Photo of the New Haven Comet streamlined train from a Railway Age Westinghouse air brake ad, April 27, 1935. Click to enlarge.

(Westinghouse Air Brakes, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)


New Haven Comet logo.


Not to be confused with the train in the UK.

The Comet was a diesel-electric streamliner built in 1935 for the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad by the Goodyear-Zeppelin Company and utilized two Westinghouse/Beardmore diesel engines. Smaller than the other streamliners, it was a three-car, double-ended train that could operate in both directions and thus did not need to be turned at destinations—ideal for the New Haven's cramped terminus at South Station in Boston.

It was initially placed into service between Boston, Massachusetts and Providence, Rhode Island on a 44-minute schedule; later, intermediate stops were added at Back Bay in Boston and Pawtucket/Central Falls, Rhode Island, on an advertised "44 miles in 44 minutes" schedule. It ran 5 daily round trips on weekdays, and was often used for weekend excursion trips. This service lasted until the beginning of World War II, when increased traffic volume overwhelmed the capacity of the Comet, after which it was placed on local commuter services around the Boston area. The trainset was withdrawn from service in 1951 and scrapped.

The interior was furnished with 48 seat in each power car, and 64 in the center car divided into two sections: a smoking section seating 28 and a non-smoking seating 36. Seating was of the 'walk-over' type, and all seats were coach-class; there being no provision for first- or parlor-class seating.

The exterior was machined aluminum in a whorled pattern with color bands of bright blue enamel at window height, dark blue enamel at wheel level, and a gray enamel roof. The whole exterior was covered with a coat of clear varnish to prevent tarnishing. The front ends were sharply raked, with a pointed "chin" pilot.


Postcard of the Comet passing through Sharon, MA, circa 1935.  Click to enlarge. (Digital Commonwealth, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Photo of the New York, New Haven and Hartford streamline The Comet. The train was built by Goodyear-Zeppelin, 1935. Click to enlarge. (Harris & Ewing, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)



Manufacturer: Goodyear Zeppelin Corporation
Constructed: 1935
Scrapped: 1951
Number built: One 3-car set
Number preserved None
Capacity: 160 passengers
Operator: New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad
Car body construction: Aluminum alloy
Train length: 207 ft 0 in (63.094 m)
Car length: Power cars: 74 ft 2 in (22.606 m), Trailer car: 58 ft 8 in (17.882 m)
Width: 9 ft 10 in (3.00 m)
Height: 11 ft 3 in (3.43 m)
Floor height: 2 ft 8+1⁄4 in (0.819 m) above railhead
Doors: 'Plug' type, three each side
Articulated sections: Three
Wheel diameter Powered: 36 in (914 mm); Unpowered: 30 in (762 mm)
Maximum speed: 95 miles per hour (153 km/h)
Weight: 126 tons (114 tonnes)
Traction system: Diesel-electric
Prime movers: Two 400 hp (298 kW) Westinghouse/Beardmore Inline-6 model 160 diesel engines (one each end)
Power output: 800 hp (597 kW)
UIC classification: B′2′2′B′
Track gauge: 4 ft 8+1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)


Article with photos from Railway Age about the New Haven train, The Comet. Technical and interior design information is in the article as well as photos of the train being built at Goodyear. Diagrams of interior layout and the motive power at each end. Date 27 April 1935. Click image to download a 700 KB PDF file. (Railway Age., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)


Front cover of a booklet on the Comet sponsored by Gulf Lubricants, ca. 1935. Click to enlarge. (Gulf Oil, Public domain, W. Lenheim Collection)

A New Haven poster from 1935 featuring the Comet. Click to enlarge. (New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad, Public domain, W. Lenheim Collection) 

Ad for Texaco lubricants picturing the New Haven Comet. It indicates that the train had a power car at each end. 27 April 1935. Click to enlarge. (The Texas Company, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)