Friday, January 26, 2007

Attention Rail Buffs!

My Uncle Bobby(my mother's brother) spent his high school vacations working alongside his father in the New Haven Railroad yards. He spent most of this time hauling giant blocks of ice and hay for the railroad car air conditioning system. He eventually graduated to the craft of car electrician.
My uncle said that the railroad had a certain "romance" back then, but the hours were long and the pay wasn't great. Unlike his brother, father and grandfather, he decided that the railroad life wasn't for him. He became an Air Force Pilot in WWII, then a licensed electrician, artist and finally a Safety Supervisor for the Connecticut Department of Transportation. He did all this while he and his wife Barbara raised 10 children.

Whenever my brother Brian and I get together with my uncle, the subject of the railroad invariably comes up. He recently told me that he had drawn up plans on how the air conditioning/heating system used to work on the old railroad coaches. He also diagrammed the electric coaches' generator system and how they used to "hump cars" at Cedar Hill.

He asked if I knew anybody who might be interested in this information. He's concerned that if this knowledge isn't recorded somewhere, it will be lost on future generations. I asked around the railroad, but nobody seemed to know what to do with it. I know that there's a huge rail fan base out there, so I decided to take my uncle's drawings and develop a blog around it. I titled it "How things worked on the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad. Here's the link:


3 comments:

jd said...

Nice one Bobby, these things need to be recorded so much of the old crafts is lost. By the way the info covers most railroads not just New Haven

You might try submitting to sites like Railserve http://www.railserve.com/index.html#switchyard

and more in the rail community will be able to find it.

Justin said...

those diagrams are great. something about the handdrawn/handwritten aspect makes it better than a computer diagram. Anymore diagrams coming?

Bobby said...

Justin,
Somebody already requested that Uncle Bobby(that's great uncle Bobby to you, as opposed to me,regular uncle Bobby)do a diagram of the pneumatic tube message system that ran throughout the railroad property. I guess it was like those tubes at the bank drive in, but on a much larger scale. I'll have to ask him.