The end of the steam era in Connecticut — a new collection in the Railroad History Archives

“The 12:25 to Waterbury.” Engine 1338 of the New Haven Railroad in Newington, Connecticut, on July 10, 1946. Photograph by Seth P. Holcombe.

Seth P. Holcombe loved steam trains, and as a youth who grew up near the railroad station in Hartford, Connecticut, he particularly admired those of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad (better known as the New Haven Railroad), the predominant railroad in southern New England from 1872 to 1969.  Mr. Holcombe was born in 1918 and lived his life in the Hartford area, graduating from Trinity College in 1941 and serving as registrar of the Morgan Horse Club (now known as the Connecticut Morgan Horse Association) as an adult.  He was also an avid photographer and took numerous photographs of the trains he loved.  His interest never wavered from the steam trains of the New Haven Railroad, so when the railroad switched to a diesel fleet in 1952 Mr. Holcombe’s interest in the railroad waned.

Seth Holcombe died in 2009 and his wife Lucy made a gracious gift of his photographs to the Railroad History Archive this year.  The collection shows trains in and around Hartford, as well as other railroad lines across New England when Mr. Holcombe would travel on excursions.  A finding aid to the collection is available at and all are welcome to come to Archives & Special Collections to view this terrific set of photographs.

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