Station and Arcade

Highland Line > Station and Arcade - New Britain Yard

If there's a signature photo that highlights exactly what I'm modeling and why, it's this one.

DER-1 0703 with Train No. 131 at New Britain Station.

Looking down the Railroad Arcade with New Britain Station beyond. Kent Cochrane c1947.

The Passenger station is located between Main Street and Elm Street. It is the the center of the block, and the center of the layout, located about 3/4 of a mile from both East Main Street and Curtis Street. 

In addition to passenger service, it also housed the Railway Express Agency. There is a great series of pictures on the American Memory page of the Library of Congress showing women working for the Railway Express Agency at the station in June 1943. A few of the pictures show a little of the surrounding area, including rebuilding of the canopy over the rear doors. Search for 'New Britain Railway Express'.

Passenger service to Berlin was replaced by buses from New Britain Station in 1935. The Station was sold to the city in 1956 and was torn down in November for another parking lot. A ticket office was opened in the Arcade, the last passenger train was from Waterbury to Hartford in January 1960, and the ticket office closed in September of that year.

New Britain Station (Proposed)

Thanks to the late Dave Peters Sr., a former employee of the New Haven Railroad and founder of the Peters Railroad Museum, several plans of New Britain Station were saved. The first two plans from are an early iteration of the new station to be built. It has a lot of similarities with the completed station, but some interesting differences in the design too. These plans indicated they are from the Civil Engineer's Office of the N.Y.N.H.&H. R.R., New Haven. These are ink on vellum, not blueprints.

Dated March 13, 1885 showing the street side, and several cut-away views.

Dated August 23, 1885. This includes the site plan, showing that the station would be 40'-0" x 142'-0" with a 472'-0" platform.

The plan is from the track side and one end, plus the interior layout.

New Britain Station

These blueprints, which I've inverted digitally and cleaned up the best I can, are dated April 1886 and show the station as it would appear when completed in early 1887. The general design is the same, but much less ornate. They are labeled: R.R. File, Building Inventory.

Drawing No. 1 shows the track side of the station and interior cut-aways.

Drawing No. 2 shows the street side, end, and interiors. 

Drawing No. 6 shows various details: trusses, framing of the waiting room ceiling and roof, plaster cornice, door and window finish, wainscot, and the ventilators.

Track side of the station. August 28, 1929.

East side of the station. c1947.

Street side. October 10, 1930. Note the ventilators from the drawing above.

Street and East sides. May 25, 1928 (still with a horse and carraige).

Street side of the station. Date unknown.

It doesn't look much later than the 1930 photo above, but the entire center of the second floor has been reworked and the ventilators are gone too.

When the Highland Line was single-tracked in the summer of 1954, a Train Order Signal was added.

The Station and Arcade c1954.

H.L. Moore Drug Exchange opened in 1953.

The Train Order Signal is present but not operational (no semaphore blades installed yet).

I-2 No. 1319 with eastbound passenger train (probably No. 476) on Saturday, May 24, 1947. Note center of second floor of station. Kent Cochrane.

Railroad Arcade

Drawing No. 5 "Plan for Block of Stores and Offices" shows the general plan of the Railroad Arcade, including the tower and interior. Dated September 1890.

There's a handwritten notation that it was checked in the field and found accurate for RR ICC.

The new station also included the unique Railroad Arcade extending from the station toward, to Main Street. This was a block of retail businesses at street level and offices/apartments on the second floor. It appears that the track side of the second floor was the hallway. By the era modeled, the second floor was listed as vacant. The Arcade was sold in 1962 and eventually razed.

This crop of a 1950 Sanborn Insurance Map shows the Station and Railroad Arcade. Note the platform (yellow) has been shortened by this time.

On the layout the Station and Arcade are just off of the front edge. I plan to build a model in the future that will attach to the front of the layout to allow me to replicate the many photos taken that look down the Arcade.

Crop from a 1955 Thomas Airview aerial photo of the Arcade and Station. You can see the Train Order Signal on the track side of the station.

In the Town Directory, the Railroad Arcade is listed as a street. There are 16 addresses for the main Arcade building, with #5 the entrance for the second floor.

I've compiled the tenant listing starting in 1948, with any changes noted for each year through 1954. If a street number is not listed in the directory, I assumed that one of the adjacent stores occupied two spaces. No. 13 is not used, it is noted as no. 12a.

Paul's Beauty Shop is listed with no street number and occupies the back half of one of the Main Street buildings, and continues eastward with no. 1.


-Paul's Beauty Shop (no street number)

1. L.P. Suzio Tavern

2. vacant store

3. A.A. Goldberg Cigars

4. A.H. Enoch, Jeweler

5. Stairs to second floor

6. vacant store

7. M. Zucker Furniture

8. not listed; presumably part of M. Zucker Furniture

9. not listed; presumably part of M. Zucker Furniture

10. H.F. Graham Hugh Associates adv(ertising?)

11. not listed; Presumably part of Arcade Billiard Parlor

12. Arcade Billiard Parlor

12a. Leslie Albert Inc., Shirt Manufacturers

14. Jartman Heating & Cooling Company

15. L. Croll, Plumber

16. not listed; Presumably part of L. Croll, Plumber


2. Baran & Co. Electrical Contractors

12a. M.P. French Signs 


1. Arcade Restaurant 


3. vacant store

6. Dolores' Dance Studios

7. Flomar Inc. Clothing

8. Stifel-Kufta Display & Machine Company

9. The House of Plastics

12a. not listed 


3. Machine, Tool & Design Company

7. Salvation Army Clothing

10. not listed; Presumably part of The House of Plastics

14. vacant store 


2. vacant store

3. Spano Printing

14. Moore H L Drug Exchange 


2. Fashionette Inc, Clothing

 Arcade and Station taken from Main St., July 27, 1926

Rear of the Arcade. July 27, 1926

Rear of the Arcade. July 27, 1926

Rear of the Arcade. March 24, 1928

Left half of the trackside of the Arcade. September 26, 1929

The 1934 Fairchild Aerial Survey shows the platform canopy still extended all the way to Main St.

It also shows that the center dormer had already been modified and the ventilators removed.

Parlor-Lounge recently renamed "New Britain" on display in front of the Arcade May 6, 1950. Kent Cochrane.


You can see nine different postcards of New Britain Station on my blog.

Sale of the Station

Map of New Britain Station and the land to be sold to the City of New Britain, dated March, 1956.