About This Location
The Cedar Hill Rail Yard is a classification yard located in New Haven, North Haven, and Hamden, Connecticut. It was built by the New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad in the early 1890s and was modernized in the 1920s. During World War II, it handled more than 5,000 railroad cars per day, but its importance began to decline as freight traffic shifted to road transport and heavy industry left the region. Following the New Haven Railroad’s bankruptcy in 1961, much of the traffic was directed to Selkirk Yard, and car float service between Cedar Hill Yard and New York City ended. In 1969, the Penn Central Transportation Company took over the yard as part of its purchase of the New Haven Railroad.
A major setback for Penn Central occurred in 1974 when the Poughkeepsie Bridge was damaged by a fire and not replaced. Without the bridge, essentially all operations were stopped. Conrail, formally the Consolidated Rail Corporation, took over operations in 1976. In 1980, Conrail decided to close the yard’s remaining hump and move operations to Selkirk.
In 1999, CSX Transportation purchased Conrail’s New England operations and expanded the yard’s operations by constructing a bulk cargo transfer facility. As of 2023, CSX conducts freight operations in the old Northbound Departure Yard and the North and Eastbound Classification Yard. Amtrak also uses a portion of the land to conduct maintenance and store equipment for its Northeast Corridor operations.
Throughout the 21st century, much of the original rail yard was abandoned. In 2015, the North Haven Trail Association worked with The Town of North Haven to establish the Tidal Marsh Trail. This wonderful trail allows visitors to hike along the beautiful marsh and admire the abandoned structures littered throughout the old rail yard. Some highlights include abandoned switch towers, maintenance buildings, miles of tracks, stoplights, fire hydrants, tunnels, and more. It is best to stay on the trail in order to avoid walking on private property or getting into danger. As always, use your best judgment while exploring this epic abandoned property.
Ultimately, the abandoned Cedar Hill Rail Yard is truly an urban explorer’s dream!