The Rail Freight House in Portland, Connecticut is a train depot located along the historic railroad line “The Air Line.” The Air Line was created to become the fastest passenger rail line from New York to Boston. Construction began in the late 1860s and the first leg of the line, from New Haven to Middletown, was completed in 1870. Major chunks of the rail line northeast from Middletown were completed in the following few years.
The Air Line gets its name from the towering iron viaducts constructed to create a level track bed suitable for fast travel. The rail was 25 miles shorter to Boston than its competitor along the shoreline, but after disputes between railroad companies, the Air Line’s access into New Haven was restricted, ultimately ushering in the rail’s closing. By 1964, the Portland to Willimantic segment of the rail line was abandoned and left to the elements, later to be converted into a bicycle trail via a “Rails to Trails” program in the early 2000s. The New Haven-Middletown segment, however, is still in use, and terminates at the small train depot in Portland.
Kronenberger & Sons performed a complete exterior and interior restoration to the Rail Freight House. We recreated what the train depot originally looked like by removing a portion of the building added on in its later years of use. KSR installed a new roof, wood paneling and support beams, revitalized the wooden details of the building’s envelope, and added fresh paint to the exterior.
Author: The Middletown Press