Sunday, December 21, 2014

Pan Am Locomotive Catches Fire in Monmouth ME

(SOURCE:  Locomotive catches fire in Monmouth - The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram)

Monmouth firefighters extinguished a locomotive fire Saturday morning that left the train engine inoperable.

The Pan Am Railways train, which also had two other engines pulling 80 cars, was headed south when the crew noticed the train was losing power, Monmouth Fire Chief Dan Roy said.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Berkshire Scenic Looks Forward to Resumption of Train Service in 2015

(SOURCE: Newswire)

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. – Passenger cars and a locomotive have arrived at the site of Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum's planned "Hoosac Valley Service" at North Adams, Mass., and the organization hopes that trains will begin to run over the former New York Central branch next spring.

The Berkshire Scenic, based in Lenox, had carried more than one million riders over a nine-year period on trains running over nine miles of Housatonic Railroad. The host railroad chose to not renew the operating agreement three years ago, and since then the all-volunteer Berkshire Scenic has worked closely with state officials and leaders in North Adams and Adams to begin running trains between those two communities, located about 30 miles north of Lenox. The trains will use tracks currently owned by Pan Am Southern, which were once part of a NYC line that connected Pittsfield with North Adams.

Berkshire Scenic Vice President Jay Green tells Trains News Wire that plans call for the railroad’s excursion trains to have access to the line from Friday evening through the weekend, and on Federal holidays. Pan Am Southern will continue to serve two freight customers on the tracks at other times. Negotiations are underway for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to purchase the rail line from Pan Am Southern, he says.

Green says that Berkshire Scenic will offer frequent downtown-to-downtown service, allowing riders originating at either end of the line to shop or have lunch during their layover at the other end.

In the past two weeks, Berkshire Scenic Railway's former New York Central SW8 No. 8619; a former Baltimore & Ohio combine; and a former New York, New Haven & Hartford caboose moved from the headquarters at Lenox to North Adams. The move used a circuitous routing including the Housatonic Railroad, CSX Transportation, and Pan Am Southern. Pan Am later delivered a former Boston & Maine Budd RDC-1 and a onetime Pennsylvania Railroad baggage car that had come from Maine and Boston, respectively. Two refurbished former Delaware, Lackawanna & Western coaches owned by the state are to be trucked or moved by rail flatcar to the site, according to Green.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation's engineering contractor is working on a refurbishing plan for the current four miles of track, and is developing a joint use design with an existing bikeway in order to re-install an additional mile of track at the south of end of the route. Most funding has come through the state, and all track improvements will also benefit freight, Green says. The town of Adams has purchased a former carwash adjacent to the end of the tracks that are to be restored. It will be used as a station, featuring local historical rail-themed exhibits. The city of North Adams has plans to install a pedestrian tunnel under Pan Am's freight main to connect the local boarding area with the North Adams Heritage Park.

The caboose has been repainted in NYC Century Green, and is lettered "Hoosac Valley.” It will serve as a crew office at North Adams. The combine, which previously served as Berkshire Scenic’s Gilded Age exhibit car at Lenox, has undergone a complete exterior renovation to become Hoosac Valley No. 1444, named North Adams. It will serve as a welcome center, housing a ticket office, gift shop, tourist information, waiting room, and an educational theater. The exterior and some interior work was funded by a $200,000 Developing Western Massachusetts Tourism & Cultural Facilities grant. The electronics for the theatre and a new point-of-sale system for tickets and merchandise were funded by a $25,000 Pittsfield Economic Revitalization Corp. Technology Grant, Green says.

Berkshire Scenic's restored New Haven Railroad station at Lenox, as well as the yard and display tracks that have been constructed over the years, will remain the organization's headquarters. Depending upon volunteer availability, the museum hopes to continue to offer weekend jitney rides and yard tours at Lenox. The museum's other property, the former New Haven station at Stockbridge, is leased to the Stockbridge Public Library.

Fun and educational train rides will return to the Berkshires! In cooperation with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, City of North Adams and Town of Adams, Berkshire Scenic will be offering train rides once again! 
Located in the beautiful footprint of Mount Greylock, BSRM's Hoosac Valley Service will offer weekend downtown-to-downtown service with convenient train schedules for visiting both historic communities by train and special events for the whole family! 
This complex project is constantly developing! For information on when operations will begin follow the latest developments on the Hoosac Valley Service's own FACEBOOK page. Be sure to visit BSRM's Hoosac Valley Service website for more information about this exciting project. 

WW&F Fires Up Historic 2-Footer #9 For the First Time Since 1933

(SOURCE:  WW&F website 11/25/14)

After 5+ years of restoration work, Locomotive #9 reached a critical milestone today – a steam test of the boiler and appliances.  While the locomotive is no where near ready – as you can see from the pictures, it’s missing the cab, the tank, and a bunch of other little things – the test was necessary to check for steam leaks.  The boiler had undergone several hydro pressure tests in preceding weeks, which helped to eliminate other leaks.

Massachusetts Awards Contracts for South Coast Rail Bridge Replacements

(SOURCE: Newswire)

BOSTON – The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has awarded a contract for the replacement of four bridges in New Bedford and Fall River along the future South Coast commuter rail line. The four bridges to be replaced include the President Avenue, Brownell Avenue, and Golf Club Road Bridges in Fall River, and the three-span Wamsutta Bridge in New Bedford.

In addition, a separate Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority contract will upgrade five grade crossings located on Dean Street in Taunton; Copicut Road, Elm and High Streets in Freetown; and Nash Road in New Bedford.

All early-action projects will be completed over the next two years while ongoing preliminary engineering design work continues on the overall South Coast Rail project.

The South Coast Rail project will restore passenger service from Boston’s South Station to the South Coast of Massachusetts. The cities of Taunton, Fall River, and New Bedford are the only cities within 50 miles of Boston that are not served by commuter rail.

As part of the early action projects associated with the South Coast Rail Project, the $42 million project will replace the three Fall River bridges and the Wamsutta Bridge in New Bedford. The contract for the bridge replacement work was awarded to Cardi Corp.

In June, the MassDOT board of directors approved a contract award of $210 million over 10 years to the joint venture of Vanasse Hangen Brustlin Corp. The contract officially moved the South Coast Rail project from planning to construction. The board granted $12 million in first year funding to begin program management, early design development and environmental permitting, with additional awards in succeeding years up to the contract limit of $210 million. The bridge replacement project is in addition to the 10-year South Coast Rail contract.

The state purchased the New Bedford-Fall River line from CSX in 2009.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

First Rebuilt MBTA Light Rail Vehicle Arrives in Boston MA

(SOURCE: NewsWire)

BOSTON – The first rebuilt Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Type 7 trolley used on the agency’s Green Line is set to arrive in Boston this week. The car will arrive from Alstom Transportation in Hornell, N. Y. that won a $104 million contract with the MBTA in 2012 to conduct a “complete systems overhaul” of 86 of the transit agency’s Type 7 trolleys.

MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo tells Boston Magazine that the car will be subjected to two months of performance testing. Then, it will go into passenger service sometime between late January and early February of 2015.

Pesaturo says that, besides the updates to the trains’ systems and “full modernization” of the light-rail vehicles, the cars are also being outfitted with new interior surfaces and new propulsion and climate control systems.

The other 85 light-rail vehicles, most of which are still in service, will be sent to Alstom, refurbished, and return to Boston by January 2017, according to the MBTA, but Alstom says it expects to have the project completed by October 2016.

The cars were originally built in 1986, 1987, and 1997 by Kinki-Sharyo of Osaka, Japan, and assembled at the former Westinghouse Plant in Readville.

In May, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation board of directors, the state entity that oversees MBTA’s operations, awarded a $118 million contract to CAF USA Inc. to construct 24 new “Type 9” Light Rail vehicles for use on the Green Line. They will arrive between 2017 and 2019.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Walther's HO Scale Russell Snow Plow in Pan Am Scheme

Walther's has released a Pan Am version of their HO scale Russell snow plow, road number MWS 76.  

* Limited Edition - One Time Run of These Roadnumbers!
* Completely New Tool from Rails to Roof
* Prototypes in Service 1920s to Present
* Fully-Assembled, Railroad Ready - Undecorated Kit also Available
* Factory-Installed Grab Irons
* Complete Underbody w/Brake Gear & Piping
* Custom Front Truck for Tighter Curves
* Detailed Flanger
* Thin Profile Stirrups
* Window "Glass"
* Ultra-Smooth Rolling Metal Axles & 33" Wheelsets
* Proto MAX(TM) Metal Knuckle Couplers
* Railroad-Specific Details:
* See-Through "Steel" or Original "Wood" Running Boards
* Sturdy Hinged & Positionable Side Wings in Two Styles w/Wire Cross Braces
* Fitted w/Original or One of Three Styles of Late Headlights as Appropriate
* Bettendorf or Roller Bearing Rear Truck 

Part # 920-110012, MSRP $69.98

Monday, September 29, 2014

Name That Photo Location: Unknown Boston & Maine Wreck

I acquired this photo recently and am curious what the date & location is.  It was part of a scrapbook that appears to be in the 1900-1910 date range.  In it were all sorts of newspaper clippings pertaining to the local railroads, mostly the Boston & Maine.  

If anyone has any idea at all when & where this photo was taken, let me know!

Pan Am Train Derails in Greenfield MA

(SOURCE:  The Recorder - By TOM RELIHAN)

GREENFIELD — Last week, emergency responders gathered to plan how they’d handle a fiery train derailment.

Wednesday morning (9/24), responders found themselves faced with something less dangerous but real — when a freight train derailed on a stretch of tracks just near Hope Street.

But this time, in real life, there was no fire, no hazard and no injuries.

According to Cynthia Scarano, the executive vice president of Pan Am Railways, the derailment occurred around 7:45 a.m. By 9 a.m., railroad workers were on the scene assessing the situation.

Scarano said nine of the train’s 56 cars derailed and two of the locomotives had “wheels off the tracks.” None fell over.

Greenfield Fire Lieutenant Peter McIver said two of the cars involved had ended up sitting sideways across the tracks and the rest had only gone off the rails. All of the cars remained upright, he said.

Scarano said the cars were carrying paper manufacturing products and lumber.

According to McIver and Scarano, none of the cargo spilled, and none of the cars contained any hazardous materials.

“There were no liquids, no hazardous materials. It was all paper and cardboard products,” said McIver. “There were small fires reported off the tracks, but none were found.”

As of noon, Scarano said Pan Am employees were still analyzing the situation and would be devising a plan to re-rail the cars as soon as possible. She estimated it would take about a day to complete the task.

Scarano said Pan Am has not determined the cause of the accident, but would be downloading the “black box” data recorders and looking at the cars and tracks.

According to Scarano, the tracks that the derailment occurred on are only used for freight, and will not be part of a series of upgrades that are being carried out on other area tracks to accommodate Amtrak’s new high-speed passenger trains.

Though no hazardous materials were released in this particular incident, trains regularly transport all types of products along area railways, from regular household products to heating oil, ethanol, propane.

“It’s one of the largest methods of shipping in the United States,” said Turners Falls Fire Chief and Montague Emergency Management Director Robert J. Escott, who participated in the training exercise last week and noted the coincidence.

Escott said local emergency service organizations are constantly training and preparing to deal with any situation where a derailment could release toxic materials. 

To alert the public to a dangerous incident or order an evacuation, Montague and Greenfield, as well as other county towns, use an auto-dialing phone system to send recorded messages to people living in a targeted geographic area. The systems send the messages primarily to house phones, but residents can sign up for deeper alerts in the form of text messages and emails.

Minor Pan Am Derailment Draws Major Concerns From Residents

Minor train derailment draws major concerns from residents

Boston & Albany RR Wreck, Palmer MA 1909

RPPC of a wreck on the Boston & Albany at Palmer MA, on what is now the CSX Boston Line.  The writing states "... the engine & first 3 cars passed over safely, then rail separated and wrecked these cars; 4 Pullman, 1 diner, 1 baggage... only 5 were hurt... "  The postmark is 4/30/09, the card was written on 4/29/09.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Maine Narrow Gauge Museum Has Big Plans

(SOURCE: Newswire)

PORTLAND, Maine – The Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad and Museum has big plans for its proposed move to Gray, about 25 miles north of Portland. The move, which executive director Donnell Carroll hopes will happen in 2016, is estimated to cost $6 million.

That $6 million price tag includes not only the cost of moving 50 pieces of rolling stock and building up to three miles of track, but also for construction of a 9,500 square foot combination ticket office, waiting room, library, archive, office, and meeting space; a carbarn to shelter up to 15 pieces of rolling stock; a roundhouse; and a restoration shop, according to a flyer about the plans distributed recently in the community.

Carroll tells the Munjoy Hill News that he has been in touch with state and federal legislators, and he says their staffs are looking into potential grants the museum may be eligible for. In addition, he plans a fund-raising campaign for private donations, especially from people who are known for their generosity to the state of Maine.

"I know $6 million is a lot of money, but I know we can do it," Carroll says.

The plan for the Gray site is purely a concept at this time, but a committee of museum members will meet soon to refine its wish list before seeking input from design firms and architects.

The property where the museum now has its yard and display building was sold to a developer last year, prompting the planned move to Gray.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Western MA Commuter Rail Not Yet A Reality

(SOURCE:  New England Public Radio)

Massachusetts officials announced Wednesday the state has an agreement to purchase the right-of-way for nearly fifty miles of railroad running between Greenfield and Springfield. Amtrak service is scheduled to begin late this year on the line, but  a more regular commuter service is far from a done deal.

Several Massachusetts officials including Governor Deval Patrick pulled into Greenfield on a special train from North Adams to announce the deal between the state and Pan-Am Railways.  This could open the door to a north-south commuter rail service in the future. Department of Transportation head Richard Davey says while there is money to refurbish old train cars the state already owns, there is still one key ingredient missing to make this a reality.

“When you’re talking about a service over a long period of time, on an annual basis, you have to come up with some revenue,” Davey says. “So at this point we don’t have it, but I don’t think it’s that much either. We’re coming up with some calculations to give a sense to the legislature and the next administration what it would be.”

State officials are targeting December 29 as the day Amtrak’s Vermonter service will begin using the line. To start, one train is expected to run in each direction daily

MBTA Assembly Station Open Sept 2 at Assembly Row in Somerville Ma Pictures | BostInno

MBTA Assembly Station Open Sept 2 at Assembly Row in Somerville Ma Pictures | BostInno

Shoreline Commuter Rail Sees Bump In Passengers


The Shore Line East branch of the commuter rail between New Haven and New London is busier than ever.

Gov. Dan Malloy said in a press release that a new passenger record was set last month with 63,959 trips.

“It’s clear that residents, whether commuters going to work or tourists visiting historic shoreline sites, are taking advantage of this service,” Malloy said. “Investments in public transportation not only mean more convenience and reduced congestion, they also pay dividends throughout the local and regional economy.”

The line has 34 weekday and 21 weekend and holiday trains. There are also four through trains to and from Stamford each weekday.

James P. Redeker, the Connecticut transportation commissioner, said there was a five percent ridership jump from June to July because of a special service added for Sail Fest.

Through July of 2014 there were 382,716 rides. In 2013 there were 375,524 rides over the same period, and ridership throughout 2013 had a five percent increase over 2012.

Portsmouth - Great Bay Rail Line Raises Fear

(SOURCE: Jeff McMenemy)

Robert Hassold looked at pictures of the Pan Am Railways rail trestle that crosses Great Bay and worried about the condition of the bridge crossing.

"They look rickety, they look like they're in desperate need of repair," Hassold, a tugboat captain, said this week at his home in Portsmouth. "Personally, I don't think you'd walk over those bridges."

His concerns were shared by Great Bay Piscataqua Waterkeeper Jeff Barnum as he looked at a map showing the trestle that crosses Great Bay between Newfields and Stratham.

"It's got 1,500 feet of exposure. If something fell off the tracks, it goes into the water," Barnum said. "There are two other water crossings on this 13½-mile stretch of railroad."

But what has Barnum and Hassold concerned — along with numerous Portsmouth officials — is that Pan Am Railways is not required to share its annual inspection reports of the bridges with the public.
Barnum and Hassold say if the reports showed the bridges to be in good condition, Pan Am Railways would release them.

Portsmouth Assistant Mayor Jim Splaine worries not only about the condition of the trestle over Great Bay, but the condition of all of Pan Am's bridges on the Portsmouth line.

"It's clear to me we're putting way too much trust in Pan Am's in-house inspections," Splaine said Friday. "They're supposed to be looking at them and inspecting them at least once a year. We should not have to have that kind of blind trust in a corporation."

Their comments came the same week that Portsmouth's Staff Attorney Jane Ferrini announced the city was working toward an agreement that could result in the city dropping its two appeals of the Newington Planning Board's decision to approve an expansion of the Sea-3 propane terminal. The approval, if not successfully appealed, will lead to a substantial increase in the number of railcars carrying propane on Pan Am lines in the Seacoast from the Rockingham Junction in Newfields to Sea-3 in Newington.

Ferrini this past week said the potential agreement between Sea-3 and Portsmouth for the company to do a safety study of its facility would focus on the site, and not on the condition of Pan Am's tracks. She said questions raised by city officials and residents about the condition of the tracks is a "statewide concern that the mayor has reached out to the governor's office to pursue and request a statewide rail study."

Portsmouth City Councilor Stefany Shaheen said she's "very concerned" about any deal reached by the city with Sea-3 that doesn't include the condition of the tracks. She also has called for Pan Am to release its bridge inspection reports.

"I thank ultimately we can't move forward as a municipality without some very strong assurances that the safety of the tracks is where there need to be," Shaheen said, adding, "This is still a very fluid situation."

But Pan Am Railways Executive Vice President Cynthia Scarano said Friday the company won't release its bridge inspection reports. When asked why the company would not give them to city officials as requested, Scarano said, "Because the agency that is put in place by the federal government, and that has the knowledge and the education necessary to look at those inspection sheets, has them."

She maintains that "it becomes a safety and security issue when they all of a sudden become a public document."

Portsmouth Deputy City Manager Dave Allen said Friday an official with the Federal Railroad Administration told city officials the bridges in Portsmouth were inspected in May and were found to be in good condition.

Scarano said that in addition to the annual inspections Pan Am does of its bridges, it also inspects its tracks, including the ones on the bridges, every week.

FRA spokesman Mike England said Pan Am has installed 5,000 new cross ties on the Portsmouth branch line and 2,000 relay ties. He said the metal part of the rail has been "entirely resurfaced" for all 13-plus miles on the line.

Scarano said the line is considered a Class 1 line, which means trains can no faster than 10 mph. If the line were upgraded to Class 2, trains could go as fast as 25 mph, under FRA regulations, but city officials have asked Pan Am to commit to running its trains at only 10 mph.

"What we have stated is if we bring it up to a Class 2 classification, we're going to reserve the right to go 25 mph," Scarano said. "But in my lifetime, I don't see it happening because of the crossings and the distance of the line."

She said Pan Am has never had a derailment on the Portsmouth branch of the line and it is committed to operating safely.

"Propane is crucial for all of us," she said Friday. "We just want to deliver it safely."

Asked if Pan Am will pay for all or part of improving the railroad crossings in Portsmouth, Scarano said it's too early to say. She did say the rail company's engineering department has met at least once with Portsmouth Department of Public Works officials to "start taking a look at some of the crossings." But she said until it's clear what exactly needs to be done to improve the crossings, Pan Am won't commit to taking on the cost of the improvements.

Because the railroad "then becomes responsible" for maintaining the crossings, she said.
But Splaine argues that's something the railroad should do.

"They have to pay for this," Splaine said. "They're going to make a lot of money" if the Sea-3 expansion is ultimately approved.

CN to Discontinue Maine Intermodal Service

(SOURCE: Newswire)

AUBURN, Maine – Canadian National is discontinuing its intermodal service to Auburn, Maine, operated in conjunction with the St. Lawrence & Atlantic Railway. The discontinuance takes effect Nov. 15, 2014, according to a customer service advisory.

According to the St. Lawrence & Atlantic webpage, the railroad has a 35-acre intermodal facility in Auburn capable of handling double-stack container service. It operates a 260-mile line between Portland and St. Rosalie, Quebec, an eastern suburb of Montreal.

Genesee & Wyoming acquired the SL&A in 2002. The route was once owned by CN subsidiary Grand Trunk Railway.

Trains News Wire is awaiting comment from CN. (8/25/14)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Bedford MA B&M Depot Work Continues

The Boston & Maine station at Bedford MA has seen many alterations to its appearance through the years.  Currently, work is being done to return it to something much closer to the original design, while still being a usable rental space.  These photos were taken on August 24, 2014.  You can see where non-original windows have been removed and are being replaced with more period-correct ones.  All around the building are clues to the past...

More information can be found at the Friends of Bedford Depot Park website.

Front of station
Rear of station

Brick foundation as viewed from right side
Ghosts of past trim...

Rail Rehab Proposed for 42 miles of NH Northcoast RR Track


Work to improve a 42-mile stretch of track between Ossipee and Rollinsford will soon get underway if the Executive Council gives its blessing.

The project — which will be paid for by a combination of federal, state and railroad company funds — will expand the line by 0.7 miles in Ossipee. It involves the rehabilitation of two railroad crossings at the mill in Somersworth and realigning the junction on Acton Ridge in Wakefield.

NH Northcoast Railroad, which owns and operates the line, will be able to transport more sand, gravel and propane in 286,000-pound rail cars along the network. Dean Boylan, chief executive officer of Boston Sand & Gravel, which owns the railroad, has said the upgrades will help reduce traffic on area roads and expand opportunities near the end of the line in Ossipee.

Boylan said up to 700,000 pounds of materials in 30 rail cars is shipped three times a week on the stretch of track. The materials are processed and shipped south from the 2,400-acre Ossipee Aggregates site to a 21-acre facility in Rochester or via Pan Am Railways in Dover to Boston Sand & Gravel’s facility in Boston, Mass.

The project will be paid for by $1.4 million in federal funds from the U.S. Department Transportation’s Transportation Investment Generating Economy Recovery (TIGER) program. NH Northcoast will provide $450,000, while the state will contribute $150,000 in matching funds.
“This also still has to be approved by New Hampshire’s Executive Council,” DOT spokesman Bill Boynton said.

The project was supported by members of the New Hampshire congressional delegation — U.S. Sens. Kelly Ayotte and Jeanne Shaheen, as well as U.S. Reps. Ann Kuster and Carol Shea-Porter.

“The Northcoast line connects to the national freight rail network via Boston and is a vital transportation link for the Granite State. These repairs will complete a multi-year effort to modernize the rail line in partnership with local communities and the private sector,” Democrat Shea-Porter wrote in a news release.

Historic rail bridge in Holliston MA needs repairs

Historic rail bridge in Holliston needs repairs - News - Holliston TAB - Holliston, MA

Locomotives From Bankrupt Maine Railroad To Be Auctioned

Locomotives From Bankrupt Maine Railroad To Be Auctioned - Maine's News, Sports, And Weather Leader - WABI TV5

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Pan Am Official Says NH Rail 'quiet zones' a Safety Hazard

(SOURCE:  Seacoast Online)

PORTSMOUTH — City councilors tried but couldn't get all the commitments they wanted from Pan Am Railways Executive Vice President Cynthia Scarano, and they weren't shy about showing their unhappiness with the entire process.

Scarano told the council Monday night that the number of rail cars carrying propane from the Sea-3 propane terminal in Newington through Portsmouth would jump from between 1,000 and 1,500 to between 2,000 and 3,000 if the decision allowing the expansion of the Sea-3 facility is not overturned.

The city of Portsmouth has appealed the Newington Planning Board's decision to approve the expansion.

Scarano said the railroad company has already installed 5,000 new rails on the line that runs from Newington through the city of Portsmouth as part of a commitment they made to the town of Newington.

If the decision is not overturned, Pan Am would upgrade its tracks from Class 1 to Class 2 status, allowing them to move the cars at speeds up to 25 miles per hour.

When that happens, Pan Am would add 5,000 more new ties.

Scarano repeated Monday night that she didn't see any time in her lifetime "where we need to go more than that," meaning faster than 10 mph................ READ WHOLE ARTICLE

Connecticut Company Trolley #123

Connecticut Company trolley #123.  Note on reverse says "body of car is now part of a tourist camp near Providence RI".  Photographer unknown.

Friday, July 25, 2014

4 Runners to Attempt to Beat MBTA Green Line Train in Race


Four runners are trying to see if they can beat an MBTA train in a race!
The runners work at "Runkeeper," a Boston start-up and they'll race against the train from Boston College to Blandford Street.
The four-mile run will be streamed live here and live-Tweeted by someone on board the train.

John Sullivan from RunKeeper joined us for more on the event, which kicks off at 11 a.m. Friday.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Recent New England Model Railroad Announcements

Bachmann:  50’ Plug Door Boxcar – New Haven
Intermountain:  EMD SD40-2 Loco – Pan Am (MEC)
2014 National Train Show Announcements:
Atlas:  Dash 8-40B – P&W
Atlas:  U25B Phase IIb – New Haven
Atlas:  Pullman-Standard 2,750-cubic-foot-capacity three-bay hopper – B&M

Bachmann:  USRA Light 2-8-2 Steam Locomotive – Maine Central (DCC sound)
Bachmann:  1950s/60s Truck & Trailers – Boston & Maine
2014 National Train Show Announcements:
Atlas: Alco C-424 (Phase II) – Springfield Terminal (Guilford)
Atlas: Alco S-2 – Boston & Maine (black)
Atlas:  Single window heavyweight coaches – New Haven
Bachmann:  USRA 2-8-2 Light Mikado  - Maine Central
Broadway LTD:  ARA 70-ton 4-bay open hopper 4-packs. – B&M

Fatal Amtrak Downeaster Crash in North Berwick ME


NORTH BERWICK, Maine -- There has been another fatal accident involving the Downeaster and a pedestrian. This one happened Wednesday night in North Berwick.

It happened around 7 o'clock near Main Street. Traffic was re-routed in the area and the train was stopped.

North Berwick police are working with Amtrak investigators to determine how it happened. Downeaster train #685, which was the train involved in the incident, will be experiencing delays. Trains #687 and #688 will also be affected.

Pan Am Train, Logging Truck Collide in Livermore Falls ME

(SOURCE:  Bangor Daily News)

A train and logging truck collided in Livermore Falls on Wednesday afternoon, blocking Main Street to traffic for several hours but resulting in no serious injuries....

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Thomas the Tank Engine Chugs its Way to Edaville


CARVER MA (AP) — Thomas the Tank Engine, the iconic talking cartoon train that has thrilled millions of children around the world, and Edaville USA Railroad, a favorite destination of generations of southeastern New England families, are teaming up on a permanent Thomas-themed park.

Groundbreaking on the first Thomas Land in the U.S. is scheduled for next month, and the park is expected to open for business in summer 2015. There are two other Thomas Lands, in the United Kingdom and Japan, but the Carver version would be the biggest.

"Thomas fits Edaville like a glove," Edaville owner Jon Delli Priscoli said.

Thomas Land, being built on about 11 of Edaville's 250 acres, will have 14 rides based on the television show, with the highlight being a 20-minute train ride on a life-sized Thomas the Tank Engine. A roller coaster, drop tower, Ferris wheel and other rides will feature more Thomas characters, including Toby, Cranky the Crane and Harold the Helicopter. Children will even be able to meet Sir Topham Hatt, the railroad's administrator.

Edaville, which is still an active cranberry farm, and Carver are the perfect spot for Thomas Land, said Julie Freeland, director of live events for Hit Entertainment, a division of Fisher-Price, which owns the Thomas brand.

The company has had a relationship with Edaville for more than decade with the "Day Out with Thomas" tour. Carver is near Boston and Providence, Rhode Island, yet has a rural feel similar to the mythical island of Sodor, where Thomas and his friends do their hauling and shunting.

"The first time I went to Edaville I said, 'This is Sodor,'" Freeland said.

Edaville began operating as a tourist railroad in 1947, after Ellis D. Atwood bought abandoned railcars from a defunct railroad to carry cranberries and workers across his 1,500 acres of cranberry bogs. The train was named using Atwood's initials: EDA.

Delli Priscoli's association with Edaville dates to the mid-1970s when he was offered a job straight out of high school. He didn't take the job, but 25 years later in 1999, when he had a chance at an ownership stake in the narrow-gauge railroad, he jumped at it, rescuing it from the scrap heap. The railroad shut down in December 1991 when it was unable to get bank loans to cover offseason expenses and its owner and operator could not reach a contract agreement. Delli Priscoli and his partners brought it back to life.

His association with Thomas goes back almost as far. His three sons were all Thomas fans, and even though the two oldest are now teenagers, his 6-year-old is still Thomas mad. "He's all Thomas, all the time," Delli Priscoli said.

Adding Thomas Land will turn Edaville from a regional attraction to a national attraction, he said. He expects attendance, currently at about 250,000 people a year, to quadruple.

And that's good for the town about 50 miles south of Boston and next door to Plymouth.

"The town is very excited about this," Town Administrator Michael Milanoski said. "Thomas is good wholesome entertainment."

Edaville, already one of the town's largest employers, is expected to triple its workforce from about 100 to 300 full- and part-time employees, he said. The town will also benefit from the park's spinoff business, as visitors eat at area restaurants and shop in local stores.

And for those who fear Edaville will lose its character, Delli Priscoli says don't fear. Edaville will continue all its old favorite events, including the annual Christmastime Festival of Lights and the National Cranberry Festival.

"This is going to completely remake and revitalize the Edaville experience," he said.

Bachmann N Scale Northeast-Style Caboose Released

The Bachmann N scale Silver Series Northeast-Style Steel Cupola Caboose has been released in B&M, D&H, and Maine Central schemes and is in stores now.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Central Maine Family Frustrated by Pan Am Railways Cars

(SOURCE:  Portland Press Herald)

OAKLAND — Until recently, the train tracks running through the woods were never more than a minor nuisance for the Easton family.

Janet and Thomas Easton bought the 80 acres on Fairfield Street, which is Route 23, in the 1940s and the family has been co-existing peacefully with the railroad company ever since.

But in mid-December, granddaughter Miriam Easton, 28, was snowshoeing with her dog along the woodland trail that her family has maintained for generations when she came across a long train of railroad cars on the tracks. The train cars were blocking the trail, extending as far as the eye could see in either direction......... READ WHOLE ARTICLE

Micro-Trains Offers Providence & Worcester Coal Hopper Set in N Scale

One of the 4 cars in the set

Micro Trains has released a set of 4 factory weathered coal hoppers in N scale.  

Item# 99305270 - P&W (4-Pack)...$119.95

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Downeaster slowed by track problems - TRAINS Magazine

Downeaster slowed by track problems - TRAINS Magazine

MBTA Cape Flyer Schedule, New Stop Announced


BOSTON - The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority (CCRTA) today announced CapeFLYER weekend rail service to Cape Cod and the Islands will begin Friday, May 23 through Labor Day, with an improved schedule and new station stop at Wareham Village. 

“CapeFLYER is a proven success in giving customers from the Greater Boston area a quick, convenient and car-free option to enjoy the attractions, beaches and restaurants of the Cape and Islands,” said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey.  “We also hope that local residents will use CapeFLYER to conveniently enjoy all their fantastic region has to offer without having to drive.”

CapeFLYER trains in 2014 will include a station stop at Wareham Village to provide customers with another destination option.  The new station will be located off Main Street near the Wareham Fire Department.  By the height of the summer season, trains will include separate coaches for two of the service’s most popular amenities: the cafĂ© coach and bike racks with tools for on-board tune-ups.

“The CapeFLYER’s goal during the inaugural season was to provide a safe and reliable way to bring people to the Cape and Islands without needing their cars; thereby reducing congestion for everyone coming to Cape Cod,” said Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority Administrator Thomas S. Cahir.  “The first year was a rousing success and we believe that the second year will only be better.”

In its inaugural season, the CapeFLYER had 16,586 riders and generated $290,756 in fare revenue, while reducing traffic and emissions for thousands of tourists heading to one of the country’s most beloved tourist destinations.

The CapeFLYER is a unique partnership between the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority.  For additional information, including a complete schedule and fares, please visit

Pan Am Train May Have Sparked Five-alarm Fire

(SOURCE: News Wire)

OLD ORCHARD BEACH, Maine. – Fire officials in southern Maine believe that a five-alarm wildfire may have been sparked by a passing Pan Am Railways train on Thursday afternoon, WCSH-TV reports.

The blaze destroyed 10 trailers and damaged six others at a trackside campground after some propane tanks caught fire and exploded, according to witnesses. The fires were reported shortly after 1 p.m., not long after Amtrak's Downeaster and a freight train went through the area.

“First we heard the passenger train go by and about five minutes later we heard an old freighter just hauling down the tracks,” Cindy Rowe tells WCSH. “You could see it was sparking. Almost immediately (you could smell) a burning tire smell and we saw that some grass and stuff was on fire.”

The train was later stopped in Portland so that it could be inspected, according to railroad officials. Photos of the fire show smoke and flames along the right-of-way for more than a mile and, according to the local fire chief, other brush fires were reported along the tracks in five communities from Old Orchard Beach to Scarborough.

Because of dry conditions and warm weather, southern Maine's fire danger is high right now. High winds may have also helped the blaze spread, regardless of its cause.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Worcester Man in Sombrero, Poncho Accused of 'Surfing' Atop MBTA Train

(SOURCE:  MassLive)

After a Saturday afternoon pub crawl in Boston, and possibly one too many alcoholic beverages, a Worcester man has been summoned to court after being found "surfing" on a MBTA commuter train.

According to a MBTA Transit Police report, the unidentified 28-year-old man was detained by Southborough and Ashland police when the train's engineer stopped the train at 9:45 p.m. between the two towns after being told that someone was on top of the train. At the time, the train was traveling 40 miles per hour.

The engineer told police that after climbing to the top of the engine, he saw that the "man's body was half over the top rung of the ladder, 'like a child clinging over a shopping cart.'"

"The engineer said the man climbed down on his own power and was brought to Southborough MBTA Station where the police removed him," according to the report.

Transit police have not identified the man, who was wearing a sombrero and poncho when he told municipal and MBTA officers that he had been drinking with friends in Boston since 3 p.m. that afternoon. The man's identity will be made public when he is formally charged with trespassing.

The man told officers that he had become separated from his friends and began walking car to car to find them, but he denied being on top of the train, according to the report. Officers noted that the man's hands "were blackened, which were consistent to being in contact with the outside of the train." He was later released to a friend.

The Worcester-bound train arrived 24 minutes late to Union Station because of the incident, according to the MBTA.