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 state line.
|A postcard of one of the stations along the route at Scitico, CT, under the flag of the New York New England & Hartford Railroad. Wikipedia Commons, 1910|
After construction was completed, the line was initially leased to the New York and New England Railroad, but this arrangement would not last for long; the company would become the independent operator of its completed line by October of 1876, as well as the Westway Branch, which connected Melrose, CT to Rockville, CT. It wouldn't last long, as it would soon once again come under the umbrella of the NY&NE.
|Excerpt of the Connecticut Central's Lease Status from the Report to the Stockholders of the New York & New England Railroad Company for the Year Ending Sept. 30, 1876.|
|The total mileage of the road as found in the Report to the Stockholders of the New York & New England Railroad Company for the Year Ending Sept. 30, 1876.|
|1890 USGS Topo Map of the Connecticut Central, by this point known as the Springfield Division of the New York & New England Railroad. Note the NYNH&H Railroad on the west side of the Connecticut River.|