Mile 95: Newington, Connecticut
The section of the Hartford, Providence, & Fishkill/ New York
& New England right of way between Hartford and New Britain was
pressed into service as the CTfastrak Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line in
2015. At present, this is one of only two places on the entire line
(the other being a small portion of the Northeast Corridor
) where one
can actually ride mass transit on the line, albeit on a bus.
The busway has been controversial among railfans for the loss of
railroad miles and among taxpayers for its cost. Personally, I think this op-ed by a UCONN student, Thess Johnson
gets it right. The busway exists, and for whatever trouble went on in
building it, it works pretty well. My wife and I recently decided it
would be fun to eat at a number of places in Downtown Hartford on a
weekend afternoon, and parking in the suburbs and taking the bus in
made it very hassle free. I'd rather have a train, but I like having
good public transit.
All of the station sites listed on the map above were sited with information from the Tyler City Station
site. Newington Junction's Wikipedia page
is also worth a read to discvover it's history. I think this is one of
the most special places on the HP&F in Connecticut. The New York
England station from 1891 has been integrated into the CT Fastrak
Newington Junction stop. The former NYNH&H freight building, across
the 4 trackways, is in good shape and painted similarly. Together these
buildings have the site on the National Register of Historic Places.
It's also free parking, so a great place to ride the bus into Hartford.
In general I find the place neat: I have a soft spot for architectural
dissonace and I love seeing this historic building with the
platforms. In addition, my father, Bernard Dowd, took some photos of
Penn Central trains here in the 1970s and I really enjoy them.
Like all of the dedicated busway between Parkville and Newington
Junction, the HP&F formerly ran next to the New Haven Line (today's
Amtrak Hartford Line.) This resulted in a 4 track main. The divergence
point is south of this station, so this is the last one on this site
where the two are running parallel. The HP&F
were the north/western tracks and the Hartford Line the south/eastern
tracks. Today this means the busway is parallel to the Amtrak line,
always to the north and west of it.
Click on the thumbnail for the full resolution image
Return to Hartford, Providence, and Fishkill Railway Index
|A mid-20th century conductor's cash form 3 ticket, sold between New
Britain and Hartford and thus an artifact linked to this branch. It is
undated, but does not list Crescent Beach, Sound View, or South Lyme
as local stops along the Shore Line, so based on their dates of
abandonment on the Tyler City Station site, this suggests this ticket
is from the 1930s or later.
|A paper Connecticut Transit all
day bus fare as it appeared in 2023. The QR code has been removed. I
bought this for service between Newington Junction and Hartford (and
ultimately used it at Flatbush Ave and Kane St, too.)
|Looking North towards Elmwood (12/2023.)
|The 1891 NY&NE station at the CT Fastrak Newington Station in early October, 2023.
|The side of the 1891 NY&NE depot at Newington Junction (12/2023.)
|Newington Junction shot from the bus on a rainy day in late October, 2023.
|The platforms at Newington Junction Station (12/2023.)
|A view across the 4 trackways at
Newington. The 1891 NY&NE depot is on the busway side, which is the
HP&F right of way. The extant Amtrak (New Haven) tracks are visible
too, and the freight station can be seen. Today it is a garden center.
This is looking to the east, the Willard Ave overpass can be seen down
the right of way to the south (12/2023.)
|A view of the extant Amtrak
Hartford Line and New Haven Freight Stations at Newington, looking
towards Willard Ave. This was shot from the northbound busway platform,
and shows the separation between the two rights of way (12/2023.)
|A CTFastrak Bus approaching Newington Junction (12/2023.)
|A photo taken by my father,
Bernard Dowd, of Penn Central trains at Newington in the 1970s. Here is
his description of this photo: "Two ex-NH Alcos together at Newington
Junction (CT), 1970's. Former NH RS3 #537 had died while working the
New Britain branch local freight and former NH RS11 #1401 had come down
from Hartford to rescue it. I believe the broken "Newington" sign dated
back to NH days too but had been repainted by PC. The tracks in the
foreground are the Springfield line and the Alcos are on the branch.
The line to New Britain had been part of the old NY&NE mainline to
Waterbury and Danbury. It's gone now though, paved over to become a
|An alternate view of the train
above. Here's the description from my father, Bernard Dowd: "Former NH
RS-3 #537 (PC #5478) looks like it's hard at work here but it's
actually broken down. Former NH RS-11 #1401 (PC #7661) is hauling the
RS-3 and its New Britain local north, 1970's. The RS-11 had come down
from Hartford for the rescue. The train is on former New York & New
England trackage in Newington; the overpass just ahead is Willard Ave.
The RS-3 was repaired and soon back in use."
|Approaching the Newington Jct Station from New Britain on a rainy late October day in 2023.
|The inside of a CT Fastrak bus in October, 2023. The adjacent Hartford Line is visible outside the window
(c) 2016-2024 Timothy M Dowd. Last Modified @ 19:06 EST on 2024-01-07
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