Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Maine Memory Network: Great Source for Maine Railroading Images!

Run by the Maine Historical Society, this website has a lot of railroad related items!  Just type in what you want to find, and chances are, you will find something!

Recent New England Model Railroad Announcements - 12/29/10

Bachmann: GE 44-Ton Locomotive – B&M
Micro Trains: 40' Standard Box Car, Single Door – New Haven
Micro Trains: 50' Standard Box Car, Single Door, w/o Roofwalk – B&M (077 00 190)
Micro Trains: 40' Outside Braced Box Car, 1½ Door – Central Vermont
Micro Trains: 40' Standard Box Car w/Single Door, Full Ladders, w/o Roofwalk – Maine Central (073 00 120)


MBTA Quiet-Car Pilot Program

Quiet Car Pilot Program runs January 3 - April 3, 2011 on the Franklin and Fitchburg Lines

In a recent survey, thousands of our customers said they'd like to try a 'quiet car' on Commuter Rail. To test out the concept, we're running a 'quiet car' pilot program on the Franklin and Fitchburg Lines during peak times (see the shaded area on the train schedule for specific peak times).  The 'quiet car' will run for ninety days during which time we'll be surveying riders to see what they think of the experience. If it's a good one, we'll consider rolling it out on all commuter rail lines later in the spring.
View the schedule for the Franklin Line or the Fitchburg Line.
Tips for riding in a 'quiet car'
  1. Where is the 'quiet car' located on the train? The quiet car is the car closest to the locomotive.
  2. When will the 'quiet car' be running?  Beginning January 3, 2011, the 'quiet car' pilot program will run on the Franklin and Fitchburg Lines at peak times. The program is slated to run for 90 days or until April 3, 2011. We'll evaluate how well it went and consider the feasibility of extending it to other lines.
  3. What are the rules? Customers are asked to: refrain from cell phone use; keep pagers, cell phones, laptop and PDA sounds off; and speak quietly. Conductors will, of course, lift the quiet car restriction in times of disruption or severe overcrowding.
  4. What if I get on the 'quiet car' without knowing it?  Don't worry.  Conductors checking tickets will remind customers they are sitting in the 'quiet car'. If you prefer not to sit there, simply move to another car.
  5. What If I need to make or receive a call on my phone?  Kindly move to another car if you must make or take an incoming call. If you must leave your cell phone on, switch it to the vibrate function so that its ring won′t disturb others.
  6. What if another rider′s electronic device is too loud? Please keep in mind, quiet does not mean total silence. A certain amount of tolerance to noise is necessary. If needed, politely remind your seatmate that they are riding in a 'quiet car' and ask that they monitor the volume of their music, then let it go.  A 'quiet car' is also a peaceful car.
  7. Can I chat with fellow riders if I whisper? Yes, but please keep the tone to a whisper and the conversation brief.  If you find you need to whisper for the entire ride, it might make more sense to ride in the non-quiet cars.
  8. Can you disable the announcements in the quiet car?  We want to preserve a quiet atmosphere for the comfort of our riders; however, we must make onboard verbal station announcements.

Monday, December 27, 2010

New England Central gets new welded rail

New England Central gets new welded rail - TRAINS Magazine

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – The L.B. Foster Co. has begun delivery of 28,500 tons of 115-pound welded rail to New England Central Railroad. The rail will be used to upgrade approximately 140 miles of track. The track improvements are part of the Federal Railroad Administration’s High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program award to the State of Vermont and funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The new rail will improve the speed of the Vermont-sponsored Amtrak Vermonter passenger service and add capacity for freight.

Chattanooga Choo Choo - GREAT Old Comedy & Trains!

A great collection of clips, well edited and set to the song "Cattanooga Choo Choo".  Look for comedians Buster Keaton, Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, The Three Stooges, Laurel & Hardy, Harold Lloyd, Charlie Chaplin, the Keystone Cops, and others.  Oh yes, and LOTS of cool old trains!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Vermont upgrades tracks... poised to receive funds from canceled OH/WI

Vermont upgrades tracks... poised to receive funds from canceled OH/WI - TRAINS Magazine

By Kevin Burkholder
Published: December 13, 2010

MONTPELIER, Vt.Vermont is poised to receive an additional $2.7 million in high speed rail funds, while work proceeds on track improvements awarded in the first round of Recovery Act funds. The money is all going toward upgrading the route of Amtrak’s Vermonter over New England Central Railroad tracks.

Vermont’s project was not only the second nationally to find its way through the maze of requirements at the Federal Railroad Administration, it is successfully under way,” says Trini Brassard, assistant director of operations for Vermont’s department of transportation. “With threats of changes to the program, including reductions in funding for projects that are not making progress, we are in a safe position.”

The “threats” Brassard refers to originated with Congressional Republicans who want to take back unspent stimulus funds.

Charles Hunter, RailAmerica’s director of state relations in its eastern region, says it is too early to determine where Vermont’s new funds will go. The extra money comes from canceled Ohio and Wisconsin high speed rail projects.

Ron Bocash, New England Central’s project manager for the high speed upgrades, says that since receiving the first round of funding, a total of 14.87 miles of 115-pound welded rail has been installed. That work occurred between Oct. 28 and Nov. 24 through the combined efforts of crews from New England Central, Atlas Railroad Construction, RailWorks, and LB Foster.

With the onset of winter, the railroad has planned the rest of the project so that work can be done to get things ready to move in the spring. This includes signal work, such as replacing signal heads with LED lighting, bridge tie replacement, building crossing panels, and getting materials delivered and spread along the track.

Hunter says crews would be working toward the next round of funding, as the original application mentioned future signalization possibilities and the extension of passenger service to Montreal.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

‘Downeaster’ to get some money formerly bound for OH/WI

‘Downeaster’ to get some money formerly bound for Ohio, Wisconsin - TRAINS Magazine

BRUNSWICK, Maine — The Brunswick extension of Maine’s Downeaster will get an additional $3.3 million in federal money that Wisconsin and Ohio turned away, Mainebiz has reported. It’ll go to help fund the $38.3 million extension project, which will extend northward the current terminus at Portland, Maine.

Though California and Florida will get the bulk of the money that Wisconsin and Ohio rejected, it’ll go to a total of 13 different states, and the Downeaster will be just one beneficiary. Nearby Vermont also won an additional $2.7 million for its projects.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Lost Railroads of New England -- NEW EDITION --

Branch Line Press

Lost Railroads of New England

The 3rd edition of our railroad history classic, Lost Railroads of New England by Ronald Dale Karr, comprises a fully annotated directory to all abandoned segments of every common carrier railroad operated in New England, updated through January 2010, as well as a concise history of the rise and fall of New England’s railroads. The new edition includes all new maps with detailed city maps for areas of dense railroad activity; many more photographs; and new sections on rail trails and abandoned lines that have been reinstated.

Find out about the abandoned lines and rail rights of way you see in your favorite part of New England. 

Man survives leap from moving train Ayer MA

Man survives leap from moving train - The Boston Globe

December 6, 2010

Authorities said a man was taken by medical helicopter to Nashoba Valley Hospital last night after he jumped from a commuter rail train in Ayer. The man, about 30 years old, leapt from the moving train shortly after 9 p.m., said Lydia Rivera, an MBTA spokeswoman. Emergency officials found the man unconscious but still breathing. The Ayer Police Department and T officials said last night they did not have more information about the incident or the man’s identity.

Train Engineer's Quick Actions Save Man's Life

Train Engineer's Quick Actions Save Man's Life - Boston News Story - WCVB Boston

MBTA Driver Spotted Man Lying On Tracks In Stoughton

BOSTON -- The quick actions of a Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority engineer saved the life of Stoughton man who was passed out on the tracks.

An MBTA train was approaching the Stoughton center at about 9:30 p.m. Thursday when the engineer, Christopher Holmes, of Kingston, R.I., saw someone lying on the tracks, the Patriot Ledger reported.

The train, that was traveling about 20 mph, stopped about 160 feet from the unidentified man.

There were no injuries reported, but the man was taken to Caritas Good Samaritan Hospital for evaluation.

Recent New England Model Railroad Announcements - 12/10/10

Microtrains: 50' Standard Box Car, Single Door, w/o Roofwalk – B&M (rd# 910)



The 2011 Amherst Railway Society Railroad Hobby Show

( )

January 29th and 30th, 2011
Advanced Tickets
Now Available!
To learn more about the Amherst Railway Society,

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Steaming Tender Restaurant - Palmer MA 3/19/11

(from the Flying Yankee newsletter)

 A  "STEAMING" TIME AT THE "TENDER" Jerry Kelley Hoosac Tunnel
Make a date to join us all at the Steaming Tender Restaurant  in Palmer, MA, March 19, 2011 for a night of great food, and great company.  Gayle Kelley has offered to present a wine tasting event for those interested.  Jerry Kelley is going to present a talk and a show about the Hoosac Tunnel.  Michael Tylick has also agreed to present a slide show on a subject to be decided.  Tommy Robichaud, of the "S" Gauge Group, will be the Auctioneer of various and sundry railroad related items  such as pictures, books, etc.  Joe Karas may be present (if the Bruins aren't plJerryaying) to sign his book as well as to entertain us.  The Stoddart's are being invited to show off their beautiful "wall" art.  If they are unable to attend, we will have pictures of their productions.  Chris Iorillo has also been invited with his phenomenal illustrations (you would be sure they are photographs).  Have a great dinner, connect with old friends, and enjoy a tremendous program all in a beautifully restored Depot full of memorabilia while the train traffic runs up and down the rail by the Palmer Depot platform (might rattle your plates a little but that's OK - right?).  Watch for the announcement/flyer that will publish right after the 1st of January, 2011.  Any questions please call the office at: 603-661-3317 or, email us at;
(Auction donations graciously accepted)   

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Boston & Maine at West Concord MA 3/22/30

Pan Am Train NMED at Ayer MA

© 2010 Jonelle DeFelice

Commuters return to the rails in Boston

Commuters return to the rails in Boston - TRAINS Magazine

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has reached a two-year high for average weekday trips, making a slowly warming economy, the Boston Globe has reported. Average weekday ridership for October topped 1.3 million.

Rich Davey, MBTA’s general manager, said rising subway ridership led the trend. The red, orange, and blue lines averaged more than 532,000 per weekday, the highest level in four years. The green line was somewhat higher as well, with a 236,000 average, the highest in more than a year.

Steamtown, Green Mountain Railroad executive Robert Adams dies

Steamtown, Green Mountain Railroad executive Robert Adams dies - TRAINS Magazine
BELLOWS FALLS, Vt. – Robert “Bob” Adams, 85, one of the first employees at Steamtown USA and later President of the Green Mountain Railroad, died Dec. 2 in Townshend, Vt.

Born in 1925 in Bellows Falls, he worked 18 years for the Rutland Railroad. In 1961, he was hired by the late F. Nelson Blount as his first full-time employee to assist in establishing Steamtown USA, the predecessor of today’s Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton, Pa. When portions of the abandoned Rutland became available for lease, Adams and several others encouraged Blount to form the Green Mountain Railroad Company, which is still in business today as part of the Vermont Rail System.

Blount’s death in an airplane crash in 1967 resulted in Adams acquiring majority stock ownership in the Green Mountain later that year. He became the Green Mountain’s President in 1968 and held that position for ten years, and served on Green Mountain’s board until 1993. Adams was an avid railroad fan and became an authorized Lionel electric train repairman. In addition, he was involved in clock repair work and was a member of the Bellows Falls Historical Society.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pan Am Business Train (OCS) at North Chelmsford MA 11/18/10

The Pan Am OCS was headed home when it had to let train NMSE head down the Stony Brook on its way to Worcester MA.  Here we see the train and its F units back off the North Chelmsford wye.  Lighting and location wasn't the best, but I thought I'd share it anyway.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pan Am Business Train (OCS) at West Concord MA 11/17/10

Today Pan Am Railway's OCS (Office Car Special), or business train, made its way out of Boston along the old B&M Fitchburg line, past Gardner, and on to Mechanicville NY. Weather was hit or miss. One minute it was dark and wet, then suddenly the sun was out. If you watch my video clip, you will see just as the train gets half way to the camera, the clouds move away! I had a hard time deciding which side of the tracks to stay on, due to the sun and that fence between the rails. Since no one was around, I put one camera on a tripod, and myself across the tracks with my spare camera.  Below is the shot I got while the camera was recording...

© 2010 Jonelle DeFelice
Tomorrow the train is due to return east via the Fitchburg, then branch off at Willows up the Stony Brook line and on to Maine.  

Monday, November 15, 2010

Vermont, Amtrak formally kick off high speed work - TRAINS Magazine

Vermont, Amtrak formally kick off high speed work - TRAINS Magazine

ST. ALBANS, Vt. — Vermont, New England Central, and Amtrak officials kicked off their $70 million project to boost track speeds on the route of the St. Albans-Washington, D.C., Vermonter within the Green Mountain State. The project won funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s high speed rail provision announced in January 2010.

Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas touted the fact that the project will see more than 141 miles of new continuous welded rail installed, as well as roadbed upgrades, grade crossing replacements, bridge enhancements, and signal improvements. The work will enable Amtrak to increase its train speeds from the current 55 mph to 59 and 79 mph and will give host railroad New England Central the ability to handle carloadings of 286,000 pounds, the current national freight car standard weight limit.

Between St. Albans and White River Junction, train speeds will be held to 59 mph, owing to the lack of a signal system on the Roxbury Subdivision. From White River Junction south to Vernon, signal upgrades to the already installed centralized traffic control system will allow maximum speeds of 79 mph for passenger trains and up to 59 mph for freight.

L.B. Foster, the rail supply company that’s been hired to install the new rail, expects to have 28 miles of welded rail in place by Thanksgiving.

Karen Rae, the deputy federal railroad administration director, was on hand for the event. “That steel was made here in the United States,” she said, “and it’s long overdue that we focus on domestic jobs here in the United States and we intend to use the rail investment, both intercity and high speed rail, to bring domestic manufacturing jobs back to the United States.” She added, “The network we are continuing to build here is part of the overall Northeast network, that is part of the eight or nine states here that will give you the options of going to New York, Boston, or even Montreal, and this will also help freight rail.”

Vermont’s project is one of three different Recovery Act grants totaling $160 million that will improve the Vermonter’s route through New England. Connecticut will receive $40 million to add 10.5 miles of double track to Amtrak’s line between Springfield, Mass., and New Haven, Conn., a line segment shared with other Amtrak trains. Massachusetts was awarded $70 million to reroute the Vermonter onto Pan Am’s direct line between Springfield and East Northfield, Mass., a move that will shave 11 miles of the train’s route and eliminate a backup move.

Future projects will likely be geared toward the procurement of funds for the restoration of the Montreal service and for Vermont’s Western Corridor project. That corridor stretches from Burlington, Vt., to Albany, N.Y., via Rutland, Manchester, and Bennington, Vt. A $500,000 Recovery Act planning grant was received to study the first step in extending passenger service to Manchester and Bennington. That grant authorizes Vermont and New York to conduct a planning project to identify outcomes that address passenger rail service along the Western Corridor

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Freight train derails in Willimantic CT

Cars were carrying ethanol

Updated: Wednesday, 10 Nov 2010, 10:08 AM EST
Published : Tuesday, 09 Nov 2010, 10:01 AM EST
Willimantic, Conn. (WTNH) -
Several cars of a freight train carrying potentially dangerous cargo went off the tracks near Railroad St. and Main St. in Willimantic Tuesday morning.

The 80-car train was traveling southbound when the train derailed around 9am. DEP told News 8 that six cars carrying ethanol, a very flammable liquid, derailed. Luckily, no leaks were reported.

One of the cars that remained upright was moved to undamaged tracks early Tuesday evening.

The track is owned by Providence and Worcester Railroad Company . The company that was hauling the cars is New England Central Railroad. The cars are rented by various companies to transport their freight.
Recovery crews will offload 25-thousand gallons of ethanol from each of the two cars lying on their side at an intersecting switching yard.

As a precaution, no one was allowed within 500 feet of the derailment.

No one was injured. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Boston commuter coach mock-ups go on display

Boston commuter coach mock-ups go on display - TRAINS Magazine

Published: November 1, 2010

BOSTON — Commuter agency Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is displaying two mock-ups of its new bi-level commuter coaches on Track 1 at Boston’s North Station through Nov. 5. The mock-ups are replicas open at one end with reproduction gauges. MBTA ordered 75 of the customized coaches from Hyundai Rotem USA, a subsidiary of the Korean manufacturer, at a cost of $189.7 million. The cars will feature improved rest rooms, Wi-Fi, tables, and real-time LED message signs. Of the 75, 28 will be control cars with the other 47 having bathrooms in place of the control cab. They will be the first new coaches purchased by MBTA in seven years, and will replace the oldest cars in the agency’s fleet of 410 coaches. Following the design phase, four full-size coaches will be delivered in fall 2011. Delivery of the rest of the coaches will begin in summer 2012 and continue through winter 2013. The coaches will run on the Fitchburg, Haverhill, Lowell, and Rockport/Newburyport lines.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Edaville Railroad For Sale... Again...

Edaville Railroad For Sale

CARVER, Mass. (AP) — Edaville Railroad is up for sale and its owner said Thursday the popular southeastern Massachusetts tourist attraction would be forced to shut down if a buyer isn’t found in the next few months.

Jon Delli Priscoli, who owns the 230-acre site including the scenic railroad and theme park, said Edaville USA operators Brenda Johnson and Robert Julian have decided not to renew their lease.

Delli Priscoli is asking $10 million for the property, with the possibility of owner financing. He said his goal was to find a buyer who would keep it in business.

“Ideally, we’d like to have someone come in and buy the entire operation and keep Edaville running, and I can give that about three months to happen,” he said. “But if we can’t find a buyer, I’m going to have to sell the land parcels, the buildings and the equipment separately.”

The land is largely zoned for residential use and includes an approved 20-lot subdivision that could be utilized by a developer in the future. But the property also an entertainment district overlay that allows the park to continue operating.

Edaville opened in 1947 after Ellis D. Atwood built a 5 ½ mile rail bed around his cranberry plantation and started one of the world’s first tourist railroads.

It closed in 1992, but reopened in 1999 after Delli Priscoli and two partners leased the park from the Atwood family. Delli Priscoli later purchased the facility outright.

Edaville will hold what could be its last annual Festival of Lights, featuring more than 7 million Christmas lights, from Nov. 12 to Jan. 2.

A buyer could potentially expand the facility to include a water park, mini-golf course or other attractions, Delli Priscoli said.

“I think the historic nature of this park, and its current potential to grow into something even bigger makes it attractive to potential buyers,” Delli Priscoli said. “I really hope that is how this story ends.”

Monday, October 25, 2010

10/23/10 NOTES

We stopped at Palmer MA today.  Have had very little luck here for the last few visits.  Today was pretty dull.  An NECR freight with 4 diesels came up from CT and detatched its power in the yard.  Other than loaned CSOR switcher #2340, that was all we saw.  Not even Amtrak.  Not even the sun...

© 2010 Jonelle DeFelice

© 2010 Jonelle DeFelice

Maine reaches deal to buy imperiled rail lines - TRAINS Magazine

Maine reaches deal to buy imperiled rail lines - TRAINS Magazine

Maine reaches deal to buy imperiled rail lines

Published: October 20, 2010

AUGUSTA, Maine — The State of Maine has reached a deal to buy 233 miles of track from Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway to prevent their abandonment, Business Week has reported. The state has been fighting for more than a year to preserve rail service north of Millinocket, Maine, and the agreement apparently reaches that objective. “Lifting this cloud of uncertainty not only helps stabilize these rail-dependent industries, but with improved services, lays the groundwork for future expansion and new business opportunities,” said David Cole, the state’s transportation commissioner. The line mostly serves lumber and paper-industry customers. Under the agreement, the state will pay MM&A $20.1 million for the rail line. It’s received a $10.5 million federal grant to help fund repairs and maintenance on the line. MM&A will continue operating the line until the state selects a new operator. The deal is to be completed within 90 days.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

10/13/10 NOTES

Took a ride out to East Deerfield yard today.  'Geeps #51 & #52 were working the hump at the east end of the yard.  MEC #501 was in Pan Am paint and was turning into train ED190.  What I assume was an NECR work crew with a bunch of track cars were stopped at Millers Falls at 1:40PM. 

By the time I got into Harvard on my way home, I heard loaded P&W coal train PWBO on the way toward Ayer.  I just missed them at Still River, then saw them passing Harvard.  I decided to stop at Ayer station and wait for it to come out of the Hill Yard, even thought it was getting late.  Good thing I did... it had two of the new Providence & Worcester units, #562 & #582.  They were still in BNSF paint, with rather humorous patch-jobs.  I had a chat with the conductor while they waited on the east leg of the wye for a clear track.  Lighting at Ayer was awful, but I managed to snag a couple of decently lit shots down at Willows...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Historic Massachusetts depot burns in East Brookfield

Historic Massachusetts depot burns - TRAINS Magazine

Historic Massachusetts depot burns

Published: September 22, 2010

EAST BROOKFIELD, Mass. — Massachusetts state police have been assisting local police and fire officials to help determine the cause of a Sept. 18 fire that damaged the historic train station in East Brookfield, Mass., according to an article in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. East Brookfield is located about 14 miles west of Worcester, Mass., along CSX Transportation’s main line linking Boston and Albany, N.Y. The station, constructed in 1894 by the Boston & Albany Railroad, was a significant example of a Richardson Romanesque architectural design as executed by the firm of Shepley, Rutan, and Coolidge. CSX currently owns the stone-and-brick building. The railroad halted freight traffic through town for about an hour Saturday night while firefighters battled the blaze. City officials say the fire destroyed the building’s roof and damaged the interior. A grassroots effort to preserve the building is taking shape, although it is not yet clear whether the station can be saved or restored. To find out more, visit the East Brookfield Historical Commission website:

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Grafton & Upton: Locomotive, 2 tankers derail

Grafton & Upton: Locomotive, 2 tankers derail

GRAFTON — A locomotive and two tankers derailed near Route 140 about 2 p.m. yesterday. One of the tankers contained alcohol, according to Grafton & Upton Railroad owner Jon M. DelliPriscoli. The other was carrying a phosphorus acid.

Nothing leaked from either tanker and there were no injuries.

The locomotive was disconnected from the two tankers and moved away so officials could work to upright the tankers. Officials later called off efforts to clear the area when attempts to right the cars with a heavy-duty industrial wrecker failed, according to Douglas P. Pizzi, spokesman for the Grafton & Upton Railroad, a privately owned short line railroad that runs 16-1/2 miles from North Grafton to Milford. He said a rail crane would be brought to the site on Monday to lift the tankers off the track until it can be repaired.

The accident was caused by “rail spread,” he said, which happens when the rails are pushed apart by the weight and force of the rail cars traveling over them. The train was moving at about 5 miles per hours when the derailment occurred behind the Grafton Inn. Mr. DelliPriscoli said he believed drainage from the recent rain caused problems with the track. The owner called the incident a simple derailment that did not require reporting. The locomotive was heading to a trans-loading yard in West Upton where the cargo was to be transferred to truck.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

No More Pan Am District 4

As of October 2, 2010, there is no longer a District 4 on Pan Am Railways.  District 3 now covers everything west from about MP312.  It was always helpful having a district change half way between Ayer and Hoosac Tunnel.  When chasing a freight, you could tell just how far it had gone even if you didn't catch what milepost it was near.  Now, you better have a clue about those mileposts!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

10/2/10 at East Deerfield MA

The yard was full of new-to-the-roster EMD power, including MEC #s 602, 617, 616, 606, 605, 502, and more!