Running beside Talcottville to the east was the railroad.
Now of course we know it as the rails-to-trails or the linear park. If you walk or bike it today, you can follow the spur over to Valley Falls, down to Bolton Notch, or turn and split off to the left where the old Vernon Depot was, and go all the way in to Rockville, as the old trains used to do.
We have been told that the Rockville Railroad was a dead end, with no roundhouse, a unique situation among rail cities. It became a media buzz and a household legend after it was reported in Ripley's Believe It or Not that trains had to back out of Rockville to get back on the main line, the Hartford, Providence & Fishkill RR.
From 1869 map.
Interesting input from a reader of this page has made us feel that this business about no roundhouse must have been an early version of an urban legend, or a bit of hype. A well known vista of Rockville in 1877, shown in the clip below, clearly shows a turntable in downtown Rockville, which would turn the engines around in place. A distinction between this and an enclosed roundtable would be academic. Nothing remains of this today. In addition to this, there was a sister turntable at Vernon Depot, at our end of the Rockville line. Remnants of a stone pit from this still exists at the Vernon Depot spot.
So indeed, the trains had to back out of Rockville, but the engines were not backward, and I would bet that railroad people would tell us that this configuration was not unique.
Here is a picture of the train arriving at Talcottvile station (1880?) from Manchester.
The picture was taken standing at the station looking south, Talcottville to our right,
and the engine coming at us is crossing Elm Hill Road.
Turning around, we see the station master with his signal flag.
Looking at this picture, you get a feel for the station. You can imagine being there. You feel you know that station man, and you're just stopping by to say hello. Note they spelled Talcottville wrong!
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