Near the intersection of the Silas Deane Highway with Church Street in Wethersfield, at 7 Railroad Place, is a former railroad depot, erected in 1871. A small wood-frame structure, it was built by the Connecticut Valley Railroad line, which became the Hartford and Connecticut Valley Railroad in 1880. Two years later the railroad line became a branch of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad and was eventually acquired by the State of Connecticut in 1970. A passenger station once stood next to the depot but later burned down. The once vacant depot was until recently home to Narcissus Chocolate Cafe, but since 2013 it has been the offices of the Jones Group Insurance Agency.
Union Station in New Haven, the city’s main railroad passenger station, was built in 1917-1920 for the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad. The station was designed by the noted architect Cass Gilbert.
It is the third major passenger station to serve New Haven. The first Union Station, opened by the New York and New Haven Railroad in 1848, stood on Chapel Street east of downtown. It was designed by Henry Austin. The NY&NH merged with the Hartford & New Haven Railroad in 1872. The consolidated company decided to construct a new station a few blocks south of the old Chapel Street station. Built in 1874 in the Second French Empire style, it stood at the site of the current Union Station parking garage and was later destroyed in a fire.
After World War II the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad fell into decline. Union Station was shuttered in 1972, leaving only the section under the tracks open to passengers. The station came close to demolition before Northeast Corridor Improvement Project led to renovations in the 1980s. Union Station reopened in 1985.
The community of Southport in the town of Fairfield has two historic railroad stations (one eastbound and one westbound) on the New Haven Line of the Metro-North Railroad (originally a line of the the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad). The older of the two is the eastbound station, built in 1884 to replace an earlier railroad depot destroyed in a fire. It is typical of the brick stations that were built in Connecticut in the 1880s, but with more than usual attention to its decorative roof that reflects the High Victorian Gothic and Eastlake styles. No longer used as a station, the building is now home to Paci Restaurant. Read the rest of this entry »
Built in 1900 for the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad, the Berlin train station at 51 Depot Road in the Kensington section of Berlin is considered to be one of the best preserved of Connecticut’s smaller historic railroad depots. Now serving Amtrak’s New Haven-Springfield line, the building has an original rounded walled ticket office in the waiting room. The station had structural renovations in 2005 but is awaiting a thorough restoration.
The Thomaston Railway Station, built in 1881, was part of the Naugatuck Railroad which began operations in September of 1849. The building served as a railway station until 1958, but then suffered from years of neglect and an arson fire in 1993. Since 1999, the station has been the home base of the Railroad Museum of New England, which now operates the Naugatuck Railroad, a scenic train ride between Waterville and Thomaston.
The railroad came to Naugatuck in 1849 and by the turn-of-the-century the lines through town were owned by the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad. When the time came to design a new and larger railway station, John H. Whittemore, Naugatuck’s great manufacturer and philanthropist, who had done so much to shape the architecture of the town center according to his vision of a “City Beautiful,” offered to help pay for its construction if he could select the building’s architect. Whittemore, who was also director of the New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad, commissioned Henry Bacon to design the station, which was constructed between 1908 and 1910. The style of the building has been described as Spanish Colonial Revival, but also as Italian Villa style. Although trains still stop at a newer station nearby, the old station closed in the mid-1960s. Used for a time as a newspaper plant by the Naugatuck Daily News, the building has more recently been restored and converted into a museum by the Naugatuck Historical Society.
Another historic Connecticut train station of the 1870s is the Wallingford Railroad Station, built in 1871 by the Hartford & New Haven Railroad on the Springfield Line. With its distinctive Mansard roof and decorative brackets, both elements of the Second Empire style, the Wallingford Station remains a prominent local landmark, located near where Hall and Quinnipiac Avenues intersect with Colony Street. Although the inside of the building has not been open as a station selling tickets since 1991, it remains an active Amtrak station. Owned by the town since 1964, the the station‘s interior was redesigned in the 1970s and the roof and exterior restored in the early 1990s. A number of businesses and organizations have been located in the station over the years. Most recently, it has housed the Wallingford Adult Education Program and the basement has been used by the New Haven Society of Model Engineers. Wallingford is also home to the Peters Rail Road Museum.