Showing posts from 2022

What Happened to US Highway 66's Spur Routes?

While the history of Route 66 is extremely well documented, both by myself and other transportation historians and bloggers, its child routes don't often get the same amount of attention. Of course, none of these routes had anywhere near the impact of 66 on our culture, but I think each one has a bit of interesting discussions about them to blog about. US Route 66 had seven spur routes from 166 to 666, with two different 366's in existence at different points in history, although none of these roads' legacies came close to that of its parent, with the possible exception of the infamous Devil's Highway , which necessitated a numbering change to US-491 in 2003. While Route 66 itself has a fairly bloody and dark history that isn't as discussed as much in nostalgia, so too does a few of its spur routes. EB US-166 assurance shield. Alex Nitzman photo. The poor engineering and high speeds of US-666 were the actual catalysts of the fate of the Devil's Highway, and a

The Melrose Trolley Trestle

 As I was building my map of the Connecticut Central Railroad for our last blog, I stumbled upon an abandoned right of way that was too interesting to not share! More accurately, a trestle of the Hartford and Springfield Street Railway that once ran over the former Melrose Station on the Connecticut Central Line. ( Present-day satellite view ) The interurban line ran from Windsor Locks, CT to Rockville, CT along what is mostly present day CT-140 and CT-83.  Melrose Trolley Trestle in the foreground with the Melrose Station in the background. University of Connecticut Archives. The bridge is described as follows by Cecil Donahue in East Windsor, " The New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad tracks running through Melrose hindered a trolley line to Rockville. A 500-foot-long trestle, known as a "roller coaster” trestle, was installed to span the tracks, and on May 20, 1906, the Rockville line was open. Although the trestle was of lightweight construction, built by the Be

The Original Connecticut Central Railroad (1871)

In 1871, at nearly the apex of the railroad boom created out of competition, a group of investors sought to challenge the success of the  Hartford and New Haven Railroad  between the fledgling cities of Hartford, CT and Springfield, MA, by building their own railway on the opposite site of the Connecticut River between the two cities.  The group would call the line the "Connecticut Central Railroad", and would attempt to secure financing and construction for the road in spite of the challenges to the company's existence brought forth by the New York New Haven and Hartford Railroad. Nonetheless, the company was able to secure funding for the line, and begin construction in 1874, opening two years later in 1876. For the Massachusetts segment of the line, the company secured the earlier, still unbuilt, right of way of the  Springfield & Longmeadow Railroad , which would be re-chartered as the Springfield and New London Railroad to meet the Connecticut Central at the stat

Model Railroads and Freight Cars

Hello again after a bit of a break! Recently, I received an email from a Boy Scout named Noah Miller who was interested in model railroading, and asked if I could link to an article on the subject that he had found especially useful. I decided to do one better and ask for permission to reproduce the article on my site! I've since received approval from the author and the result is below! For anyone who has frequented the site for as long as it's been online, you'll know I've done very little in the way of model railroading, as I find my time learning our history and building maps much more fulfilling, but that isn't to say that there isn't a huge community devoted to the subject that I would be foolish to ignore. Furthermore, upon reading the article, I learned about the Scottsdale Railroad Park , who has a small-gauge railway in operation in addition to a museum devoted to the railroad history of the area. Fun fact: Members of the McCormick Family, very activ

Why is a short road in Will County named the Chicago-Bloomington Trail?

There's a mystery I've been wanting to solve each time I venture down Cedar Rd in central Will County. A slightly-over one mile stretch of road extends from Cedar Road to Hadley Road in unincorporated Will County, near the similarly named settlement of the same name . Were it not named the Chicago Bloomington Trail, it wouldn't bear much though, but given how it's quite far from Chicago, and very far from Bloomington, IL, the nearest Bloomington that comes to mind, one has to wonder if it is a surviving relic that was once part of a much longer road/trail? Chicago-Bloomington Rd at Meader Rd. ( Google Maps Street View ) The answer, like with many roads in the US, is yes, or more accurately, perhaps . It has its origins in old Indian trails , but was plowed as a singular route between Chicago and Bloomington in 1831-34 by new settlers looking  to connect their claims on bodies of water and provide easy access to trade amongst themselves and within the two cities. The or