Research and Progress (original site post #19)

posted Jan 25, 2011, 7:37 PM by Randy Hammill
We've had a few things come up that have prevented me from making too much progress, but I've made some progress despite these issues. I've been working on a few models, and I've been slowly preparing the basement for the new layout.

I've also been able to do some research, visiting the New Britain Industrial Museum. While I didn't expect to find too much information about the railroad, it was a worthwhile visit. In the hallway by the entrance (it's on the second floor of the IIET building in New Britain) is a huge painting of Russell Erwin around 1910. It's beautiful, and actually cleared up a few things as well.

There are several birds-eye aerial photos with the relavent buildings highlighted in the displays for most of the different factories. While these photos are all from 1955 or shortly after, they were still quite helpful. In them, the urban renewal had already begun, turning some areas into parking lots. But it's before any work started on Route 72.

The displays themselves are collections of many of the things that the factories produced over the years. But probably the biggest asset were the two individuals working that day. One had worked at Landers, Frary and Clark, and the other at North & Judd.

Their knowledge of the history and factories was fantastic, and they were able to relate it in a personal way that only somebody who lived it could. They didn't have too much information about the railroad, other than general memories, but I was able to confirm a few things.

What was a surprise to me though will be an important addition to the layout. Somebody had once asked about a steam engine that serviced Stanley Works. Based on the research I had done (up until my visit) I had thought it was replaced by the 44-tonners.

It wasn't. Stanley Works owned their own HK Porter "fireless" 40-ton steam locomotive (more recent information indicates it may be a 28-ton locomotive1/25/2011). There was no firebox, it was charged with steam daily from the factory boilers. But they recall it moving rolled steel from the Stanley Works complex (they rolled it onsite) to the Stanley Tool (aka Stanley Rule & Level) next to the station. Once of the aerial photos showed at least 15 freight cars on the first two sidings to the complex, in addition to quite a few in what was left of the Myrtle Street yard. This was in 1955 or later, so this little steamer had plenty of work to do. Later research leads me to believe it was retired in 1969.

I don't know if the Stanley Works locomotive used the Myrtle Street yard, and I also think that the small yard where the engine servicing facilities used to be may have also been used as a small storage yard. Even if the Stanley Works engine did not operate in those two yards, I'm guessing the 44-tonner did little work within the Stanley Works itself. So I'll probably have the 44-tonner working the American Hardware buildings, in addition to the Commerical Street yard, and the Stanley Works locomotive will shuffle around the cars in the Stanley Works complex. The New Hartford local (HDX-5) will work the east end of the city. By the 1959 freight schedule, HDX-5 dropped off cars in the morning, and picked up cars on the way back in the afternoon.

It also means that in order to fit this operation into the layout, I will probably have to model a little more of the Stanley Works than I was planning...

But that will have to all wait for at least another week, because this weekend is the Amherst Model Railroad show in Springfield. I actually have a small budget this year (as opposed to no budget) but I'm not quite sure how much I'll spend, and on what...

Feel free to say 'Hi' if you see me.