THE NORTHUP AVENUE CLASSIFICATION YARD IN RHODE ISLAND
The area between Branch Avenue in Providence and Woodlawn in Pawtucket was the site of a major railroad freight classification yard. This website provides a brief history, pictures and maps of the railroad switching yards at Northup Avenue, focusing mainly on the hump yard that the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad built in the 1920's.
A New Haven Y-4 three-cylinder 0-8-0 at the crest of the Northup Avenue Hump at the end of the steam era in October 1950.
Photo by Stephen Payne
A current map showing in red the subject of this website. The border between Providence and Pawtucket is just to the north of the Smithfield Avenue bridge which is roughly in the middle of the yard. The Providence Union Station was just to the left of the "A" before the word Providence.
Northup Avenue is buried to the left of the yard office. The street that once passed under the joint P&W-B&P mainline gave its name to the yard. The Northup Avenue underpass was filled-in in 1904. New Haven 0665, an ALCO RS-1, is seen from the new Smithfield Avenue in the Mid-1950's. I-95 now parallels the site of the yard. Photo by Edward J. Ozog
NORTHUP or NORTHRUP
The street that gave its name to the yard can sometimes be found spelled with a second "r". The street name probably originated with the family name Northrup but over time the simpler form prevailed. Older street maps use the second "r" but new maps use Northup. Newspaper accounts of the building of the hump yard mainly use Northup but sometimes Northrup can be found. New Haven railroad usage was also ambivalent. I have used the short form which I think is most common.
NEW HAVEN GP-9's AT THE NORTH END OF THE NORTHUP AVENUE YARD IN THE WOODLAWN SECTION OF PAWTUCKET.
The freight is on the eastbound double-track mainline waiting for signals. Closest to the camera are the two westbound mainlines and the Moshassuck Valley RR interchange.
PHOTO BY EDWARD J. OZOG
TO NAVIGATE either scroll from page to page or go to the sitemap (upper left) and click "list" (the symbol box with the horizontal lines) which shows each page in alphabetical order. Pages in subject order are: 1) HOME 2) THE NINETEENTH CENTURY YARD 3) THE FLAT SWITCHING YARD 4) THE HUMP YARD 5) THE TRACK LAYOUT 6) YARD ACTIVITY 7) DECLINE AND OBLITERATION and 8) APPENDIX
For background the reader should go to:
No. 3550 was one of the 3-cylinder 4-8-2 type locomotives the New Haven acquired in 1926 and 1928. The engines were the last steam power the New Haven purchased for freight service and were assigned to the most important freights at the Northup Avenue Yard such as "The Speed Witch" or "The Cannonball".
CONSTRUCTED BY EDWARD J. OZOG