Springfield: A tale of two railroads

An open forum to discuss all aspects of the New Haven Railroad.
rsullivan
Member
Joined: 14 Dec 2016, 20:36

07 Nov 2017, 15:39 #11

I just finished reading the 136 posts on Railroad.net Railroad Forums discussion topic: CNZR - Armory Branch (http://railroad.net/forums/viewtopic.ph ... &start=135), and the eight posts on Railroad.net Railroad Forums discussion topic: CNZR - Griffin Line (http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewtopi ... 0&t=158081). The last posts were made May 24, 2017 and October 31, 2017 respectively. Based on comments in both discussions, the Griffin Branch has been in use for the whole time with track and grade crossing upgrades being made each year. The major and usually sole customer is a large Home Depot warehouse. The Armory Branch is an iron horse of a different color (I'm not talking about the CNZR's use of heritage paint schemes including a NH warm orange/green RS-1). Between 2010 and 2014 the Enfield Transit Mix (ETM) company's crossing is private and has to be paved before the CNZR can ballast and re-lay the concrete ties. Something about mud and wash outs of the crossing every rain and ETM doesn't want ot close the entrance for even one day. Then there is the problem with the MassDOT not maintaining or preserving the right-of-way (ROW) from state line to the former B&A. The ROW is perserved by a gas pipeline's presence, but MassDOT allowed the sale of parcels along the Armory Branch in Springfield which have been illegally built on since Mass Utility Regs prohibit building on a gas pipeline ROW. However, MassDOT has not done anything to preserve the ROW, would not cooperate with CDOT and AMTRAK on the planning for use of the ROW, and there was not enough freight traffic for the CSX to pressure MassDOT as of Jul 2015. The September 2016 comment indicated the P&W was gaining access to Hartford with interchange with CSOR, and the CNZR would benefit. I think the popularity of the CNZR in general is the low volume of online customers and the number of grade crossings, even though it could be double tracked and have up to four tracks in some places. Mr. Noel Weaver wrote on November 10, 2011, "...it could have been a main through freight route between Springfield, Hartford and Cedar Hill...I guess Penn Central decided it was not worth the expense of up grading..." So, I don't think the Griffin Branch has ever been inactive. I also think the Armory Branch has been active for the short distance it operates, but CDOT has worked with the CNZR and funded the ROW upgrade to the state line. It just seems the work has gone on in spurts. That's my take from reading the comments.
Richard H. Sullivan, Jr.  member #3967
Reply

rfranzosa
Member
Joined: 17 Oct 2005, 10:55

07 Nov 2017, 16:04 #12

rsullivan wrote: I just finished reading the 136 posts on Railroad.net Railroad Forums discussion topic: CNZR - Armory Branch (http://railroad.net/forums/viewtopic.ph ... &start=135), and the eight posts on Railroad.net Railroad Forums discussion topic: CNZR - Griffin Line (http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewtopi ... 0&t=158081). The last posts were made May 24, 2017 and October 31, 2017 respectively. Based on comments in both discussions, the Griffin Branch has been in use for the whole time with track and grade crossing upgrades being made each year. The major and usually sole customer is a large Home Depot warehouse. The Armory Branch is an iron horse of a different color (I'm not talking about the CNZR's use of heritage paint schemes including a NH warm orange/green RS-1). Between 2010 and 2014 the Enfield Transit Mix (ETM) company's crossing is private and has to be paved before the CNZR can ballast and re-lay the concrete ties. Something about mud and wash outs of the crossing every rain and ETM doesn't want ot close the entrance for even one day. Then there is the problem with the MassDOT not maintaining or preserving the right-of-way (ROW) from state line to the former B&A. The ROW is perserved by a gas pipeline's presence, but MassDOT allowed the sale of parcels along the Armory Branch in Springfield which have been illegally built on since Mass Utility Regs prohibit building on a gas pipeline ROW. However, MassDOT has not done anything to preserve the ROW, would not cooperate with CDOT and AMTRAK on the planning for use of the ROW, and there was not enough freight traffic for the CSX to pressure MassDOT as of Jul 2015. The September 2016 comment indicated the P&W was gaining access to Hartford with interchange with CSOR, and the CNZR would benefit. I think the popularity of the CNZR in general is the low volume of online customers and the number of grade crossings, even though it could be double tracked and have up to four tracks in some places. Mr. Noel Weaver wrote on November 10, 2011, "...it could have been a main through freight route between Springfield, Hartford and Cedar Hill...I guess Penn Central decided it was not worth the expense of up grading..." So, I don't think the Griffin Branch has ever been inactive. I also think the Armory Branch has been active for the short distance it operates, but CDOT has worked with the CNZR and funded the ROW upgrade to the state line. It just seems the work has gone on in spurts. That's my take from reading the comments.
Richard H. Sullivan, Jr.  member #3967
Thanks, Richard.

I may have mentioned that my wife grew up near the Armory branch in East Springfield, and we lived not far from it from 1980-84 after we married.  By that time it was being served by the B&M.   They went as far south as Enfield/Somers.  I would say I crisscrossed that line daily over those 5 years, and even after we moved to the Boston area, I'd view the Armory every time we came back to Springfield to visit my in-laws.  Legal or not, it has pretty much vanished north of the Mass state line, all crossings are paved over.

I recall that Conrail also entertained the thought of using the Armory for through freight (all of this to eliminate the back-up move required to get from the ex-B&A to the ex-NH).  They had crews clearing trees that had grown up between the rails between East Windsor and Enfield.  Also recall that the CNZ concrete ties were 2nd hand, not good enough for high speed, but fine for the Armory.  

SOMEWHERE, I have photos I took of the CNZR RS1 'collection' in Scantic, CT.  Will post them when I find them.

Rick Franzosa
#0697
Reply

rsullivan
Member
Joined: 14 Dec 2016, 20:36

07 Nov 2017, 16:48 #13

Mr. Franzosa. According to some of the comments, Mr. A.J. Belliveau obtained a large lot of rejected concrete ties from AMTRAK. He then went through the ties and removed and kept all structurally sound and meeting USDOT specifications for high speed and heavy traffic rail use. He has a separate company that does track maintenace and building contracts, and has the expertise and equipment to make the inspections. From reading the comments, paving over a ROW doesn't make it cost prohibitive to replace the roadbed and rails, however MassDOT hasn't done anything to stop any encroachments. The entire ROW is protected by Mass Utility Regs which prohibit placing any structure above a gas pipeline ROW, so everyone who has bought, and built (even in ignorance) is considered a squater accoding to the comments and responsible for the costs of removal of the structures. But, even though the USDOT ten year railplan includes the ROW development from state line north, MassDOT has ignored everything. Here are some pictures of CNZR 0670 in the New Haven Railroad heritage scheme I found just on CNZR RS-1 images search.
CNZR RS-1 NH scheme pic 1.jpg
CNZR 0670, RS-1 in New Haven Railroad Warm Orange and Hunter Green paint scheme.
CNZR 0670, RS-1 in New Haven Railroad Warm Orange and Hunter Green paint scheme.


CNZR RS-1 NH scheme pic 4.jpg
CNZR 0670, RS-1 in New Haven Railroad scheme showing close up of short hood end with road markings visible.
CNZR 0670, RS-1 in New Haven Railroad scheme showing close up of short hood end with road markings visible.
CNZR RS-1 NH scheme pic 3.jpg
CNZR 0670, RS-1 in New Haven Railroad scheme showing a good side view.
CNZR 0670, RS-1 in New Haven Railroad scheme showing a good side view.


Richard H. Sullivan Jr.  member #3967
Reply

Statkowski
Member
Joined: 05 Mar 2003, 09:39

07 Nov 2017, 17:15 #14

Just because the crossing has been paved over with asphalt legally doesn't mean all that much.  If the rails are still in place then the line in question is merely inactive, not abandoned.  Reactivating the inactive line merely requires the railroad to reinstall the tracks on their right of way.  However, if the line has officially been abandoned, then they've got to start over on obtaining the right of way first before they can do anything else.
Reply