« PreviousContinue »
From the summit to Merriman's mill, or Plunket's factory, on a branch of the Housatonic river, in Hinsdale, and 5 miles from Sibley's, the line, as located, passes west of Mud pond, (the source of this branch of the Housatonic,) and thence by the valley of Hinsdale mill stream, to Capt. White's, through the Hinsdale meadows, from thence to Merriman's, over favorable ground. The grade within these 5 miles, in no case exceeds 22 feet, the greater part being nearly level. Before this part of the route is definitively located, it will be proper to examine a line, from the summit to Capt. White's, passing farther east, as represented upon the Map by a dotted line.
From Merriman's mill to Goodrich's, in Pittsfield, the first favorable point which occurs for crossing the Housatonic river, it is 51⁄2 miles. In this distance, the river descends 420 feet. The consequence, of course, is, that a steep grade, throughout this extent, must be resorted to. 1.89 miles is at 71.28 feet, and 3.48 miles is at 81.78. A heavy cut, involving the excavation of about 140,000 yards near the Hinsdale and Dalton boundary line, is the most serious obstacle in this portion of the route; and still this cannot be avoided without pursuing the immediate valley of the river from Merriman's, down, involving an increase of distance and of curvature. The grade would be diminished, but it is probable that the additional cost incurred by the increased distance, beyond the cost of making the cut at the town line, would reduce much of the advantage in this respect, which might be supposed would arise from thus extending the line. It will be proper, however, to have the river line traced, and the expense of a route in that direction ascertained before the line is adopted.
From Goodrich's to the village of Pittsfield, the line is very direct, with a slightly ascending grade. The surface is rather broken. It passes by Plunket's, and Munn's, the north side of mill pond, and enters the village north of the Green or public square.
From Pittsfield to the New York line, the route is principally in the direction of the valley of a branch of the Housatonic, to a summit in Richmond, near Rev. Mr. Dwight's, and from thence to the Western termination, by a line rather transverse to the course of the streams, which fall into Williams' river, the branch of the Housatonic, up
on which the village of West Stockbridge is situated. Between Pittsfield and the Richmond summit, two distinct routes have been approximately located. The first, or main line, as it is marked upon the Map, crosses the Pontoosuc near the head of Pomeroy's satinet factory pond; thence it crosses North run near N. Sturgis's, thence southof his house, it falls into the valley of the Shaker mill stream, at Goodrich's, thence crossing two intermediate bends of this stream, it reaches the same valley again at Sterns's factory, ascending at 51 feet per mile to the Shaker's mill, thence at a grade reduced to 9 feet, it crosses two other bends of the same stream, and the western part of pond, at the line between Pittsfield and Richmond; thence by a branch falling into this pond, it ascends to the summit at Parsons's, east of Rev. Mr. Dwight's.
Passing the summit, the line crosses a branch of Williams's river three times, occasioning a succession of cutting and filling at the spurs, and intervening ravines. The last crossing of this stream is at a point where the meadow, through which it runs, is upwards of 2000 feet wide, north of Leadbeater's. At Leadbeater's, the line falls into the valley of another branch of Williams' river, thence by Col. Rowley's and north end of mill pond, to Griffin's in West Stockbridge, near the Richmond line, thence turning to the west, it crosses a small branch, and winds around the slope of the high ground, thence south of Arnold's, and unites with the south route at the New York state line.
By examining the accompanying Table, it will be seen that the maximum grade upon the line west of Richmond summit is 55.84 feet for a distance of nearly two miles; but reducible most probably, by modifying the line, to 45 or 46 feet. Four and a half miles is from 41 to 45 feet, and the balance 4.80 miles is less than 14 feet. The entire distance from Pittsfield to the state line is about 111⁄2 miles.
The second line from Pittsfield to the New York line crosses Pomeroy's factory pond, south of the main line, and thence turning farther west, it crosses the first line east of North run, and south of N. Sterns's, continuing nearly west, it unites with the main line, between Goodrich's and Sterns's factory. From the point of junction, another line was traced, which may be considered a continuation of the second line, passing farther north than the first or main
line, and nearer the Shaker village, thence S. W., until it united with the main line, near the Richmond summit. This line is made up of portions of three separate routes, marked A, B, and D upon the Map.
From Griffin's in Richmond, near the West Stockbridge and Richmond line, a route was traced to West Stockbridge vsllage, about 1 miles.
The above lines for both the north and south routes, terminate at the West Stockbridge gap (so called;) a practicable line, it is said, may be found in Richmond across the dividing ridge between the waters of the Housatonic (or of Williams's river,) and of the Hudson, farther north than the Stockbridge gap. This information we gather from communications upon the subject, made to the agent of the Western Rail Road Corporation, by two gentlemen connected with the Albany and West Stockbridge Rail Roadone the superintendant, and the other a director.
They state that the gap at Richmond, as determined by the surveys of their Engineer, is 350 feet higher than that at West Stockbridge; and that it is about 3 miles north of the same; that the distance from the Rev. Mr. Dwight's (the summit of the Western Rail Road between Pittsfield and West Stockbridge) to this gap, is 3 miles, and that the inclination per mile from Mr. Dwight's to the summit, would not exceed 40 feet; that the distance saved between Connecticut river and Albany, if the north route should be adopted, would be 6 miles, making the distance from Richmond gap to Albany, 33 miles, if the route by Lebanon Church should be taken, or if by Lebanon Springs, (14 miles farther north,) 37 miles; "that the route by the Springs," using the language of the superintendant, "being so much longer than that through the valley by the Church, admits of construction upon a grade of 40 feet to the mile, and less; but if that by the Church is adopted, the Church being 41 miles from the summit at the pond, a grade of 72 feet per mile, or more, must be adopted to go up; and about the same grade will go over the Richmond summit when reduced by a liberal cut. The route up the Lebanon valley, by the Church, and thence by the steep ascent of 72 or 78 feet to Richmond, can be made at a great saving of expense to our company, compared with the route by the Springs, probably $100,000 and over."
How far these facts should weigh, in determining upon the main route west, is a question for the Board to decide. The information is embodied here, as we conceive it to be pertinent to the subject under consideration. We may farther mention that the grading of the Hudson and Berkshire Rail Road from West Stockbridge to Hudson, is stated to be three fourths completed; and that as yet, nothing has been done, in the way of construction, upon the Albany and Stockbridge road.
OF THE GRADES.
In order that a correct estimate may be formed of the difficulties to be encountered, in giving to either route grades which may be regarded as practicable for locomotive engines, it will be proper to bear in mind, that the entire line from Worcester to the N. York state line, must, of necessity, pass two very elevated summits, viz. that at Charlton, between the waters of the Connecticut, and those of the Blackstone, Quinebaug, &c. and the still more formidable one, which divides those of the Connecticut from the Hudson. Reviewing the line, we shall find that to overcome the Charlton summit, we have to ascend 470 feet in a distance of about 12 miles, and to cross the Connecticut river, (which at Springfield is only about 40 feet above tide water) it is necessary to descend in 42 miles, nearly 900 feet; thence again, to cross the mountain west of Connecticut river, we must ascend upwards of 1400 feet in 40 miles; and to reach the gap at West Stockbridge, we must descend again 600 feet in a distance of 23 miles.
Over such an extent of country, it would not, of course, be expected that, without resorting to inclined planes, and fixed engines, an uniform inclination, upon either side of these summits, could be obtained. In the absence of a system of planes, worked by stationary power, the fall of the several streams, which the routes pursue, determines the inclination or grade, to be given to the several stages of the road.
North Route. From Connecticut river to Hubbard's tavern, in Chester, the distance is 28 miles, and with the exception of 1.83 miles, at the western end, the grade does not exceed 33 feet. From Hubbard's to the summit at Sibley's, in Washington, 11 miles, the grade is from 70 to
82 feet, there being in this distance, but of a mile of a less grade than 55, feet.
From Sibley's to Merriman's mill, the distance is 4.65 miles; the highest grade is 22 feet, and the greater portion of it nearly level.
From Merriman's mill to the crossing of the Housatonic, at Goodrich's, in Pittsfield, the distance is 5.38 miles, with grades of 71.28 and 81.78, thence to New York line, it need not exceed 50 feet, and it may be, 45 feet.
South Route. From Connecticut river to Munn's brook, 11 miles, the grade need not exceed 33 feet. The first grade of 63 feet east of Munn's brook is to be avoided by winding around the point of the hill, near the mouth of the brook, instead of passing over it, as at present represented.
From Munn's brook to the Spruce swamp summit, 19.20 miles, the grades vary from a level to 80 feet per mile-10 miles being at 80 feet, and 3 at 70 feet. The balance of 6 miles varies from a level to 56 feet.
From Spruce swamp summit, west, to Green Water pond, 11.50 miles, the grade no where exceeds 28 feet and the greater part of it is less than 20 feet.
From Green Water pond to Hop brook valley, 6.65 miles, the grade is 79 feet.
From Hop brook to Stockbridge village, there is at present, a grade near South Lee, of 44 feet for 1 mile, but this may be avoided by throwing the line north, nearer the river.
From the village of Stockbridge to Fueri's summit, in West Stockbridge, 2.60 miles, the grade is 55.49 feet, thence to the New York line, nothing greater than 39 feet.
It results from the above, that if we fix upon 56 feet as a limit, that all the grades beyond that amount in the north line, are confined to the space between Hubbard's in Chester, and Goodrich's, at the crossing of the Housatonic, in Pittsfield, a distance of 21 miles, viz.
11 miles, Hubbard's to Sibley's from 71 to 82 feet.
Level to 22 feet. 71 to 81.78 do.
Upon the south route, we find the distance from the 1st grade exceeding 56 feet on the east, to the last on the west, to be 37 miles, thus,