re electrify

Danbury Branch

Metro-North Railroad's Danbury Branch is a branch of their New Haven Line from downtown Norwalk, Connecticut north to Danbury. It opened in 1852 as the Danbury and Norwalk Railroad. Metro-North took over operation of the line from Conrail in 1983.

The Cannondale Railroad Station, pictured at right, is one of the more scenic stations along the line.

Station stops

From north to south

proposed location for new stations at North Danbury, Brookfield, and New Milford

proposed location for rebuilt Georgetown station

splits from New Haven Line

Continues southwest to Grand Central Terminal northeast to Union Station New Haven on the New Haven Line

Main Line Station stops for Danbury Branch on the New Haven Line (AM:2 trains southbound, PM:2 train northbound)

All peak trains and some off peak run to Stamford on weekdays

Continues southwest to Grand Central Terminal northeast to Union Station New Haven on the New Haven Line

Rolling stock

Unlike the Main Line or New Cannan Branch, the Danbury branch is not electrified and uses diesel locomotive push-pull operation. Usually, the diesels push the trains to Grand Central and pull towards Danbury. All of the rolling stock cars are Shorelines and many have names like William A. O'Neil.


The Danbury and Norwalk Railroad began operating its line from Norwalk north to Danbury, on February 22, 1852. In July 1872 a branch from the main line at Bethel northeast to Hawleyville opened. At Hawleyville, the branch connected to the Housatonic Railroad, continuing north into Massachusetts. Also at Hawleyville connections with the Shepaug Railroad to Litchfield were possible.

On May 1, 1874 that connection was supplemented by the New York, Housatonic and Northern Railroad, running from Danbury northeast to the Housatonic. In 1881 the New York and New England Railroad was completed, giving another connection at Danbury and at Hawleyville.

A short branch from Branchville on the main line west to Ridgefield opened July 1, 1870. In July 1882 an extension was built in Norwalk to docks at Wilson Point. The Housatonic Railroad leased the D&N on July 21, 1887, and on July 1, 1892 the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad leased the Housatonic.

The Danbury Line previously operated electric-powered trains during the early part of the 20th Century starting in 1925. Steel posts that once carried the overhead catenary system can still be seen along the line. The catenary system on the Danbury Line was removed in 1961 when diesel-powered locomotives resumed service on the line.

The NYNH&H merged into Penn Central in 1969. On January 1, 1971, the State of Connecticut leased the Danbury Branch from Penn Central. From 1976 until 1983 freight and passenger service on the line was provided by the Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail) under a contract with the state. In 1983 the newly formed Metro-North Commuter Railroad took over operation of the passenger service along the line. In the 1980s a newly reformed Housatonic Railroad started to provide freight service along the line via its Danbury Terminal Railroad operating subsidiary. In 1996 the DTRR was formally folded back into the new Housatonic Railroad company. The Providence and Worcester Railroad also provides freight service along the line via trackage rights.

The Switchtower Museum in South Norwalk describes to visitors how railroad employees would switch the tracks for trains continuing on the Danbury branch line, then switch them back for trains traveling along the New Haven main line.

The Danbury Railway Museum is located in the former Union station of the D&N and NY&NE in Danbury. It lies just past the actual Danbury Metro-North passenger station. At the museum are examples of rolling stock retired from service as well as an indoor display of model trains.

Future plans

Plans are underway to re-electrify the Danbury Branch along with a plan to extend service north from Danbury to New Milford.

In connection with the planned redevelopment of the Gilbert and Bennet Company wire factory as a dense and walkable residential neighborhood, the reopening of the Georgetown station between the Cannondale and Branchville stations has been approved.

See also


External links

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