• The Connecticut Trolley System

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Despite having a connected network between cities, the Connecticut Company was not an interurban, and many intercity trips required changes of cars along the way. Most trackage was in or alongside public roads. By 1920, the system comprised 601.742 miles of first main track in eleven divisions.  The first abandonment of the trolley system took place in 1925 in Norwich and continued through the mid 1930s.  City lines were gradually replaced with bus service with Stamford in 1933,  Bridgeport and Waterbury in 1937,  and Hartford in 1941.  Trolleys continued to serve New Haven, until the last trolley made it’s final run from on September 25, 1948.

The Connecticut Company Trolley System - 1920

The New Haven Division included about fifteen local lines radiating from downtown New Haven. Intercity lines led east to East Haven and Stony Creek, north to Wallingford and Mount Carmel (towards Hartford and Waterbury), west to Derby, and southwest along the shore to Woodmont. Local lines connected Derby to Ansonia and Shelton, with intercity lines north to Beacon Falls (in the direction of Waterbury) and south towards Bridgeport. Bus service in the New Haven area is now operated by Connecticut Transit New Haven.

The Hartford Division was the largest, with about twenty local radial lines from downtown Hartford and half as many intercity lines. On the west side of the Connecticut River, trolleys went north and northwest to Rainbow Park, connecting at Windsor with the Hartford and Springfield Railway to Springfield, Massachusetts. Other lines went northwest to Bloomfield, west to Unionville, southwest to Newington (connecting there with the New Britain Division), and south to Wethersfield and Rocky Hill, connecting at the latter point with the Middletown Division. A single line crossed the Bulkeley Bridge into East Hartford, where lines radiated north to East Windsor Hill and another Hartford and Springfield Railway connection, east to Manchester and then northeast through Rockville to Stafford Springs, and south to South Glastonbury. Between East Hartford and Rockville, trolleys could follow public roads or use the New Haven’s steam trackage. Connecticut Transit Hartford now operates buses on most of these routes.

About halfway between New Haven and Hartford was the Meriden Division, with seven radial lines in the city of Meriden. Extensions of these stretched south to Wallingford and a transfer to the New Haven Division, and west to Milldale and then north to Lake Compounce and the New Britain Division or south to Cheshire and the Waterbury Division. A third line east to Middletown over New Haven trackage was part of the Middletown Division, which comprised eight radial lines in and around that city, including service southwest to Middlefield, northeast over the Connecticut River to Portland, and north, partially over New Haven trackage, to Rocky Hill and the Hartford Division. Connecticut Transit Meriden has replaced the former division, but local bus service in Middletown is operated by Middletown Area Transit.

In the Waterbury Division were about ten routes radiating from downtown Waterbury. These included intercity lines south to Beacon Falls and the New Haven Division, west to Woodbury, northwest to Watertown, north to Thomaston, and east to Cheshire and then south to the New Haven Division at Mount CarmelConnecticut Transit Waterbury has taken over these local routes.

The New Britain Division was between Meriden and Hartford, connecting with those divisions at Lazy Lane in Southington and at Newington. Six other radial lines were operated, one extending southeast to BerlinConnecticut Transit New Britain now runs buses over most of these routes.

The isolated Torrington Division was a single line between Torrington and Winsted, with a branch to Highland Lake. It was abandoned in 1929.

Along the coast, near the New York state line, was the Stamford Division, with eight lines from downtown Stamford, two extending west and southwest into Greenwich and one east to the Noroton River. There the Norwalk Division began, extending through Darien to Norwalk, which had five radial lines coming off a loop between Norwalk and South Norwalk. The Bridgeport Division also entered Norwalk, extending east through Westport (with several local lines there) and Fairfield into Bridgeport. That city had about twelve radial lines, two running east into Stratford, where intercity lines continued north to the Derby Division in Shelton and east to the New Haven Division at Woodmont. Buses in these three divisions are currently operated by Connecticut Transit Stamford, the Norwalk Transit District, and the Greater Bridgeport Transit Authority.

Finally, the New London Division, which was leased to the Shore Line Electric Railway from 1913 to 1920, was not connected to the rest of the system except via that company’s New Haven-New London line. Local lines in New London included several loops and radial lines south to Ocean Beach and northwest along Broad Street. A third line went north to Norwich, which had five more radial routes, one northwest to Yantic and another northeast to Taftville, where it split. One branch headed northwest through Willimantic to South Coventry, while the other entered New Haven trackage from Taftville to Central Village. A short branch headed east from Central Village to Moosup, while the main line continued north on its own tracks to West Thompson, with a branch from Elmville to East Killingly and a connection there with the Rhode Island Company‘s leased Providence and Danielson Railway. Where it exists, bus service here is now provided by Southeast Area Transit.

source Wikipedia