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Hartford

Hartford

Built 1900 by the Columbian Iron Works of Baltimore for the New York and Hartford Transportation Company. Twin screw steel vessel of 1.488grt, cargo capacity of around 300 tons and accommodations for 250-350 passengers.

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One of the less significant of the eastern seaboard night lines, the Hartford Line built the 'Hartford'(2) to replace a ship of the same name sold for Spanish American War duties.
In 1907 the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad Company (the New Haven) acquired the company, one of many it bought at that time in an attempt to monopolize New England transportation, but the Hartford Line continued as a separate entitity outside the Railroad's New England Navigation subsidiary.
The Connecticut River route was really too short for an overnight passenger line and the Company depended heavily on its freight revenues. The Line did not operate in winter as the River usually froze over.
The company operated the 'Hartford' and the slightly smaller 'Middletown' of 1896 on the route until October 1931, when the service was discontinued and the Hartford Line dissolved.
The 'Hartford' was laid up and went to the breakers in 1938.

Bruce
 

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Thanks Bruce. Nice to know she had a useful life with no major disasters. An interesting note in the article is this: "When in the river the steering is done by watching the shore rather than the compass, and in case of fog it is found that the glare of the headlight renders it impossible to see the shores of the river, and that navigation is thus made very difficult. To provide for such conditions, the headlight may be cut by the officer on the bridge." -Can't help but thinking: doesn't quite solve the problem does it? But maybe the less glaring lights from the staterooms does aid some in discerning the riverbanks... "When in the river, feed water is taken directly from the river and the air pumps are allowed to discharge overboard, when in the Sound the feedwater is taken from the hot well and fed into the boilers by feed pumps". Regards, Stein.
 

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The headlight method of navigation was quite common in many of the narrow navigable rivers. The compass was virtually useless in the winding rivers, with the currents and eddies adding to the problem of distance actually travelled. It's said that many of the old timers only needed their noses to navigate safely as they could smell their way along the river.
A never ending problem was the complaints from homeowners, especially the influential ones with substantial riverside homes, about the searchlight floodlighting their houses as the ship passed by.

Bruce
 

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