Thursday, June 26, 2014

April 20, 1948: A Treasure Trove of Engine Assignments

I'm not gonna lie - while I certainly enjoy sharing the information I'm gathering and organizing it all here in one place, my motives aren't entirely selfless.  The other big reason I do this website/blog and give presentations is in the hope that I'll get even more information.  Thankfully that's been happening here and there, and the result is that I have more information to post/share/etc.

During a recent presentation (and on my 'site), I mentioned that I'm still looking for New Haven Railroad Engine Assignment Books from before 4/24/1949 - and most preferably the one from September, 1947. Well, I'm still looking, but thanks to Mike Ribuffo, via Bill Lupoli, I have a copy of something almost as good - and much more interesting.

As the New Haven Railroad was transitioning from steam to diesel power, it wanted to get a handle on how its new policy was going, especially since (to quote the correspondence) "the motive power situation is changing so rapidly."  So it commissioned a report (to the delight of future researchers like me), asking its Research Department to review the utilization  of all locomotives for one typical day.  The day chosen was Tuesday April 20, 1948.  Here's a sample of the locomotives you would have seen on the Valley Line that day:

  • K-1 mogul #356 was holding down its usual assignment on the Valley Local.
  • J-1 mikado #3022 was on the Air Line Local.

By this time, the Shore Line Locals had already been dieselized:

  • DEY-5 (Alco S-2) #0604 was on the New London-Cedar Hill local
  • DEY-5 #0612 was on the Cedar Hill-New London local and also acted as the New London switcher.

And according to the earliest Engine Assignment book I have, just one year later the Valley Line was completely dieselized:
  • Valley Local was using DEY-3 (Alco S-1) #0947
  • Air Line Local was using DEY-5  #0606
  • New London-Cedar Hill Shore Line Local was using DEY-5 #0612
  • Cedar Hill-New London Shore Line Local was using DERS-1b #0669
So what happened to the steam engines?  Again, the railroad's proclivity for reports comes to the rescue. According to condemnation records that show the final disposition of every locomotive on the New Haven (which makes for some sad reading, btw), it appears that #356 ended its life on the Valley Line, being condemned March 29, 1949.  The #3022 lasted a bit longer, but was finally condemned November 23, 1951 - well into the Diesel Era on the New Haven.

<shakes head to get out of a growing funk>

I'm glad, at least on my railroad, it's always a beautiful autumn day along the Connecticut River in 1947 and New Haven steam power still rules the rails.


  1. Great info Chris, good to know you got this info. You knew steam died early on the NYNH&H!

  2. The 356 ended its life on the Valley Line in 1948 when it was replaced by the 466. It probably remained, out of service and flue time, at East Hartford before being officially condemned in 1949.

    1. I've seen photos of the 466 on the Valley Local as early as November, 1947. Perhaps pinch-hitting for the 356 during boiler wash or some other reason? Any idea when the 466 was replaced by a J-1? We've seen photos of the 3011 and the 3013 - one of them during December, 1948. Still need to nail down some times though.