Thursday, May 21, 2020

Steam Switchers in New Britain - The Later Years


I have photos of three different T-2 class switchers in New Britain. Although I don't have confirmation for several of the photos, I believe all of these are Kent Cochrane photos, with some in the early '40s. These photos are the primary source for determining which locomotives were assigned to New Britain, absent 1946 or 1947 Engine Assignment or other company records.

T-2-a 2327 on New Britain engine servicing pits, date and photographer unknown
Note the main rod is connected to the second driver, the spotting feature for a T-2-a.

T-2-a 2327 working Whiting St Yard, date and photographer unknown

T-2-b 2435 working New Britain Yard, c1940, photographer unknown
Note the main rod is connected to the third driver, identifying it as a T-2-b.
I believe that is a W-2-d class tender with the extended coal bunker.

Both of these locomotives were gone by my era.
  • T-2-a 2327 was retired February 2, 1945
  • T-2-b 2435 was condemned 8/15/44, which is too bad because it has the extended coal bunker found on the Overland brass model of these locomotives. Incidentally, while they thoughtfully made the coal bunker extension a separate part, there isn't any consideration for adding the original coal bunker sides so it's not very usable without modification in any other consideration.

T-2-b 2446 at Russell and Erwin
September 7, 1946, Kent Cochrane photo

T-2-b at Russell & Erwin (Washington Street Crossing)
c1946, Kent Cochrane photo

T-2-b 2446 at New Britain engine servicing
August 1948, Kent Cochrane photo

On the back of the second photo is a handwritten note by Tom McNamara:

New Britain switcher at NB Engine Storage 8/48
Diesel switchers (0800s) had been working in NB (3/47)
for over a year at the time of this photo and 2446's career was over.

Listed in April 20, 1948 Utilization of Locomotives report as assigned to East Hartford, but dumped. This could conceivably confirm Thomas McNamara's notes on the back of the photo from '48. It was condemned/sold on 10/14/49.

Only one other T-2-b was assigned to East Hartford on that report, 2353. I have no information as to when this locomotive was condemned, but could this be the second New Britain switcher when the DEY-4 (44-tonners) were assigned in March 1947?

For now I don't know, but I can narrow down the possibilities.

An April 20, 1948 Utilization of Locomotives report gives the disposition of those remaining at that time. I've also noted any additional information I have for these specific locomotives.
2305 - 4/20/48 Worcester Shop Switcher, 9/25/49 Van Nest Shop Switcher
2309 - 4/20/48 Boston Shop Switcher (Southampton St)
2339 - 4/20/48 Cedar Hill Enginehouse Switcher, 3/22/47 Cedar Hill (photo)
2353 - 4/20/48 East Hartford, light repairs
2393 - 3/31/50, 9/47 stored in Boston (photo, stack capped), 4/20/48 New Bedford, boiler wash
2398 - 10/13/50, 8/47 Hartford (photo), 8/31/47 Providence (photo), 4/20/48 Worcester, dumped, 6/20/48 Fan Trip (photo)
2403 - 9/12/49, 4/20/48 Worcester, steam heat
2446 - 10/14/49, 4/20/48 East Hartford, dumped, 12/48 Readville (photo, under steam), 4/24/49 Readville, dumped save fuel, 7/2/49 Readville (photo, stripped down)
2466 - 10/10/49, 3/6/48 photo at Readville, 4/20/48 Readville Shop Switcher, 4/24/49 Readville, dumped save fuel

However, I doubt it was moved to one of the other locations listed in the 1948 report, so I need to see what I can find for the other locomotives regarding their assignments or photos. The possible exception is 2353 which is the only other one assigned to the Hartford Division at that time.

There are a handful of T-2s that were condemned between March 1947 and April 20, 1948:

2312 - 2/10/48
2319 - 3/18/47
2326 - 6/10/47
2378 - 3/18/47
2383 - 11/29/47
2411 - 7/22/47
2416 - 6/10/47
2454 - 6/27/47 (photo in Boston 5.15.47)
2457 - 11/29/47

I think it's unlikely that either 2319 or 2378 was the other New Britain locomotive. First, because both were condemned on the same date. Second, because I think that the process of being removed from service and being condemned took a period of time. How long? I'm not sure, nor was it necessarily the same for all. But 2446 was removed from service in March '47, sat in New Britain until at least August '48, and ended up in Readville by April '49 before being condemned in October of '49, or more than two years.

For now, 1946 ops sessions are some time away, giving me time to look for additional information to narrow down the list. Of course, it's quite possible that the specific locomotive number has been lost. But with luck additional records or photos will turn up.

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