Most 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.