Postcard view of the station, labeled as Saugatuck. This card was postmarked 1915.
Today’s stop on our ongoing tour of the New Haven Line is Westport, a lovely station with a miniature identity crisis. Although Metro-North refers to this station simply as “Westport,” historically it has been called “Westport & Saugatuck.” The old station building that still remains – built around 1880 – also lists the name as “Westport Saugatuck” on the front. However, it seems that many of the locals refer to the station simply as “Saugatuck,” the name of the portion of Westport where the station resides. For consistency’s sake, I’ll use the Metro-North designation of “Westport” hereon.
Old train tickets listing the station name as Westport & Saugatuck
Much of Westport’s charm derives from the lovely station building, which was renovated in 2004. The station still contains the original ticket window, however Metro-North no longer staffs this window and tickets are sold through on-platform TVMs. Besides the obvious waiting-room and bathrooms the station contains, it also has a small book swap shelf, courtesy of the Westport Public Library (this is the second New Haven Line station I’ve featured with a book swap shelf. Redding was the first. I absolutely love the idea). During the aforementioned renovations an additional tunnel under the tracks was installed, with elevator, as to meet ADA guidelines. Though the main station is on the New York/westbound side of the tracks, another station building exists on the opposite side, which is used as a taxi stand and contains a car rental office. This building looks significantly more beat-up, and is covered in a layer of paint that has cracked over the many years.
1950’s photographs of Westport station
Photo of a 1912 train wreck that occurred near the station.
Westport is a lovely little station, surrounded by an interesting neighborhood, of which residents are extremely proud – despite the many changes over the years. Thanks to the railroad (which first arrived in 1848), getting to Westport station is relatively easy. The station is about 44 miles away from Grand Central, and travel time is about an hour and ten minutes.
One of the really interesting parts about Westport/Saugatuck is that on the eastbound side, you can walk on a foot path across the SAGA drawbridge eastwards. It’s a little scary – it’s an open-deck bridge, and you’re only separated from the trains by a single 2×4 railing. Fun though!
The eastbound station has just finished a year-long renovation overseen by its managers – the Westport Police Department (yes – they run the train stations in town). Restored using original NYNH&HRR plans, the work received a preservation award from the local historical society.