takes on average one hour and fifteen minutes.

As of right now, this is what Merritt 7 looks like. Not much to write home about. Perhaps once the station is rebuilt, I’ll have to go and take another look.