Last week I finished up posting the stations on the Waterbury Branch – today we’ll visit Stratford, which one can call an “honorary” station on the branch. Stratford is actually considered part of the New Haven main line, but during peak hours one Waterbury Branch train stops in either direction. Unlike most of the Waterbury Branch stations, however, Stratford is actually pretty nice. There are original station buildings on both sides of the tracks, one which houses a coffee shop and restaurant, the other is a museum. I admit it is a little bit strange for a helicopter museum to be housed in a former train station. But remember, we’re in Stratford – the home of Sikorsky Aircraft. Igor Sikorsky‘s helicopter design was the first “practical” helicopter, and the first to be manufactured in a large scale. The National Helicopter Museum celebrates the career of Sikorsky, as well as other historical milestones related to the helicopter.
Back on the subject of trains, Stratford is located 59 miles from Grand Central. The estimated travel time into the city is around an hour and a half. The next station to the west is Bridgeport, and just to the east the Waterbury branch splits from the main line. The next station to the east, located on the main line, is Milford. Although the bulk of the train traffic is Metro-North, some Shore Line East trains do stop. Amtrak trains are visible passing by, but do not make stops at Stratford.
Did I mention that the old station buildings are adorable, and I want them? Unfortunately for me, they are all well used in Stratford, so if I tried to steal one in the middle of the night, somebody would notice.
In some strange and sadistic way, I actually miss the old bright pink paint job on the Stratford station houses.
According to The History of Stratford by Howard Wilcoxson, the first train passed through Stratford on Dec 29, 1848. In 1890, the railroad was elevated, and four tracked, eliminating several grade crossings. At that time, the old depot (one building) was moved from its location west of the King Street viaduct to its present location off of Main St.
I am a former Stratford resident, now riding the Harlem Line from Wassaic,