1845 map of the New York and New Haven Railroad… 10 feet long!

Projected and Drawn by P. Anderson Civil Ingr. / Snyder & Black Lithogrs. 87 Fulton St New-York, MAP EXHIBITING THE EXPERIMENTAL and LOCATED LINES for the NEW-YORK AND NEW-HAVEN RAIL-ROAD… New York, Febr. 1845.
Lithograph on 5 sheets of wove paper joined, 18 ½”h x 126”w at neat line plus good margins, uncolored.

A monumental 1845 map depicting the route of the New York and New Haven Railroad, one of the oldest and busiest in the United States.

Chartered in 1844 and opened in early 1849, the New York and New Haven completed the first direct all-rail route between New York and Boston.

“In the early days of railroads, building a line along the north shore of the Long Island Sound was considered difficult due to the many rivers that fed into it. The first all-rail New York City-Boston lines ran north via the predecessors to the New York Central and Boston and Albany (B&A) railroads. Other routes involved combined water and rail routes, some going east via the Long Island Railroad, other[s] departing the East River waterfront of New York for ports in Connecticut, Rhode Island, or Massachusetts. However, railroad technology soon improved, and the NY&NH was chartered June 20, 1844 to build such a line from New York to New Haven, where it would connect to the Hartford & New Haven Railroad, which itself connected to the future B&A at Springfield.” (Wikipedia)

The opening of the New York and New Haven was the impetus for the explosive growth of the suburban towns and manufacturing cities lining the north shore of Long Island Sound. For example, Fairfield County, which had hitherto experienced decennial population growth in the single digits, grew by almost 20 percent between 1840 and 1850 and another 30 percent by 1860. In 1872 New York and New Haven merged with the Hartford and New Haven line to form the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad, which operated into the 1960s. The rail bed remains in service today and is used most prominently by Amtrak and the Metro North Railroad.

The map
This remarkable image is printed on five sheets, which have been joined to form a 10 ½ foot-long strip map of the north coast of Long Island Sound from New York City to New Haven. It depicts the results of surveys overseen by Chief Engineer A.G. Twining, the purpose of which was to ascertain the optimal route for the New York and New Haven Railroad and inform construction cost estimates. The route ultimately selected is shown as a solid black line, while dashed lines indicate alternative routes that had also been under consideration.

The map was separately issued, presumably as a companion to Alexander Twining’s Engineer’s Report on the Survey and Primary Location of the New York and New Haven Railroad (New Haven: Hitchcock & Stafford, Printers, 1845). Referring to the map, Twining writes:

“The map was executed by Mr. Philander Anderson, Civil Engineer, with his usual dispatch, and its obvious practical elegance is its own commendation. It is enriched by a great number and variety of details, topographical, geodetic, and civil,–such as the hills, ridges, and other surface irregularities–the meadows, marshes, islands, channels, and flats,–the roads, streams, mill-ponds, bridges, villages, settlements, situations and dwellings, together with latitude and longitude lines. These were taken, mostly by myself, from the engraved and plane table maps of the United States Coast Survey at Washington…. The source of these details confers upon the map authenticity as well as richness, and has enabled me to subject the alignment of the surveys to a severe and satisfactory test, evincing its general accuracy and correcting its unavoidable minor aberrations.” (p. 9)

Anderson’s original manuscript is still extant, almost twice as large as the printed map but otherwise appearing to show only minor differences. It has been scanned by David Rumsey and may be viewed on his web site.

Modelski, Railroad Maps of the United States, #484. Thompson, Maps of Connecticut, vol. II #110 (Yale only). Rumsey #4218. OCLC 5486555 (Harvard, Library of Congress, New York Historical, Penn State and Yale) and 557795310 (British Library) (as of December 2017).


Very good, particularly for such a large item. Cleaned to reduce some staining and discoloration, with some lingering glue stains along seams. A hard crease in left-most sheet flattened, and some repairs and reinforcements at edges.