Some of you out there have been wondering if I still take train photos. While several of my more recent posts have been of a more historical nature, I am still frequently out snapping photos of trains. Many times the photos aren’t necessarily worthy of their own post, so I thought it might be fun to post some of them on Wednesdays, so you can all see where I’ve been wandering about.
This past weekend I found myself dodging the raindrops and capturing the blocks of the Waterbury Branch. With the signalization project coming to a close not too far in the future, these block limit signs will likely be disappearing before you know it. The signals aren’t online yet, but many have been installed and are visible along the right-of-way covered in black plastic. So, without further ado, here are the blocks of the Waterbury branch.
Upon entering the Waterbury Branch from the New Haven Line, the first block you’ll encounter is CLIP. The name is a throwback to when Connecticut Light and Power owned the nearby power plant in Devon. The generating station began operations in 1924 with three 25MW units. NRG bought the natural gas powered plant in 1999, and these days it produces 133MW. NRG intends to sell the plant, and it will likely change hands by the end of the year.
As part of other upgrades along the branch, you’ll also see the installation of new grade crossing protection that has not yet been completed. The lights are likewise covered by black plastic, and the crossing gates are not in yet.
Not far from the Derby/Shelton Station, HAT gets its name from the Housatonic Railroad, which joins the branch at the location.
Sadly, the 1903 station at Derby has been thoroughly tagged. Owned by the city, the vandalism has been reported and the building is slated for cleanup soon.
It seems the HAT block limit sign may have also been tagged to reveal an alternate word… oh dear.
If I told you that BEAK was named for a famous local bird, it would sure be an interesting story, but it would also be a lie. BEAK is simply a shortened version of Beacon Falls, where you’ll find the block limit sign at the south end of the platform.
EAGLE and WATER
Speaking of birds, the next block encountered along the branch is EAGLE. Once located closer to Eagle Street, you’ll now find it at the south end of the parking lot for Waterbury station.
Lastly, WATER is obviously named for Waterbury. You’ll find the block limit sign just at the north end of the platform. Although the tracks continue further, Metro-North trains are not permitted to cross the sketchy bridge that carries the rails over Freight Street. Waterbury is quite the intriguing location, with a slew of abandoned tracks, reclaimed by nature over the years. The 1909 McKim, Mead, and White station, owned by the local Republican American newspaper, is always a fantastic sight, and the associated 240-foot clock tower is the city’s most notable landmark.