Thursday Doors – Windsor, CT Train Station

Windsor Train StationMost of my regular readers know that I love trains. I take trains whenever I can, and I particularly like it when I can board the train at the Windsor Locks train station. The station is about two miles from my house, and since it’s only the second stop on the AMTRAK Northeast Regional, I have my pick of seats. I can get a cup of coffee and a snack and then settle in for some sightseeing and some work.

The only thing missing in that trip, is a door.

The Windsor Locks train station is an elevated siding. Except for the little glass shelter, it looks like the ramps they use to get cattle into rail cars in Texas. However, less than 10 minutes down the line, the train stops at the train station in Windsor. Windsor restored their historic train station in 1988. The station was originally built in 1871 for the Hartford New Haven Railroad.

Rail service started in 1844 when the Hartford and Springfield Railroad started rail service through Windsor and build a depot and a warehouse. That railroad merged with the Hartford New Haven railroad, and the depot was replaced with the train station. The warehouse appears to have survived, although I didn’t find much about its restoration. Today, both the station and the warehouse are used by Windsor Art Center (WAC), an organization that, according to AMTRAK’s website, “highlights the creative endeavors of local artists, artisans, actors and musicians.”

I think the restoration and reuse of these historic stations is an important part of preserving America’s wonderful railroad history. The railroads have rolled through Windsor for over 150 years. They merged and they became some of the most important railroads in New England. Eventually, they merged into Penn Central and, sadly, eventually, Penn Central filed for bankruptcy protection. AMTRAK was formed in the wake of that failure. AMTRAK struggles with Congress and budgets and old rails and stuck bridges, but AMTRAK keeps rolling. The smaller historic stations, like the one in Windsor can’t be AMTRAK’s concern. All they need is a cattle ramp siding like the one in Windsor Locks.

Local groups have to save these stations. In Windsor Locks, we are trying to save our historic station. We got off to a bad start, working with the wrong people, but in the last few years, we started to make progress. AMTRAK sold the station to the town, the State of CT and the town have agreed on a plan, money is being raised, grants are being received and they are currently planning the first phase of construction. This could work.

OK, back to Windsor. One of the things I love about Thursday Doors is the excuse it gives me opportunity it provides for me to research some of the older buildings that I pass every day. I like learning the history of these buildings, but I really like learning about their construction.

The Windsor train station is constructed with 7 ½” thick load bearing masonry walls. If I let myself go, I would share even more details about its construction. I’m guessing that many of you would be bored and I’m guessing that my editor would scratch out the rest of the paragraph. However, one of the really cool features of the station is the very large overhang. In the pictures, it appears to be supported by wrought iron brackets. Actually, I think those are mostly decorative. The overhang is supported by trusses that extend over the walls. Those trusses are linked by iron tie rods to the trusses supporting the mansard style roof. We normally think of things being supported by structural elements under them. In this case, the overhangs are supported from above. I think that’s pretty cool!

I feel the editor’s pen being uncapped. I’ll stop, but I included some of the structural pictures in the gallery. I found those at the Library of Congress.

This post part of Norm Frampton’s amazing series of Thursday Doors. You can join us, any Thursday if you like. Get a door, visit Norm’s page and click the blue button. You can also go there to check out the amazing doors by other addicts door aficionados.

About Dan Antion

Husband, father, woodworker, cyclist, photographer, geek - oh wait, I’m writing this like I only have 140 characters. I am all those things, and more, and all of these passions present me with opportunities to observe, and think about things that I can’t write about in other places. I have started this blog to catch the stuff that falls out, overflows and just plain doesn’t fit the other containers in my life.
This entry was posted in History, New England Life, Nostalgia, Photography, Thursday Doors and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

84 Responses to Thursday Doors – Windsor, CT Train Station

  1. Beautiful evening shots. (Makes me miss Copper and that crew.) Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. reocochran says:

    The brickwork, blue details, pretty railings and lighting are so pleasant and crisp looking. There’s something quaint and wonderful about this train station in Connecticut, Dan.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      Thanks Robin. Several other stations on this line were copied from this one. The one in Windsor Locks was built about the same time, but it’s a little different style. Some day, I hope to see it restored.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. GP Cox says:

    Great, Dan. I’m sending this over to a lady to loves trains as much as you!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautiful building and so ornate. Love the lighting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      Thanks Jean. I snagged these photos on my way to work. Some didn’t turn out to well, but I got enough good ones. I will revisit the area and get some photos of the other restored buildings on the site. For another Thursday.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love train stations. They are oozing character and charm. Those of us up here in this part of the Country are so lucky that we have the opportunity to take local trains up and down the coast. :-)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. tnkerr says:

    The joining of the chimneys is exquisitely done. The doors are great too.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love old train stops. Some of them are so beautiful. Some near me have been converted to restaurants.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      Except for the major stations, they almost have to be turned into something to stay financially viable. There are only six trains a day through Windsor/Windsor Locks. There are plans to add light rail, but even that won’t require a full time station. I’m not sure what we are going to do with ours if we manage to get it restored. AMTRAK gave us the building, but refuses to use it as a station. There’s a good reason, which I’ll explore at some point. Thanks for dropping by Brenda.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Dan, I haven’t been on a train for years, other than the Metra trains that run from the suburbs into Chicago. I have a yen to take the train from Toronto to Vancouver and to see the spectacular scenery. But I do have good memories of taking the train from Omaha to California a few times when I was a child. Not sure the memories are the same as those of my parents, as I appear to have forgotten all the things that went wrong during the trips. :-)

    I love the lighting here, giving me the early morning feel of anticipation that I love when traveling. This is a beautiful gallery and I’m all for preserving and restoring these old stations (and other buildings as well.)

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      Thanks Janet. I’ve traveled the Northeast Corridor many times, but I, too would love to take the train across Canada. I may treat myself to that trip after I retire. This time of year, the sky is so beautiful when I ride to work that it’s easy to talk myself out of the car for some photos.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Norm 2.0 says:

    Great post Dan. I just love old train stations. We owe the opening up of this entire continent to the rail industry. Of course some may not think that is a good thing, but I still think the train is a wonderful way to travel.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      Thanks Norm. I wish AMTRAK would restore the Vermont link to the Montrealer. There was a time, not too many years ago that I could have gone from my town to Montreal by only going north. These days, I have to go to New York first.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. joey says:

    That is a splendid building. I love the trusses.
    I, too, enjoy the doorcursions and the learning that sometimes accompanies them. Without today’s post, I seriously doubt I’d find myself reading the 23rd president’s State of the Union speeches.
    Great post! :)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Nato says:

    Great shots! I love how they kept the look of the station. I really enjoy train stations and railroads. They have such history to them. I was kind of sad when they started removing the tracks in our area. One stretch of tracks was turned into a running/biking trail and has become very useful. I just wish they could have somehow left the tracks there and visible. Perhaps that was too much money though? The stretch by my house is still there. Well, the gravel is there but the tracks have been removed. A horse trail would be nice, but I won’t hold my breath.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      Thanks! We have a lot of rails-to-trails projects underway here. Unfortunately, for the past few years, they have been stuck being “a few years” from completion. That means that the developed bits are not yet connected. In theory, I will be able to ride my bike to my daughter’s house about 30 miles away from ours.

      Even if they were to get that all done, I’d rather have the trains :)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Nato says:

        We have one trail that goes about 15 miles. I have used it. Well, not all 15 miles at once. Now, if they had the horse trail…I might just trot on down to the river. But, I don’t think she would like all the bikers sneaking up on her. Nor do I think the runners would enjoy her droppings. Yeah, the train sounds better!

        Liked by 1 person

  12. joannesisco says:

    What a beautiful heritage building! The fact you captured it in the soft morning (I’m assuming) half-light seems to amplify that feeling of history and nostalgia.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. dimlamp says:

    I too think it’s important to save, and if possible preserve/restore old train stations, as railroads were-and to some extent even today still are-an important part of our history. On that note if you like Canadian folksinger Gordon Lightfoot, he has a classic song about the building of our Canadian railroad, Canadian Railroad Trilogy. Check it out here: https://youtu.be/Yzo6Otpgj-E

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      Thanks for the comment and for that link. I have that album/cassette/cd/MP3 but it’s always good to hear it again. They are very important and, in the US at least, they’ve been neglected for far too long.

      Like

  14. The ironwork is lovely and unique. The whole station is adorable. I love the bricks, gables, lamps, and of course that ironwork. The blue hour images are wonderful! It’s my favorite part of the day to make photographs.

    Terrific subject and history Dan!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      Thanks Deborah. There are several stations identical to this on the line, because so many towns liked this design enough to just copy it. 30 miles south in Wallingford, CT, the station is 100% identical.

      I frequently stop on my way to work (I go in an hour early, so I always have time) for pictures, but this is a beautiful time of year to do it. I’ll get a second shot after we go through DST change. I normally hate that change, but this is the one benefit.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Wendy Brydge says:

    Train stations just have a look about them that I’ve always enjoyed. All the detailing just really makes them pleasing to look at. I’m especially liking the choice of lighting fixtures on this one!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Paul says:

    All of these shots are good, Dan, but I especially like the first one and the last one. The arches have such an attractive, retro look to them, one that we seldom get in more modern buildings. You picked an ideal time to take these pics, too. The station has a nice, warm look contrasted with the blue dawn sky. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      Thanks Paul. I got lucky with the timing, as I just decided to stop on my way to work. I have to go back because the buildings that I could only photograph into the sun were too dark to include. So I’ll be featuring the other buildings on another Thursday.

      The last one is my favorite because it includes some of the railroad stuff :)

      Liked by 1 person

  17. bikerchick57 says:

    I love the Windsor train station, the architecture, the quaintness. I have never ridden an Amtrak or passenger train anywhere as I haven’t had a reason or opportunity. However, I do patronize Titletown brewery in Green Bay, which was a former train station. Does that county?
    http://www.titletownbrewing.com/history

    Liked by 1 person

  18. What a lovely series of photos…very nostalgic, like stepping back in time. Thanks for sharing :)

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Geert Smits says:

    Really love your stories. Gives me unique inside in Amerca’s history we never learn in Europe. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. loisajay says:

    What a beautiful train station, Dan. Big headline in our local newspaper last week that there is some interest in opening our Amtrak station here in town again. I so hope that was not just a teaser headline because I could then ride from town all the way into New Orleans–that would be heaven!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      For the past three years, I’ve ridden from Windsor Locks to Washington, D.C. 6 1/2 hours on the same train and it is such a great feeling. I could fly in about half the time, but between TSA and the airline and… the train is so much nicer. I hope they open that station for you, Lois.

      Like

  21. jan says:

    I love trains too. We took the Acela from Washington DC to NYC last time we were back there – what a blast that was.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      I travel to WDC, but I haven’t taken the Acela because I have to wait and change trains in New Haven. The time the Acela saves, I loose on the layover. I enjoy being able to just settle into my seat and ride the whole way. I have taken the Acela once, it is a great ride.

      Like

  22. Bee Halton says:

    That is one cool train station. I have to admit though it confuses me entirely that the US has so many town/city names that are originally from Europe. Looks like some British ppl might have settled where you are :-). I used to live in Meppen, Germany close to the Dutch border. When I moved to England I googled Meppen and ended up on the US pages instead of the German one. That taught me a lesson on how to research on the internet lol

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Great Photos. That restoration project was well worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. marianallen says:

    I ‘specially like the door with the rainbow belly button. :)

    Liked by 1 person

  25. klara says:

    wonderful piece of history worth saving.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. What a pretty little train station. I agree with you that these train stations should be preserved. I hope trains can be preserved as well. :)

    Liked by 1 person

  27. AmyRose🌹 says:

    Wow what a fascinating post again, Dan!!! I stared and looked at your pictures a long time just amazed by what my eyes were seeing. Those trusses are huge! I found the architecture so incredibly touching, why I honestly couldn’t tell you but perhaps it is because someone is actually preserving historical buildings. They are beautiful! And your history lesson enriched me as in many times past your history lessons have for me. You amaze me, my friend, how you dig out these facts about your town. You are inspiring! I really thank you for another terrific doors series post. :)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      Thank you Amy. It’s easy when they are on the historic registry and in the Library of Congress :) I love learning about the way they built these buildings. The trusses are do interesting. More so when you consider they didn’t have computers to design them.

      Liked by 1 person

      • AmyRose🌹 says:

        I know all about trusses, Dan, because hubs built a Pole Barn. I saw what he did in designing those trusses. I often go into our barn just to stare at the angles they make and the feeling it gives me is one of absolute awe. There is such perfection and order in them as in the picture you showed. I could stare at just that one for a LONG time. Just incredible!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Dan Antion says:

          You should share some photos of those someday Amy. I love looking at things like that. It’s all about knowing how forces travel and work with and against each other. It’s fascinating stuff. I’m with you, I could look at them for a long time.

          Liked by 1 person

          • AmyRose🌹 says:

            I think I will take some pictures of those trusses. Thanks, Dan, for the idea. :) The angles and the patterns and the sheer power in them puts me in a place of just looking, looking and looking some more. I cannot even begin to imagine how these would be done without a computer. Just wow!

            Liked by 1 person

  28. jesh stg says:

    The building of this train station has lots of character! Have to admit, I associate train stations with hurrying to get there in time. In my teens in Holland the train, bus, and trams were my transportation. No parents who gave you a ride, lol!

    Liked by 1 person

  29. What a fantastic building! Lovely pictures. One of these days I plan on taking a multi-day train ride up through New England. Would make for a relaxing “writing retreat”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      Thanks Amanda. I think it would be a great way/place to write. AMTRAK had a writer’s deal last year where you could travel all over the country, in a sleeper car and write. I would love to be able to do that.

      Like

  30. dweezer19 says:

    It is a gorgeous, historic place Dan! I love railroad stations. This one reminds me of the British station in the movie Woman in Black. Thanks for sharing it. I love when I lie in bed at night and can hear a train. It is such a comforting sound. Lovely door!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      Thanks Cheryl. We hear the train every morning on the weekend, and someone will say “there goes your train.” I love that sound and I love getting on board. I get to go to Washington, DC again this year, and I will go by train. 6 1/2 hours on the rails !

      Liked by 1 person

  31. Dan this is great! I LOVE these old train stations, and this one with the mansard roof is extra special in my opinion. That’s wonderful to hear that your town is making an effort to refurbish its station. I need to send your blog link to my Dad – he will enjoy this and many of your other articles as well. He’s a big researcher and a former engineer (aerospace though) :-)

    Liked by 1 person

  32. dweezer19 says:

    Lucky you Dan! Watch out for Deatheaters, 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Love trains too Dan and this looks like a lovely station, good to see it being looked after and used for artistic endeavours!

    Liked by 1 person

  34. brickthomas says:

    Beautiful structure and beautiful photos. One summer the bike shop I worked for as a teenager rented an abandon railway station and I spent that summer putting Schwinns together in the old waiting room. It was a great place to work – or explore when I should have been working. It’s history and architecture worth saving. Good post, Dan.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      These stations are such important parts of our history, They are from a time when we weren’t only interested in getting from A to B as fast as possible, and hopefully with WiFi and power :) This was back when we took pride in every aspect of the journey.

      Liked by 1 person

  35. Pingback: Thursday Doors – Windsor Freight Depot | No Facilities

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