So last month, I got an email from my friend DaveM. He grew up in Wethersfield and has - fortunately for me - taken great interest in my Valley Line project. He's been a valuable source of information on the line, and his memories of Wethersfield during the 1950s have complemented John Wallace's reminisces wonderfully. And as if a sharp mind and vivid memories of my chosen locale and (close to my) modeling era weren't enough, he's also an accomplished modeler with a creative imagination, grounded firmly in actual prototype history. Case in point - the email he sent me last month:
"It seems that when F. C. Dumaine, Sr. took over the New Haven from the Palmer administration, he began to cut back on local passenger service, leaving quite a few communities in a difficult situation. In an effort to remedy this, NETCo. instituted bus service on several routes, but suffered from a shortage of both buses and drivers. This often resulted in drivers having to drop off some of the truck trailers at their destination while the contents were being unloaded, but this created a shortage of trailers."
I really enjoy these little vignettes and reminisces - the additional historical detail really adds to the flavor and culture of the Valley Line as it was in the late 1940s. And the photos above illustrate the "problem" that existed on the line at the time - you see a NETCo. bus parked at the Saybrook station, with a NETCo. trailer left lonely at the freight house. Both delivered courtesy US Mail a few days ago from builder DaveM.
I've often said that one of my biggest goals in doing this project is to tell the story of rail transportation in the lower Connecticut River Valley during the early postwar years. For better or worse (for the railroad), trucks and buses are part of telling that story. So thank you Dave not only for the great new additions to the layout, but for providing a couple more important storytellers to help me with my project.