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surface of the water of the same, of about 100 feet, the grade is reduced to 54 feet, thence it curves to the south, leaving the valley of the river, but turning soon to north again, to avoid the high ground west of Stowe's house, it crosses the Blandford line, and approaches the river again opposite Rowland Noble's at the junction of the north and south branches, and 14 miles N. W. of Stowe's. From thence to Beech hill, 21⁄2 miles, it winds along the side hill, crossing occasionally the line between Granville and Blandford, and crossing also the south branch of the Little Westfield, called Peeble's brook, the grade is here increased again to 80 feet, and the line is thrown from its west course at Ripley's, to one due south, to turn the point of Beech hill, and after passing this hill, it turns to N. W. and pursues that course 4 miles to the Spruce swamp summit, near the Otis and Blandford line, crossing the N. E. corner of Tolland. This is the principal summit of the route. It is elevated 1470 feet above the Connecticut river Bench Mark, and about 30 miles distant from it. An uniform ascent would give a grade of about 49 feet.
From the summit to Green Water pond in Becket, 11 miles, the line is very favorable, both in its direction and in its grades. It descends to Baird's tavern, near Nichols's pond, at inclinations varying from 2 to 28 feet per mile, and over a surface easily graded. At one mile west of the summit it passes through the village of East Otis; crossing at that place the outlet of Great pond, a tributary of Farmington river; thence by Parish pond, (the source of Farmington river,) and by Esq. Filley's, to Nichols's pond, in the southwest corner of Becket; from thence, to Green Water pond, the line ascends 8 feet per mile over favorable ground.
Green Water pond discharges itself into the Housatonic river in the town of Lee, through Green Water pond brook. This pond is the summit between the Farmington and Housatonic. The descent to the west from this summit is 79 feet per mile, through the valley of the outlet of the Green Water pond. The line crosses the ravine of this brook, below Sturgis's tavern, at an elevation of upwards of 100 feet above the surface of the water, and 5 miles distant from the pond; thence it winds to the S. E. around the point of East mountain, into the valley of Hop brook, crossing this stream in the N. W. corner of Tyringham, and
about a mile above its junction with the Housatonic and 3 miles south of Green Water brook, still descending 79 feet per mile; thence it is level of a mile; and thence the line, as approximately located, passes over a slight summit, but this may be avoided by pushing it a little farther north, or even crossing the river at South Lee, instead of the present crossing place, in the eastern part of Stockbridge.
From the present crossing place, one mile west of the boundary line between Lee and Stockbridge, the route passes over Stockbridge plain, north of the main street, and from thence to Fueri's at the rocky ridge which separates the Housatonic from Williams's river (one of its branches) the line is nearly straight, crossing a bend of the river twice, to avoid a great curve to the north. But from Stockbridge plain to this summit, the line is both difficult and expensive, it crosses the river, necessarily, at heights of 25 and 40 feet respectively, and ascends at a grade of 55 feet per mile.Near Fueri's, 4 miles from the first crossing place of the Housatonic, in the eastern part of Stockbridge, the line enters the town of West Stockbridge; and to pass through the gap at Fueri's, two curves of 1000 feet radius each, are necessary. From this summit the line turns north, and following the side hill at grades descending to the west, of 38 feet, 20 feet and 7 feet per mile, it falls into the valley of Williams's river, and unites with the West Stockbridge Rail Road, at the proposed depot of the same, in the village of West Stockbridge, 24 miles east of the New York state line. From the depot west, the route pursues the located line of the West Stockbridge Rail Road very nearly, and joins the Hudson and Berkshire Rail Road at the state line, 62.38 miles from Connecticut river.
For a full description of the details of the route, embracing the grades, cuttings, fillings, curves, &c. reference is respectfully made to the accompanying Maps, Profiles, and Tables, and to the descriptive memoir of Mr. Morgan, appended hereto, under whose immediate direction, the approximate location, and a great portion of the preliminary surveys were made. An inspection of these maps, upon which all the lines are delineated, will bear us out in the assertion, that very extensive examinations have been made in reference to a "South Route." The results furnished by the same are now before the Board. They contain, we
believe, all the facts necessary to be considered, in comparing this route with the northern or Pittsfield route. We now proceed to a description of the same.
This route is, essentially, the same which Mr. Baldwin surveyed for a Rail Road, in 1828, viz. by the valley of the Great Westfield river, and by one of its branches to the source of the same in Washington, thence by the principal branch of the Housatonic river to Pittsfield, and thence by a smaller branch of the same to a summit between the Housatonic proper, and Williams's river, one of its tributaries, thence to the N. York state line, at West Stockbridge.
From the junction, on the north side of the river, at S. Brunson's, of the two lines by the north and south sides of the Westfield, one mile above Tekoa mountain, and 14.30 miles west of the Connecticut, the route continues on the north side, one mile beyond, to a very abrupt bend of the river at Capt. Bronson's, necessitating at that point curves of either 1000 or of 800 feet radius as the line shall be thrown more or less into the bend of the river. The pass is a difficult one, and without encroaching upon the stream, or cutting off the bend entirely, by two bridges very oblique to the course of the river, the curve would be of too short a radius to be admissible. The grade is light, being about 15 feet per mile. From Capt. Bronson's to Finney's at the 2d mile, (counting from the junction of the two routes at S. Bronson's) the line follows the base of the east point of Shatterack mountain, a high rocky promontory, passing, in its course, over spurs, and intervening ravines, with a succession of curves, reversing from one to another, and not to be avoided without unwarrantable expense in the cost of construction. Near Finney's, the line crosses to the south side of the river at the "Narrows," to avoid the sharp turn which the stream makes, at -Tuttle bend, 3 miles above Bronson's. By keeping the north side of the river at the bend, a curve of about 500 feet radius would be required. As it is, the alternative is to cross the river at the Narrows, upon a curve of 1900 feet radius, and continue upon the south side, at the foot of Tuttle mountain, and near the stream, re-crossing at the west point of Shatterack mountain, 500 feet above the east
ern extremity of Tuttle bend. To accomplish this, even, compels the introduction of a curve of 955 feet radius. Immediately after crossing the river, at Tuttle bend, it becomes unavoidable to reverse the curve to one of the same radius, to turn the point of a lofty spur, which protrudes itself to the south. This done, the line falls upon the margin of the stream, at 33 miles, and continues to pursue it, to a point near Gould's mill, at 43 miles.
An attempt was made to obviate some of the above difficulties, by passing through the depression, south of Tuttle mountain, by the route of the present Albany turnpike, near Hawley's tavern; but it was found to be 105 feet above the river at the Narrows, in a less distance than of a mile.
From a point below Gould's mill to Chester village, at 6 miles, two routes were located, one on the north, and the other on the south side of the river. The line by the south side is the best and shortest. The grade and curves are also better. It will, by the estimate annexed hereto, cost $5,900 more than that on the north side. This is caused by a single deep cut, and the expense of preserving the turnpike road. Uniting at Chester village, the route pursues the south side of the river to Porter's, at the 11 mile mark. The ground is very favorable, and the grades 31 and 33 feet respectively. The curves too, are comparatively easy. The line as at present located, crosses the river at Porter's, near the 11 mile mark, and again to the south side, at Wilcox's mill pond, near the 11 mile. This was done to cut off the bend of the river between these two points. Both these crossings may be avoided, by cutting through the rocky point of the mountain, which pushes itself down to the margin of the river, on the south side, between Porter's and Wilcox's. Previous to a definitive location, this line would, of course, be traced, and the comparative cost ascertained. The grade thus far has not exceeded 33 feet.
From Wilcox's pond to Fay's mill, the grade is increased to 41 feet, the line pursues the foot of the hill, and passing north of the old glass-house, it crosses the river between this latter point, and N. Root's, a short distance below Hubbard's tavern, at the mouth of Walker's brook, in ChesAt Fay's (13 miles) the line recrosses to the south side, and the grade is raised to 71 feet, to correspond with the general declivity of the river. At 14 miles above D.
Bigelow's, the line passes over again to the north side, continuing to ascend at the grade last mentioned (71 feet.)
From this crossing place, to M'Elwain's tavern in Middlefield, a distance of 6 miles, is the most difficult and expensive portion of the route. The river is exceedingly crooked, and the mountains shut in on both sides, leaving scarcely room for a road, and requiring between Bigelow's and M'Elwain's, 15 crossings. The rocky points thrust themselves quite down to the stream, and no alternative is left, except a resort to very objectionable curvature, between these points. The grade here is also the steepest, viz. from 71 to 82 feet. At the curves of least radius, this has been reduced, to equalize, more nearly, the total resistince; still the far greater portion of the line must be laid at the grades specified above, for, notwithstanding the foot of the plane is elevated 48 feet above the river, yet the fall of the stream from McElwain's down, is so great that the line is now only 2 feet, above the sill of his mill dam, a less grade, therefore, without a corresponding increase of curvature, cannot be attained.
An examination of the Maps and Profiles, will convey a better idea of this portion of the line than any description; and the memoir of Mr. Childe, in the Appendix to this Report, exhibits a statement of the obstacles to be encountered. By referring to the Map, it will be seen, that at Capt. Root's, (or Rhinoceros point, as it is called) that from the northern extremity of the mountain, at Root's, to Bigelow's, the course of the river is south; while from the western extremity of the bend to Root's, it is north, and that to turn this sharp point, a curve amounting nearly to a semicircle, upon a radius of about 1000 feet, is indispensable. The river in this part of its course, performs a circuit of two miles; and the distance across the peninsula (an immensely high mountain) is between one half, and three fourths of a mile, only.
From McElwain's tavern to the summit, at Sibley's, in Washington, 3 miles, the line, after making a curve from west to nearly south, pursues a very direct course, at an inclination of 71 feet to the mile. The grading, in the last mile and a half, will be very expensive; the cut at the summit being 55 feet, and the filling on the east side of it 45 feet. Both these must be encountered, unless the curvature and grade be unwarrantably increased.