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Because of all of the branches on the New Haven Line we had to take six different trips to visit all of the stations. Our first trip was on 20 September 2008 when we rode one way from Danbury to South Norwalk. It was interesting to watch some of the drivers on the parallel roads looking at our train as we rode past. I guess because this line doesn’t have all that much service this was something of an unusual sight for some of them.
Our second trip was on the New Canaan Branch and part of the Main Line on 26 October 2008. We began our trip at the nice old station in New Canaan. This was one of the very few station buildings that had an open waiting room on a weekend. The train that took us from New Canaan to Stamford had three cars, but only the center car was open so we were not able to look out the front or back of the train. It was also one of the dirtiest trains we have been on. Not so much trash on the floor, but actual dirt on the seats, walls, and windows. After we arrived in Stamford we planned to take another train to Fordham. As we waited there was apparently some confusion about the track from which our connecting train would depart. We actually left a bit late and I was surprised to see the large number of people that boarded with us in Stamford, the originating station for this train. We sat in the first car again and were able get the railfan view out the somewhat dirty front window for much of the ride. Because we were running a late I was concerned about the likelihood of catching our return train in Fordham, so instead we got off in Mount Vernon East and waited there for our return train to Mamaroneck. This last train was of course very crowded since we got on at one of the first stops, but the trip to Mamaroneck was short. We were picked up in Mamaroneck and our second New Haven Line trip came to an end.
Our third trip was on 23 November 2008 when we rode the Waterbury Branch. We began our trip in Waterbury and rode round trip to Bridgeport. I was a little nervous about parking in Waterbury after seeing all of the broken glass in the parking lot but didn’t have any problems. This was our only ride on Metro-North where we had to actually buy our tickets on the train since there were no vending machines in Waterbury. It’s strange how the area went from having a huge old station to now being one of only a few stations without even a vending machine. The actual line was also interesting with many areas of old abandoned tracks and sidings, old mostly abandoned factories (some even surrounding the tracks), and areas of rivers and tree-covered hills.
We took a one way trip from New Haven to Stamford on 13 December 2008. This was our first visit to New Haven’s Union Station and it was nice to see it all dressed up for the holidays. There were two problems with this trip though. First, because this was the holiday season the train became very crowded after just the first couple of stations, so it wasn’t the usual easy-going comfortable ride for us. Second, night falls early in December, so it was dark outside for almost half of the stations.
Two trips are covered in other trip reports. On 25 January 2009 we visited the New Haven State Street station as part of a ride on the Shore Line East. Then on 15 November 2009 we took the Special Meadowlands Train to Giants Stadium. Our next trip was on 7 January 2012, soon after the Fairfield Metro station opened. For this ride we boarded at Fairfield Metro, took the short ride to Fairfield, and then returned to Fairfield Metro. After we arrived at Fairfield Metro and found the parking lot, we only had a few minutes until our train was scheduled to depart. I contemplated what we should do if the train arrived before we had time to purchase our tickets from the vending machine. Should we board anyway knowing that it was unlikely our tickets would be collected during the short 3-minute ride, but risk the huge on-board penalty if we were checked, or wait 30 minutes for the next train? Luckily we were able to get our tickets before the train arrived because we boarded right where the conductor was checking tickets. The conductor spent the few minutes on the way to Fairfield talking to us which made it an especially enjoyable ride.
We took another trip on the New Haven Line on 26 October 2013 when yet another new station opened, this time the West Haven station. We rode from West Haven to New Haven and back to West Haven.
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