Old Colony and Newport Scenic Railway

Old Colony and Newport Scenic Railway
Old Colony and Newport Railway
Locale Newport County, Rhode Island, along Narragansett Bay, Newport, Rhode Island to Middletown, Rhode Island
Dates of operation 1979–
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) (standard gauge)
Headquarters Newport, Rhode Island

The Old Colony and Newport Railway is a heritage railroad in Rhode Island which operates on the Newport Secondary Rail Line along with the Newport Dinner Train.

The Old Colony and Newport Railway operates passenger excursion trains on what is known as the "Newport Secondary Line" from downtown Newport, Rhode Island to Middletown, Rhode Island. All trains are operated by volunteers on Sundays.



The Old Colony and Newport has three locomotives; two General Electric 45 Ton locomotives, numbered 4764 and 84. Both are of 1940s vintage and both have served with the armed services in their lifetimes. They were built with two Cummins over-the-road diesel truck engines (one in front, one in back), rated at 150 horsepower. These were linked to electric generators that provide electricity to traction motors (one per truck, linked on the outside by siderods). Both are equipped with full air train brakes and straight air locomotive brakes as well as handbrakes.

Old Colony and Newport 45 Ton Switchers #4764 & #84
Power type Diesel
Builder General Electric (GE)
Model GE 45-ton switcher
Build date #84, 1942; #4764, 1945
AAR wheel arr. B-B (Outside Siderods)
Gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Locomotive weight 100,000 lb (45.4 tonnes)
Prime mover 2 × Cummins Diesel
Cylinders 2 × Inline 6 cylinders
Transmission DC generator, DC traction motors
Top speed 20 mph (~30 km/h); posted speed 15 mph (~20 km/h)
Power output #84, ~300HP; #4764, ~150HP
Locomotive brakes Straight Air
Train brakes 14-EL Air

The 84 recently underwent a major overhaul that was funded by several grants, and has been returned to its original state mechanically, with both engines working. The 4764, not as fortunate, only has one operating engine (the north engine). An interesting note is that the 84 actually operates backwards; when it was put on the tracks, it was facing south, towards Newport. However, the OC&N traditionally couples its engines to the North end of the train; so, when the engineer looks out the "front" windshield, he sees the coach he is pulling. However, being a centercab switcher, operation in either direction is easy.

The OC&N also uses a Porter-built 50 ton centercab switcher PRSX 7349, owned by John Pratt, of Pratt Railway Services, a volunteer of the OC&N. It is painted black, different from the OC&N's green, white, and black paint scheme, and adorned with its original number plate. Although it looks very similar to the OC&N's General Electric 45 Ton locomotives, it is mechanically very different. Also owned by Mr. Pratt is a blue-and-white B&M Caboose.

The OC&N's bread-and-butter revenue runs consist of its two passenger cars, Coach #74 (the Nelson Blount), né Boston and Maine Railroad, built by The Laconia Car Company in 1904, and an 1884 Parlor Car from the Intercontinental railway, Parlor Car #53 (the Ruth Blount), named for major contributors to the railway in its beginning days. The Parlor Car very recently received a new roof, a new South-end beam (as both cars are 100% wood construction) and new windows.

Two other cars used by the OC&N are an Ex. Pennsylvania Railroad N5B Cabin Car and a wood-and-steel flatcar (origin unknown). They are usually found coupled to the 4764 at the Piers Siding or in Melville, at the South Switch for use on work trains.

Route description

The Old Colony and Newport Scenic Railroad operates along what is known as the "Newport Secondary Line" (NSL), which is owned by the state of Rhode Island.

The NSL was built to provide a rail connection to steam ships operating between Fall River, Massachusetts and New York City. Passengers were conveyed from Boston to Fall River by the Old Colony Railroad where they would board a steam ship that operated on Long Island Sound, arriving at New York City the following morning. As the steam ships had to travel down Narragansett Bay past Newport to reach Long Island Sound, it occurred to the railroad that travel time could be saved by extending the passenger train to Newport.

The NSL runs along the shore of Naragansett Bay from Newport to Portsmouth, a distance of 14 miles. The OC&N bridged the Sakonnet River on the Sakonnet River rail bridge, however its swing mechanism was destroyed and the bridge is out of service.

The OC&NR shares the NSL with the operations of the Newport Dinner Train.


The Old Colony and Newport Railway operates two revenue trains on Sundays, one leaving downtown Newport at 11:45AM, and another at 1:45PM. It is an 80 minute, 9 mile round trip up the NSL along the Narragansett Bay from Newport to Middletown, Rhode Island and Portsmouth, Rhode Island. It is a beautifully scenic ride, touted as "The Million Dollar View."

The OC&N also runs charters. See their website for details.

The OC&N runs work trains to the north end of the NSL where the Sakonnet River railway bridge used to be, with hopes to tame the wild foliage so that they may run charters to that end of the line without damaging their wood-sided cars, however these trains are not open to the public.

External links

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