The Highland Line west of the station is quite different from the east side of town.  A long siding services three major industries: The Russell & Erwin and P&F Corbin (Corbin Screw) divisions of the American Hardware Corporation; Fafnir Bearings; and Stanley Works. This siding also connnects New Britain Yard with a small yard on the north side of Myrtle Street called Farm Yard.
 
There are five grade crossings west of the station:
  • Main St. (0.10 mile)
  • Washington St.
  • High St. (0.32 mile)
  • Myrtle St. (0.43 mile)
  • Curtis St. (0.74 mile)


Farm Yard

This small, stub-ended yard is situated on the north side of Myrtle Street. I now have an official New Haven Railroad map that includes this yard, and it is labeled "Farm Yard." I originally thought it was for the Fafnir Bearing Company but it is on railroad property. 

Sidings are numbered, yard tracks are not.

Yard Tracks - from north to south:

  • 1243' - Fafnir Bearing leads to: 208' - Fafnir Bearing
  • 598' - Fafnir Bearing Coal Trestle
  • 438'
  • 436'
  • 926'
  • 542'
  • 464'
  • 570'
  • 628'
  • ??? - Fafnir Bearing Butane Tanks

Industry Sidings

  • 5B - 858' - Stanley Works
  • 7B - ??? - Stanley Works
  • 7C - 355' - Russell & Erwin Coal Trestle
  • 7D - 611.4' - Russell & Erwin
  • 7E - 420.5' - Russel & Erwin
  • 9B - 612' - Stanley Works
  • 9C - 199' - Russell & Erwin Coal Trestle
  • 9D - 352' - Russell & Erwin
West of the Stanley Works are several other industries serviced by rail. I don't have significant information for these as they were always planned to be off-layout:
  • Ayrette's Auto Arcade
  • Connecticut Light & Power
  • Elias Glass Company
  • Sovereign Trading Company Coal
  • Tuttle & Bailey
  • Universal Coal Company

Main Street

The first crossing west of the station, Main Street is naturally a busy avenue. Only a few businesses changed between the 1948-1954 timeframe, so it was a stable area as well. None of these businesses receive direct shipments from the railroad. However, many of those north of the railroad crossing will appear on the layout.

West Side (south to north)

308. United Building (there were several businesses here, I don't have the list yet).
310. Bond Cut Rate (cosmetics)
.....P Kolb News Delivery

New Haven Railroad Crossing

316. Embassy Diner
318. P&Q Shops (clothing)
324. Stanley Shoes
326. Frederic's (millinery)
328. Lane's Inc. (clothing)
330. (not listed)
332. Allen's Cut Rate Perfumers
334. Allen's Cut Rate Liquor Store
336. Jones Jewelers
340. Moss Shop Clothing

East Side (south to north)

New Haven Railroad Crossing

315. National Peanut Corp. (address and business only listed in 1954)
317. Norwood Clothes
321. Union Hall
.....-The Pen Shop (no number)
.....(1) I.M. and E.H. Rosenblatt (insuarance)
.....(2) Musician's Association Local #440 AF of M
.....(3) Idle Hour Beauty Salon (1949-1954)
.....(4) Marie's Beauty Shop
.....(5) Vacant
323. Hunter's Restaurant
325. Leland Building
.....F.J. Cecere and R.J. Holst (real estate)(no number)
.....(1) L.W. Lewis (chiropractor)
.....(2) Newinski's Bridal Shop
327. F.E. Goodwin (optomotrist)
329. Star Confectionary Company
331. Cameo Lunch

Commercial Street Intersection

Here is a picture from 1960 of the crossing at Main Street. The six-story factory building on the right is the Russel & Erwin building located at High Street. The complex begins just behind the Main Street businesses (and the Embassy Diner) on the right, but are not visible in the picture because they are set back from the tracks.

It appears that by the time this picture was taken, the Embassy Diner had been repainted. I have another picture of this location and the Embassy Diner is dark green with cream trim at the time.

Another picture of the Main Street crossing at the New Britain Rephotographic Project. The center picture of the three presented was taken in 1950. Note the Bond Cut-Rate sign, also seen in the picture from 1960 above, and the older crossing gates, which were replaced in 1954 when the Highland line was single-tracked.


Washington Place

 
L-1 3228 with Maybrook-bound AO-3 in March, 1947 at Washington Place. Photo: Kent Cochrane; Thomas J. McNamara collection.
Washington Place is just west of Main Street and runs to Washington Street. It appears that it was similar in concept to the Railroad Arcade, as it consists of several shops facing the railroad, and accessible only on foot. Washington Place looks like a street on the Sanford map, but in pictures it appears to be little more than a dirt path along the side of the tracks.

There are only 3 businesses to the west of the Bond Cut Rate store facing the railroad tracks. From east to west, the businesses and their addresses are:

8. Reney J. Billiards
12. Skee's Restaurant
16. New Britain Shoe Rebuilding
All three businesses remained the same from the 1948-1954 time frame.


Washington Street


I-2 1311 with train 131 at Washington Street, February 21, 1946. Photo: Kent Cochrane; Thomas J. McNamara collection.

The Russell & Erwin division of the American Hardware Company dominates both sides of Washington Street north of the tracks. South of the tracks are two service stations:
38. Swanson's Blue Service Center (west side, Sunoco)
29. Keeney's Service Station (Esso)
In addition, behind the Swanson's is a building that houses the Red Cross and the New Britain Girl Scouts offices. Behind Keeney's is the offices of The New Britain Record (newspaper), Argazzi Tool Company, A.H. Harrop Investments, and Burritt Bookkeeping Service in 1948, replaced by G.E. Gay (accountant) in 1949.
 

Layout at a Glance

While I've had to make a number of compromises I think the finished layout will still follow the prototype fairly faithfully. For example, the Russell & Erwin Power Plant will need to be rotated to fit the trackwork, and the curve around Lockshop Pond is greatly increased. But the main components will still be in place for a close match to the photo of #1311 below. The mainline will be descending toward the helix, but with appropriate scenery and camera angles I think it will work.
 
Also, the majority of photos are from the Station and Arcade area, looking down the tracks. Thus, the section of the Russell & Erwin plant that is most visible will be modeled, and the P&F Corbin smoke stacks will be in the same relative location. 

American Hardware Corporation


I-2 #1311 with train 131 in March 1947 at Lockshop Pond and P&F Corbin Division. Note DEY-4 locomotive shoving hoppers up the coal trestle.
Kent Cochrane. Thomas J. McNamara collection.

The American Hardware Corporation has a very large factory complex on the west side of New Britain. There are two major divisions here. The Russell & Erwin Division and the P&F Corbin Division (aka the Corbin Screw Division).

Their property includes the Lockshop Pond, a 4 million gallon man-made pond. Lockshop Pond and a large portion of both divisions were among the first victims of "urban renewal" in New Britain, to be replaced by parking lots.

P&F Corbin Division

The P&F Corbin plant on Myrtle Street is also known as The Corbin Screw Company. Only a building flat will be modeled. The two sidings to the plant were inside the complex and will not be included.
 

P&F Corbin Division Power Plant

Modeled Capacity: 2 cars

Directly across Myrtle street is the P&F Corbin Power Plant serviced by two coal trestles. This plant also serviced the Russell & Erwin Division, and it is labeled differently on different maps.
A particularly interesting feature of this complex is the brick star-shaped smokestack.

This power plant may have serviced the Russell & Erwin Division as well, but the Sanford map indicates it is for the Corbin Screw Company.
 

Russell & Erwin Division

Modeled Capacity:

On the south side of Myrtle Street is the Russell & Erwin division. There are three sidings servicing the complex, one west of Washington Street, and two between High and Washington Streets. On the south side of the Highland Line is a four million gallon pond built for the factory.

None of the buildings of this complex remain today, and most of this property was excavated for the construction of Rt 72.


Fafnir Bearing

Modeled Capacity: 2 tank cars on butane track, 5 cars at shipping building.

Fafnir Bearing will consist of building flats behind a very compressed Farm Yard. The shipping and receiving building will probably have to be modeled on the north side of the track instead of the south side. This track also continued to the P&F Corbin plant on the prototype, but it will terminate here.

Fafnir Bearing also had a small track for receiving butane  (probably LP gas in my era) via tank cars.

On the American Memory page at the Library of Congress is a 29-page report including 90 photographs of the plant after it was abandoned. Not all of the photographs have been digitized.


Stanley Works

 

L-1 hauling a Maybrook-bound freight circa 1946. The track to the right is to the Stanley Works Power Plant.  Photo: Kent Cochrane; Thoma J. McNamara collection.

Modeled Capacity:
 
Stanley Works has several very large complexes throughout New Britain. The largest extends from Myrtle Street to beyond Curtis Street. Although the model will consist of only a portion of this plant I believe it will capture the feel of the prototype.
 

Stanley Works Power House

The Stanley Works Power House is located across the mainline from the Stanley Works. There is another large man-made pond, and a coal trestle that feeds a conveyor to the Power House. On the layout these tracks are on a deck several inches below the Stanley Works deck and off the mainline (which then continues under Stanley Works to the helix).
 

Stanley S1

Stanley Works operated a 28-ton H. K. Porter fireless steam switcher at this plant. My buddy Dick is helping with plans to scratchbuild this tiny locomotive. The real challenge will be in getting it to not only run, but be able to pull a few cars.