P&W B23-7 #1106 in P&W red & white

In the late 2000s, the Providence & Worcester started hinting that their existing owners would be amenable to reasonable offers on the railroad; the PV&T took one good look at the P&W’s permanent freight easement on the NE Corridor north of New Haven and immediately made a $120 million dollar offer on the line (the advantage of being a teetering on the edge of class 1 and being structured so that the lion’s share of any profits are kept by the trust instead of dispensed to stockholders!) and, following the obligatory regulatory dance, took possession of the railroad in 2009.

The P&W was a pure diesel (and almost pure GE) line, but the NE Corridor and the PV&T’s electrified route down to New London meant that the cost savings from electrification would begin immediately instead of taking several years to catch up, and almost the first thing the railroad did was start to make plans to electrify additional lines.

Norwalk to Danbury was the first electrification, because it had previously been electrified (the New Haven pulled the wires in 1961 because their management was insane), but most of the overhead structures were still up and more or less ready for substations to be built and wire to be strung.

The next electrifications were between Providence & Woonsocket (to connect to the SLR’s Bay Colony branch) with a voltage changeover at Valley Falls, followed by the electrification of the Providence harbor running track. Then there was a long delay, followed by (in quick succession) electrification into Hartford (purchasing the Connecticut Southern to connect to the Central Vermont in East Hartford) on both the P&W and (ex-CSO trackage rights on) Amtrak lines, the six miles north of New London, then then extending the Woonsocket electrification up to Worcester.

In 2023, the P&W finally started electrifying from Worcester to New London by putting wire up from Worcester to Plainfield, and then west to Willamatic.

The GE locomotives that were the pre-merger mainstay of the P&W’s fleet have long since been traded in (with the notable exception of P&W 1106) for new dual power locomotives & AC motors.

As of 2024, the P&W’s locomotive fleet is mainly motors; the only non-electrified section of the line is Plainfield - Norwich - Allyn Point (with two v-e-r-y low profile tunnels), which needs a pair of dual-power units for switching and occasional through trains.

number(s) class builder notes
252-259 BCC4 Portland
791,792 JS Portland
1106 PWDE2 GE Last locomotive in P&W’s orange & white paint scheme
1140-1143 K5 Portland
1151-1160 M2 Portland
1420-1431 M3 Portland
1508-1509 ESB ILW For the Norwich branch’s restricted clearance trackage around Norwich
  • Copyright © 2024 by Jessica L. Parsons (orc@pell.portland.or.us) unless otherwise noted
    Thu Feb 09 13:58:43 PST 2023