The Harlem and Port Chester Railroad, now known as the Harlem River branch, was opened Harlem River to New Rochelle November 24, 1873.
In the early 1900's the big freight yard at Oak Point was built,the gravel for the fill was hauled from Naugatuck Junction, now Devon, in Pratt sideboard cars, 24 cars were a train for a K-1 engine.
Later there were six main tracks from Oak Point to New Rochelle Junction. It was a beautiful sight leaving New Rochelle Jct. to look at those 12 shining rails all kept bright with heavy traffic. It made you think of the boomer brakeman who had been out of service for some time, (cause unknown); at last he was back on the railroad again and on his first trip he said, Shining Rails, I'm Yours Again.
It is doubtful that when the Harlem and Port Chester Railroad was built, anyone had any idea that some day it would be such an important link in the all-rail line between New England and all points in the South and West. This was made possible by that wonderful engineering feat, the building of the Hell Gate Bridge, which marks one of the boldest, most gigantic projects in the history of American railroad development. The engineering world had been watching and marveling at this wonderful construction for the four years that the massive work was in progress. This bridge was opened on April 1, 1917 and today there are trains running over this bridge from Montreal, Boston and other points to Washington, Pittsburgh and the South.
Well, to get back to the New York and New Haven Railroad. In the early days, the railroads were built inland, as the people living along the shore thought that the boats were all they needed for transportation, but it seems that the boats were losing some of their customers to the New York and New Haven Railroad as an advertisement appears in the Columbian Register of New Haven, dated October 6, 1849 reading as follows:
Pay your fares no further than Bridgeport by Railroad. Take the steamboat Cricket, William H. Peck, Commander, at Bridgeport which leaves for New York every afternoon at 2 o'clock, Sundays excepted. Passage 50 cents.
By taking this route you save fifty cents and breathe fresh air which is much pleasanter than the dusty cars. This boat arrives in New York about 5 o'clock.
Well there are no more dusty cars now between Bridgeport and New York, as the road was electrified to Stamford around 1906 and extended to New Haven in 1913. Also the roadbed is stone ballasted,as are most all of the main lines.
The Shore Line Railroad was leased to the New York and New Haven Railroad in 1870 and on August 6, 1872, the New York and New Haven and the Hartford and New Haven railroads were consolidated,forming the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad.
The Stamford and New Canaan Railroad, (New Canaan branch) was opened July 4, 1868.