Have you ever wondered what a railroad shop cat does all day? I (finally) made a visit to see Turbo, the Naugatuck Railroad’s resident shop cat to see what he had to say about the whole gig. Since October of 2019, Turbo has played many important roles at the Naugy shop, including car inspector, food taster, competitive sleeper, and yoga practitioner (has achieved expert level in both loaf and shrimp poses). This feline seems to be quite happy with the very important job bestowed upon him, a far cry from his early days abandoned on the streets scrounging for food in dumpsters.

Actually, add one more job to that list—fundraiser extraordinaire! If you love Turbo, why not donate to one of his favorite cars to inspect? The Restoration of New Haven Locomotive 529 is an ongoing project to restore a locomotive very dear to the museum. Designed and built by the American Locomotive Company (Alco), 529 was delivered to the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad in August of 1950. Operating throughout Connecticut and beyond under the ownership of the New Haven and later Penn Central and Amtrak, the Railroad Museum of New England purchased the locomotive in 1985. 529 pulled the very first RMNE passenger train from Waterbury to Thomaston in 1996, and operated in regular scheduled excursion train service for 14 years until it was removed from service due to condemned wheels. With your help, you could see this wonderful locomotive operating again, restored to what it looked like in 1950!

Anyway, just figured I’d make a quick update to say hello. As I travel around, I’m frequently asked if I still write for this site. The answer is yes, sort of. Clearly, I do not write as frequently as I did many years ago, but I still endeavor to write quality, historically related content about the Harlem Railroad. Life, of course, gets in the way sometimes (can someone with a time machine please go back and remind me how much work owning a house from the 1920s is? kthx). Work also keeps me busy…

For the record, I am thoroughly amused by how many of you have messaged me about my 2014 April Fool’s Day joke about Metro-North’s heritage program actually came true. The only thing I must (rather cryptically) say in response is wait until summer! I hope you will be very pleasantly surprised with an associated project that is very dear to me, and has taken up so much of my time.

4 Responses

  1. Debb Mastromatteo says:

    Don’t forget to pick up your Turbo plushie when you visit the Railroad Museum of New England!

  2. Somebody Here says:

    Is there any chance that you might do something about the New Haven Line’s Harlem River Branch and its services before 1931?

    Thanks in advance.

  3. Ran Barton says:

    Excellent feline/railroad crossover post. Hope you’re well.

  4. Lee says:

    Nice pictures.

    The April 2024 issue of Railpace Magazine has a photo of the shop cat of the Ontario Southland Railway.

    The C&O Railway had several cats as their mascot, used extensively in their advertising. Well known is Chessie. There was also a tomcat named Peake. The Dec 6, 1937 issue of LIFE magazine has a C&O advertisement featuring their mascots. It may be viewed at:

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