In the Works
The NEW Hartford & Springfield
By Alfred Barten
THIS IS PART ONE IN THE ODYSSEY of my latest project, the NEW Hartford & Springfield Street Railway for Trainz 2006. The real Hartford & Springfield – let’s just call it the HSR – lasted from 1902 till 1926. Its story and, fortunately, general plan are in Transportation Bulletin Number 80, Hartford & Springfield Street Railway Co., Diary of a Trolley Road by Michael C. De Vito. Copies can still be found at train shows and on eBay.
The HSR makes a fascinating layout filled with operational possibilities. It also begs the question “Why isn’t it still around? The belt encompassing Hartford and Springfield is heavily trafficked.” I can’t answer that question, but in my layout I’m assuming others asked the question and decided to resurrect the route, modeled here in the 1950s.
The schematic, which I’ve sketched from the book, takes some study but shows just how interesting and complex the scheme is. Notice the general route is a loop encompassing Springfield, Massachusetts in the north and Hartford, Connecticut in the south and sandwiching the Connecticut River. The trackage belonging to the HSR (green) is in the middle portions of the route, on both sides of the river. There are also two branches on the east, one from Thompsonville to Somers, Connecticut; the other from Warehouse Point to Rockville, Connecticut. Warehouse Point, incidentally, is the home of the Connecticut Trolley Museum, who’s running track follows a part of the old Rockville branch. The museum is also the publisher of the well-known Transportation Bulletins.
From the state line between Connecticut and Massachusetts north to Springfield on both sides of the river, the HSR operated over Springfield Street Railway trackage (dark red). In the south, the HSR operated over Connecticut Company (ConnCo) trackage (yellow) from East Windsor on the east bank, down through Hartford and back up to Windsor on the west bank.
Running through all this trolley trackage was the New Haven Railroad (NHRR) (orange), closely following the Connecticut River with its mainline and branching out to the east to towns like Rockville. The NHRR crosses the Connecticut from Windsor Locks on the west to Warehouse Point on the east. This line, by the way, is still in operation. I rode it both ways last year on several occasions. Of course the NHRR is long gone, but the line is now operated by Amtrak.
One of the interesting things to model is the canal and locks at Windsor Locks. It is now an historical site, the actual usage having been abandoned long ago. Before the coming of the trains, the Connecticut River was a major route for movement of freight from Long Island Sound all the way up into Vermont and back.
As with my other recent layouts, I’m attempting to keep assets limited as much as possible to those already available within the TRS2006 box. That limits my ability to create replicas of existing structures, etc. (not that my ability needs limiting any more than it is). I’ve also taken liberties with the route size and the layout of towns, cities and stations. After all, this is the NEW Hartford & Springfield, not the OLD Hartford & Springfield.
Most notably, I’ve compressed the route from what would have been about 50 baseboards in the north-south direction to 18. That reduces travel time considerably. The old HSR took 2 hours and 5 minutes on the east bank and 2 hours and 15 minutes on the west bank. I expect the complete loop to take about 30 minutes to operate. Traditionally, a given car made the full loop in one direction, then reversed and made the full loop in the opposite direction. Crews changed each time the car entered a different company’s trackage.
I’ve also added some operational amenities such as turning loops. The original HSR, like its contemporaries, simply ran a car to the end of the line where the conductor would get out, pull down and secure the raised pole, raise the lowered pole, and climb back into the car. Meanwhile, the motorman would remove the key from the controller at the end of the car where he had been driving, walk to the other end of the car and reconnect the key to activate the controller at that end of the car. The conductor would also roll over the seat backs so patrons would be facing in the new direction. Then the car would be off back in the direction from whence it had come. This is hard to duplicate in Trainz since no cars that I know of have dual cabs. In any case, using turning loops is the modern thing to do and provides continuous operation.
Turning loop at East Windsor.
I’ve also kept running track out of the streets. It’s easier to model – especially if you want moving automobiles – and is certainly in keeping with the course of trolley improvements. One of the major objections to trolleys, once the automobile became a powerful force, was the nuisance of trolley cars occupying the streets. So, most of the running is alongside the road or on private right of way.
There is also the potential for modest freight movements on the HSR. The power plant is located in Warehouse Point with an interchange with the NHRR for supplying coal. The original HSR also had a siding at what I assume to be a grain elevator near East Windsor. This is still largely farm country on both sides of the river (the Connecticut River Valley is one of the ten best in the world and is the source of some of the most prized cigar wrapping leaves).
Since I plan to take advantage of Trainz’s ability to load/unload passengers, I went looking for suitable trolley cars. The GT6 that comes in the box is excellent, but lacks a cab view. I had intended to use this as the company’s main car until I began painting a diesel switcher and freight cars for the line. While painting the boxcar I began looking at the logos built into Paint Shed. I decided to use the deer as a hint of my concern for nature. Later, I hit upon the slogan of “Ride CLEAN With GREEN”. I put it on the switcher (I would prefer an electric box motor if one were available) and the boxcar and gondola. Now I needed a green trolley.
“Ride CLEAN With GREEN” slogan set the tone for rolling stock selections. The LHB car in the background works fine, but produces an error message. Also, it lacks a cab view.
Fortunately, I discovered the New Orleans cars by Earl White (aka Apogee10). He has three available, two being red and the other green. Much to my relief, all three have operable doors and are passenger enabled. Yahoo!!!!
New Orleans Desire streetcar.
The three cars let me color code the different lines. The HSR is dark green (the original cars were Pullman green with gold lettering); the Springfield Street Railway cars are red with clerestory roof (the original SSR color scheme was dark red and cream); the Connecticut Company cars are red with deck roof (the original cars were yellow with red and white trim). (Continued)
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