Friday, November 30, 2012

Canton Officials Bothered by South Coast Rail's Unanswered Questions

Canton officials bothered by South Coast Rail's unanswered questions

MBTA: Government Center Station to Close for 2 Years Starting September 2013

MBTA: Government Center Station to close for 2 years starting in Sept. 2013 for $90 million overhaul

37 Hurt in MBTA Green Line Crash

37 Hurt in MBTA Green Line Crash Yesterday

One day before he was scheduled to receive a safety award, a Green Line operator at the controls of an outbound trolley slammed into a waiting trolley at Boylston Street Station Thursday. The crash sent 37 people to area hospitals with minor injuries and shut down service on the Green Line’s busiest section for about three hours, officials said.........

New England Model Train EXPO Marlboro MA 2012

New England Model Train EXPO

Saturday December 1, 2012 – 10am-5pm
Sunday December 2, 2012 – 10am-4pm

Best Western Royal Plaza Trade Center
181 Boston Post Rd West (US-20)
Marlborough, MA

• Operating Layouts – All Scales
• Over 220 Dealer Tables
• Manufacturer Displays with New Products
• Railroadiana – Books – Collectibles
• Meet Santa Claus
• White Elephant Tables – Sell your old trains
• Build-a-Car Clinic – ages 8 to 14
• Boy Scout Merit Badge Clinic
• Free Parking – Food Service – Door Prizes

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Trolley Accident Reported at Boylston MBTA Station

Trolley accident reported at Boylston MBTA station

Six passengers were injured and 20 others are being evaluated by rescue workers after two Green Line trolleys collided in the Boylston Street MBTA station shortly before noon today, the Boston Fire Department said.............................

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Waterville Maine Looks For Someone to Rescue Maine Central Locomotive #470

WATERVILLE -- The Old 470 steam locomotive sits rotting and rusting near College Avenue, and city officials hope to either sell it or see it restored.

It is clear, however, that the city does not have the $1 million or so it would take to fix it up, according to City Manager Michael Roy.

"It's an important part of the city's past but unfortunately, with all the other demands on the city, we don't see where we're going to have the resources to do anything with it," Roy said recently. "We hope someone out there is willing to restore it and put it someplace where it can be more appreciated."

The locomotive was the last steam engine used for passenger service on the Maine Central Railroad. It made its final trip through Waterville -- from Portland to Bangor -- on June 13, 1954.

The 470, built in 1924 by American Locomotive Co., was a gift to the city on Oct. 28, 1962, by Maine Central Railroad on its 100th anniversary.

In 2004, railroad enthusiasts tried to support an effort to restore and preserve the engine, saying it was the last representative of the indigenous steam locomotives that once powered industry, commerce and passengers throughout Maine.

The engine had deteriorated because of exposure to harsh weather, unsupervised visitors, vandals and thieves. Rust had eaten through the engine's cylinder jacks, the cab was severely rusted and it was stripped of gauges, valves, windows and its wooden interior.

Some work was done to spiff up the engine, but ultimately, interest fizzled.

Jennifer Hickey of Waterville and her sons, Ben and Jacob, were members of the Friends of 470 Restoration Committee about 10 years ago and her boys raised money for the train effort.

She said Friday that at first there was a lot of enthusiasm around helping to restore and preserve the engine.

"The people were all very well-intentioned; however, they just did not have the capability to follow through with it," she said. "Colby College kids painted it on community day and we did some greasing of valves."

Now, when she drives past the engine, which is just north of the new Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter, her heart sinks.

"It just really makes me sad and really disappointed that we haven't been able to do anything and keep the train in the respect that it really deserves," she said. "It's just such a piece of history."

Parks and Recreation Director Matt Skehan, who is helping to advertise and coordinate the sale or restoration, said the city sent out requests for proposals to have the locomotive removed or restored, with an initial response deadline of Aug. 1.

That deadline has been extended to Oct. 5, Skehan said.

Bidders were asked to send their proposals in sealed envelopes marked "470 Steam Engine" to Waterville Parks & Recreation, 6 Wentworth Court, Waterville, 04901.

The bids will be reviewed by a committee charged with determining the best and most feasible plan for the city and the engine, according to the request for proposal.

More information about the engine and other specifications is available on the Parks & Recreation page at

Skehan, a member of the Friends Committee, said the engine is in deplorable shape.

"It's dangerous and it's in awful condition," he said. "Our insurance representative from Maine Municipal was here in the spring and he said there were several red flags that went off when he saw the engine, including all the open holes in it."

Skehan said the representative said if someone stuck a finger in one of the holes, he could lose it.

The city erected signs at the engine to warn people of the danger.

"It's just a really tough economy to be trying to raise money and there are a lot of other causes and organizations out there that are very worthy," Skehan said. "It's really hard with this steam engine and we don't really see any money coming down the pipeline immediately."

Roy said the city has not put a price on the engine, which sits on property owned by the state Department of Transportation.

Skehan said he even though he has spoken to some people who have expressed interest in buying the engine and some who are interested in fixing it up, he has received no written proposals.


Aging Charles River Rail Bridge Closes for Repairs

SOURCE:  Boston Globe - Carolyn Y. Johnson

The graffiti-covered railroad span that threads diagonally under the Boston University Bridge will be closed to most train traffic for two weeks, after an inspection found some of its crossbeams need to be replaced.

Many people are unaware that the 90-year-old railroad bridge across the Charles River is in use at all, but it is a critical piece of transportation infrastructure. It is part of the little known Grand Junction Railroad, which starts in Brighton and wends its way through Cambridge, Somerville, Everett, and Chelsea, connecting train lines that go to North Station with the ones that lead to South Station.

The freight line’s tracks are also used by Amtrak and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority to shift engines and coaches for maintenance.

The repair work has begun, according to MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo. In the meantime, the train systems that use the bridge have come up with alternative plans to ensure no interruptions in service.

Two weeks ago, a visual inspection of the bridge found signs of movement in its trusses, according to Scott Farmelant, spokesman for the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad Co., a contractor that operates the MBTA’s commuter rail service. A bridge engineering inspection firm was brought in, and on Wednesday, Farmelant said, the bridge was closed to freight cars and locomotives. He emphasized there is no public safety threat, since passenger trains do not use the bridge, and said the closure will not affect commuter rail services.

Pesaturo said in an e-mail that seven of the bridge’s 44 crossbeams need to be replaced. Repairs are expected to take about two weeks, and the cost of the project had not been finalized.

In preparation for the bridge’s closing, Pesaturo said, a number of organizations and companies have worked together to devise solutions.

Amtrak, for example, will do routine maintenance on its Downeaster trains, which provide service to New Hampshire and Maine, at the MBTA’s facility in Somerville, and the commuter rail company will perform maintenance on some of its equipment at the Amtrak facility in South Boston.

Cliff Cole, a spokesman for Amtrak, said the bridge is used to transport locomotive engines to Amtrak’s maintenance yard, and the repair project will have no impact on Downeaster schedules.

“Amtrak has been working around the closure by maneuvering the equipment through different detour routes,” and pursuing an agreement to have equipment maintained at different sites, Cole said.

Pan Am Railways and CSX Corp. reached an agreement to “transfer freight rail trains in the Worcester area,” Pesaturo wrote.

The bridge is not completely closed; empty commuter rail coaches can still be transferred over the bridge.

But in an illustration of just how important the bridge is, Farmelant said, two commuter rail locomotives would be transferred this weekend to the ­MBTA’s Somerville repair facility by taking a roundabout route through the Worcester area.

The transfer, which would normally involve crossing the Charles on the BU span, will utilize tracks that go through Ayer and then back east on the Fitchburg commuter rail line to Somerville.

“The system ultimately is wholly dependent on aging infrastructure,” Farmelant said. “This shows how critically important these investments the governor and others keep talking about into our infrastructure are.”

UPDATE: the bridge was reportedly back in service as of 1/11/13

Friday, November 9, 2012

Lakeport NH Freighthouse Museum OPEN

On November 3rd, the Lakeport NH Freight House Museum held its grand opening.  It took the Lakeport Community Association 15 years and nearly $100,000 to restore the Freight House, upgrading all utilities and improving the structure, complying with building codes and making it handicap accessible.  A boxcar has been added on a rail siding.

Inside are memorabilia of the Boston & Maine Railroad, Annie Oehlschlaeger's railroad collection, Bob Fortier's vast memorabilia collection and scrapbooks, delicate Victorian clothing presented by the Richardson family, and all things Lakeport.

First New MBTA Double Decker Coaches Delivered to BET

The first four brand new Hyundai-Rotem double-deck coaches have arrived at Boston Engine Terminal.  The photo below was taken by David Hutchinson while off duty at BET. 

Photo by David Hutchinson

Friday, November 2, 2012

PHOTO: Union Freight Rails Live in Boston MA

The photo below was taken by Michael Wheeler on 10/13/12.  It shows Union Freight rails that still exist in Boston.  The Union Freight was a short line that connected the north and south sides of Boston.  It ran mostly at night, and in the end used New Haven power.

In the pavement on the south side of the Northern Avenue Bridge lies a real diamond. The left-to-right track is the Union Freight connection to the old New Haven RR yards, while the top-left to bottom-right track is part of the yards.