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Arthur W Schnabel, Editor ~ Mark Granville, Asst. Editor     Volume 9, Number 9  September 2001
 Published Monthly by the CONNECTICUT EASTERN CHAPTER of the N.R.H.S., Inc

Indian Summer Express Excursion

We have sold 62 tickets for the Providence & Worcester excursion on September 29 and have requests for about 30 more.  Only 150 tickets are left.

Tickets are $45.00 each.  If you want to be part of the trip, send a check, payable to “Connecticut Eastern RR Museum” to: Veronica Trudeau, 2421 Putnam Pike, Chepachet, RI 02814.  For additional information, call Veronica at (401)568-6202 before 6 PM.

All Member Work Day

We are planning to hold an all member workday on Saturday, September 8th.  Members are asked to bring a shovel.  While we have many things to be done, our primary emphasis will be on track work.  We need to get our new track area leveled, ballasted, and spiked down before we can use it to store our Hartford Line equipment.  You do not have to do heavy work to help with track work.  Give us a hand!

Like to paint?  We still have painting to do on the roundhouse doors.  Like carpentry?  We have begun restoration of the Groton Freight House.

Want something easier?  Help staff our entrance booth or serve as a tour guide.  This will help free up other members who can do the heavier work.  If you will be available on that day, your help would be appreciated.  We also look forward to your help on any other days you are available.

Vermont Fall Excursion

The Transit Alliance is planning to operate a fall excursion to Vermont on the New England Central during mid October.  They are awaiting approval from NECR before it can be scheduled.

What’s New at the Museum


The exterior of the roundhouse doors have received their primer coat.

Storage Areas:

Our old and deteriorated tie pile is shrinking rapidly as Ken Sigfriedson continues to find buyers for landscaping purposes.

What’s Happening?

The New England Region of the NMRA, the T & A Club, and our museum had about 44 people attending the picnic on August 26th.


At our Grand Opening, Bob LaMay met Allan Thomas, who years ago purchased our Railbus from the Maine Central Railroad.  Bob met him recently in New Hampshire and he said that he still had some items like the number lights, headlights, and classification lights and indicated that he would like to donate them to the museum.

SNET Community Connections

Last quarter the Chapter received a check for $75.75 from SNET for participating in the Community Connections program.  To date we have received a total of $1,547.62.  Have you signed up yet?

Paver Sales

We have sold approximately 180 floor pavers for the roundhouse.  Have you placed an order for yours yet?

Kendall Spur Rail-Trail

The Town of Windham has completed the preliminary design stage for the Kendall Spur Rail-Trail, which will connect with the Airline North State Park Trail and bring it into the center of Willimantic.  The ribbon cutting is expected within 18 months. The town contact is Mark Paquette, Director of Parks and Recreation for the Town of Windham.

New London Railroad Station

New London has approved an $8 million bond issue to be used for the purchase and renovation of the 112-year old station.  It will continue to be used by Amtrak and will also serve as a visitor’s center for the Thames Maritime Heritage Park, which will be operated by the State of Connecticut. 

Railroad Station Historical Society

The Railroad Station Historical Society has compiled a listing of significant extant railroad structures in North America.  We have 3 buildings listed: the Roundhouse, Chaplin Station and the Groton Freight House.  Check out their web site at


During 2001, Amtrak lost $16.38 on every passenger ticket sold.  The worst losses were Chicago to Janesville, WI ($483), and Orlando to Los Angeles ($248).  The metroliner that runs between Boston, New York and Washington earned only $38 per ticket.

Locomotive Model Names

Did you ever wonder what the letter designations for various locomotive models mean?  Here are some of the more common model series.

Electro-Motive Division:

SC             - Switcher, Cast Frame

SW             - Switcher, Welded Frame

NC             - Switcher, Cast Frame

NW             - Switcher, Welded Frame

E             - Passenger Cab unit, A1A-A1A

F             - Freight Cab unit, B-B

TR             - Transfer

BL             - Branch Line

GP             - General Purpose Road Switcher, B-B

SD             - Special Duty Road Switcher, C-C

F             - Full-width car body (as in F40)

DD             - D-D wheel arrangement

MP             - Multi-Purpose

General Electric:

U             - Universal

B             - B-B wheel arrangement

C             - C-C wheel arrangement

P             - Passenger

AC             - Alternating Current


HH             - High Hood

DL             - Diesel Locomotive

S             - Switcher

T             - Transfer

FA             - Freight, A-Unit

FB             - Freight, B-Unit

PA             - Passenger, A-Unit

RS             - Road Switcher

C             - Century

M             - Montreal Locomotive Works


VO             - Model VO engine

DS             - Diesel Switcher

S             - Switcher

DRS             - Diesel Road-Switcher

AS             - All Service

DR             - Diesel Road

RF             - Road Freight


H             - Hood car body

CFA   - Consolidation Line (C-Line), Freight, A Unit

CPA   - Consolidation Line (C-Line), Passenger, A Unit

Calendar of Upcoming Events

Sept   8   - All Member Work Day

        16   - Membership Meeting

        29   - Indian Summer Express Excursion

        30   - Trip to CAMA Fall Festival in Kent

Oct    6   - All Member Work Day

          7   - Business Meeting

        21   - Membership Meeting

Dec   2   - Connecticut Eastern Train Show

Fall Train Show

Our fall train show will be held on December 2nd instead of November 4th as previously announced.  Windham High School informed us that we have been “bounced” from our original date by a school event.  If you know of a vendor who would be interested in coming, give Joe Sokol a call at (860)872-2240.

Connecticut Antique Machinery Association Fall Festival

Reminder: the Museum is sponsoring a bus trip on Sunday, September 30th to the Connecticut Antique Machinery Association’s Fall Festival in Kent, Connecticut.  A bus will leave the Museum at 8 AM and will return at 6 PM. Bus fare should be about $20 per person.  If you are interested in going, you must call Bill Robinson at (860)456-4903 or email him at  Reservations are required.  The bus will be cancelled if we do not get enough response.

The Railroads of Willimantic, CT

Willimantic was at one time the junction of three major rail lines.

The Airline route originated near the busy Cedar Hill rail yard, just north of New Haven, Connecticut.  From here it went in a diagonal direction to the northeast through Middlefield, Middletown, Portland, East Hampton, Amston, Lebanon, and onto Willimantic.  From Willimantic the line continued to follow a northeast direction through Putnam and onto the outskirts of Boston, Massachusetts.  The New Haven to Willimantic portion was constructed in 1873 by the New Haven, Middletown, & Willimantic Railroad.  In 1875 it was reorganized as the Boston, New York Airline Railroad.  The Boston, New York Airline 

Railroad was eventually leased to the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad in 1882.  The New York & New England Railroad completed the Willimantic to Boston portion of the Airline in 1873.

The second railroad that formed a junction with the  “Airline Division’ was also part of the New York & New England Railroad.  This line operated from Providence, Rhode Island to Hartford, Connecticut via Willimantic.  It was constructed by the Hartford, Providence & Fishkill Railroad, which entered Willimantic in 1849.  As the result of mergers, failures, and reorganizations it became part of the New York & New England that went bankrupt in 1893 and again emerged as the New England Railroad under the control of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad.  The New Haven leased the New England in 1898 and it came to be known as the ‘Midland Division’.

The third railroad that also was in close proximity with the New Haven’s two divisions was the New London Northern Railroad.  In 1871 this line was leased to the Vermont Central and eleven years later in 1892 became the Central Vermont Railway.  In 1995, the CV was sold to Railtex, which operated the route as the New England Central Railroad.  In 1999, the NECR was sold to Rail America, which continues to use the New England Central name.

Museum Visitors

The Museum had a total of 196 visitors during August, 131 paid admissions and 65 guests and children.  Admission fees totaled $393, donations received were $31.96, and sales grossed $211.50.

Treasurer’s Summary – July

Income for July totaled $12,221.46 and came primarily from corporate grants, sale of pavers and museum admissions.

Expenses amounted to $17,074.72 and consisted primarily of the purchase of track equipment, restoration of the roundhouse doors, locomotive lubricants, and track ballast.

As of July 31, cash on hand totaled $16,454.61.




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Copyright ©2000 Connecticut Eastern Chapter, National Railway Historical Society October  2000.