Engine Servicing

NYNH&H Mechanical Department and Engine Servicing

The New Haven Railroad had a small engine servicing & mechanical department facility in New Britain located between the Highland Line and the Berlin Line at the junction, between Elm St. and Church St.

This Kent Cochrane photo shows T-2-b class 2446 sits on the servicing pit in New Britain in August, 1948. Despite the full tender of coal, it has been out of service since March, 1947 when two DEY-4 class (GE 44-tonner) locomotives replaced the two steam switchers assigned to New Britain Yard. An April 20, 1948 Locomotive Utilization Report indicates that is D.S.F. (Dumped. Save Fuel). The second T-2-b had already left New Britain (and had probably been scrapped).

You can make out the back of H-35, a 3-ton Brownhoist crane used to load coal into the tender. There are clearly three servicing pits, and you can make out the foundation of the original brick engine house building just on the other side of the locomotive, along with the footers that supported the door frames.


I don't know the date when engine facilities were built in New Britain, but a turntable and engine house was in place by 1875, perhaps as early as January, 1865 with the completion of the New Britain and Middletown Railroad (later the Berlin Line after being absorbed into the NH).


Other than a few small buildings, no changes at the engine servicing facilities.

The industries around it continue to grow.


The turntable has been removed and the track arrangement adjusted.

Switchers operated facing westbound.


An addition was added to the engine house to accommodate five tracks.

The two story crossing shanty has been built at Elm St.

New Britain Steam Engine Assignments 1919 to 1925

Through the first half of the 20th century, New Britain was a busy railroad city. As many as three switchers were assigned to work the industries, and in the steam era this required servicing facilities.

A water plug was located between Elm St. and the station.

Engine servicing itself was east of Elm St. and situated between the Highland and Berlin Lines.

March 10, 1919

  • 2405 (T-2-b class 0-6-0) New Britain switcher

  • 2410 (T-2-b) New Britain switcher

  • 2527 (U-3 class 0-6-0) New Britain switcher

July 10, 1919

  • 2405 (T-2-b) New Britain switcher

  • 2464 (T-2-b) New Britain switcher

  • 2527 (T-2-b) Stored New Britain

August 10 and December 10, 1919

  • 2405 (T-2-b) New Britain switcher

  • 2464 (T-2-b) New Britain switcher

August 10, 1920

Home terminals are now listed, so we can see what other locomotives originate in New Britain. These locomotives may have come to the terminal just to get coal, water, and basic maintenance.

  • 1728 (C-11-a class 4-4-0) Berlin Branch

  • 2405 (T-2-b) New Britain switcher

  • 2428 (T-2-b) New Britain switcher

March 10, 1921

The first locomotive (#100) is assigned to the Hartford division, the rest are assigned to the Waterbury division.

  • 100 (F-3 class 2-8-0) New Britain Switcher

  • 1636 (C-3-a class 4-4-0) Spare East Hartford

  • 2428 (T-2-b) New Britain switcher

  • 2433 (T-2-b) New Britain switcher (M.D. - assigned to Mechanical Department)

  • 2460 (T-2-b) Bristol Switcher

  • 2461 (T-2-b) New Britain Switcher

September 25, 1921

  • 100 (F-3) Berlin Switcher

  • 2428 (T-2-b) New Britain switcher

  • 2433 (T-2-b) Stored Waterbury

  • 2460 (T-2-b) Bristol Switcher

  • 2461 (T-2-b) New Britain Switcher

March 1, 1922

  • 100 (F-3) Berlin Switcher

  • 2428 (T-2-b) New Britain switcher

  • 2460 (T-2-b) Bristol Switcher

  • 2461 (T-2-b) New Britain Switcher

June 11, 1922

  • 100 (F-3) Stored East Hartford

  • 120 (F-3) Berlin switcher

  • 1633 (C-10) Berlin Branch

  • 2428 (T-2-b) New Britain switcher

  • 2460 (T-2-b) Bristol Switcher

  • 2461 (T-2-b) New Britain Switcher

May 15, 1923

  • 100 (F-3) Berlin switcher

  • 1621 (C-3-a) Berlin Branch

  • 2410 (T-2-b) New Britain switcher

  • 2428 (T-2-b) New Britain switcher

  • 2460 (T-2-b) Bristol Switcher

September 30, 1923

  • 103 (F-3) Berlin switcher

  • 1621 (C-3-a class 4-4-0) Berlin Branch

  • 2376 (T-2-b) New Britain switcher

  • 2428 (T-2-b) New Britain switcher

  • 2460 (T-2-b) New Britain switcher

January 1, 1924

  • 116 (F-3) Berlin switcher

  • 1621 (C-3-a) Berlin Branch Passenger Service

  • 2428 (T-2-b) New Britain switcher

  • 2460 (T-2-b) New Britain-Bristol switcher

January 1, 1925

  • 102 (F-3) Dumped save fuel

  • 216 (P-1 class 2-8-0) Plainville switcher (temporary)

  • 340 (K-1-b class 2-6-0) Berlin switcher

  • 1622 (C-3-a) Berlin branch

  • 2376 (T-2-b) New Britain switcher

  • 2428 (T-2-b) New Britain switcher


I believe this is a valuation photo, taken by the ICC.

You can see the Union Manufacturing water tower behind the engine houses. The small building on the far right is the railroad oil house. Two T-2 class 0-6-0 switchers, plus a gondola for coal.


By the time of these photos, on September 3, 1926, the Union Manufacturing water tower is gone. A ventilation cupola has been added to the roof of the main engine house.


Not much has changed by October 10, 1930, except perhaps some new paint on the door. Two gondolas and a hopper full of bituminous coal.


A Brownhoist 3-ton kerosene-powered locomotive crane, New Haven H-35, handled coaling duties for the switchers. It was condemned on September 28, 1953, 6 years after the DEY-4 locomotives replaced the T-2-b switchers.

This picture is dated February 13, 1934. It's clear that this portion of the building was built later than the main brick building.

The open sheds behind it are coal and coke bins for Union Manufacturing.

The New Haven Railroad clearance diagram from February 22, 1922 shows the basic dimensions of the crane.


On or about February 13, 1936 the engine house was gutted by fire.

These two photos show the aftermath, with only the brick shell remaining of the main engine house.


Shortly thereafter, the engine buildings were leveled, leaving only the south wall and the main mechanical facilities storage and tools buildings.

These Thomas Airviews photos from 1955 below show the general layout after the removal of the engine house buildings. The small oil house is also gone. You can see one of the DEY-4 switchers moving a box car in the third photo.

Two of the tracks have been removed, possibly when the Highland Line was single tracked in the summer of 1954, and it appears the servicing pits may have been filled in.

Note the location of the two-story crossing shanty at Elm St. for orientation. The first photo is looking west, the second roughly southeast, and the third more northeast.

Looking west. The box car is sitting on one of the engine servicing tracks that was inside the engine house.

Looking southeast. You can see that the south wall is still standing with the three windows that are visible in the second picture of the fire damage.

Looking east. You can also see the foundation for the north wall, just to the right of the track with the 44-tonner and box car.


These photos are part of a series showing the installation of a new grade crossing on one of the tracks at Elm St., and were presumably taken by the New Haven Railroad. The date is September 20, 1956, although that car at Elm St. crossing is from a different era...

This photo is looking down the servicing tracks that were added between 1901 and 1909 on the left, and the Berlin Line on the right. The Berlin Line track is still in use today. The car is crossing over Track #6, which was used to serve several industries.

Here we can see Track 6 is out of service, although Track 8 to the right of it might still be in use.

What's more interesting is that the original engine servicing tracks have been disconnected from the Berlin Line and are also out of service.

From this angle, we can see that the Union Manufacturing track has been moved to a newly installed switch to connect directly to the mainline. Which means that looking back to the prior two photos, the track curving off to the left is no longer connected to anything.

That leaves but a single track in the old engine servicing facility.

The DEY-4 switchers were assigned to New Britain at least through 1957, but they only required an occasional fill-up of diesel fuel. Most likely this was accomplished by filling the locomotive directly from a truck, and at this time it may have been done at Whiting St. Yard. So the need for a servicing facility in New Britain had passed.


The model is in progress. The engine servicing pits were made by modifying the Peco model with strip styrene and N-Scale Architect brick sheet. The details are covered in this blog post. I preferred the look of the N-Scale Architect brick sheet to the Plastruct, so used that for the final model.

The ballast is Smith & Sons cinders (no longer available), mixed with sifted dirt from New Britain.