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University Railroad Collection

Identifier: 1997-0041

Scope and Content

This is an artificial collection of publications, timetables, forms, reports, track diagrams and charts, locomotive specifications, equipment blueprints, maps, drawings and artwork, and photographs almost exclusively associated with the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad and its predecessor and successor railroad lines, gathered from many donors and purchases. There are a small number of documents from other railroads in the United States and other countries.


  • undated, 1841-2006


The collection is open and available for research.

Restrictions on Use and Copyright Information

Permission to publish from these Papers must be obtained in writing from both the University of Connecticut Libraries and the owner(s) of the copyright.

Use of the glass negative in Box 53 and the unbound shipping log for the Philadelphia, Reading & New England Railroad in Box 75 must be under the supervision of the Archives & Special Collections reference desk staff.


For almost one hundred years the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad, better known as the New Haven Railroad, was the primary means of passenger and freight transportation in southern New England. Chartered in 1872, this merger between the New York & New Haven and Hartford & New Haven railroads later included the long desired rail link between Boston and New York. Approximately one hundred small independent railroads were built in southern New England between 1826 and the 1880s. By 1904, the majority were absorbed into the vast New Haven system. At its peak in 1929, the New Haven Railroad owned and operated 2,131 miles of track throughout eastern New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.

The local railroad lines that eventually became part of the New Haven system developed in response to local business and transportation needs. Unlike the Western states, where railroads preceded and shaped settlement, in the Northeast they served primarily to link existing towns, businesses, and markets. The New Haven system thus developed as a result of numerous consolidations and mergers. The New Haven traced its founding to 1826, when one of its predecessor companies originated, but the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad was not chartered until 1872. The company followed the pattern of consolidation established by the Pennsylvania Railroad and other companies, particularly after 1889, when major lines in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and southern Massachusetts provided a strong network linking New York and Boston. By 1890, company revenue exceeded $100,000,000 per year, and the New Haven employed 4,000 people to serve twelve million passengers annually.

This success led a wealthy group of New York investors, headed by J. Pierpont Morgan, to seek and gain control of the New Haven's board. In 1903, Morgan installed Charles Mellen as president of the railroad. Together Morgan and Mellen set out to achieve a complete monopoly of transportation in New England. Substantial improvements to the system were made during the Mellen years, including electrification of rail lines between Woodlawn, New York, and New Haven, Connecticut, and construction of a power generating plant in Cos Cob, Connecticut. These accomplishments, however, were overshadowed by Morgan's ambitious schemes to dominate all modes of transportation in New England. Steamboat lines, trolley companies, and other railroad lines were purchased regardless of price and incorporated into the New Haven system.

An investigation of the New Haven's activities by Louis Brandeis in 1907 revealed the overextended railroad was on the verge of financial collapse. Morgan's death in 1913 and Mellen's subsequent resignation brought to a close a stormy period in the New Haven's history.

During the First World War, all of the railroads in the United States, including the New Haven Railroad, were operated by the federal government. After the war, under Edward Pearson, President through 1928, the railroad was able to recover partially, despite increasing competition from automobiles, by sharing in the national economic growth of the 1920s. The company tried to meet this transportation competition by forming the New England Transportation Company, which operated a fleet of trucks and buses. Recovery of the New Haven, however, was cut short by the Depression of the 1930s, and in 1935 the New Haven plunged into bankruptcy. The company remained in trusteeship until 1947, when it returned to private ownership.

A series of struggles for control of the company in the post World War II period severely weakened the management of the company and its ability to adapt to changes in the transportation industry. The completion of the Connecticut Turnpike and other superhighways and the start of air shuttle service between Boston and New York intensified competition. The company's historic liability as a railroad overburdened with many short, costly branch lines further accelerated its decline.

On 7 July 1961, the New Haven Railroad once again went into receivership. A seven year trusteeship period followed, culminating in the absorption of the New Haven in the Penn Central system on 1 January 1969. Three years later the Penn Central itself collapsed into bankruptcy. The former components of the New Haven Railroad were divided among several entities. Freight service was assumed by Conrail when it was formed in 1976, although the Providence & Worcester also provided freight service on portions of the former New Haven, as did a few other operators. Passenger commuter service was funded by the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority and the Connecticut Department of Transportation. Long-haul passenger service was provided by Amtrak beginning in 1971. After 1976 passenger commuter service was operated by Conrail. In 1982, the United States Congress passed legislation that forced Conrail to divest itself of its commuter rail lines. On 1 January 1983, Metro-North Commuter Railroad, under joint ownership of the states of New York and Connecticut, took over all commuter passenger service. Amtrak continued to handle all long-haul passenger service.

The history of the New Haven Railroad reveals a company formed by one of the classic merger and consolidation patterns of the late 19th century, which was later unable to respond effectively to major changes in the transportation industry. The company's rapid growth, collapse, temporary recovery, and final dissolution offer a dramatic story, with government regulation, internal management decisions, and market competition playing important roles in the company's history.


72.25 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



This is an artificial collection of publications, timetables, forms, reports, track diagrams and charts, equipment blueprints, maps, drawings and artwork, and photographs almost exclusively associated with the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad and its predecessor railroad lines, gathered from many donors and purchases.


Series I: Papers, undated, 1841-1993, consists of writings, instructions, timetables and memoranda involving the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad's various operations, predecessors, stations and work processes. The later material, including employee timetables and rosters, is from Penn Central, Amtrak and Conrail, particularly their Northeast region operations, and Metro-North Commuter Railroad. The materials are organized chronologically.

Series II: Track Diagrams and Charts, Maps, Equipment Blueprints, Surveyor's Field Books, Drawings, and Artwork, undated, 1841-1984, are arranged as separate subseries.

Subseries A, Track Diagrams, shows property of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad and many predecessors lines including as the Berkshire Railroad and the Holyoke & Westfield Railroad.

Subseries B, Maps, is arranged by item and thereunder chronologically of maps of properties of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad and several of its predecessors. Of particular interest are maps of the Belle Dock railroad terminal in New Haven, Connecticut.

Subseries C, Equipment Blueprints, are of equipment designed and used by the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad. They are arranged by an item number represented on each drawing.

Subseries D consists of 32 surveyor's field books, circa 1919-1927, consisting of surveys of property owned by the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad, done by the Real Estate and Right of Way Department from the general offices in New Haven, Connecticut. The field books show drawings of property in Connecticut, showing meticulous drawings of property owned by the railroad.

Subseries E, Drawings and Artwork, includes drawings of New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad locomotives by William Dulmaine, Jr., and "Heidorn."

Series III: Photographs, 1930s-1995, includes images of locomotives and cars of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad, the New Haven, Connecticut, railroad station, and of policemen employed by the railroad. Also of special interest are station surveys, done in 1954-1955, of stations along the New Haven District and the New York District, with photographs taken by Charles B. Gunn, who served as company photographer at that time. The collection also includes two boxes of photographic prints, most of which were taken by George E. Votava, of locomotives and cars of the New Haven Railroad and of street railways in Connecticut.

Series IV: Gift of Gary Carlquist, undated, 1897-1984, consists of forms, letters, photographs, rule books, anual reports, track plans, keys, ticket punchers, and drawings associated with the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad and its predecessors. The materials are listed in no particular order.

Series V: Gift of Carl Leaman, (1858-1944) is composed almost exclusively of timetables for the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad and its predecessor railroad lines of the Hartford, Providence & Fishkill Railroad, the New York, Providence & Boston Railroad, the Connecticut Valley Railroad, the Old Colony Railroad, and the Lowell and Lawrence Railroad. They are organized by railroad. It also includes a writing about the electrification of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad and a listing of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad station numbers.

Series VI: Realia, consists of a cup and saucer used on the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad dining cars.

Series VII: Accession 2013.0121, consists of publications, reports, guidebooks, newspaper clippings, rule books, timetables, photographic prints, realia, and a map, all related to the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad, its predecessors and successor.

Series VIII: Accession 2014.0041 consists of a large patent for a railroad box, a scrapbook, and three cased daguerreotype photographs, all associated with Ferdinand Leppens of Hartford, Connecticut, who served as a foreman in the Car Department of the Hartford & New Haven Railroad.

Series IX: Accession 2015.0011 consists of timetables, publications, photographs, drawings, maps, accident case files and stock certificates. Also includes work diaries of NHRR employee W. E. Parry and a photograph of Patrick B. McGinnis at a dinner honoring NHRR employees with 40 and more years of service.

Provenance and Acquisition

This is an artificial collection of papers, timetables, blueprints, correspondence, maps, publications and photographs gathered from many different donors or, for a very few items, of purchases from dealers. Materials noted were graciously donated by the following persons:

The maps of the Connecticut Railroad Commissioners were donated by Max Miller of Higganum, Connecticut.

The child's coloring book was donated by Norman Stevens of Storrs, Connecticut.

The August 1955 Menu & Travel Guide was donated in 2000 by Cristiana Graham.

The photographic prints in Accession 1999.0077, in Boxes 66 and 67, were purchased from a dealer in 1999.

The glass negative of a railroad bridge in Naugatuck, Connecticut, was donated by Charles Dunn of Naugatuck in 2002.

The Surveyor's Field Books in Box 29 were donated in 2003 by the Connecticut Department of Transportation.

The supplies catalogs in boxes 72 and 73 were donated in 2004 by Arthur E. Mitchell of Barre, Massachusetts.

Many of the materials in Series I and the track diagrams of Series II were donated in October 2006 by Sandy Abbati in loving memory of her relatives Paul LaBerge, Joseph LaBerge and Artie Lynch, who were employed by the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad and its successors.

The 1969 photograph of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad Police Department was donated in May 2007 by Frederick Chidester, Sr. of Milford, Connecticut.

The Hartford, Connecticut, Windsor Street Yard track map, the 1946 New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad Boston office telephone directory, and the 1928 smallpox file were donated in July 2007 and May 2008 by Stanislaus Whittlesey of Little Rock, Arkansas. All of the items in Box 52 were donated by Mr. Whittlesey in June 2011 and November 2012.

The timetables in 28:107 and 59:139 were donated in October 2008, November 2009, December 2010 and January 2014 by Carl Leaman of Westport, Connecticut.

The timetables in 28:112 were donated in May 2009 by Beth Magura of Stafford Springs, Connecticut.

The materials in Box 27 and the photographs of the New Haven, Connecticut, railroad station were donated in July 2009 by Gary Carlquist, formerly of Branford, Connecticut.

The photographs taken by Joseph P. Boreskie of Gretna, Manitoba, Canada, were donated in September 2009 by his son Tom Boreskie of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

The photographs of railroad cars of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad, taken outside of their usual territory and the 1944 article from Enginemen's Magazine were donated in October 2009 by Gary Stengle of North Platte, Nebraska.

The station surveys in Boxes 54-57 were donated by Frank N. Morrissey of Braintree, Massachusetts, in September 2011. The materials in 60:136 and all of the contents of Box 61 were donated by Mr. Morrissey in March 2012. All materials in Series VII: Accession 2013.0121 were donated by Mr. Morrissey in September 2013.

The blueprints and diagrams in 60:135 were donated by the Baltimore & Ohio Historical Society of Baltimore, Maryland, in December 2011.

The materials in 28:114 were collected from the South Norwalk, Connecticut, freight depot, and were donated by John R. Iacovino of Wallace, North Carolina. Mr. Iacovino also donated all materials in 59:133 in October 2012.

The timetables in 59:134 were donated in March 2012 by Carol Stoller of Newton, Massachusetts.

The track diagrams and Ridgefield & New York Railroad items in 52:129 were donated in August 2012 by John R. Iacovino of Wallace, North Carolina.

The Connecticut Valley Railroad timetable at 59:132 was donated in November 2012 by Kim Sheridan of Essex, Connecticut.

The track plans in Item 64 were donated by Chris Nielsen of Roanoke, Virginia, in December 2012.

The cup and saucer in Box 65 were donated by Maryellen Fargey of Dayton, Ohio, in February 2013.

The correspondence and grievance claims in Accession 2013.0174 were donated by Mr. Robert A. Lingane of West Haven, Connecticut, in December 2013.

The patent, scrapbook and cased images related to Ferdinand Leppens of Hartford, Connecticut, who served as a Foreman in the Car Department of the Hartford & New Haven Railroad, which can be found in Series XIII (Accession 2014.0041) were donated in April 2014 by Susan and David Muszynski of Caseyville, Illinois.

The copy of "The Devastation and Restoration of New England's Vital Life-Line" and the three photographs of a 1957 train wreck, taken by New Haven Railroad employee Myles Thurber Savery, were eonated by his grand-daughter Lara K. Underwood of Fairfax, Virginia, in April 2014.

The New Haven Railroad locomotive specifications from 1969 in box 74 were donated in May 2014 by the North Shore Model Railroad Club of Wakefield, Massachusetts.

The 1893 Old Colony Railroad annual report in Box 68 was donated in May 2014 by Jeff Barske, son of Elliott G. Barske who worked for the New Haven Railroad and its successors from 1944 to 1980.

The unbound shipping log for the Philadelphia, Reading & New England Railroad was donated in May 2014 by Mr. Fred Newman of Winsted, Connecticut.

All of the items in Accession 2014.0106 were donated by Karen K. Golden of Hamden, Connecticut. The materials were collected by her father, George A. Klaiber, Jr. (1915-10-30 - 2004-01-30), a long-time employee of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad who served as a secretary to one of the Vice-Presidents prior to World War II and then, after the war, as a Main Contract Agent who specialized in sidetrack contracts. Mr. Klaiber retired from this position, with Penn Central, in 1973.

All materials -- the Metro-North catenary reports, track charts and the "Danger" sign used for pantographs -- in Box 2014-0127_1 were donated in September 2014 by Robert Krewson, formerly an employee of Metro-North Commuter Railroad.

Two accessions -- 2014-0069 of a train wreck in Stamford, Connecticut, and 2014-0174, of locomotives at the Stamford, and the Bronx, New York, railroad stations -- were taken and donated by Dick Bertel of Gaithersburg, Maryland, in 2014.

The Poughkeepsie River bridge drawings in Accession 2015.0050 were donated in 2012 by Mr. Eric Bott of Saint Peters, Missouri.

The DVD of footage of New York City area trains in 1966 and 1970, including the New Haven Railroad, New York Central Railroad, and Penn Central trains, in Accession 2015.0105, was taken and donated by Jeffrey G. Mora of Washington, D.C.

The reports and other items related to the electrification of Amtrak along the Northeast Corridor from New Haven, Connecticut, to Boston, Massachusetts, in Accession 2015.0110, were donated in August 2015 by David Warner of Wilmington, Delaware.

The children's menu and ticket envelope in Accession 2016.0040 were donated by Mr. Mike Parsons of Leicester, Great Britain, in December 2015.

The stock certificate in Accession 2016.0041 were donated by Mr. Art McClellan of Jackson, California, in February 2016.

Existence and Location of Copies

Digital reproductions of materials in this collection may also be found in the Archives & Special Collections digital repository

University Railroad Collection
Archives & Special Collections staff
2011 January
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Special Collections, University of Connecticut Library Repository

University of Connecticut Library
405 Babbidge Road Unit 1205
Storrs Connecticut 06269-1205 USA US