Stoney Lonesome Section - The Billings Trail is a 1.45 mile long one-way trail. Trailhead/parking area is located on Ashpohtag Road.  


Historical Note from the Norfolk Land Trust: Stoney Lonesome is a rocky fastness halfway between Ashpohtag Road and the Blackberry River Inn high above the Canaan Road. Once part of the Connecticut and Western Railroad, which ran from Hartford in the east to Millerton in the west, it is the site of a train wreck that occurred in May, 1882. The prime mover in building this railroad was Norfolk native, Egbert T. Butler. His intention was to create an industrial belt along the railroad right-of-way, bringing prosperity to the region. The laying of the track was fraught with difficulty along the east-west axis because it had to run along mountainside with steep, severe grades. Nowhere was the challenge more severe than at Stoney Lonesome and most observers concluded it could not be done; but Butler and his team of engineers and workmen succeeded, making three deep rock cuts into the mountainside.

Although no one was hurt in the train wreck, the accident excited people’s imagination and the many accounts began to vary. One history of Norfolk reported that “One train ran off the tracks and another ploughed into it." A Canaan paper of the time said that “a large rock weighing five tons...came crashing down against the locomotive, striking her between the driving wheels and crowding her off the track and over the bank....” According to the railroad’s historian, the locomotive, the Bloomfield, struck a rock that was already on the tracks. In 2004 Norfolk historian Richard Byrne located a large pin in the rock which anchored the pulley used to raise the train back onto the tracks, confirming the site of the train wreck.

In 1927 regular passenger service ended. Freight service continued until 1939. In 2003 the Norfolk Land Trust purchased this stretch of the right-of-way as part of the Billings Trail. Read more about Stoney Lonesome in the Hartford Courant: 


View on Trailforks

Updated on: June 26th, 2023 18:20




Outdoor Recreation & Research

Powered by Ginkgo