Freight Service

New Britain Freight Time Tables

These are the schedules through the era I'm modeling. The green shaded section are the trains that will run during an operating session. Roughly two-thirds of the freights run overnight and pick up or leave cuts of cars for switching.

Freight Schedules

The New Haven Railroad typically published freight timetables twice yearly, in the spring (April) and autumn (September) which coincided with the start and end of Daylight savings. Like passenger service, two types of schedules were published, employee schedules and public schedules.

I've compiled the data into the spreadsheet above, highlighting in green the trains that will be running on the layout. Times in parenthesis are trains that are not scheduled to stop in New Britain. 

Freight Trains

Depending on the year, there are up to three road freight routes:

Holyoke: Cedar Hill to Holyoke via Berlin-New Britain-Plainville

Maybrook: Maybrook to Hartford

Speed Witch: Bridgeport to Hartford

In addition, there is a single local freight that originates in Hartford

New Hartford Local: Hartford to New Hartford via Plainvile.

Arranged Freight Train Service Symbol Books

These booklets consisted of 100+ loose-leaf pages in a bound book about 4.25" x 9.25". These are employee documents and included classification instructions, arrival and departure times for each town, including local freights, blocking, and other information needed for freight agents and conductors in freight service. Changes to schedules would be made via bulletins.

Symbol Freights

Trains designated in the Arranged Freight Service are known as "Symbol Freights." Major points were designated by a letter: "A" for Hartford; "O" for Maybrook, for example. Thus, trains running from Hartford to Maybrook carry the "AO" symbol, and the reverse the "OA" symbol. Westbound trains use odd numbers (AO-3) and eastbound even (OA-4).

Local Freights

Local freights are also notated in the books but aren't assigned a symbol in the same manner. They are identified by their division and number. For example, the New Hartford local is the 5th local freight notated, so is HDX-5 (Hartford Division eXtra-5). Once there were only two divisions (New Haven and Boston), the "D" was eliminated, and trains were assigned new numbers and the NH local became NX-25. 

Freight Train & Package Car Schedules

These pamphlets, typically about 75 pages, were provided to industries and shippers to advertise LCL and freight service. In addition to local and through freight listings and departure times, they provided delivery dates for many offline routes. Shippers and/or receivers selected the route when requesting service.

For example, freight leaving New Britain on an extra (local) at 1:05 pm Monday arrives in Chicago, IL at 6:00 am on Thursday via B&A-NYC.

Freight leaving the on the same train from New Britain but shipped via CV-CN would arrive by 1:00 pm on Friday instead.

These times weren't guaranteed and were used as examples to show how many days shipments would usually take. They were advertised routes because the blocks are already accounted for within the trains and across multiple railroads, so they were pretty reliable. More importantly from the Railroad's perspective is that they simplified operation and were usually the most profitable route. That doesn't mean they were more expensive for the shipper, just more profitable.


One of the biggest challenges as a prototype modeler is identifying which models are reasonably accurate, and for which roads. To the best of my knowledge, all of the cars in my roster and wish list meet my standards for prototypical accuracy and fidelity. 

Resin kits are usually very accurate, although there have been a few that were not. The quality and accuracy of plastic models is excellent nowadays, and many new models are quite accurate too, although you may need to address road specific details or upgrades or modifications made over their lives.

Newer generation manufacturers (Exactrail, Rapido, Tangent, etc.) tend to only produce models of specific prototypes. For other companies, Intermountain tends to be accurate too, although older tooling may not. Kadee only produces accurate models. I recommend doing your research for models from other older companies. I've compiled a post that covers the plastic models that I know are accurate.

Here are some posts about specific models, or modeling techniques:

New Haven Freight Cars

For a Class I Railroad, the New Haven had a small roster of freight cars. In some cases a single class of car on some of the larger railroads (Such as the B&O M-26 class boxcars) outnumbered the total roster of the New Haven.

You can view the ORER pages covering the New Haven I have here:

Collection of New Haven ORER Pages

May 1, 1950 ORER

Boxcars: 6,008

Covered Hoppers: 15

Flat Cars: 211

Gondolas: 1,153

Hoppers: 993

Total: 8,380

New Haven Freight Car Models

Fortunately for New Haven modelers, it's pretty easy to cover nearly the entire roster in plastic or resin.

I've compiled a spreadsheet that details the New Haven freight car roster for my era, and appropriate models. 


Modeling New Haven Freight Cars Spreadsheet


Box Cars 

The only real challenge is the New Haven's unusual 10'0" IH PS-1 box car which require kitbashing.

Covered Hoppers

The New Haven rostered only two covered hopper prototypes, and both are relatively easy to model.

Flat Cars 


I did a post on NH Gondolas here.


In 1940 the New Haven rostered about 2,250 hoppers. By 1950 it was down to 1,004.

The 115000- and 120000- series are USRA and USRA clone 55-ton twin hoppers. There are several models available, but with various issues.

The Accurail model is very accurate, but with molded on details.

The Tichy model has much better (and separate) details, including interior, but was tooled with the center two panels too wide.

MTH released a model with excellent detail. But it's not available lettered for the NH, and it's the delivery configuration with K-brakes, so it requires some redetailing. Scale Trains purchased the HO scale tooling from MTH so I'm looking forward to what they may release in the future.

There are no available models (yet) for the 116000-series.

New Haven Railroad Cabooses

Steel Underframe Cabooses

By the end of WWII, the New Haven rostered 5 classes of caboose, two wood with steel underframes, and three all-steel. A sixth and final class of steel cabooses (NE-6) were delivered starting late 1947 and into 1948. "NE" is the AAR designation for caboose, but the New Haven also used that as the classification of their types of cabooses.

With the exception of the ten NE-2 and -3 cabooses built for passenger service, the entire caboose fleet of the New Haven until 1940 were of wood construction with steel underframes. They were painted the same brown color as other wood equipment. In September 1947 there were they still outnumbered steel cabooses, 145 to 135. A year later that number had declined to 128. By September 1949 only 58 remained, and in 1950 just 33 steel-underframe cabooses remained on the roster.

By the era I'm modeling, only the New Hartford local appears to have been regularly assigned a steel underframe caboose. All other trains running through New Britain already had the NE-5 steel cabooses, many of which would be replaced by the NE-6 cabooses when they arrived.


NE caboose C-111. Date, location, and photographer unknown.

The NE class of cabooses were built by the New Haven at Readville between 1917 and 1921.

Of those 33 steel underframe cabooses left in 1950, only four of them are NE-Class: C-35 (Maybrook spare), -118 (Maybrook Tool Train), -215 (Bridgeport Wire Train), and -264 (New Haven Yard).

C-116 was frequently photographed on the New Hartford Local while still hauled by K-1-d No. 479. It was condemned February 15, 1950. This is the caboose I'll model.

NE-Class Models

Funaro and Camerlengo produced an easily found resin kit for NHRHTA years ago. Several brass ones have been released, with the Crown Custom/Railworks one being the most accurate.

I am using the Railworks one to model caboose C-116 for the New Hartford Local through 1947, and I may finish building the F&C kit for a second one.

NE-4 Class

Along with the NE-Class, these were the other primary class until 1944. Built on old box car underframes at East Hartford in 1928, they look like elongated NE-class cabooses. 

Several of them, C-311, C-330, C-364, C-375, and C-400, were assigned to Hartford or Waterbury during my era for flanger service. There are no specific work trains for either location listed, so I'll be utilizing C-311 for work train service.

NE-4 Class Models

NJ Custom Brass and Challenger have both released brass models of the NE-4. The Challenger one is the most accurate.

Steel Cabooses

The steel cabooses wore a bright DuPont Dulux Caboose Red enamel paint with white lettering and black roofs throughout the era I model.

NE-2 and NE-3 Classes

NE-2 caboose C-503 in Wethersfield, June 20, 1965.

These were the New Haven's earliest steel cabooses. Built in 1923 and 1928 respectively, the six NE-2 class cabooses were numbered C-500 to C-505 and the four NE-3 ones were C-506 to C-509. They had steam lines for use on passenger trains, primarily baggage/mail trains. None were assigned to trains going through New Britain, although a Paul Wales video c1946 the train has an NE-2 on a Maybrook freight.

NE-2 and NE-3 Models

Overland produced a brass model of the NE-2. It is very similar to a PRR N5 caboose and a decent model can be kitbashed from an inexpensive Bowser plastic kit. The NE-3 has not been produced.

NE-5 Class

NE-5 caboose C-606 in Westfield August 23, 1947

Mike Ribuffo and I wrote a Shoreliner article on this class (issue 37.3). Built in 1940-44, there are more variations in the railings and steps than one would expect.

By the time the Holyoke freights were dieselized with DEY-5 locomotives, they appear to have been assigned NE-5 cabooses. The photo above is of C-606 may have been on one of those trains. It's possible that it could have been on HDX-16, a local that originated in Westfield, but since this was prior to the delivery of the NE-6 cabooses, but prior to the delivery of the NE-6 cabooses, I think the NE-5 cabooses were primarily used on road freights.

NE-5 Class Models

Alco and Overland produced brass NE-5 models. Centralia Car Shops/Intermountain produced the cars in plastic.

To date, none are 100% accurate.  I will need several, and will kitbash them using all three of these models.

NE-6 Class

The final 75 cabooses delivered to the NH should have simply been more NE-5 cabooses, but an increase in cost led the NH to go to a different builder. Mike Ribuffo covered the class in Shoreliner 30.3.

Their delivery, the first four in late 1947, the remainder through spring of 1948, spelled the end of the steel underframe cabooses on the New Haven, allowing all road and local freights to be equipped with the NE-5 or NE-6 cabooses. 

NE-6 Class Models

Overland imported brass models, and Atlas has produced them in plastic. I'm modifying the Atlas models.

New Britain Caboose Assignments

Regular Assignments

The New Haven periodically published caboose assignment booklets, usually combined with maintenance of way (MOW) or work equipment, but at least once with engine assignments. I'm aware of ones from 1950, 1951, 1953, and 1956. For other years I have to rely on photos.

NE Class

NE-5 Class

NE-6 Class

Extra Cabooses

The Holyoke and Maybrook freights are assigned two cabooses each. Because of the length of the run the crews would outlaw (exceed 16 hours of service in a single day) on the return trip. Since two crews would be assigned, each would have a caboose assigned since the crews could use the caboose to sleep in during their off-hours.

At some point I may model these additional cabooses.

NE-4 Class

NE-5 Class

NE-6 Class

NE-6 class C-705 was regularly assigned to NY-2/YN-1. I find it interesting that the final five NE-6 class cabooses were all regularly assigned to run through New Britain during this era.