What was the length of New York & New England Railroad?

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What was the length of New York & New England Railroad?
Posted by Ben Klesc on Sunday, December 20, 2020 1:00 PM

Hello CT! I've been looking at various maps and websites about the original New York & New England Railroad that existed from 1846 to 1898. 

From what I can gather, the only section still in use which hasn't been abandoned is the Franklin Line which runs for 21 miles. Also, I am not reffering to New York, New Haven, Hartford Railroad which was much more expansive and still has most of it's track in use under multiple owners to this day. 

Does anyone have any idea how many miles it ran? 

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Posted by timz on Monday, December 21, 2020 10:47 AM

Have you checked the Official Guides? Lots of 1870s-1880s issues have been scanned -- try naotc.org. On the left side of the first page it mentions the old Guides.

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, December 21, 2020 10:54 AM

Ben Klesc
Does anyone have any idea how many miles it ran? 

A couple of hundred.  I will have to dig to find the correct number (I assume you mean mainline route-miles from Boston to the connections in the West) but I suspect Dave Klepper and perhaps others will know this from memory.  Keep in mind that the New Haven took over the NY&NE comparatively long ago, so some "New Haven" trackage will reflect what you want to know.  In fact I think Amtrak actually ran service over some part of the NY&NE route in the 1990s.

The famous (and painfully awful) "White Train" poem will give you a guide for how the line went -- remember 'without a stop to Willimantic'?  That's a surprisingly long distance into Connecticut from Boston...

In the OGs that train is the "New England Limited"

Part of the story of the NY&NE vs. the 'Shore Line' as a high-speed railroad is common to discussions of 'Second Spine' alternatives for HSR between Boston and New York.  Most of the territory the NY&NE ran through consists of surprisingly steep, and rocky, ridges and valleys, at nearly right angles to the direction of desired travel.  This makes any route cost-effective to build comparatively curvy while not reducing the need for heavy grading.  In the age before tilting trains were more than scientifiction, this was a grave drawback for elegant travel when "high speed" became part of the competition.

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Posted by rcdrye on Monday, December 21, 2020 12:46 PM

Amtrak upgraded and used the former NY&NE line from Readsville to South Station (bypassing Back Bay) to allow for the main line electrification completed in late 1999.  The formerly freight only route was upgraded to good enough condition that the "T" still runs there.

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Posted by Ben Klesc on Monday, December 21, 2020 6:02 PM

Thanks fellas! I will take a look in those guides. 

I also know that the original plan was to make the abbility for direct travel from Boston to New York City, and that idea never came to fruition.

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Posted by Ben Klesc on Tuesday, December 22, 2020 8:14 AM

I believe I may have found it and grabbed a Flickr screenshot. 

In the March 1893 edition of Railway Guides, in the NY&NE Railroad section I believe "Mi" stands for miles. It follows it along to each stop. 

https://flic.kr/p/2kjmXju

If my hunch is correct and this map is accurate, then it is reading that the original New York & New England Railroad was 228 miles long from it's first stop to it's last. The following year it would be consumed by NY, NH, & H.

From my understanding most of this track is long gone. Interesting! 

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Posted by MidlandMike on Tuesday, December 22, 2020 9:40 PM

The original NY&NE ran beyond Willimantic to Providence.  That segment was 58 miles.

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Posted by Ben Klesc on Wednesday, December 23, 2020 1:12 AM

MidlandMike
 The original NY&NE ran beyond Willimantic to Providence.  That segment was 58 miles. 

Interesting. So on the Wikipedia page it is written that most of the original NY&NE tracks have been abandoned. So basically, I'm trying to determine how much railway New England lost by abandoning this railway system in the 1940's. 

Also I was mistaken. The link I provided doesn't read as "Mi" along each stop, it reads as 228 "Ms". I read it incorrectly. I'm not sure what "Ms" would indicate and whether that would be miles. Obviously it's not milliseconds.

So on that original map from 1893 in my Flickr screenshot. It's showing the NY&NE system ran from Boston to Hartford making 27 stops along the way through Readville, Franklin, Putnman, Wilmantic, and Manchester (CT). Then from Hartford it made it's way to Newburgh making 30 stops along the way through New Britain, Waterbury, Danbury, Brewster, Hopewell Junction, just to name a few where it would finally reach New York. 

Today it consists of the Upper Charles rail trail. Also the Ashland-Washburn trail. Many others I cannot think of off the top of my head, and some just abandoned and filled over. As many of you pointed out, a few track remains active. 

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, January 11, 2021 12:56 PM

At one time there was a through Manhattan - Boston NY&NE passenger train, using what became the NYCentral's Putnam Divisiion south of Brewster, and the New York City Terminal was the elevated 155th Street and 8th Avenue terminal of the Ninth Avenue Elevated.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Monday, January 11, 2021 9:27 PM

As the NY&NE kept looking for ways to get into New York, the New Haven kept buying up those connecting lines in Connecticut.  When the NY&NE started using the New York and Putnam, Morgan asked the NYC to buy the Putnam.

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