Steam Locomotives

Steam Power on the New Haven

The New Haven dieselized rapidly following WWII and the number of steam-hauled trains on the Highland declined each year from 1945-1948. Although all passenger trains were still steam hauled in November 1947, only one daytime freight (the New Hartford Local). still was. At least one T-2-b switcher remained in New Britain, but it appears to have been only as a spare. By November 1948, only one passenger train (131/136) was still assigned steam, the rest remaining the same. A year later all steam was gone on the Highland.

At one point I had planned on modeling 1949, because it would be too expensive to build a roster of brass steam locomotives. That moved back to 1948 when I would only need "one or two." Of course, once that started, I found that 1948 needed at least three (including the R-1-b for ANE-1/EA-2). Of course, that led to a J-1, and a couple of L-1s, even an I-4 before the Broadway Limited one came along. Eventaually my roster was nine or ten. But once I narrows my operating window to the switcher shifts, and discovered that the Holyoke freights were dieselized in 1945, I've sold off most of the extras. I can add them later if I want, but for now I was heppy to see them go to new homes.

I-Class 4-6-2 Pacific

The I-class locomotives formed the backbone of New Haven passenger service in the mid-to-late steam era. On the Highland during 1947 there are three classes that made appearances.

I-1 Class

I-1 No. 1001 on eastbound passenger train (probably 446). Kent Cochrane, July 7, 1947.

The I-1 class consisted of 32 locomotives, 30 built in 1907 and two more in 1910. When built they were premier power replacing 4-4-0 Atlantics on Shore Line trains, but were moved to extra sections, the Springfield and branch lines as the heavier Pacifics were delivered in the 'teens. All but six were still in service at the end of 1947.

The last run for No. 1001 on the Highland was hauling a snow plow and derrick to Boston from Waterbury on May 17, 1948. It's not a class I'll need to model, which is fortunate, because no model has ever been released. But it wouldn't be hard to run a session in 1946...

I-2 Class

I-2 No. 1324 at New Britain Station. Kent Cochrance c1947.

In 1913, 50 new I-2 Pacifics were delivered, in part due to the decision to upgrade all Shoreline trains to all steel passenger cars. They took over the Shoreline but were bumped to lesser service with the delivery of the I-4 class only three years later. By 1947 all but one was still on the roster. They were the regular power for most Highland Line passenger trains, with No. 1331 holding on as the assigned locomotive for 131/136 until November 20, 1948.

It's an easy class to model, the Crown Custom brass release is extremely accurate and runs very smoothly.

I-4 Class

I-4 No. 1383 at New Britain Station with Train No. 131. Kent Cochrane c.1947.

The I-4 was the New Haven's signature locomotive, handling almost all the Shoreline trains for nearly two decades. The streamlined I-5 class would bump them off of the top trains (Merchants, Yankee Clipper, etc.), but they were otherwise the primary passenger locomotive on the Shoreline and Springfield Line until the arrival of the DER-1 diesel-electrics.

The I-4 wasn't regularly assigned to any Highland trains but would sometimes be seen on 131/136 out of Boston as the late '40s continued. It's another easy locomotive to model with the excellent Broadway Limited release (I was one of several advisors). The challenge, like lots of New Haven steam, was their tendancy to swap tenders among classes. The tender seen above has not been produced in plastic or brass, at least not without modification. This is a potential issue for the I-2 and T-2-b models as well.

K-1-d Class 2-6-0 Mogul

K-1-d class 479 at Plainville yard, 1948. Kent Cochrane.

The K-1-b/d class 2-6-0 moguls were once the largest class of steam on the New Haven Railroad accounting for 195 of the 240 K-class locomotives.

By 1946 there were only 19 K-1-b (not including the two oil burners) and 21 K-1-d locomotives remaining. There were still 21 K-1-d class locomotives in 1947, 20 in 1948, but only 6 in September of 1949.

The difference between the two classes is easy to identify, the K-1-d was simply a superheated version of the K-1-b. They received new cylinder castings and external valve gear that replaced the square steam chest.

Valve Gear

Steam locomotive valve gear is a rather esoteric subject, but at the time (and for some modelers) it's a very noticeable part of the locomotive.

The K-1-b locomotives have Stephenson inside valve gear. That means that the mechanical rods

When a number of the K-1-b locomotives were superheated and reclassified as K-1-d, in addition to the new cylinder castings, they received new valve gear. Three different types were used on the NH K-1-d class.

The majority received Baker, but a handful received Southern or Walschaerts instead. Here's an informative page with animations on how the different designs work.

By 1946, The K-1-d class at this time had either Baker (15) or Southern (6) valve gear. No. 479, as can clearly be seen in the photo above, had Southern.

K-1-d New Britain Assignments

Other than an occasional work train, there is but one assignment utilizing a K-1 class through New Britain in my era.

    • 1946 - 479 - HDX-5

    • 1947 - 479 - HDX-5

    • 4/20/48 - 479 - HDX-5

    • 9/28/48 - 479 - HDX-5

    • 1/7/49 - 479 - Condemned

Although I don't have engine assignments for 1946-7 yet, I have many photos of K-1-d #479 on the New Hartford local in 1947 and 1948. However, I also have a photo of 479 on a work train on September 18, 1948. I know that the New Hartford local was rolled into YN-4 sometime between September 1948 and April 1949, and I think that may have happened prior to November 1948.

Modeling K-1-d No. 479

New England Rail Services produced the K-1-b and K-1-d in brass. They are beautiful models and good runners.

In the paperwork that came with the model it indicates that the initial release of the K-1-d has Baker valve gear, with the Southern and Walschearts valve gear variations to follow soon.

Those were never released.

Naturally, 479 has Southern valve gear, so I need to figure out how to make those modifications.

T-2 Class 0-6-0 Switcher

The T-2 class were 0-6-0 switchers in four subclasses by 1946. Two of the subclasses were utilized in New Britain at one point or another. The spotting feature is that T-2-a class had their main rod connected to the second driver, while the T-2-b class had the main rod connected to the third driver.

T-2-a class switcher 2327 under steam, with a second T-2 class behind it on the engine servicing tracks in New Britain.

The photographer and date unknown, but prior to February 2, 1945 when it was condemned.

Note the gondola stenciled for rubbish service but loaded with coal for the switchers.

T-2-b class 2446 at New Britain engine servicing. This was the last T-2-b assigned to New Britain. Kent Cochrane August 1948.

Tom McNamara handwritten note on the back of the photo says,

"New Britain switcher at NB Engine Storage 8/48. Diesel switchers (0800s) had been working in NB (3/47) for over a year at the time of this photo and 2446's career was over."

There's a video of No. 2446 in Hartford/East Hartford with the stack capped in April 1948, and an April 1948 Utilization of Locomotives report indicates it is assigned East Hartford, DSF (dumped, save fuel). Yet here it is back in New Britain in August of 1948 with a full load of coal and the stack is no longer capped. The September 1948 Engine Assignments listed 2446 as assigned to New Britain, DSF. Although not in use daily, it remains in case there is an issue, or one of the DEY-4 (44-tonner) locomotives is shopped.

It was later photographed in Readville under steam in December, 1948, assigned to Readville in April 1949 and noted as DSF, and then photographed on July 2, 1949 in Readville already partially stripped. It was condemned October 14, 1949.

T-2 Class New Britain Assignments

Unfortunately, I don't have Engine Assignment books for 1946. Since the steam switchers were replaced in March, 1947, the April, 1947 assignments would already show the 0800-series DEY-4 (44-tonner) switchers assigned.

Photos clearly show that T-2-b 2446 was working New Britain in 1946.

The photo of 2327 at engine servicing has a second switcher parked behind it. This, along with the fact that two DEY-4 (44-tonner) switchers are assigned to New Britain going forward, leads me to believe that there were two T-2 classes assigned until their arrival in March, 1947. But since 2327 was condemned in 1945, the question is which other T-2 was assigned to New Britain in 1946?

At that date, there are only 14 T-2 class locomotives still in service at that date:

  • 2312 (T-2-a)

  • 2319 (T-2-a)

  • 2326 (T-2-a)

  • 2378

  • 2383

  • 2393

  • 2398

  • 2403

  • 2411

  • 2416

  • 2446

  • 2454

  • 2457

  • 2466

Of those, 2319 and 2378 were condemned March 18, 1947. The records of 2446 show that the condemnation date can come quite a while after the locomotive is out of service. So it's probably not those.

2398 was photographed in Hartford in August 1947. It's also one of the switchers that received the extended coal bunker. Since the Overland brass model has that tender, that's the locomotive I'll model as the second switcher for 1946 unless I unearth other records/photos.

Earlier Assignments

From 1919 to 1925 there were as many as three switchers assigned to New Britain, plus additional ones for neighboring towns. Not all were T-2 classes, but I've compiled the full assignments here.

Modeling the T-2-b

The only model available in HO scale was produced by Overland in brass. It's a well detailed model, and comes with the extended coal bunker used on several of this class.

T-2-a class 2327 working Whiting St. Yard between November, 1936, the earliest that C&I had AAR Standard offset-side hoppers as seen over the tender, and February 2, 1945 when no. 2327 was condemned.

Date and photographer unknown.

T-2-b class 2435 working New Britain Yard at Elm St.

The date and photographer are unknown, however this locomotive was condemned on August 15, 1944. Note the extended coal bunker that was installed on several T-2 class locomotives.

T-2-b class 2446 at Washington St., New Britain. Kent Cochrane.

The photo is not dated, but the reweigh date on OSL 135311 is 9-45, so it's between that and March, 1947.

T-2-b class 2446 westbound at Russell & Erwin September 7, 1946. Kent Cochrane.

Other Highland Steam

Of course, even though I don't need models of other classes right now, Kent Cochrane (and Tom McNamara) has left us a wonderful catalog of New Haven steam in New Britain. Here are a few more. Not all of these photos were notated, but I believe they are all by Kent.

These and more on the blog.

Left, J-1 pulling a cut in Whiting St. Yard (taken from Ellis St. Bridge).

Above: A pair of J-1s on a Holyoke freight, June 1940.

L-1 32278 westbound with AO-3 crossing over Main St., New Britain. March 1947.

R-1-b and L-1 double-heading westbound on AO-3 at Tuttle & Bailey, New Britain. c1947.