My concept for the 1977/1978 Conrail operation is an interesting case of proto freelancing. Conrail is operating trains between Boston and Allentown yard using the following route. Boston to Putnam, CT then to Willimantic and on to Hartford CT. From there the route goes to Waterbury Ct then down to Turkey Brook yard then turns westward to Danbury CT, into NY State and across the Poughkeepsie High Bridge, into the NH’s old Maybrook yard, From there the route takes the old Lehigh and Hudson river down to where it meets the form Reading main then west to Allentown yard. This route is over 230 miles. This is basically a portion of the old Alphabet route.
A couple of things have to happen dating back to 1955 for my scenario to work. First the line from Putnam to Willimantic was severed in August of 1955 by floods. A bridge in Putnam was washed out and never replaced, eliminating a direct route from Boston and Hartford. In all of my operation scenario this bridge is rebuilt and the trains that use it continue. In 1974 the Poughkeepsie bridge burned and was never repaired by the Penn Central or Contrail. Here again I am making it that Conrail repaired the bridge, pressure from both New York State and Connecticut. This also gives Conrail a line for fright to and from the southeast as well as keeping more New England freight off on Amtrak’s NE Corridor and the Springfield line. Besides the typical Conrail equipment normally seen in the New England Region, it will fairly common to see former Reading, Lehigh and Lehigh and Hudson River locomotives showing up with much more frequency.
To add to this interesting scenario, Amtrak has reinstated the East wind from NYC to Portland Maine running over the line from Hartford to Putnam then north up to Worcester, MA then on to Maine. This will be using an F-40 and Amfleet cars. Amtrak is also operating MOW equipment from Putnam back to Hartford to help upgrade the line for faster passenger service. To add to the traffic level and variety, the CT DOT and the MBTA have teamed up to provide direct commuter style service between Hartford and Boston. Equipment will be a mix of MBTA supplied equipment plus leased equipment by CDOT such as RDC’s and other older from Amtrak rolling stock. (This is also the same time period that the MBTA leased the four Alco PA-1’s from the D&H.) Old E units and a mixed bag of old NH, PRR and PC equipment can show up in this service.
|This map gives the route that I have created in my Proto Freelance Conrail Operation.|