New Haven Electric Division

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New Haven Electric Division
Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, November 01, 2017 6:08 AM

Summer 1970, the Electric Railroaders Association chartered an MP54 train to New Haven and New Canaan.   On the New Canaan branch the train handled a regular shedule and carried regular passengerers.

Noroton Heights above, New Haven below

New Canaan

 

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, November 01, 2017 9:20 AM

Leads me to wonder what the 'regular passengers' thought of the diffraction-grating windows and the octagonal wheels... Wink

Were the 4400s in regular service on this branch then?  Those still look modern to me.

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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, November 01, 2017 9:42 AM

Yes, a two-car set of 4400's held the shuttle run.  Hope to post a photo soon.

The MP-54s were in excellent shape, clean and smooth-running, all motors, and performed well.  The regular riders did not complain and generally took pleasure in something different.  I think I counted less than twenty each way.  We were fortunate that the day was not as warm as usual, so air-condiitoning was not missed. As trip committee member, that did worry me before the trip.

I have not seen color photos for some time, but I think the fly in the ointments was that some cars were red with Keystone and others were green with noodles.

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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, November 02, 2017 1:03 AM

GG1 heading a Boston train:

"Washboards" (4400's) at Stamford, shuttle to New Canaan at right.  Combine used on shuttle because its reduced seaing capacity was a liability on the main line but not important in weekend shuttle service.

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Posted by erikem on Saturday, November 04, 2017 9:30 PM

Nice pictures Dave. The one and only time I rode the New Canaan branch was 11 years ago, though my late father-in-law commuted on it for 41 years.

My brother-in-law was one of the first responders for the collision in the late 70's with multiple fatalities.

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, November 05, 2017 8:57 AM

On the way back to Penn Station, we passed a Penn Central freight (from Bay Ridge and Fresh Pond Junction to Ceder Hill, New Haven) between New Rochelle and Pelham:

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Posted by Firelock76 on Sunday, November 05, 2017 10:29 AM

Well, that must have been a fun trip!  Consider the sheer diversity of what was there to be seen!

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, November 06, 2017 9:49 AM

Note the space for a middle track and also the span of catenary supports going all the way into the trees and bushes on the right.

My understanding is that at the time of the opening of the Hell Gate Bridge, this area had six tracks!  IC-Chicago style.   Two for Penn Station passenger trains, two for Bay Ridge freight trains, and two for the New Rochelle - Harlem River (Willis Avenue & 132nd St.) shuttle.  When the shuttle quit, 1931, two tracks were removed.  I think four remained through WWII.

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, November 06, 2017 10:32 PM

And we did meet a freight on the way to New Haven and had a photo stop, meant to post this earlier:

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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, November 09, 2017 5:17 AM

Later photo, GG1 at New Haven,  M-2s mus at left

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, November 09, 2017 1:36 PM

daveklepper
... two for the New Rochelle - Harlem River (Willis Avenue & 132nd St.) shuttle.

This is something I'd never heard of before.  Is this a New Haven service that competed with the NYW&B?

Presumably this was one of the things that all those shuttle trains from 129th St. on the El every 10 minutes were connecting with.  Were there direct 'expresses' from lower Manhattan up the Dual-Contracts center track that went more or less directly over the bridge to this point, instead of Making All The Local Stops And Backing Up Traffic (or having to use restricted-weight cars on the local tracks)?

What was the arrangement made to allow this service (and, presumably, the extra cost and tax liability of the two tracks) to terminate in 1931? 

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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, November 09, 2017 2:04 PM

The Harlem River shuttle pre-dated the Hell Gate Bridge.  The New Haven's line between New Rochelle and Woodlawn was intended primarily as a passenger route to get trains into Grand Central, with historically one local freight each day to interchange with the Central's Harlem Division peddler.  The main freight line was to Oak Point, where the New Haven had an extensive facility including float bridges.  This was the route of the Federal before the opening of the Poughkeepsie Hudson River Bridge, with sleeping cars carried over water between Oak Point and Greenvill, NJ.  Ferry boats linked local trains to Manhattan ferry terminals before the elevated connection was built in the 1890's, first operated by steam like all elevated trains of the time.  I think at one time New Haven locals actually operated into the 129th Street Elevated Station.  In fact, I am certain of it because New Haven did have open-platform wood coaches built to fit elevated line clearlances, narrower and shorter than their other equipment.  These ended up later in Hartford - Berlin - Meridan CT local servide.

After electrification and with the construction of the New York Westchester and Boston, the Harlem Shuttle, which had its own northern-most track 5 at the New Rochelle Station, shared its tracks with the NYW&B south of Hunts Point Avenue in The Bronx, and shared the same simple wood low-platform local stations, and this included the Willis Avenue Stationl, although there they may at times have had separate platforms and tracks.  At New Rochelle one could say the shuttle and "The Westchester" did compete, but soiuth of there to Hunts Point Avenue, "The Westchester" basically served territory east of the New Haven Woodlawn-GCT line and west of the Central's Harlem Div,; and the shuttle served territory east of the line to Woodlawn and GCT.

Today there are only three commuter routes into Manhattan from the north.  In 1920, you had eight: the Hudson Division, the Putnam Gettys Square Branch, the Putnam main line, the Harlem, the NYW&B White Plains branch, the NYW&B New Rochell, line also parraleling the New Haven north and east to Portchester, the New Haven line into GCT via Woodlawn and the Harlem Dv. connection, and the Harlem Shuttle.  Fewer people drove to the morning train commute and more people walked.

My diagram submitted to Amtrak and Metro North shows how track 5 can be usefully employed in the future:

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, November 09, 2017 2:27 PM

daveklepper
This was the route of the Federal before the opening of the Poughkeepsie River Bridge, with sleeping cars carried over water between Oak Point and Greenville, NJ.

I think you've got one bridge confused with another.  As I recall the story, the 'carfloat' operation ran all the way up to 1912, the idea being that since it was an overnight train, the 'one-bed' ride without having to change sleepers was far more important (and perhaps more restful!) and after that service was ended, up to 1916, the train ran that roundabout route via the Poughkeepsie Bridge, Maybrook, the L&HR and the BelDel.  (I was told that freight congestion on the Maybrook line was what resulted in termination of this service, perhaps an artifact of the developing problems that would lead to Federal Control a year or so later...)

After the completion of the Hell Gate connection the train was reinstated, and many years later could be found running not to, but into, Washington Union Station...

P.S. it's just "Poughkeepsie Bridge", of course it goes over the Hudson River (or North River if you want to distinguish it from the Delaware)...

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Posted by MidlandMike on Thursday, November 09, 2017 10:00 PM

In Middleton's book When the Steam Railroads Electrified there was a picture of a 6-track bridge over the Bronx River at Westchester Ave, but it is where the NYW&B shared tracks with the NH.  Just north of there at West Farms/174 St. the NYW&B own 4-track ROW split off.  I would have guessed the NH was 4-track beyond that.

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Posted by daveklepper on Friday, November 10, 2017 12:26 AM

Until 1931, the six tracks containued north of that point; then two north of the connection sere removed  Again, look at the catenary supports in the PC freight train photo.  The take-off of the Westchester was two track becoming four tracks just before the East 180th Street Station.  As late as 1953, a single track remained of the connection, linking the IRT at E. 180th with the New Haven.  I understand the connection no longer exists and the RoW has buildings on it.

Again, the shuttle and the Westchester shared the same tracks south of the connection. 

After the Westchester quit, there were four tracks instead of six, the four tracks continuing through Hell Gate Bridge to the point where the freight tracks diverged to head for Fresh Pond Junction and Bay Ridge, with the pasenger tracks to L.I. City and Penn. Sta.   The four tracks became two when land was taken for the Bruckner Epressway.

The New Haven had two stations in Pelham, Pelham on the line to Woodlawn, still in use, and Pelham Manor, used by the shuttle, a beautiful stone station and for many years the location of the large O-gauge layout of the New York Society of Model Engineers, a layout relocated in the upper floor of the DL&W Hoboken Terminal.  Dad I and enjoyed a day excusion using the subway to 241sr Street White Plains Road, then the A New Rochelle streetcar to transfer to the H bus to visit the layout, and returning via the H bus to the New Haven station for the trip back to Manhattan.  I usually got a front platform ride on the New Haven.

And Overnod, your statement agrees with mine.  I wrote the same bridge that you did.  The only difference is your mentioning the gap in the service of the Federal when freight traffic forced the end of the use of the Poughkeepsie bridge.  When the Hell Gate Bridge opened, through all-rail service via that bridge was possible, originally with steam operation to a change to DD1s at Harold, near Sunnyside, then mixed steam and electrics to that point, then electrics to a change to DD1s, then electrics through to a change to PRR electrics at Penn.

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Posted by Overmod on Friday, November 10, 2017 9:18 AM

daveklepper
And Overnod, your statement agrees with mine. I wrote the same bridge that you did.

Very different.  The carfloated Federal ran long after the Poughkeepsie Bridge was opened (back in the days of the Reading Combine, to put it in perspective!) and as far as I can tell that operation only ended when it became too expensive to operate for the revenue it provided vs. adopting the inland route -- net of passengers who might want to board in the New York area!  It has always been highly interesting to me that there was no way to operate the train via Penn Station and the tunnels in the 'Poughkeepsie Bridge' era; it's instructive to look at a map of the New York area to understand why this was so and how important the Hell Gate/New York Connecting Railroad was.

Do you have the dates for the various cutovers (let's take the case going west/south) from 11kV New Haven power to first the PRR third rail and ultimately overhead wire in the East River tunnels?  Harold was and is an interesting point -- it's currently the site of an Amtrak project to install an 'island' of constant-tension catenary, but I remain somewhat ignorant of the point of spending all that money on that particular location on the Corridor -- is there a major maintenance headache involved with fixed-tension overhead in that area?

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Posted by MidlandMike on Friday, November 10, 2017 11:13 PM

The ex-NYW&B link between the NH and IRT is indeed gone and covered by a large transit bus garage., although a cat tower identified as "NYW&B Catenary #1" is visible in the satellite view at:

http://www.mytopo.com/maps/?lat=40.8369&lon=-73.87804&z=16

Further north on the NH one can see the extra wide cat towers for former 6-tracks, most strikingly at the Eastchester Bay bridge, where the bridge has been narrowed to 2-tracks, but the cat towers on their own piers are still 6-tracks wide.

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Posted by daveklepper on Saturday, November 11, 2017 1:29 PM

I simply wrote I got the Bridge right.  Leaving out the word Hudson was Dislexia, not the wrong bridge!   I did not know that the switch to the Bridge from the car-float came sometime after the bridge was opened.  I do know that the New Haven sold the car-float ferry to the PRR, who transferred it to the Cape Charles - Norfolk freight service.

When the Hell Gate was opened, it was not electrified.  I remember the date of the AC New Haven electrification to Harold as the year 1931, but I could be wrong.  Even after that date, some steam operation continiued, because of occasional shortages of electric locomotives, until the entire order of what was later called EP-3 class was delivered.  And steam on freight to Bay Ridge continued for some more years, about the time PRR catenary was extended from Trenton to Sunnyside and Harold Tower.  I may be able to check on the dates in ERA Bulletins.

The recent issue of the French Rail Passion says as a correction that the NEC Amtrak Harold - New Rochelle segment is still 25 HZ.  My understanding is that it has been converted to 60 Hz, but only 12,500 Volts.   Can someone tell me who is correct?

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Posted by daveklepper on Saturday, November 11, 2017 1:47 PM

And to answer a previous quesiton, before elevated electrification, New Haven steam Harlem Shuttle trains ran directly to the 129th Street station where all 2nd Avenue and 3rd Avenue trains then stopped.  After elevated electrification. the Willis Avnue shuttle service began.  During non-rush hours, all trains stopped at 129th Street, including 3rd Avenue expresses, and the upper level of the post-Dual Contracts bridge was only used during rush hours.  During rush hours, after the rebuilding of both east side elevateds, only all 3rd Avenue locals and teminating 2nd Avenue locals used 129th street, and a passenger on a 2nd  Avenue or 3rd Avenue express who wished to use the Westchester or the New Haven at Willis Avnue either could exit the express at 133rd Street and walk a block-and-a-half east or change to a local at 125th Street.

In additon to "competing" with the New Haven at New Rochelle at its own platforms, the Westchester also did so for a while (until receivership) at Larchmont, Memaranek, and Portchester.  Here too, there are still some catenary supports six tracks wide, the mssing southern two tracks were for the NYW&B.

And the NYW&B was really primarily a ploy by the New Haven to try to force the Central to reduce charges on its use of GCT.  And remember that at the time, before the Depression, the grand plans for the Independent Subway included a 2nd Avenue line into the Bronx which would have connected with the NYW&B, even if no through service was contemplated. 

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Posted by MidlandMike on Saturday, November 11, 2017 10:20 PM

According to Middleton's book, Port Morris to Sunnyside electrification was in 1918, Sunnyside to Fresh Pond Jc. and Bay Ridge 1927.  Hell Gate bridge was open in 1917.

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, November 12, 2017 12:39 AM

Got there before me.  Checked the ERA Bulletins, and the only disagreement is that the electrification to Sunnyside over the Hell Gate Bridge was started in 1917 and completed in 1918.  I don't value that opnion over Middleton's however.  So the era of all steam operation was much shorter than I thought.

However, the very last steam operation was in 1931 because of an occasional shortage of electric locomotives.  But I am unsure whether this was freight or passenger or both.

And please check Middleton on this:   It is not Sunnyside to Fresh Pond Jc. and Bay Ridge, but Oak Point (or Port tMorris)  to Sunnyside and Bay Ridge.  The freight route does not go near Sunnyside.  The two freight tracks, the two eastern and northern tracks of the four across the Hell Gate Bridge, were not electrified at the same time as the two Penn Station tracks.

 

Somewhat the same sort of thing happended in the McGinnins-Alpert eras, after McGinniss sidelined all electric locomotives except the EP-5 "Jets," closed Van Ness shops, and ordered the FL-9s.  There would be shortage of EP-5s, and a pair or sometimes three FL-9s would run into Penn Station.  The original EMD third rail shoes were dual sprung and could pick-up power on the LIRR third rail as well as that of the Central.

I recall the Trenton - Sunnyside/Harold electrification at 1935.  What does Middleton say?

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, November 12, 2017 12:42 PM

Pictures from one of the Hell Gate anniversary threads we’ve had clearly show just the passenger tracks electrified when the bridge was opened to traffic.  I believe we discussed then when the freight service was electrified, but istr the original plan for the NYCR (even in the road-bridge days) called for all four tracks electrified early.

 

 

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Posted by MidlandMike on Sunday, November 12, 2017 9:41 PM

Middleton did not get into when Hell Gate route electrification was started, but said the passenger train route was electrified early in 1918, so it sounds reasonable that the project may have been started in 1917 as reported by ERA.

The phrasing Sunnyside to Fresh Pond Jc was in a summary appendix, and he did not get into a destinction of the seperate freight and passenger tracks over the bridge.  A map shows that the freight line split off a ways from Sunnyside yard, however, I think elsewhere they referred to the split as Sunnyside Junction.  Interestingly a photo from the mid 20s shows a passenger train on the bridge on one of the middle tracks, and it appears that the middle two tracks are electrified.  In an Amtrak era photo, only the West two tracks were electrified.

In the summary on the PRR line electrification you were asking about: NY City to New Brunswick, 1931:  New Brunswick to Trenton, 1933.

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, November 13, 2017 12:27 AM

The location of the split between the freight tracks to Fresh Pond Junction and Yard and then on to Bay Ridge, and the tracks to Harold Tower, Sunnyside Yard, and Penn Station are on the embankement leading to the Bridge, and not adjacent to Sunnyside Yard.  It may be called Sunnyside Junction, and there may have been crossovers there between the tracks, but for many years, the two northern bridge tracks and the two southern passenger tracks were separate, and I do recall the split without switches.  It may have been called Sunnyside Junction, and this may have confused Middleton.  A look at a map of the area will confirm this.  The routes are the same as in 1917!  Today just one freight track is in use.  Has a switch a the junction been restored?

 A photo from a reeent Providence and Worcester calender sent free to investors, one of whom sent one to me.  Note currently only the passenger tracks are electrified.

A really great photo.

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, November 13, 2017 12:37 AM

1931 might then be correct as the last date for "emergency" steam operation in passenger service over the Hell Gate, since with NY-New Brunzwick electrification, presumably AC New Haven power could run to Penn. Station.

Any date given as to when all EP-3s were finally delivered?  If that is also 1931, we have the year correct for sure.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Monday, November 13, 2017 10:04 PM

Middleton said that NH "bought" the 10 EP-3's in 1931 with no elaboration to indicate if the deliveries stretched into following years.

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