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)