Elevation and grades

An open forum to discuss all aspects of the New Haven Railroad.

Elevation and grades

TomCurtin
Member
Joined: 13 Jul 2017, 14:13

10 Sep 2017, 11:40 #1

Somebody over on the NYCRR forum asked --- for fun --- where the highest elevation was on the ex-NYCRR.  So what was the same piece of data for the New Haven?

And while we're at it where was the steepest grade?

No fair researching Google!

I know the answers, or think I do anyway

Tom
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BX10
Member
Joined: 15 Jan 2010, 05:40

10 Sep 2017, 12:12 #2

It would be a safe bet to say the answers are on the Maybook line.

Bill
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rsullivan
Member
Joined: 14 Dec 2016, 20:36

10 Sep 2017, 12:51 #3

Mr. Curtin. The highest elevation is 744 feet at Reynolds, mile 56.18, on the original NY&NE Maybrook to Derby Junction line. The original steepest grade was the drop to Towners ice pond at 435 feet, mile 61.16. However, with double track upgrades and the addition of the Highland from Hawleyville to Waterbury the steepest grade depends on direction of travel. Eastbound the Towantic grade between Sandy Hook and Towantic summit is steeper than the eastbound grade between Hopewell and West Pawling (1.22%), while westbound traffic has  steeper grade between Towners ice pond and Reynolds summit (1.34%) than the westbound grade between Banks Steert and Towantic summit. The grade differences are due to the length of track verses the change in elevation. The eastbound grade requires an elevation change 59 feet higher with only 0.52 miles more track between Banks Street and Towantic summit, while the westbound grade requires an elevation change 86 feet higher with 2.89 miles less track between Towners ice pond and Reynolds summit. I used an article in Shoreliner, vol. 36, iss. 2, titled "Engineering the Maybrook 1905 - 1960," by Mr. Tom Curtin for my information.
Richard H. Sullivan, Jr.  member #3967
Last edited by rsullivan on 10 Sep 2017, 19:07, edited 1 time in total.
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NH746EJO
Member
Joined: 25 Nov 2007, 00:18

10 Sep 2017, 15:44 #4

HIGHEST ELEVATION ON THE NEW HAVEN

Pittsfield is shown at 1018 feet on my copy of the Profiles produced by the Office of Designing Engineer, NYNH&H and CNE Railway, dated January 1, 1922 (elevation 0.0 is mean high water at New Haven).  Other high points include Litchfield at 950 feet and State Line at 930 feet. The elevations are marked every 10 feet on the profiles so the 1018 is my reading of the spot in Pittsfield but I could be off by a foot or so.  At another time I'll try to post a scan of the appropriate profiles but don't have time now.

I just did a quick and dirty look at the grades shown on the profiles which are given in feet per mile.  The 67.2 foot per mile rise on the few miles around milepost 30 measured from Poukeepsie to Brewsters at about West Patterson is cetainly one of the steepest grades but I noticed greater grades on some branches, for example, the 70.2 foot per mile grades on either side of the summit on the Westfield to Holyoke branch.  Note that the grades on the profile are seldom steady for any great distance and even within a certain distance the grade may fluctuate since the profile grades are measured as changes in elevation between two points.  I'll look more closely at the grades on the profiles when I have time.
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Statkowski
Member
Joined: 05 Mar 2003, 09:39

10 Sep 2017, 16:50 #5

Approaching Hell Gate Bridge from the Bronx side has a short stretch of 1.21% grade, but that's not the New Haven Railroad (owned or leased), so it really doesn't count.
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DBrion
Member
Joined: 21 Jun 2006, 05:52

10 Sep 2017, 17:19 #6

If my memory serves (which often it doesn't) I thought the steepest grade occurred between Branchville and Ridgefield off the Danbury line.  If I'm wrong I'm sure Tom Curtin will straighten me out.
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rsullivan
Member
Joined: 14 Dec 2016, 20:36

10 Sep 2017, 17:43 #7

Mr. Statkowski. I always thought that the New York Connecting Railroad was a joint ownership venture between the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New Haven Railroad. On page 11 of Mr. Robert C. Sturm's and Mr. William G. Thom's The New York Connecting Railroad, they wrote. "The Connecting was to be wholly owned by the Pennsylvania and New Haven Railroads, and operated by the latter." I know that you worked down there and have reported that the marker lights had to change to the red-red-red on the NYCRR because the LIRR was owned by the PRR and that was the operating rules of the PRR. When NYCRR was established, the PRR presresentative, Mr. Samuel Rea, was president and the NHRR representative, Mr. E.H. Henry, was vice-president. On page 9 "...a relationship indicative of which railroad was really in charge." So, I would say that the 1.21% grade on the apporach to Hell Gate was a grade on the New Haven RR, albeit dual ownership. Mr. NH746EJO. I don't have or knew about the Profiles book produced by the Office of Designing Engineer, NYNH&H and CNE Railway, so, definately Pittsfield, Litchfield and State Line are higher than Reynolds in elevation. I always thought the Maybrook Line crossed the highst summits in the New Haven territory because of all the articles about helper and pusher service. I missed one key sentence in Mr. Curtin's article at the begining, "...even though it tops out at an unimpressive (even by New Haven standards) 744 feet above sea level." (page 6, cited in above post) Now, everyone was probably thinking I was trying to get brownie points by citing Mr. Curtin's article. However, I didn't know it was his article until I pulled out my Shoreliner and thought it was a trick question to see who remembered reading his article. I'm ignorant on most aspects of the New Haven and love doing the research for each of the questions and referring to the railroaders for the clarification and correction of my results. For the record, no ABT brownies here.
Richard H. Sullivan, Jr.  member #3967
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Statkowski
Member
Joined: 05 Mar 2003, 09:39

10 Sep 2017, 18:09 #8

Agreed, New York Connecting trackage, jointly-owned, may count as part of the overall New Haven System. However, it was not New Haven trackage. Corporately, it belonged to a third party over which the New Haven operated.

The same was argued on the New York Central site over that railroad's highest point, and it was agreed that jointly-owned trackage didn't count.
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TomCurtin
Member
Joined: 13 Jul 2017, 14:13

11 Sep 2017, 11:55 #9

NH746EJO wrote: HIGHEST ELEVATION ON THE NEW HAVEN

Pittsfield is shown at 1018 feet on my copy of the Profiles produced by the Office of Designing Engineer, NYNH&H and CNE Railway, dated January 1, 1922 (elevation 0.0 is mean high water at New Haven).  Other high points include Litchfield at 950 feet and State Line at 930 feet.
And the winner is ...............

Those are the top 3, absolutely!

But, as with other things in life there is a "however."  IF you count the CNE, Norfolk Summit, or Grants Summit, whichever name you prefer, beats all at 1331.  It did become the New Haven in 1927, so it's legitimate to count it.

RE Reynoldsville on the Maybrook, and Towantic on the ex-NY&NE Waterbury route, those two are good "red herrings" that I thought would get votes.  We're conditioned to think of those since both were helper districts, and the Maybrook was a heavy freight route, but neither elevation is close to the "top of the New Haven."

Now, for the steepest grade, it was indeed the Branchville-Ridgefield branch, which was a real
"roller coaster."  I am embarrassed, in that I did know the per cent gradient there but have forgotten it.  But I do know that Branchville is elev. 346, and Ridgefield (highest town in Fairfield County) is about elev. 740, and the branch is only 3.96 miles long
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Statkowski
Member
Joined: 05 Mar 2003, 09:39

11 Sep 2017, 12:51 #10

Branchville to Ridgefield may well be the steepest grade.  740 feet minus 346 feet divided by 3.96 miles yields an overall climb of 1.18%, but that's assuming it's one long continuous grade, which it's not, which means that parts of it were steeper.

The steepest grade on the line from Norwalk to Danbury was 1.25% from the north end of the yard to the Wall St. grade crossing, according to a track chart I have, but the track chart doesn't include the Ridgefield Branch. 
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