Monday, December 24, 2018

Monday, August 6, 2018

Monday, July 23, 2018

McGinnis Scheme B&M Boxcars at West Cambridge MA

There have been two Boston & Maine McGinnis-scheme boxcars parked along the Fitchburg mainline in West Cambridge MA for years.  I don't know the history behind them, but would like to!

Don't quote me on this, but if my memory serves me correctly, the parking lot they are next to was once a US Postal building.  It is now home to a bread baking company.

The entire area once had a yard and many spurs. There was an iron works on the north side of the tracks, and a brick manufacturer just east of the main yard.  But they are all gone now... victim to Cambridge's desire to cram as many condo, apartment, and retail buildings into a small space as possible.  You can see some of that growth in the background of the top photo, behind the boxcars.  They are on the north side of the Fitchburg main.  The south side still has a gritty, commercial feel to it, but it is nothing like the old days.

The boxcar on the left is numbered 76500.  The other had its number painted over.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Boston & Maine Hinsdale NH Railroad Station FOR SALE!

(update - I am told this property was indeed sold... leaving the photos up for the record)

Have you always wanted to live in a railroad station?  The station at Hinsdale NH is for sale by its owner!  It is located on Depot Street next to what was once the Ashuelot branch of the Boston & Maine, now a rail trail.  

Monday, March 5, 2018

Name That Photo Location: 1947 Ayer MA Boston & Maine Photo Location FOUND!

The Photo.
In December of 2017, I posted a photograph dated 2/28/47 of a B&M train somewhere in Ayer Massachusetts.  Last week, I accidentally figured out exactly what that building was, and after some online research, where it was as well!

I was doing some organizing of my digital
railroad photo files, then noticed an Ayer postcard that seemed very familiar.  It showed a NYNH&HRR boxcar on a siding.  All of a sudden, a lightbulb went off in my head.

"That looks like the building in the background of that Ayer photo I have!"

Postcard view of the Chandler Machine building
I can now say for sure my photo was taken next to the Chandler Machine Company, whose address was listed as simply "West St, Ayer MA".  They manufactured industrial sewing and stitching machines.  The business was founded in 1899 and closed in September 2002.  The building appears to have been torn down some time between 2003 and 2005, replaced by (as usual) some condos.

Knowing this, the rail siding in the photo was off of the Worcester & Nashua line, which is now a paved rail trail north of Ayer Center.

Newspaper articles in 2002 stated that Chandler's closing was due to the proliferation of cheaper machinery being sold by countries like China.  This is a story repeated over and over in America.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

WW&F Spring Photographic Excursions 2018

Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway Museum

Spring Photographic Excursions
 Saturdays, April 14 & 21 2018
All of our original and replica equipment will be used to demonstrate mixed and freight trains commonly operated on the old WW&F.

April 14th runs 6 a.m. to 4.30 p.m., and April 21st runs 6 a.m. into the evening. Both days will include the firing of No. 9 starting at 6 a.m. and day session photo train operating 9 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. 

April 21st will also feature a staged and lit night scene starting at 6 p.m. Several unique photo opportunities will be provided both days. Price is $150 per person April 14th, and $225 April 21st.  

Maximum attendance will be 25 people April 14th and 20 people on April 21st. Reserve your seat online at!

Friday, February 16, 2018

Name That Photo Location: Boston & Maine Wreck at Lynn MA

I have managed to figure out the location of another vintage B&M photograph in my collection, and am sharing my findings with YOU!

The image shows B&M locomotive #827 on its side, with B&M crane #3359 hooked up to a baggage car.  The area has multiple tracks and a signal, which helped confirm the location of Lynn Massachusetts, just west of the West Lynn station.   (The Boston, Revere Beach & Lynn RR also had a West Lynn station)

The only real lead I had to go by was the sign in the distance atop a commercial building.  It appeared to read "Hoag & Wald_n", which I assumed was "Walden" or "Waldon".  After much web searching, I found a reference to a shoe manufacturer in Lynn named "Hoag & Walden". 

I then started looking at old maps and aerial photos to see if I could find the building in the middle-background, as it had an easy-to-spot roof style.  I finally found the exact building, which in 1916 belonged to Fred M. Page & Company, "manufacturers of cotton and paper specialties"and was located on 29 Bennett Street.  Amazingly, this building was still standing as of 2014, though partially re-sided and in tatty condition.  There was also a building to its left that may possibly be the one in the photo with a water tower on the roof.   If so, it has been altered quite a bit.

As for the key Hoag & Walden building, it was located on Commercial Street in an area that appears to now be a playing field. 

Now that I had located the location of the photo, I needed to figure out the date it was taken.  I used an online newspaper archive to search for Lynn train accidents that made the news.  I knew that locomotive #827 had been scrapped in 1913.  I used that date, along with the style of automobiles in the photo, to narrow down my search.  I finally found a short article in the March 29, 1910 issue of The Lowell Sun newspaper which said that just before noon, the "Portland express... Train 44" derailed while traveling on the Eastern Division toward Boston.  The train consisted of "a couple of baggage cars, a Pullman, and three regular coaches, the latter being in the rear".  The passenger cars being in the rear explains the baggage car being present behind the locomotive. 

The train was not scheduled to stop at West Lynn, and left the track "a hundred yards beyond that station", followed by all but two coaches.  The article states that an open switch had caused the accident, which also confirms the photo's location, as even today there is a track that curves off the main.  This is the now abandoned Saugus Branch. 

No one died in the accident.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

CSX Rules Out Sale of Former Boston & Albany Line

SOURCE:  Times Union - Friday, January 26, 2018 

CSX Transportation, responding to a report earlier this week from trade publication, said Friday afternoon that a list of lines under review for possible sale was "inaccurate." The list included the former Boston & Albany line between Albany and Worcester, Mass., now operated by CSX.

"I can definitively say that this line is not for sale," a CSX spokesman told the Times Union. The report had led to speculation about potential purchasers and the continued operation of Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited over the line.

CSX has undertaken a review of its network "to be sure our assets are maximized for efficiency and add value to the company's long-term business needs," the spokesman said. But he added that the list published by "did not originate from anyone authorized to speak on behalf of the company and is not right."

CSX operates a major rail yard and auto distribution terminal in Selkirk. It had planned to close its hump yard there, used to sort individual rail cars into new trains, as it sought to reduce transit times, then Chief Operating Officer Cindy Sanborn told analysts at an investment conference last May.

Sanborn was replaced by James Foote as COO last autumn. Foote became CEO, succeeding E. Hunter Harrison, who was in the midst of rolling out his "precision scheduled railroading" concept at CSX, died in December.

Meanwhile, CSX  reversed course and the Selkirk hump operation remains.

Last autumn, CSX planned to consolidate train dispatching operations in Jacksonville, Fla., where the railroad is headquartered. But that move apparently has been delayed.

Foote plans to continue Harrison's efforts, which include precision railroading where trains operate on set schedules. Foote told regulators at the beginning of January that assets are better utilized, transit times and customer service have improved, and costs have been reduced.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Train Derails in Worcester MA, Blocking Burncoat Street and Diverting Traffic

JAN 24, 2018:  Part of Pan Am/CSX freight SEPO derailed Wednesday (1/24/18) morning, creating traffic problems in Worcester but causing no injuries...  Three locomotives and several box cars at the front of the train came off the tracks around 8 a.m... the train came to a stop just south of West Mountain Street just past where the tracks go under West Boylston Street. The box cars that went off the tracks were directly behind the three engines...  District Fire Chief Daniel O’Neil said the cars affected by the derailment were carrying paper. He said that for safety reasons, it is common practice to have cars without hazardous materials directly behind the engine. Other cars on the train contained liquefied petroleum gas. He said they were not affected by the derailment.