Thursday, 3 September 2015

Housatonic Railway Equipment

Two units of the Housatonic RR are tied up on Sunday morning outside the engine house. 

The Berkshire Hills Route

by Don Janes

     As George posted a while ago, we stopped in Canaan, CT. on May 31 on the way home from the 2015 Collinsville RPM meet.  We wanted to get some pictures of the old New Haven/B&M station which has been recently rebuilt after a devastating fire.  While standing on the platform we looked south and saw what we thought looked like some locomotives so while visiting the local hobby shop we inquired about our sighting.  The owner said it was the Housatonic RR shop and kindly gave us directions.  The railroad shop is located along side the mainline and across the tracks from a golf coarse.  We parked out of the way and made our way along the edge of the coarse which was pretty empty due to a dull, overcast day with rain threatening.  We managed to get quite a few shots of the equipment stored at the facility.  
     Just north of the station is a yard that had a lot of cars in it and the hobby shop owner said there was likely a train heading north up this former  New Haven RR line towards Pittsfield, MA. working the small towns along the way.  When we left Canaan to head up towards I-90 and make our way home we checked out several locations but didn't find any trains.
This was the other unit in the consist.  It appears to be an ex- Santa Fe GP-7 or 9 that went through their rebuilding program quite a few years ago.  It ended up on the Bangor and Aroostook RR before joining the Housatonic roster.
Another view of the lash-up sitting at the fuel rack.
This GP-35 looks like her front truck might be in for repairs as it is sitting on a freight car truck.  You can clearly see the bolster and traction motor blower ducts under the unit.
          The Housatonic locomotives are painted in a very attractive green and yellow scheme and for the most part seem to be well maintained.  I'm not sure what the extent of their roster is or if there are other locomotives based at other locations.  There were a couple of old NS locomotives beside the shop that were stored as a parts source to keep the Housatonic roster in running condition.  
     Along with the locomotives was a very clean caboose and an ex Pennsylvania RR baggage car.  I have to assume the baggage car is used for storage.  It is really in very good condition aside from some rust streaks and still has the original portal windows on the baggage doors.
One of my favorite locomotive is the Alco RS-3.  This unit is in great condition and looks to be in perfect working order. Closer inspection shows it has been rebuilt with an EMD engine as evidenced by the 36" fans above the radiator shutters.
Housatonic caboose 654 is in great shape.  The side windows have been blanked over to ward off vandals.  As cabooses go it is a fairly modern car

As can be seen in these photos, the two ex NS units are for parts supply to keep the other units going. 
These engines were set up for long hood forward operation as evidenced by the bell on the long hood meaning they were likely of Norfolk and Western or Southern heritage.  This would be a good unit to try to duplicate the weathering on!
The ex PRR baggage car is in pretty good shape considering its age and exposure to the elements.
Another view of the Housatonic facility.  You can just make out the Canaan station in the left of the photo.
     It was nice to finally see this little short line in person.  I had read about it and seen photos of the trains but never really knew where to find any locomotives or equipment.  Hopefully next year on our Collinsville weekend we can stop in again and see what's new in Canaan and on the Housatonic RR.  Maybe also see a train out on the road or switching in the yard.  Even though the day was a very overcast it was great to discover another of the many colourful short lines in New England.

1 comment:

  1. I like their paint scheme! Nice to see the BAR colours still around..