Railfan Sites in Connecticut
A self-guiding railfan tour
Railfan, railfan--where do you see trains in Connecticut?
Mapwork: If you're going to be looking for railfan locations, you'll need an industrial strength map resource. I definitely recommend you get a DeLorme Atlas & Gazetteer, study it before your trip, and copy pertinent pages for your field work. You can find information here about Railfan Maps that are available.
Cities And Sites
(1) Many thanks to Steve Kohart, whose site is here.
CSO The Connecticut Southern occupies the former New York, New Haven and Hartford hump yard facility. From the north on I-91, take exit 33 (Jennings Road) west to Jennings Road. Go straight on Jennings Road, taking the bridge over the tracks. Turn left on Windsor Avenue, and after about 1/4 mile, there will be a commuter parking lot on your left. There are good off-railroad property photo opportunities from this parking lot.
In the former yard area itself (tracks long since removed), you can get good photos if you respect safety and security considerations: From the commuter lot, turn left. Just before the railroad overpass, on the left is a small green 3-story building. Take a left, and you will see a little hill that leads into the yard. Drive a small ways into the yard and you will not be bothered by security concerns, but you must use good judgment here.
WARNING Like most other big cities, the center of Hartford is dangerous. Take some large friends with you, and exercise common sense at all times.
CREDITS: This railfan info is given to us from Chris Kelling.
Until very recently, this was where electrical power from the south was exchanged for diesel power to go up to Boston. With the stringing of catenary up to Boston, most of such time-consuming switching no longer takes place. Too bad for us railfans, but it's great for Amtrak and its passengers. However, diesel power is needed on the Vermonter up to Montreal, so who knows -- you may see power switched after all, at least twice each afternoon.
That said, getting to the station is a little tricky, because I-95/I-91/US-1 and NY-34 (an expressway), all come together pretty much in one place (just like the railroads first did well over 100 years ago). Assuming you're on I-95, go west on NY-34, and follow the Amtrak station signs. If you get totally lost, just get south of NY-34 and double back towards the tracks, while not getting back on the freeway. You'll end up at Union Avenue, which parallels the tracks. The station is at 50 Union Avenue.
Dozens of Amtrak and Metro North/Connecticut DOT trains stop at the station on weekdays, and even weekends will give you plenty of action. Michael Christie suggests the following train watching location: The parking lot adjacent to the station. The fee is reasonable, and from the roof, you get excellent scanner reception. The East Haven defect detector warns you of westbounds, but the eastbounds just pop up on you. If you like down-on shots, you might consider this location -- bring a telephoto lens, perhaps.
This entry is adapted from a Michael Christie entry in the Greater Capital District Railfan Association pages, which are here. Used with permission.