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.