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The Boat Race Trains

June 1st, 2000

The New Haven Railroad operated special excursion trains, called "boat race trains", which paced the annual college shell races whenever they were held on the Housatonic and Thames rivers in Connecticut. Up through at least 1955, the New Haven even maintained a small fleet of special "boat race cars" which were flat cars fitted with stadium-type seats. The boat race trains actually followed the shells as they raced along the river next to the New Haven's tracks. All materials from the collection of Marc Frattasio.

Late 1930s FolderThis boat race train folder, which dates from the late 1930s, advertised a "Triangle Regatta" or competition between three colleges; Yale, Columbia, and Penn State. This race was held on the Housatonic River in western Connecticut and the train operated over the New Haven's Berkshire Line.

This boat race train folder from 1940 promoted another shell race on the Berkshire Line between three colleges; Yale, Cornell, and Princeton. The New Haven's boat race trains were always heavily patronized by college alumni and were very popular.1940 Folder

Late 1950sThis Yale vs Harvard boat race train folder dates from the late 1950s. By this time, the New Haven Railroad had long since disposed of its traditional flatcar based boat race cars and was using conventional passenger cars to pace the races. One important advantage for the New Haven and boat race train patrons when the railroad stopped operating the old open-air boat race cars was that the conventional trains always featured a grill car.

The New Haven's trustees continued to operate the boat race trains into the 1960s. In fact, the New Haven continued to operate these trains up until the end of its corporate existence as a result of the Penn Central merger effective January 1st 1969. Boat race trains during the 1960s often used two sets of EMD FL-9 diesel-electric-electric locomotives, one set on each end of the train, for ease of bi-directional operation.Early 1960s Folder

Late 1960s FolderThis is one of the last boat race train folders distributed by the New Haven Railroad prior to the Penn Central merger. The boat race trains which operated out of New London ran over the Norwich and Worcester Line next to the Thames River.


May 2000: Timetable Change Posters

April 2000: New Haven Railroad Station Signs

March 2000: The Key to New England

February 2000: Route 128 Station

January 2000: New Haven Railroad Cigarette Lighters

December 1999: The Dan'l Webster

November 1999: Postwar Travel Posters

October 1999: Modern Dining Car China

September 1999: New Haven Railroad Dining Car Service Pins

August 1999: New Haven Railroad Lapel Pins

July 1999: The 1939 New York World's Fair -- 60th Anniversary

June 1999: On-Train Ashtrays

April 1999: Matchbooks

March 1999: Pilgrim Tours

February 1999: Special Trains of the 1950s and 1960s

January 1999: Ticket Envelopes

December 1998: Holiday Advertising Material

November 1998: New York City Travel Advertising Material

October 1998: Boston Travel Advertising Material

September 1998: The Hurricane of 1938 -- 60th Anniversary

July 1998: The New Haven Goes Back to Cape Cod

June 1998: The 1964/1965 New York World's Fair

May 1998: Official Gifts of the McGinnis Era

April 1998: System Timetables

March 1998: Pre-War Advertising Brochures

February 1998: New Haven Railroad Freight Service Advertising from the 1950s and 1960s

January 1998: The Snow Trains

December 1997: Hotel Montclair Advertisement ca. 1939

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