All in a Day's Work:
New Haven Railroad
The New Haven Railroad was formed in 1872 and by the early 1900s controlled almost all railroad traffic in southern New England (Connecticut, Rhode Island and southern Massachusetts) and eastern New York State. Like many railroad lines across the United States the New Haven Railroad suffered a loss of passenger and freight traffic after World War II from the rise of automobile ownership and competition from the airline and trucking industries. The railroad folded in 1969 to merge with Penn Central.
Railroad work is about as rugged a profession there is, but labor was so short during World War II that the railroad had to turn to women to fill its jobs. While women had worked in clerical and attendant positions prior to the war, during the war, as we see in this February 1943 issue of the company magazine "Along the Line," they were being hired for such positions as switch tenders, signal station operators, rail repairmen, and track walkers. When the men returned from the war the women were let go, but in that short period of time they proved they could handle the job as well as any man.
For more information about the railroad collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, visit http://railroads.uconn.edu/.
Second page of Along the Line article
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