Thursday, February 26, 2009

Four-Track Service

I grew up very close to the mainline of the New Haven Railroad, known in those days as the New York, New Haven and Hartford. Laid out in front of me was four-track service, two outside for local (coming and going to NY and NH), and two inside for express and passing tracks.

As I began traveling, I noticed that not every railroad had this abundance of steel. There seemed to be an awful lot of single-track everywhere, even on main lines; occasionally I might see double-track. Even the railroad calendars seemed to note single-track with passing sidings every so many miles.

Darn! Once you moved from the Metro NYC area, railroading became far less impressive. This was very new to me, very much a surprise and a letdown, as well.

“There’s probably no Santa Claus, either,” I said. Well, I really didn’t say it, but the thought might not have been far from my mind. When your favorite railroad and its first-class roadbed “under the wire” (electrified) is elsewhere nothing more than sooty diesels on “slow order” track that needs fixing, you begin to appreciate what you have and 90-mph (or whatever) trains don’t exist everywhere.

Although the New Haven seldom ran them, my favorite little dink was the Rail Diesel Car, the RDC, put out by Budd. It could run single, double or in triple units. It just seemed to be the perfect little doodlebug.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The best was changing engines in Springfield back in the day because Vt. had no electric...Took 40 minutes. I liked the smell of the smoke..

Exit 318

March 02, 2009 9:35 AM  

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