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A description of times gone past...

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I was doing some reading over the holiday weekend and this passage really caught my attention so I thought I would post it here for some discussion. Alot of the other threads touch on this, but I thought it deserved it's own. In my opinion, could this description be ANY more opposite than what would take place today? This example is Manchester-specific, but could be true of any Hartford suburb. I was going to bold-face a few parts, but the passage as a whole is just ironic and OPPOSITE of today.

About the time of the census of 1850, Manchester entered the new era of transportation with the completion of the railroad to Hartford. In the May session of 1833, the General Assembly approved a charter for a railroad to be built between Bolton Notch and Hartford. This, the second railroad charter issued in Connecticut, gave the new company power to acquire a right of way 6 rods (99 feet) wide between the two communities and to build branches to connect with the quarries. There were flagstone quarries in operation near Bolton Notch and the sandstone quarry at Buckland. The authorized capital for the road was to be $100,000 and the corporation was not to be taxed until the line became profitable. The life of the charter was to be six years. This was later extended for four more years. Presumably, the applicants hoped to raise the required capital and were not able to do so, for the charter lapsed in 1843. Four years later it was revived for the Providence Railroad Company which had authorized capital of $200,000. This corporation sold its rights to the Hartford, Providence, and Fishkill Railroad Company which started building promptly. In 1849 trains began to operate between Manchester and Hartford. In 1851 service to Willimantic began. The line passed through the northern section of the town, near the group of factories that had built up along the Hockanum in Union Village. There were two local stops, Manchester Station (later North Manchester) and Buckland. The passenger fare to Hartford was thirty-five cents.

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Having grown up in Willimantic, I have always had a love of the Railroads. My grand father used to tell me stories of all the railroad traffic Willimantic had.

During the early 1900's all the way through the late 40's to early 50's one could board a train in Willimantic with direct service to Hartford, New Haven, New London, Boston, Worcester, Waterbury, and NYC. Willimantic evan had trolly service to Coventry and Norwich with a line that ran down Main Street.

The Hurricane of 1938 whiped out a important bridge on the Willimantic-Boston line which never regained service.

Up until 1992, Willimantic was without passenger service. During that year Amtrak restored service from Willimantic to New London and Willimantic to Montreal. The service was called the Montrealer, however this train never had much sucess since it departed Willimantic after midnight most nights. This service was canceled around 1996 or 1997 I believe.

So sad to see how Willimantic was once one of largest Rail centers in the Northeast to what it is now.

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