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Jeffrey Ricard, Editor  Volume 5, Number 6, June 1997 
On the Editors Desk ..... 
On May 10th Willimantic celebrated Founders Day. Events were kicked off at 11:00, with the Nathan Hale Fife and Drum Corps entertaining the public on Jillson Square. Our chapter staffed a booth to let people know who we are and where we are and what we are trying to accomplish. 

While the festivities were going on at the square, members had gathered to erect the museum sign on Bridge Street. Within a few hours we had the 4 x 8' sign, with the chapters logo mounted. What a sight! We now have an official presence downtown. I know this was just a sign, but to the members that worked so hard to get it in place, this was a monumental step. Within moments of getting the sign installed, a few people stopped by to inquire about the museum and the chapter. I guess the sign was doing its job. 

After the celebration at Jillson Square, the public was encouraged to visit the museums around town. Art Hall escorted several visitors around our site and a few rides were given on the pump car. 

 
The following weekend was also busy in town. The Transit Alliance sponsored the RAIL REVIVAL TOUR, a rail excursion between Willimantic and Norwich. Passengers were encouraged to ride the early morning train to Norwich, spend the day and return on the afternoon run. At the same time passengers from Norwich were to arrive in Willimantic and visit for a short period. In discussions with the Transit Alliance, Bill Robinson made arrangements for chapter members to ride the train between Willimantic and Palmer. Because time was so short, a few of us ended up calling as many members at home as we could reach and had them meet under the footbridge at 5:00pm on May 17th. Originally we were told that we would be confined to one coach and there would not be any food service. However, when we boarded, the entire train was available to us along with the food service. It is amazing what you see while riding a train. I have been up and down rt 32 (which follows the tracks from Willimantic almost all the way to Palmer) by automobile several times, yet the scenery was so different. It would be nice to take the same trip when the leaves begin to turn in the fall. We arrived in Palmer MA in just over an hour and boarded a school bus to return to Willimantic. I have to say the school bus was a little on the crowded side, but everyone was in great spirits and we made the best of it. 
 
While the day trips to Norwich were going on, several members attended the work day at the site. We were able to get locomotive 0800 started and let her idle for several hours. While the mechanics were working on 0800, a crew was removing the rust from the flat car, in preparation for primer paint, and new/used flooring. Thank you to all the members that participated! 

Last month I mentioned that we had purchased a 25 ton locomotive from Northeast Utilities. Well the engine has arrived on site and is currently sitting in the compound area. Thanks to Howard Bidwell and all those members that worked to get the locomotive to Willimantic in such short notice. Once the agreement was signed with Northeast Utilities, we had limited time to remove the locomotive. However, if we were able to get the move done in the second week in May we would not have to pay for crane service in Waterford. This was the incentive the chapter really did not need, but was an opportunity that we could not pass up. So within a week, two cranes and a truck were coordinated, along with the necessary insurance papers and permits. Not an easy undertaking. We did it again! Stop down the site and check out this little 25 tonner, with some work on the engine and a little paint she should be off and running. 

In the May newsletter I also mentioned the purchase of the two NH stainless steel coaches. Work is progressing nicely on them and should be ready to transport via rail to Willimantic sometime in June. 

Several members went up to the Seaview Transportation Company on May 24th to put banding on the cars and do some other odd jobs. Hopefully next month I will be able to report that they have arrived in Willimantic. 

I think that's all I can update you on this month. Please stop down the site on a Saturday and give us a hand. 

Welcome New Members 
Please welcome the following members to the chapter: Patrick Goedert, D. Andrew Syme, Rob Boyce and Eli Ellis. 

Order Board 
July 4th - Boom Box Parade in Willimantic. The chapter will again participate in marching down Main Street Willimantic in the Boom Box Parade. Any member that would like to march should meet at the Jillson Square Cinema's at 10:00am on July 4th. We encourage you to dress in railroad type cloths and wear your Connecticut Eastern hats. After the parade join members at the site for our annual picnic. This year the chapter will provide hot dogs, hamburgers and drinks. If you could bring a desert or salad to share, it would be appreciated. Since the chapter is purchasing food for the members, we request that you RSVP to Bill Robinson so that he may get a count to purchase the food. Bill can be reached at 456-4903. If Bill is unavailable just leave a message on his answering machine. 

Please note that the meeting date for June has been changed. Members at the last meeting reminded us that Fathers Day was on June 15th. The meeting will now be held on June 22nd.

 

Rail Expansion and Updates  

Rail planning along the North East Corridor (NEC) in Connecticut includes extending or expanding existing service and making capital improvements. Commuter rail service is provided along the New Haven Line and its branches to New Canaan, Danbury and Waterbury. This service is operated for the Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) by the MTA Metro-North Railroad. ConnDOT owns the tracks over which this service is provided. The other service provided by ConnDOT is the Shore Line East service. This service operated by Amtrak for ConnDOT runs between New Haven and New London over Amtraks NEC.  

New Haven Line Expanded Service An expansion project under consideration is the provision of reverse peak service on the New Haven Line. This line currently provides service from New Haven westward through Bridgeport, New Rochell, NY and terminates at Grand Central Station in New York City. Additional trains would be provided eastbound from Grand Central Station during the morning peak period and westbound in the evening peak period. The service would use existing tracks and stations, but would require additional rolling stock. 

Shore Line East Commuter Rail Expansion In 1996 ConnDOT contracted with Amtrak to extend the Shore Line East line an additional 18 miles eastward. The service now operated from New Haven eastward through Old Saybrook to New London. This service currently provides 20 trains per day from New Haven to Old Saybrook, of which four trains per day travel between Old Saybrook and New London. Ridership on the Shoreline East line has experienced a 6% annual growth since 1994. 

Click to go to CT Dept. of Transportation
New Haven - Hartford Commuter Rail ConnDOT has proposed a commuter rail service which would connect Union Station in Hartford with Union Station in New Haven. Proposed stations along the route included the proposed State Street Station in New Haven, North Haven, Wallingford, Meriden, Berlin and Newington. Current plans have been postponed due to shortages in state funding. 

Hartford - Waterbury Commuter Rail A separate commuter rail project has been proposed to link Waterbury and Hartford, with intermediate stations in Plymouth (Hancock), Bristol, Plainville, Newington and West Hartford. The new service would use the existing railroad right of way (now used for freight service) and would be geared toward the Hartford Central Business District trips. 

Hartford-Bradley Airport Transitway The first of two proposed transitway projects, the Hartford - Bradley Airport transitway would provide light rail or bus on an exclusive right of way. This service would use existing railroad right of way between Griffin and Windsor and would run from Windsor to the airport on a new right of way to be acquired by the project. Future bus services may be designed to use this right of way to avoid congested highways and local streets approaching the Hartford Central Business District. 

Via The Callboy (Massachusetts Bay Railroad Enthusiasts) from the Connecticut Statewide Transit System Plan and Railway Age. 


Did you know? 
The Automobile is a Major Polluter, creating acid rain and the greenhouse effect, producing one-half the total hydrocarbons, over three-quarters of the total carbon monoxide, and nearly one-half of the nitrogen oxide emissions. Emissions Generated by Rail Freight, Compared to Emissions Generated by Heavy Road Freight: 
Emission Rail Freight Road Freight
Diesel Particulate 1 13.5
Hydro Carbon 1 12.5
Carbon Monoxide 1 3.5
Nitrogen Dioxide 1 3.5
From the Association of American Railroads

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Copyright ©1997 Connecticut Eastern Chapter, National Railway Historical Society June 10, 1997