Train-Related Places or Things in Connecticut
Two train-related places in Connecticut to visit that children would enjoy are the Stamford Model Rail Road Club's Annual Open House and Pizza Works, which is housed in a replica train station. The history of trains in Connecticut begins in 1838, when the 20-mile Hartford & New Haven line was completed and opened.
Train-Related Places in Connecticut to Visit
Stamford Model Rail Road Club Annual Open House
- On the last Saturday in November and the first Saturday in December, the Stamford Model Rail Road Club holds an open house for visitors to experience their extensive O scale model train layout.
- This club has been in existence since 1939 and encompasses a 45-foot by 145-foot area in the basement of St. Johns Church, which is located at 628 Main Street in Stamford, Connecticut.
- The club runs 200 to 275 cars per yard and the display features the town of Van Nest, Stamford Station, The Round House, Lockville Park, and the Van Nest Diesel Facility.
- Pizza Works, located at 455 Boston Post Road in Old Saybrook, Connecticut, is housed in a building that is "styled to look just like a train station."
- In the room where guests enter, a model train "zooms around the perimeter of the room on a shelf" and patrons can get a closer look at the model train display on the second floor of the restaurant.
- The display also features a replica of a town behind class through which the train travels. There are houses, shops, rail yards, office buildings, tunnels, and a mountain.
- As a bonus, real trains run just outside the building for an entire train-themed experience.
History of Trains in Connecticut
- The railroad came to Connecticut in 1838 upon the completion of the Hartford & New Haven line that ran for about 20 miles between Meriden and New Haven.
- Originally, the line was supposed to open in 1833, but due to budget shortfalls, the completion was delayed by five years.
- Eventually, in 1872, the Hartford & New Haven line merged with the New York & New Haven line to form the "now classic New York, New Haven & Hartford system."
- There were other railroads in Connecticut, but the New Haven is the best known and had nearly a monopoly in the area.
The Central Vermont Railway
- The Central Vermont Railway opened in 1849 after being chartered in 1845 to connect Burlington, Vermont with Windsor, Connecticut.
- In 1898, amid bankruptcies, the Central Vermont Railway was taken over by the Grand Trunk Railway, which would eventually become part of the Canadian National Railway in 1923.
- The railroad's main line between New London and Stafford was 49.7 miles long.
Connecticut's Rail System
- At the peak of Connecticut's position as a "bustling heavy industrial center," there were more than 1,000 miles of railroad tracks in the state.
- By the end of the 19th century, about 24 railroad corporations were operating in Connecticut.
- Currently, the state has just over 330 miles of railroad track left.
- Much of the New York, New Haven & Hartford system is still operational in Connecticut, and "its importance is growing as passenger and commuter trains are becoming an ever-more attractive transportation option."
- The original main line of the Hartford & New Haven railroad is "part of Amtrak's Northeast Corridor between Boston and Washington, D.C."
- Initially, trains were built along Connecticut's north-south river valleys because they were well-traveled, had flat grades, and few stream crossings.
- Eventually, construction of the state's railroads continued along its east-west routes, but these were harder to build because they had to pass over numerous hills.
- As a result, the east-west railroad lines took longer to build because they were often constructed in smaller sections.
The General Railroad Commission
- In 1853, the Connecticut General Assembly established the General Railroad Commission, whose responsibility it was to "monitor the operations of all railroads in the state."
- A primary goal of this commission was to reduce the number of train accidents in Connecticut.
- The General Railroad Commission was also "charged with approving the locations of new lines and certifying them as safe to open; inspecting all the railroads periodically; investigating accidents that involved personal injury; holding hearings in response to petitions and complaints; researching newer safety technologies; and, reporting back to the legislature."
- Eventually, in 1911, when the need came to expand the commission's duties beyond train safety, it was renamed the Public Utilities Commission.