Shoreline Bridges of the New Haven Railroad in Connecticut

Cos Cob Bridge

The New Haven Railroad's bridge at Cos Cob, Connecticut

Niantic River Bridge Half way Done.jpg

Niantic River Bridge half done

Thames River Bridge Amtrak New London to Groton

The New Haven Railroad's bridge between New London and Groton, Connecticut is going to be replaced.



The nearly 100-year old Thames River Bridge will undergo a $76 million replacement of its aging bascule lift span. During a 12-day span in fall 2007, the bascule lift or movable center portion of the bridge will be removed and a 188-foot long, 35-foot wide, 1,250-ton vertical lift span will be floated into place on barges from Long Island Sound and attached to the bridge. This will result in a four-day outage of this section of the railroad. The project is the first of three major movable bridge replacements (Thames River, Niantic and Miamacock) in Connecticut planned over the next 10 years. The aged drawbridge will be replaced by a more efficient vertical lift bridge that rises between two towers. The bridge is important as it provides access to the Coast Guard Academy and a submarine base.

See a picture of the old bridge.

Two other important, but aging moveable railroad bridges on this section of the shoreline are Old Lyme (left) and Niantic (right).

Old Lyme bridge Niantic bridge

EAST LYME. Conn. -- Niantic bridge replacement will take 3 years Amtrak told local and state officials Thursday (Dec. 17, 2009) that replacing the Niantic River bridge will take three years and work on the much smaller Miamicock Bridge would begin Dec. 18.


The Department of Environmental Protection approved Amtrak's application for the Niantic River Bridge in September. Next, Amtrak needs approval from the Army Corps of Engineers, which has already submitted a draft permit. The Coast Guard is last to issue the final permit. Amtrak officials said they expect to award the contract for the replacement of the 102-year-old Niantic River bridge in the next few weeks. Construction could begin in late February and would last until March 2013. The railroad company wants to replace the existing moveable-span railroad bridge over the Niantic River and the existing boardwalk and protect the beach by installing a stone terminal groin, which serves as a breakwater. Last spring, Vice President Joe Biden announced that $105 million in federal stimulus funding would be used to replace the bridge with a three-span, 142-foot-long bascule-lift bridge about 58 feet south of the existing span. The 45-foot navigational channel will be expanded to 100 feet wide. The plans include a new 2,200-foot retaining wall adjacent to the existing bridge.

UPDATE AUGUST 11, 2010

Amtrak reaches deal to advance Niantic Bridge replacement

Amtrak has reached an agreement with East Lyme, N.Y., the U.S. Coast Guard, and local boaters and marine businesses to keep the Niantic Bridge replacement project on schedule.

The agreement permits channel closures on Monday and Tuesday nights from 10 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. through Oct. 15, which is considered the traditional end of the summer boating season. During the nighttime closures, Amtrak will be able to perform a number of activities, including construction of the two in-river piers.

The new bridge is designed to improve reliability, reduce the chance for operational failure and help minimize train and river traffic delays, Amtrak officials said in a prepared statement.

The project is scheduled to be completed in 2013.
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Metro-North Commuter Railroad New Haven Railroad Bridge at Norwalk Connecticut

New Haven Railroad Bridge at Norwalk Connecticut


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Walk Bridge in Norwalk, Connecticut Marinas.com
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Cos Cob Bridge
Another view of the the New Haven Railroad's bridge at Cos Cob, Connecticut

Mainline freight symbols which involved operations in Bridgeport include:



A Hartford
B Boston
D Waterbury
E Bridgeport
G Bay Ridge
H Harlem River or Oak Point
I State Line
N New Haven or Cedar Hill
NE New England
O Maybrook
R Danbury
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Railroad Bridge at Stamford Connecticut
New Haven Railroad Bridge at Stamford Connecticut
From an old postcard found in St Joseph, Michigan
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Railroad Bridge at New London Connecticut
New Haven Railroad Bridge at New London Connecticut
From an old postcard found in St Joseph, Michigan
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Railroad Bridge at Norwalk Connecticut

New Haven Railroad Bridge at Norwalk Connecticut on New Haven Railroad

Railroad Bridge New London

New Haven Railroad Bridge at New London Connecticut


From an old postcard found in St Joseph, Michigan

Railroad Revival Heading For New Haven Port


by Melissa Bailey | Mar 22, 2012 New Haven Independent

Gulf Oil may be able to trade some of its gas-guzzling trucks for train cars by the end of 2013, as the state moves forward with a plan to curb highway traffic by extending rail lines to the harbor’s shipping docks.
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Railroad Station at East Haven, Connecticut

New Haven Railroad Station at East Haven, Connecticut


An old postcard purchased from Charlie Gunn
Railroad Biographies New Haven Railroad Pictures

New Haven Railroad Approaching Train #1

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New Haven Railroad Pictures

New Haven Railroad Approaching Train #2

New Haven Railroad Pictures

New Haven Railroad Approaching Train #3

New Haven Railroad Pictures

New Haven Railroad Approaching Train #4

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New Haven Railroad Approaching Train #5

New Haven at Back Bay

New Haven Train at Back Bay

Stratford's Shell Station

It looks just like hundreds of other small town railroad stations, most of which now hold some other type of business than originally intended. We picked it out of a "seafood restaurant" listing in CONNECTICUT Magazine because we felt like fish. As a matter of fact, it was our third choice, because the first two couldn't give us a reservation.

Conveniently located off exit 32 of Interstate 95 on West Main Street in Stratford, Connecticut (phone 203-377-1648), it is easy to find even at night because of the huge overhead catenary of the New Haven line. Pulling into the parking lot is deceptive because Metro-North passengers, of course, fill it up too. Even so, we were glad to have made a reservation.

Shell Station has filled the old waiting room with tables, converted the ticket agent's office into a service bar, and basically kept the inside intact. It is a warm, friendly interior.

The menu is a single sheet, all fish or pasta except one chicken and one steak. Featured seafood was paella, bouillabaise and shrimp, and scallop curry. Specials of the night included veal and swordfish.

This section of the Northeast Corridor, the old New Haven line, is the gateway to New England. One route known as the Harlem River line from Penn Station via Long Island joins the main line from Grand Central at New Rochelle, NY. The Harlem River line carries AMTRAK and continues past New York to Washington while the main line carries the heavy Metro-North commuter traffic. The Harlem River line crosses the Hell Gate bridge into New York City. Commuters end at New Haven while AMTRAK splits and goes to Boston either over the Shore Line route through New London or inland via Springfield. Several AMTRAK runs terminate at Springfield.

I ordered lobster bisque and shrimp scampi (I had thought of sauteed lobster and shrimp cocktail). Companion had shrimp cocktail and salmon filet with Julienne carrots with leek sauce. Both meals came with salad, rolls and rice.

The history of Stratford and the town itself is similar to that of most of New England. There is the traditional village green with a white church.

Because early railroad routes were determined by geographic factors like rivers and because the toll roads were good, the start of railroads in Connecticut was delayed a decade.

While the New York-Boston route was important, it was possible to use an all-water or part-water route. The New York & New Haven did not open until 1848. At New Haven it met other existing roads in a Union Station. The Hartford & New Haven had opened in 1838 and went to Springfield by 1844. The Farmington Canal had been converted to a railroad in 1846. The New Haven & New London was built between 1848 and 1852 but a ferry gap existed until 1889 at the Thames River. The Boston & NY Air Line to Middletown and Willimantic came later. It was on this route between Boston and New York that the all-white Ghost Train was operated which provided inspiration for Kipling's story "007". At Bridgeport, the Housatonic connected Long Island Sound with the Western Railroad (now Boston & Albany) at West Stockbridge by 1842. In 1849, the Naugatuck Railroad was completed to Waterbury and Winstead. This joined the New York & New Haven at Devon which is about two miles from the restaurant across the Housatonic River.

Desserts sounded good but no go.

Metro North's 6:07 from Grand Central due in New Haven at 7:53 passed as we sat down to eat.

AMTRAK had more activity during our meal. Train 144 which departs Penn Station at 6:07, passes Stamford at 6:58 and leaves New Haven for Springfield at 7:57 roared through first. Next was train 177 due to arrive in Stamford at 7:07 but running late. It should have gotten into New York at 8:01. It originates in Springfield as train 477. Last through Stratford was train 139 which departs New Haven at 7:30 and arrives in New York at 9:11.

At one point. a light engine (I think an AEM-6 electric) roared southbound through the station. It was most likely headed from New Haven to Sunnyside Yard on Long Island.

The rail diesel car (RDC) that serves the Naugatuck Valley as far north as Waterbury comes through this station. It interchanges with Metro-North New York-New Haven trains at Bridgeport and then follows the main line to Devon which is just across the Housatonic River from Stratford.

Dinner, including glasses of Robert Mondavi's White Zinfandel was $48.

By Ken Kinlock at kenkinlock@gmail.com
New Haven caboose

New Haven caboose

Electric locomotive at New Haven station

Electric locomotive at New Haven station

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Railroad Station at Guilford, Connecticut

New Haven Railroad Station at Guilford, Connecticut


See a more current picture of the Guilford, Connecticut station.
An old postcard purchased from Charlie Gunn
Cedar Hill Yard Driving north from New Haven, Cedar Hill yard cannot be overlooked. Its still used, but not to the extent it was 50 year ago. Imagine, over 9,000 cars handled on one day! Cedar Hill was built between 1910 and 1920. Cedar Hill became in the 1920's the keystone of the whole New Haven Railroad freight operation. It seems to have started out as a more local facility, then grown into that larger role. Or was the idea of making it the center part of the original intention?
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Over the last 50+ years, railroads have changed a lot. Now they are about to change again.

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Freight at the dock

New Haven Railroad Freight at the dock

Grand Central arrival

Grand Central arrival

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LCL freight

LCL freight on the New Haven Railroad

New Haven mainline through Connecticut

New Haven mainline through Connecticut

New Haven truck at the dock

New Haven truck at the dock

Railroad Station at Gales's Ferry, Connecticut

New Haven Railroad Station at Gales's Ferry, Connecticut


Near New London Shoreline. Yale Crew Training here.
An old postcard purchased from Charlie Gunn
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New Haven Railroad arrivals board at Grand Central

New Haven Railroad arrivals board at Grand Central

Freight car on barge in New York Harbor

Freight car on barge in New York Harbor

Marine fleet in action

New Haven Marine fleet in action

Tower A in Grand Central

Tower A in Grand Central

Tower A track chart at Grand Central

Tower A track chart at Grand Central

New Haven train arrives at Track 42 in Grand Central

New Haven train arrives at Track 42 in Grand Central

New Haven train arrives at Grand Central

New Haven train arrives at Grand Central

New Haven's Jersey connection across the harbor

New Haven's Jersey connection across the harbor

New Haven tug boat

New Haven tug boat

Penn Central New Haven Railroad New York Central Railroad

Interested in Penn Central? New York Central? Pennsylvania Railroad? New Haven Railroad? or in the smaller Eastern US railroads? Then you will be interested in "What if the Penn Central Merger Did Not Happen". You will also enjoy "Could George Alpert have saved the New Haven?" as well as "What if the New Haven never merged with Penn Central?"

See KC Jones BLOG about Railroad History We cover New York Central, New Haven Railroad and other Eastern Railroads. Penney Vanderbilt and KC Jones See Penney Vanderbilt BLOG about Golf and Vacations, especially on the French Riviera We have a lot about Nice, France. Not only do we cover golf on the French Riviera, but also Northwest France, Quebec, Golf Hotels and THE US Open
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