|Locale||east of Stratford, CT to Winsted, CT|
|Dates of operation||1849-1887, 1887-1969 (NH), 1996-–|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
The Naugatuck Railroad was a railroad that ran through south central Connecticut from 1849 to 1887. In the latter year the line was leased by the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad and was wholly owned by the New Haven by 1906. At its greatest extent the Naugatuck ran from Bridgeport north to Winsted. Since 1996 the portion of the line north of Waterbury has been leased from the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CDOT) by the Railroad Museum of New England, which operates excursion trains from Thomaston station to the Waterville neighborhood of Waterbury. The museum operating subsidiary is named Naugatuck Railroad (reporting mark NAUG) in honor of the line's original owner. Track currently ends in Torrington. From Waterbury south to the New Haven Line, Metro-North Railroad operates commuter service on the Waterbury Branch.
The Naugatuck Railroad was chartered May 1845 and organized February 1848. On May 15, 1849, the first section opened, from a junction with the just-completed New York and New Haven Railroad north to Seymour. Extensions opened to Waterbury June 11 and the rest of the way to Winsted September 24, where the Central New England Railway later passed through. On November 1, 1870 the Naugatuck Railroad leased the Watertown and Waterville Railroad, giving it a branch to Waterville. The New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad leased the Naugatuck on May 24, 1887, and merged it January 31, 1906.
Passenger service north of Waterbury, to Torrington and Winsted, ended in December 1958, and the line was abandoned between Torrington and Winsted in 1963.
The NYNH&H merged into Penn Central in 1969; by then the line north of Waterbury was named the Torrington Secondary Track, and ended at Torrington. On January 1, 1971, the State of Connecticut and the MTA leased passenger and freight operations along the Waterbury Branch to Penn Central. By 1976 Penn Central operations were being handled by Conrail.
The CDOT purchased the line between Devon and Torrington in 1982 from Conrail. The line north of Waterbury was leased by CDOT to the Boston and Maine Corporation in 1982, and after B&M discontinued freight service north of Waterbury in 1995, CDOT leased the line to the new Naugatuck Railroad (NAUG). NAUG started operations in September 1996. Operated by the Railroad Museum of New England, NAUG is a heritage railway, primarily an excursion and historic passenger operation, with an irregular freight service (as-needed).
The current heavyweight passenger cars used by the Naugatuck are retired Canadian National coaches from the 1920s. Coaches 4980, 4992, and 5114 (renumbered from 4990) are the regularly assigned ones with 5046 as the spare for the 2012 season. As of 2012, coach 5805 is still undergoing a major restoration by the museum's volunteers. There are several original New Haven coaches owned by the museum/railroad but none currently restored to usable condition. Visitors can see and will pass by these cars during the train trip.www.rmne.org
Motive power currently (2012) is rotated among Alco RS-3 529 (the only surviving New Haven RS-3), GE U23B 2203 (an ex-P&W unit, nee-Conrail 2798. It is the last "U boat" built, June 1977) and EMD FL-9 2019 (a retired CDOT unit that was rebuilt in 1985. Originally New Haven 2049).
Two other units stored that are close to operating with some repairs are EMD FL-9 2002 (another retired CDOT unit that was also rebuilt in 1985, originally New Haven 2005, it is the oldest surviving FL-9) and Alco RS-3 1508 (originally a Boston and Maine unit currently wearing a New York Central paint scheme. It has been through several owners in its life including Delaware and Hudson, Western Maryland Scenic and Cheasing Central and Owosso, a defunct Michigan tourist operation that put the unit in NYC paint in 1999.)
Other locomotives stored that can be seen during the train trip are: Boston and Maine SW-1 1109, on display at Thomaston station (built 1939, cosmetically restored in the early 1990s) Maine Central RS-3 557 (the only surviving MEC RS unit, plans are to restore to operating condition in the future) Metro North FL-9 2033 (the last F unit built, originally NH 2059, awaiting restoration) New Haven U25B 2525 (awaiting repairs to be brought back into service) Boston and Maine GP-9 1732 (currently having its prime mover rebuilt) and New Haven FA-1 0401 (restoration started but on hold) . Steam locomotives 1246 (a 1946 CP G-5c 4-6-2 last in service in early 1986) and 103 (a 1925 Baldwin shortline 2-6-2, last in service in 1975) are also on the roster/property. There is also a 1942 GE 45-tonner (RMNE #42) and a 1952 GE 25-tonner.
- Christopher T. Baer. "PRR CHRONOLOGY 1971 (June 2005 Edition)" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-05-14.
- Railroad History Database
- U.S. Railroads 1826-1850
- Philip C. Blakeslee, A Brief History Lines West Of The New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad Co. (1953)
- Naugatuck Railroad
- List of heritage railroads in the United States
- List of New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad precursors