New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad

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System map

The New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad Template:Reporting mark was a railroad that operated in the northeast United States. Commonly referred to as the New Haven, the railroad served the states of Connecticut, New York, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. Its primary connections included Boston and New York.



The New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad was formed July 24, 1872 as a consolidation of the New York and New Haven Railroad and Hartford and New Haven Railroad. This included not only the main line from New York City to Springfield, Massachusetts via New Haven and Hartford, Connecticut, but also leases of lines including the Shore Line Railway to New London. The New Haven went on to lease more lines and systems, eventually forming a virtual monopoly in New England south of the Boston and Albany Railroad.

The first line of the original system to open was the Hartford and New Haven Railroad, opened from New Haven to Hartford in 1839 and beyond to Springfield in 1844. The New York and New Haven came later, as it ran parallel to the Long Island Sound coast and required many bridges over rivers. It opened in 1848, using trackage rights over the New York and Harlem Railroad (later part of the New York Central Railroad system) from Williamsbridge south to Grand Central Terminal, which served as the New Haven's New York City terminal.

Under the stress of the Great Depression, in 1935 the New Haven slipped into bankruptcy, remaining in trusteeship until 1947. The New Haven Railroad continued to struggle through the 1950s and once again went into bankruptcy on July 2, 1961.

At the insistence of the ICC, the New Haven was merged with Penn Central Transportation on January 1, 1969. Following the bankruptcy of Penn Central, in 1976 a substantial portion of the former New Haven main line between New York and Boston was transferred to Amtrak, and now forms a major portion of the electrified Northeast Corridor, hosting high speed Acela Express and commuter rail service.

Harlem River

The Harlem River and Port Chester Railroad was the New Haven's first lease after its merger. It was chartered in 1866, leased by the New Haven on October 1, 1873, and opened later that year, running from the New Haven at New Rochelle, New York south into the Bronx, New York City. It was originally a branch line, but in 1916 the New York Connecting Railroad and its Hell Gate Bridge opened, turning the Harlem River Branch into a major through route.

Air Line

The New Haven, Middletown and Willimantic Railroad opened in 1873 as part of the Boston, Hartford and Erie Railroad system, running from New Haven northeast via Middletown to the BH&E at Willimantic. The BH&E went bankrupt that same year, becoming the New York and New England Railroad, but the NHM&W stayed separate, failing in 1875. It was reorganized as the Boston and New York Air-Line Railroad, and operated by the New Haven from 1879, being leased on October 1, 1882.

Connecticut Valley

The New Haven obtained a majority of stock of the Hartford and Connecticut Valley Railroad in 1882, running from Hartford south and southeast to the Shore Line Railway in Old Saybrook via Middletown. That line had originally opened in 1871 as the Connecticut Valley Railroad, and continued north to Springfield, Massachusetts via the Connecticut Central Railroad, later part of the New York and New England Railroad system. In 1880 the company was succeeded by the Hartford and Connecticut Valley.

New Canaan

The Stamford and New Canaan Railroad was a branch from the New Haven in Stamford north to New Canaan. It was chartered in 1866 as the New Canaan Railroad, opened in 1868, reorganized and renamed in 1883, and leased by the New Haven on October 1, 1884.


The New Haven leased the Naugatuck Railroad on April 1, 1887, obtaining a line from Naugatuck Junction on the New York-New Haven line near Stratford north via Waterbury, reaching the Central New England Railway at Winsted. The line, organized in 1848, had opened in 1849.

New Haven and Northampton

The New Haven and Northampton Railroad, built next to the former Farmington Canal, ran from New Haven north via Meriden to Northampton, Massachusetts and beyond to the Fitchburg Railroad's Troy and Greenfield Railroad. The New York and New Haven Railroad leased the first few sections soon after they opened, obtaining the line to Plainville in 1848 and the extension to Granby plus several branches in 1850. In 1869 the leases expired, and the railroad was independent until April 1, 1887 when the New Haven leased the whole line.

New York, Providence and Boston

The New York, Providence and Boston Railroad was a continuation of the Shore Line Railway past New London to Providence, Rhode Island. The line was incorporated in 1832 and opened in 1837. The New Haven leased it in 1892, merging it into itself on February 13, 1893.


The Housatonic Railroad, chartered 1836 and opened 1842 (with branches opening later), had a line from the New Haven in Bridgeport north, passing east of Danbury, to West Stockbridge, Massachusetts (later the Boston and Albany Railroad in Pittsfield). The Housatonic leased the Danbury and Norwalk Railroad(opened 1852), running from Danbury (to which the Housatonic had a branch) south to Norwalk on the New Haven, in 1887, and it leased the New Haven and Derby Railroad (opened 1871-1888), a branch to New Haven, in 1889. On July 1, 1892 the New Haven leased the Housatonic, giving the New Haven all the north-south lines in western Connecticut.

Providence and Worcester

The Providence and Worcester Railroad was also leased on July 1, 1892, running from Providence, Rhode Island northwest to Worcester, Massachusetts. It was incorporated in 1844 and opened in 1847.

Old Colony

The New Haven leased the massive Old Colony Railroad system on March 1, 1893, spanning all of southeastern Massachusetts and completing the route to Boston via the Old Colony's Boston and Providence Railroad. The original mainline opened in 1845; the Boston and Providence (leased 1888) opened in 1834 and 1835.

New York and New England

The New England Railroad was the final link in a long chain of reorganizations of a network usually known by its prior name, the New York and New England Railroad. It stretched mainly east-west across central Connecticut, connecting to the Hudson River on the west and to Providence and Boston on the east. The New Haven leased the company on July 1, 1898. The first sections opened in 1849 as parts of the Norfolk County Railroad and Hartford, Providence and Fishkill Railroad, and construction progressed very slowly.

Shepaug, Litchfield and Northern

The New Haven also leased the Shepaug, Litchfield and Northern Railroad on July 1, 1898, running north from Danbury, Connecticut to a dead end at Litchfield. It was chartered in 1868 and opened in 1872 as the Shepaug Valley Railroad, becoming the Shepaug Railroad in 1873 and the SL&N in 1887.

Meriden, Waterbury and Connecticut River

The Middletown, Meriden and Waterbury Railroad was the final name of the line from Waterbury, Connecticut east to Cromwell, on the Connecticut River north of Middletown. The New York and New England Railroad leased the line (then the Meriden, Waterbury and Connecticut River Railroad) in 1892 (connecting in Waterbury), but the MW&CR went bankrupt soon after, and was reorganized as the MM&W in October 1898 and immediately leased to the New Haven on November 1, 1898. This line was the first in the area to be abandoned, only running interurban streetcar service in its final days. The MW&C had been formed in 1888 as a consolidation of the Meriden and Cromwell Railroad (opened 1885) and Meriden and Waterbury Railroad (opened 1888).

Central New England

The Central New England Railway was the New Haven's final acquisition. It included the Poughkeepsie Bridge, the southernmost fixed crossing of the Hudson River from 1888 to 1916 (when the Hell Gate Bridge opened), with its main line stretching east to Hartford and Springfield. The first section opened in 1871 as the Connecticut Western Railroad, going through several reorganizations before its final state.

New York Connecting

The New York Connecting Railroad was incorporated in 1892, opening in 1916 as a connection between the New Haven's Harlem River and Port Chester Railroad and the Pennsylvania Railroad's Pennsylvania Tunnel and Terminal Railroad to Penn Station and the tunnels under the Hudson River. It was owned half-and-half by the New Haven and Pennsylvania.

See also

External links


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