Hardware Collection Update
August 14, 2017 -- Hardware curator Richard Nichols reports that 57 framed photos recently donated by Henry W. Marrec have been added to the Hardware Collection. We hope to have photos of the photos available for viewing in the Hardware section of our web-site soon.
On-Line Archives Update
August 8, 2017 -- We began to add scanned copies of the Maine Central Employees Magazine to the On-Line Archives page. Many of the originals were furnished for scanning by Dick Glueck of New England Steam Corporation and the scanning was accomplished by Archives Committee member David Ashenden. Stay tuned for more issues.
August 6, 2017 -- We added a 1913 employee time table for the WN&P Division.
July 21, 2017 -- Rick Nowell continues his exploration of early B&M locomotives with "The Robert E. Chaffin Roster of Boston and Maine Railroad Steam Locomotives, 1836-1911." This on-line edition of Chaffin's 1963 roster has never been published and is the first comprehensive roster of B&M locomotives acquired before the 1911 renumbering to appear since 1926. Click here for the roster. Click here for explanatory material.
July 20, 2017 -- We updated our notable accidents and weather events file.
B&MRRHS to Participate in 125th Anniversary of Laconia Depot
Lowell, Mass., July 13, 2017 – B&MRRHS Past President Carl Byron will speak at a ceremony on August 19, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Laconia, N.H., depot. An exhibit including items from the Society’s archives and hardware collections opened on June 20, at the Laconia Public Library.
Carl Byron is the well-known author of A Pinprick of Light and numerous articles on the history of the Boston and Maine Railroad. He is a past president of the B&MRRHS.
Laconia was incorporated as a town in 1855 and as a city in 1893. The stone depot was designed by New York architect Bradford Gilbert.
The event kicks off the city’s 125th anniversary celebration in 2018 and is organized by Celebrate Laconia, a group of local citizen volunteers. In addition to a parade, a festival, and fireworks, the group is planning many other activities, including publishing a book on Laconia's history and a booklet promoting citywide celebratory events and hosting a birthday celebration March 24, 2018 – the date of Laconia's incorporation in 1893. There will also be a July celebration that will occur the weekend after Independence Day, on July 7-8, and other activities to be announced. (Includes material from the Laconia Daily Sun)
On-Line Archives Update
July 2, 2017 -- We updated the Paint and Color Guide
June 13, 2017 -- We added Notes on the Name of Frankenstein Trestle
May 31, 2017 -- We added Engine House and Turntable Notes
May 31, 2017 -- We added Frye Collection -- Photo Credit Codes
May 17, 2017 -- We are pleased to announce the completion of the Authority for Expenditure Project. Read Notes about the project here. Access our searchable Data Base here. Thanks to Bob Fuller for abstracting the AFE files and compiling the list and to Mark Fecteau for transcribing the material.
Dwight Smith Program Featured at Plymouth Meeting
Plymouth, N.H., May 13, 2017 -- An enthusiastic audience of nearly 90 people turned out for Dwight Smith's program on B&M in the 1950 - 1970 era at the historic Plymouth depot. Dwight's talk was a tour of the B&M in New Hampshire and Vermont in the classic days when steam was giving way to diesel. Through the lens of Dwight's camera we visited White River Junction, Wells River, Concord, Manchester, the Claremont Branch, the Suncook Valley Railroad, the Springfield Terminal Railway, North Walpole, Bellows Falls, and Brattleboro.
As a freight traffic representative for B&M and Springfield Terminal Dwight was able to follow the conversion from steam to diesel. He noted that by 1954 B&M had mostly dieselized its main line runs, but steam switchers persisted in city yards and division points. There were also glimpses of steam and electric equipment of the CN, CP, Rutland, ST, the Claremont Electric Railway and other short lines. In 1974 Dwight made a trip around New Hampshire to photograph stations, and much of his work on that trip appeared in his power point talk. B&MRRHS volunteers Paul Kosciolek and Bill Hodges manned the sales desk. Thanks to the Plymouth Regional Senior Center for makin the space available and special thanks to Jim and Karen Nigzus who made all the arrangements and made the day a successful one for the Society and an enjoyable one for its members.
Boston and Maine Steam Volume 2 Published by Society
April 1, 2017 -- Boston & Maine Railroad Historical Society Members received Boston and Maine Steam Volume 2 in their mail as an extra benefit of membership. For over 25 years Bob Liljestrand (the "Bob" of Bob's Photos) and Dave Sweetland published a long series of nicely researched softcover photo books on a wide range of railroad topics. One of their last was Boston and Maine Steam Volume 1, covering the B&M's Pacifics.
Dave Sweetland passed away shortly after its 2008 publication. By then, however, he and Bob had completed the manuscript and has chose photos for a companion volume whose fate remained in limbo for several yeas. Learning that Volume 2 existed and was substantially complete, the B&MRRHS Board of Directors approached Bob Liljestrand in early 2016 and worked out an arrangement for its publication.
Volume 2 covers the B&M's Class T 2-8-4, Class R 4-8-2, and Class S 2-10-2 freight locomotives all built in the Twentieth Century. Editor Carl Byron planned the book as a tribute to Dave Sweetland and the work he and Bob Liljestrand have done to memorialize New England railroading in general, and the Boston and Maine Railroad in particular.
Both volumes are available for purchase from the Society.
Justin Winiarz featured at April 8 Meeting
April 19, 2017 -- Justin Winiarz, Amtrak conductor, railfan, and photographer, entertained a joint meeting of the B&MRRHS and the Mass Bay RRE at Rogers Hall, Lowell, on April 8. Justin impressed the audience, not only withh the variety of railroads represented in his travels but also with the efforts he made to gain just the right vantage point for his photographs. Our next meeting will be at Plymouth New Hampshire on May 13. See Calendar
On-Line Archives Update
May 4, 2017 -- We repaired links to MEC employee timetable.
April 28 2017 -- Jack Dziadul has updated his Modelers Notes index to Issue 164.
March 31, 2017 -- We added a bridge list for the Fitchburg RR, created about 1890.
Michael Shavelson Appointed Newsletter Editor
March 26, 2017 -- Michael B. Shavelson of Northampton, Mass. has been appointed by the B&MRRHS Board to succeed Bob Warren as Editor of the B&MRRHS Newsletter. The change will be effective with the September - October 2017 issue.
Michael has career experience in the publication field as editor of the Columbia University and Boston University alumni magazines. He is a lifelong B&M railfan, having grown up in Peabody and Marblehead, Mass.
Bob will remain Editor of Modelers Notes for the time being.
Articles and items for the Newsletter may be submitted to Michael B. Shavelson, 301 Prospect Heights, Northampton, MA 01060-1612
Nominations Due June 30
March 20, 2017 -- Nominations for Officers and Directors of Boston & Maine Railroad Historical Society, Inc. are due at the Society’s post office box no later than June 30, 2017. If you nominate someone other than yourself, be sure to get an OK from that individual before submitting his or her name. Submit nominations to: B&MRRHS--Nominations, P. O. Box 9116, Lowell, MA 01853
"Reminiscing With Russ" Presentation Features Slides From the Fifties and Sixties
March 14, 2017 -- B&MRRHS Historian and retired B&M conductor Russ Munroe took a crowd of fifty members back to the days of late steam and early diesel power with a presentation of slides he made in the 1950s and early 1960s. The presentation was made at the Society’s general meeting held on Saturday March 11, at Rogers Hall in Lowell.
Russ grew up in Marblehead and the show started with passenger and freight action around Marblehead and Salem on the now-abandoned Swampscott and Marblehead Branches. Also featured were trains on the abandoned Stoneham Branch.
Some of the equipment making an appearance were B&M No. 3235, the railroad’s last Atlantic 4-4-2, Unit 1140 (Sacred Cow), the Fiat Railcar, the Talgo Train in Salem in 1964, and the gravel train in Medford for construction of Route 93.
The Society’s next general meeting will be held at Rogers Hall on April 8. This is a joint meeting with the Massachusetts Bay Railroad Enthusiasts. The program will be “Trackside with Justin Winiarz, 2014-2016”
On-Line Archives Update
March 15, 2017 -- Jack Dzidul sent in an update of his Modelers Notes Index which is complete through No. 163.
Articles Needed for Newsletter
Los Lunas, N.M., March 3, 2017. Ever think about writing an article about the B&M? Are you a budding author? Boston & Maine Railroad Historical Society Newsletter Editor Bob Warren is looking for original articles about the B&MRR, its predecessors, and successors. The articles can be on any aspect of B&M history -- corporate, rolling stock, structures, preservation, etc. Also of interest are articles about modern railroading in B&M territory.
Members and friends of the Society are encouraged to email articles in Word format to: email@example.com
On-Line Archives Update
March 3, 2017 -- We added the Report of the Archives Committee for the Year Ended December 31, 2016.
March 2, 2017 -- We added North Station Track & Yard Book No. 60, effective April 24, 1955, submitted by courtesy of Col. TomE Thompson.
Foreign Railways Front and Center at February Meeting
Lowell, Mass., Feb. 11, 2017 -- The attendees at the B&MRRHS meeting at Rogers Hall enjoyed a digital slide presentation entitled Foreign Railways. Two members of the Bay State Model Railroad Museum, (Roslindale, Mass.), Jay Epstein and Scot Osterweil, displayed a variety of scenes taken throughout the U.K. and European Continent. Stations, bridges, rolling stock and locomotives were shown, as well as entire consists hauled by electric, diesel, and even steam motive power. In addition to good photography, both men provided technical and historical background which greatly enhanced the presentation. The rapt audience enjoyed and learned. Jim Nigzus offered Jay and Scot a souvenir gift each from the array of B&M articles from the sales table. "Good show, what?"
Our next membership meeting is March 11, when we'll "Reminisce With Russ." See Calendar for more details.
On-Line Archives Update
February 12, 2017 - Member and modeler Jack Dziadul has completed a new index of the B&MRRHS Modelers Notes from the very first issue to the latest (#162). To complete the index Jack drew on a number of sources and even tracked down some early issues that were missing from the Society's Archives. Jack's contribution, which is sortable and searchable, will be much appreciated by B&M modelers. Thanks, Jack, for your interest and hard work.
Springfield Show Draws 23,000 Railfans
West Springfield, Mass., January 29, 2017. -- The Amherst Railway Society's 2017 Railroad Hobby Show held at "The Big E" in West Springfield, was a big success. The ARS reports, "We had a great show - 19,541 at the gate - 23,291 total attendees." The B&MRRHS booth was well patronized and Jim Nigzus, Shows Chairman, reported brisk sales, with receipts of over $3,500 for the support of the Society. The weather cooperated this year and both Saturday and Sunday were busy at the Better Living Center where the Society's booth was located near Door 8. Observed manning the booth were Carl Byron, Steve DeFrancesco, Wayne Gagnon, Dave and Don Hampton, Rick Hurst, Paul Kosciolek, Jim and Jimmy Nigzus, Rick Nowell, Mal Sockol, and Kathy Winiarz. Many members of the Society stopped by to visit and renew their memberships. Several new members were enrolled. Both clothing items and books were of interest to buyers. Volunteers are needed for the 2018 show. If you are interested, contact Jim Nigzus
Carl Senftleben Presentation
Lowell, Mass. -- At the membership meeting held at Rogers Hall on January 14, 2017, retired B&M and Amtrak dispatcher and Superintendent of Train Operations (Boston) Carl Senftleben kept an audience of nearly 50 B&MRRHS members enthralled with a program that recounted his progress up the ladder in railroading. Carl began his career as a yard clerk in Fitchburg and he described the operating layout and train movements there. Yard clerks duties included marking cars in the yard with chalk to indicate destination and checking the temperature of ice reefers and bunker reefers (heated). Carl described sleeping accommodations for crews in cabooses, bunk houses, and rooming houses such as "Scooter's" in Mechanicville.
From yard clerk Carl became a leverman-operator at BX tower in Fitchburg. This location housed one of the first CTC machines (B&M was a leader in signaling progress). Carl noted as leverman he would respond to switchers calling in for a route through the yard area. He also manned towers at East Deerfield, Mechanicville, Springfield, and White River Junction. After service in the Vietnam War Carl applied for a job on the east end (Boston Division at the time) and worked at Winchester, Tower H, Tower C, Mystic Jct., Manchester, and Lowell.
Carl was then promoted to Train Dispatcher in Boston (150 Causeway Street). Carl noted that as a dispatcher working with the long, yellow dispatcher sheets, you sense that you are actually out on the road with the crews. Among the many anecdotes adding humor and interest to the talk was the fact that night dispatchers worked daytime jobs at the Boston Stock Exchange where their telegraphy skills were in demand. Carl also described a humorous incident in which an unlucky yard man (skateman) at the Boston hump yard was doused with the contents of a gondola full of pickled hides.
The talk was well received by the large crowd present.
B&MRRHS On-Line Shop Grand Opening
Lowell, Mass., January 15, 2017. The B&MRRHS on-line shop is now open for business. The new system provides a fast and convenient way for B&MRR fans to purchase merchandise on line using Pay Pal. Click here to visit the shop. Merchandise from our catalog will still be available by mail order. The introduction of this new service was approved by the Society's board on January 14.
Lowell, January 14, 2017 – The results of the election of the 2016-2017 directors and officers were announced at the Society’s meeting at Rogers Hall today. Officers elected were Frederick N. Nowell, III (Rick), President; Paul T. Kosciolek, Vice President and Treasurer; Wayne M. Gagnon, Secretary; and Michael E. Basile, Jr. (Mike), Clerk. All the officers elected had served in the same capacity in 2015-2016.
Two new directors joined the board, Scott Batson and Stephen DeFrancesco (Steve). Two new alternate directors were elected, Richard K. Hurst and Kathy Winiarz. Rick Hurst had previously served as a director and Kathy Winiarz is the Society’s Membership Chairman. Jim Nigzus retired from the board after six years' of faithful and valuable service. The full roster of directors for 2016-17 is as follows: Scott Batson, Carl R. Byron, Stephen DeFrancesco (Steve), Robert Farrenkopf (Bob), David Hampton, Richard K. Hurst (Rick) (alternate), Daniel W. Hyde, Russell F. Munroe (Russ), James Nigzus, Jr. (Jimmy), Mal Sockol, and Kathy Winiarz (alternate).
The counting of ballots had been postponed from the snowed out December meeting.
On-Line Archives Update
January 15, 2017 - We added
January 4, 2017 - Chuck Cahoon submitted updates to his impressive research into accidents incurred in building the Hoosac Tunnel
December 24, 2016 - We added
- Fitchburg Division Engine House data, 1928 (B&M RR Mechanical Department Document)
December 23, 2016 - We added
- Dinosaur Fossils at Holyoke, B&M Employees Magazine articles from 1936 and 1937
- Mt. Washington Railway large format drawing list
- An 1886 description of the passenger station at Concord, N.H.
- A B&M Bulletin article on the Concord Shops by Kenneth W. Milender
December Membership Meeting Snowed Out
Lowell, Mass., December 17, 2016 - The Society cancelled its December 17, holiday meeting on account of snow conditions in the Lowell area. A winter storm threatened to leave up to five inches of snow in its wake, not a lot by New England standards, but enough to make driving conditions uncertain at the time that members would be traveling to the meeting.
Our next membership meeting will be held at Rogers Hall, Lowell, on Saturday, January 14, 2017. The meeting program is entitled DISPATCHING THE ROUTE OF THE MINUTEMAN -- THE INSIDE STORY -- Guest speaker Carl Senftleben spent 18 years with the B&M RR and 18 more with Amtrak. Starting as night clerk at B&M's Fitchburg yard, then working various tower and operating jobs, and advancing up the B&M dispatcher ranks, he eventually became Chief Dispatcher and then Superintendent of Train Operations for Amtrak-Boston. Carl will relate his experiences from B&M "common carrier status" to Amtrak Acelas and our now intense Commuter Rail, with insight and humor. He probably knows it all because he has seen it all! Do not miss this!! Free parking across the street. Meeting time will be 3:30 to 5:30 PM.
Hardware Committee Publishes Report for 2016
Lowell, Mass., December 17 - The Hardware Committee has published its report for 2016.
B&M Bulletin Update
November 29, 2016 - The Society recently published Volume XXIX, No. 4. of the B&M Bulletin, edited by Andrew M. Wilson. View a photo of the cover and the contents of this issue here.
On-Line Archives Update
November 29, 2016 - We added Engineer Pay Rates, 1960; MEC Accounting Equipment, 1924; MEC Chronology, 1976; and Railroad Man Started Harvard-Yale Regatta in 1852 (story 1946).
Hardware Committee Publishes Updated Inventory
November 19, 2016 -- The B&MRRHS Hardware committee has published an updated inventory of items in our collection. Our hardware collection is not available for public viewing but you can view photos and descriptions of hundreds of items from our collection on our Hardware Page.
Help Wanted: B&MRRHS Newsletter Editor
November 16, 2016 - The Boston & Maine Railroad Historical Society seeks a qualified person to succeed Bob Warren as our B&MRRHS Newsletter editor. The transition will occur by the end of 2017. Bob will train and assist his successor during and after the transition.
- Oversee the production of six B&MRRHS Newsletters in each calendar year
- Acquire and accumulate copy and photos for inclusion in the Newsletter
- Solicit articles from knowledgeable persons
- Using desktop publishing software, assemble the master copy of the Newsletter
- Proofread the master copy
- Send the master copy to the printer by deadline date to enable mailing to members on time
The editor’s duties do not include stuffing or mailing of the Newsletter.
- An interest in the Boston and Maine Railroad and New England railroad history
- An interest in current events in New England railroading
- Ability to organize paper and electronic documents and meet deadlines
- Familiarity with computer software and email
- A knowledge of English grammar, usage, and punctuation
- Ability to edit news stories and articles to fit available space.
- Ability to use desktop publishing software to produce an attractive publication
This is a volunteer position and a way to serve the Society in a vitally important area. You do not have to live in New England to qualify.
If you would like to be considered for the position of Newsletter Editor, please contact Rick Nowell, B&MRRHS President, by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Gary Gurske takes Society Members on American Tour
Lowell, Mass., November 12, 2016 - The Society's monthly meetings in Lowell resumed today with a presentation of Trains Around the Nation by noted rail raconteur Gary A. Gurske.
Mr. Gurske who has traveled across the States every year since 1999, took the members on a tour of some out-of-the-way sites that many of us are unlikely to see as well as some of the major towns in the prairie States and the far west. Of particular interest were a video tour around the Nevada Northern shops in Ely, Nevada; the Truckee Donner Railroad Society in Truckee, Nev.; both the California and the Nevada Railroad Museums, and the Carson & Colorado Railway in Independence, California. The variety of locomotives and rolling stock, from near-junk to freshly restored was a treat as well as the ghost town appearance of some of the once-busy railroad shops in remote towns like Ely. Our thanks to Mr. Gurske for a well designed and narrated program.
Our next meeting will feature our traditional holiday party and presentations by members on December 17, at Rogers Hall. Note the change from the Second Saturday to the Third Saturday for this meeting only and the start time to Noon (luncheon).
Ellis E. Walker Jr. 1925 - 2016
Ellis E. Walker, Jr., 91, of Concord, a longtime member of the Society, died Friday, October 28, 2016 at his Concord home. He was the husband for 62 years of Phyllis (Pitman) Walker. Born in Augusta, Maine on July 26, 1925, he was the son of the late Ellis E. and Marjorie E. (Hathorne) Walker. He attended Augusta public schools and graduated from Cony High School in 1943. He attended Northeastern University in Boston for a short time before enlisting in the U. S. Marine Corps where he served as a Sergeant during World War II. Concord’s town flag will fly at half-staff on Saturday, November 19th in recognition of his service to his country.
He completed his Bachelor degree in Mechanical Engineering from Northeastern University upon his return from the service and later received a Master’s in Business Administration degree also from Northeastern. For many years prior to his retirement in 1990 Ellis was employed with the Foxboro Company in Plymouth. As a young man, he worked for the Maine Central; he also worked for the B&M at the Billerica Shops in the early 1950 when steam power was still being repaired and maintained there. He was the fourth generation of Walkers to work in the railroad industry.
Ellis was a Concord resident for the past 59 years. He was active in the Trinitarian Congregational Church, where for many years he was a Deacon and served on the Missionary Committee. He was also active in Boy Scout Troop 149 where he was on the Troop Committee for many years.
He was a railroad enthusiast and historian and was especially active in the Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway Museum, where he wrote a column in the monthly newsletter. His articles were collected and published in a book called Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Musings.
Ellis was also active in the Boston & Maine Railroad Historical Society, serving as a director of the Society and as a Member Emeritus of the Archives Committee. Rick Conard recalls that Ellis’ entertaining, low key way of talking and his wealth of personal recollections greatly added to our Archives meetings. Rick also remembers that Ellis served with John Alden at the B&MRRHS tables at railroad shows in the 1970s. Ellis also worked at the short-lived Steam Village tourist RR in Gilford, NH. He will be remembered by his fellow Society members as a soft spoken, knowledgeable gentlemen who was an outstanding representative of the railfan community.
In addition to his wife, Phyllis, Ellis is survived by two sons, Timothy Walker and his wife Nancy of Boxford and Donald Walker and his wife Vicki Halal of Medford, 4 grandchildren, Henry and Peter Walker of Boxford and Leila and Michael Walker of Medford, and one sister Marjorie Lennon and her husband Michael of Hooksett, NH.
A memorial service will be held at 2 PM on Saturday November 19th, 2016, at the Trinitarian Congregational Church, 54 Walden St., Concord, Mass. Contributions in his memory may be made to:
WW&F Railway Museum In memory of: Ellis E. Walker Jr., P.O. Box 242, Alna, ME 04345-0242
Plymouth Meeting Draws 43 Railfans
October 15, 2016 – The Society’s October meeting at the former B&MRR depot in Plymouth, New Hampshire drew 43 interested railfans to hear two talks on Granite State railroading. The presentation was made in the spacious former dining room of the Plymouth station.
The two-hour presentation began with Gregg McFarland speaking on the Concord to White River Jct. main line in the 60s and 70s along with Selkirk in the Conrail era. Gregg’s brother Geoff McFarland covered the early Guilford years around Dover and the Berlin Mills Railway.
Sales were brisk at the Society’s tables, and Jim Nigzus and his crew took in $400 through the sale of B&M merchandise and railroadiana.
Attendees were treated to stops by northbound and southbound Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad autumn foliage excursion trains.
The meeting was arranged by Program Chairman Jim Nigzus who saw to all the details. Thanks to volunteers Hank Binney, Bill Hodges, Jerry Kelly, and Paul Kosciolek who assisted with sales, set-up and break-down. We also thank the WRR crew and special thanks to the Plymouth Regional Senior Center for permitting us to use their facility in the Plymouth depot.
The Society’s next membership meeting will be held on November 12, at our regular meeting location at Rogers Hall on Rogers St. in Lowell, Mass. Old friend, Gary Gurski, will be back to entertain with more stories and views of New England railroading.
Hardware Committee Publishes Updated Inventory
September 21, 2016 -- The B&MRRHS Hardware committee has published an updated inventory of items in our collection. Our hardware collection is not available for public viewing but you can view photos and descriptions of hundreds of items from our collection on our Hardware Page.
On-Line Archives Update
October 16, 2016 -- We added a passenger car roster compiled about 1965 by Laurence I. Beake.
September 28, 2016 -- We added abandonment notice correspondence relating to a portion of the Northern Main Line from MP 74.32 in Concord, N.H. to MP 80.68 in Boscowen, N.H.
B&MRRHS Meets at Nashua Valley Railroad Association
Shirley, Mass., September 17, 2016 -- The Society’s 2016-2017 meeting program kicked off today with a visit to the Nashua Valley Railroad Association’s HO layout at Shirley, Mass. Over 20 B&MRRHS members enjoyed socializing with NVRRA members who explained the history of the layout and its evolution from simple beginnings. It is intended to represent the B&M’s Fitchburg Division from Boston to Rotterdam Junction. The layout fills a space of about 1200 square feet. Its ample dimensions permits the running of long trains, one of which contained some sixty cars. The layout is in various stages of construction, from recently completed benchwork to highly detailed sections. The railroad holds operating sessions on the third Saturday of the month. Contact information to confirm hours is available at nvrra.com.
As always there are many scheduled events as the fall season gets underway. Consult our Calendar page for more information.
On -Line Archives Update
September 17, 2016. -- We added a Maine Central passenger time table effective Oct. 30, 1955
September 6, 2016 -- We added a list of periodicals and serials held in the B&MRRHS Archives and a Maine Central employee time table from September 1922 (Eastern Division).
September 2, 2016 -- We added a B&M Summary of Equipment dated January 1, 1962.
August 30, 2016 -- We added a Maine Central section to the On-Line Archives.
B&MRRHS Receives Bequest
Lowell, August 19, 2016 --The Boston & Maine Railroad Historical Society, Inc. has received an exceptionally generous bequest from the estate of longtime member Preston S. Johnson. The bequest, in excess of $100,000, is a moving confirmation of Preston’s regard for the B&MRRHS, and his wish to further the Society’s educational and historic preservation programs and activities.
Born in Lawrence, Mass. in 1923, Preston Johnson grew up in Andover and began working for the Boston and Maine Railroad on December 25, 1939---before he graduated from high school! He dedicated his nearly 5-decade long career to the B&M, rising to the position of Chief Dispatcher before retiring in 1984. His depth of knowledge about trains and railroading made him an unofficial historian for the B&M. He loved sharing his years of experience and knowledge with fellow train enthusiasts and travelled extensively by train across North America, documenting and photographing his travels for railroad publications. He served as president of the Old Railroad Wheels, the B&MRR retired employees’ organization, for 20 years.
Preston filled his retired years with community service. He was President of the Melrose Chapter of AARP, served on the Board of the Milano Senior Center, and was a longtime member of the Wakefield Retired Men's Club. He donated his extensive collection of railroad literature and hardware to the B&MRRHS prior to his death in 2015.
The Boston & Maine Railroad Historical Society, Inc. was founded in 1971 for the preservation of materials related to the history of the Boston and Maine Railroad and its predecessor lines. The Society has 950 members worldwide. The group maintains its Archives at the Center for Lowell History, part of the UMass Lowell library system, and holds a collection of railroad hardware and artifacts. It also preserves B&M steam locomotive No. 410 and combination coach-baggage car No. 1244 which are on permanent display in Lowell. The Society publishes a journal, known as the B&M Bulletin and presents monthly educational programs for its members on a variety of topics related to railroading.
The B&MRRHS board of directors has designated part of the bequest to be used for digitizing items from its collection of railroad photos, documents, and drawings.
On -Line Archives Update
August 16, 2016 -- We have added an employee time table (1930) issued by Portland Terminal Company.
Visitors Enjoy 410 and Combine at Folk Festival
Lowell, August 3, 2016 -- Over 1600 people enjoyed a free visit to B&M 0-6-0 No. 410 and combine no. 1244 at the Lowell Folk Festival, July 30 and 31. Visitors viewed an HO layout, had "tickets" stamped with an antique ticket dater, and browsed through a number of hardware, archives, and graphic exhibits, all of which illustrated various elements of B&M Railroad history. The new walkover seats recently donated by Vermont Rail System were tested by many.
Jim Nigzus, 410 Project Coordinator, said the event was "a wonderful opportunity for us to meet the general public and our main purpose during this event is to teach them about our Society and the Boston and Maine Railroad." Sales of merchandise at the event totaled just over $200. The combine will be open to visitors on Saturdays through August 27. Hours are 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM. There is no charge for admission.
On-Line Archives Update
August 2, 2016 -- We have updated our photo negative data base. A number of glass plate and film negatives from the Harry A. Frye Collection were added.
Lowell Folk Festival Hours
Lowell, Mass. -- B&M switcher No. 410 and combine No. 1244 will be open for inspection on Dutton Street during the Lowell Folk Festival, from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Saturday and Sunday, July 30 and 31, 2016.
On-Line Archives Update
July 15, 2016 -- We have updated our list of major accidents by adding information about the "Butter Wreck" and a wreck at South Waterboro, Me. which both occurred in 1905.
B&M Combine No. 1244 Open Saturdays for Summer Visitors
Lowell, July 9, 2016 -- Boston & Maine combination coach--baggage car will be open for visitors during July and August. The car is available each Saturday afternoon from July 9th through August 27th, Hours are 1:00 PM until 4:00 PM. B&M RR Historical Society members will be on hand to describe the many photos, maps, and railroad artifacts illustrating this iconic railway's history. B&M-marked hats, shirts, and other clothing items can be purchased. A small HO model railroad layout is also situated inside the car. The wooden, maroon painted, truss-rod combine is located on Dutton St., corner Merrimac St., in Lowell, Massachusetts, handy to the Lowell National Park complex. B&M 0-6-0, steam switcher No. 410, is on permanent display adjacent to the coach.
On-Line Archives Update
Board Appoints New Staff Members
June 16, 2016 -- The B&MRRHS Board of Directors has made several new staff appointments recently. Congratulations to our new staffers.
Bulletin Distribution Dan Hyde email@example.com
Hardware Chairman Dan Hyde firstname.lastname@example.org
Membership Secretary Kathy Winiarz email@example.com
Modelers Notes Editor Bob Warren firstname.lastname@example.org
Program Co-Chairmen Mal Sockol and Jim Nigzusmalsockol@aol.com
Webmaster Jim Nigzus, Jr. email@example.com
A complete list of officers, directors, and staff members is available here.
On-Line Archives Update
June 6, 2016 -- Some time ago we acquired a number of metal file boxes used by the B&M to store old correspondence, much of it related to predecessor railroads. Archives volunteer Eric DiVirgilio recently inventoried with some interesting Fitchburg Railroad material contained in one of these boxes. Another volunteer, Mark Fecteau, transcribed the inventory so it could be posted. Click here to view.
New 410 and Combine Project Log Added to Website
May 30, 2017 -- We have added a new Project Log page to our 410 Project section. In the Project Log we hope to keep web site visitors informed about the on-going work to preserve No. 410 and Combine No. 1244. Additionally we are planning to include some historical data about the improvements that have been made over time.
On-Line Archives Update
May 27, 2016 -- We added track Characteristic Charts, 1955.
Jerry Kelley Presentation Reveals Details of Hoosac Tunnel Construction
Plymouth, N.H., May 21, 2016 -- Jerry Kelley, a student of the Hoosac Tunnel, gave an impressive presentation about building the Tunnel. His talk was well-received by crowd of over fifty B&MRRHS members and friends who were on hand for our up-country meeting at the former B&M depot. Jerry's talk was well illustrated with contemporary photographs of the construction area. His talk began with a description of the drilling process and the use and evolution of nitroglycerine. He explained and showed the variety of structures that were required: workers' housing, alignment towers, blacksmith shop, compressor house, and the acid (nitroglycerine) factory. Jerry's talk covered the activities at the East Portal, the Central Shaft, and the West Portal, and contrasted the difficulty of blasting through solid rock at the East Portal with the hazards of loose earth and limestone at the West Portal where a brick factory was built to make lining brick for the west end. Turning to the present day, Jerry gave his thoughts on the difficulties and possible solutions to making the tunnel large enough to handle double stack containers. The 1911-1946 electrification was described in connection with the electric power generation equipment that was needed. Jerry is a former director and currently an alternate director of the B&MRRHS
The meeting was arranged by Program Chairman Jim Nigzus who saw to all the details, including the sales tables. We thank the Plymouth Senior Center for permitting us to use their facility. The presentation was made in the spacious former dining room of the Plymouth station.
B&MRRHS To Receive Grant for No. 410
Lowell, April 21, 2016 -- The Mystic Valley Railway Society has selected the Boston and Maine Railroad Historical Society to receive its W. Russell Rylko Award.
The award of $3,000, honoring the founding president of MVRS, will be used by B&MRRHS for continuing restoration of the 410 cab. The 410 Project is chaired by Jim Nigzus who has been part of the 410 crew since its inception in 1992. The application for the grant was written by B&MRRHS Immediate Past President Carl Byron.
To learn more about the 410 project click here.
The award will be presented at the MVRS annual meeting on May 7, at the Holiday Inn in Dedham, Mass.
On-Line Archives Update
April 19, 2016 -- We have added updates to Chuck Cahoon's research documents concerning Hoosac Tunnel construction accidents. There are three documents, accident accounts, names of victims, dates of accidents.
April 19, 2016 -- We have added Boston and Maine Railroad Paint and Color Guide, combining color references as found in newspapers, journals, and railroad specifications with information about paints for models. Corrections and additional information always welcome. Submit to Rick Nowell, Archives Chairman, firstname.lastname@example.org.
April 18, 2016 -- We have added a lettering font for signs and notices. The letters and numbers were expertly drawn by Ken Ackerboom and were adapted from B&MRR Standard Drawing No. K10, for which reason Ken named his font K10. Click here to see the font and here to read Ken's interesting notes. Thanks, Ken, for your work.
B&MRRHS at Plymouth, N.H. May 21.
The Plymouth, N.H. Regional Senior Center will again host the Boston & Maine Railroad Historical Society. The May 21 meeting will be held in the impressive former B&M station, 8 Depot St., Plymouth, N.H. This was a stop for B&M/CP trains operating between No. Station and Montreal and place to change for trains to Lincoln on the Pemigewasset Branch.
Jerry Kelly, Society alternate director and enthusiastic researcher of the famed Hoosac Tunnel, will present, "The Building of the Hoosac Tunnel." His PowerPoint show will outline construction methods and various issues related to this enormous 19th Century undertaking. A brief 1928 film showing the tunnel's electric locomotives and a trip through the bore will lead his talk. Some of Gerry's superb models of tunnel and motive power will be on display. Gerry welcomes a question and answer session following his presentation. The "Hoosac" was and still is, New England's greatest railway tunnel.
Henry Marrec Presentation
Lowell, March 12, 2016 -- At our March meeting, Henry Marrec took us on an incredible journey from years past of New England Railroading. Henry converted super “8” movies to DVD and he also narrated them. We visited B&M facilities in Cambridge and Somerville and then all over the B&M system. We were also treated to MEC, BAR, D&H railroading. Henry did an outstanding job narrating these films. For many in the audience it brought back fond memories. It’s hard to believe how much of what Henry showed us is no longer there. Thank you again Henry. [Newsletter]
Francis J. "Buddy" Winiarz
Derry, N.H. -- Buddy Winiarz, 66, B&MRRHS Membership Secretary, died Tuesday evening, March 29, 2016 at his residence in Derry due to complications from diabetes.
Born and raised in Salem, Mass., Buddy was the son of the late Francis J. Winiarz, Sr. and Florence (Lisaj) Winiarz and was a graduate of Salem High School in the class of 1968. Buddy and his wife Kathy have lived in Derry since 1980.
Buddy was a Vietnam Era veteran, served in the U.S. Navy and was a life member of the VFW, Witch City Post #1524 of Salem. Prior to his retirement he was employed by the U.S. Postal Service.
Buddy was an avid volunteer for B&MRRHS. Beyond his role as Membership Secretary, he served as President from 2003 to 2006 and was active as Program Coordinator. He also was involved with distribution of the B&M Bulletin. Many will remember his service as Executive Chef at Society outings.
Besides his wife, with whom he shared 36 years of marriage, Buddy is survived by two sons and a daughter, Justin, Kristopher and Jennifer, all of Derry and one brother, Mark Winiarz of Salem, Mass.
A visitation will be held Sunday, April 3, 2016 from 2 to 5 pm at the Full-Spychalski Funeral Home, 84 Washington Square East, by Salem Common, Salem, Mass. Private services will be held at a later date at the convenience of the family. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to the American Diabetes Association, 10 Speen St., 2nd Floor, Framingham, MA 01701
On-Line Archives Update
March 19, 2016 -- We added a finding aid called Group Index Numbers. This is the key used by B&M Mechanical Department employees to locate and file steam, diesel, and other mechanical drawings. The group numbers correspond to numbered folders in which the drawings were stored by B&M and in which they are still stored today in the B&MRRHS Archives. Thanks are extended to Mark Fecteau, the newest member of our Archives Committee, who compiled and edited this document from various primary and secondary sources in our collection. Mark is a resident of Washington State and his contribution illustrates that voluntary Archives work can be performed at a distance from Lowell.
Alaska Railroads Center Stage at Our February Meeting
Lowell. February 13, 2016 – Len Bachelder, long-time Society member and Archives volunteer, gave a slide presentation on Alaska railroads at the Society’s meeting today at Rogers Hall. Len’s talk combined views of railroad subjects with the spectacular scenery of Alaska. Among the locations covered were Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Denali National Park. Len’s slides captured old and new railroading in the 49th State. He noted that the Alaska Railroad was formed in 1917 by the U. S. Government to take over a failed private railroad and connect Seward to Fairbanks via Anchorage. Alaskans have not forgotten their railroad heritage as we saw views of a 1907 Davenport saddle tank on display at Anchorage and Porter 0-4-0 No. 1 of the Tanana Valley Railroad Museum. Len and his wife road the Denali Star from Anchorage to Fairbanks via Denali National Park, the Glacier Discovery Train from Anchorage to Whittier, and a chartered train from Fairbanks to North Pole. Len’s presentation gave many interesting details about Alaska railroading, from coal production to the luxury coach-diners owned by the cruise lines that are attached to regular ARR trains. A crowd of about thirty members enjoyed the show.
New Officers and Directors Elected
Lowell. February 13, 2016 -- At today's meeting of the Boston & Maine Railroad Historical Society the ballots for officers, dirrectors, and alternates were counted and the following results announced:
Total ballots cast: 79
Elected : Rick Nowell, President (79 votes)
Paul Kosciolek, Vice President (79 votes)
Wayne Gagnon, Secretary (79 votes)
Mike Basile, Clerk (78 votes)
Paul Kosciolek, Treasurer (79 votes)
Jerry Kelley, Alt. Director, 79 votes
Dave Hampton, Alt. Director, 79 votes
Carl Byron, Director, 79 votes
Mal Sockol, Director, 79 votes
Bob Farrenkopf, Director, 79 votes
Thanks for your votes and support.
Society Members Team Up for Success at Springfield Show
West Springfield, Mass. January 31, 2016 -- An excellent turn out of volunteers helped the B&MRRHS raise over $3,000 to fund its historic preservation and educational activities at the Springfield Rail Hobby Show held at the “Big E,” in West Springfield, Mass., on January 30-31, 2016.
An enthusiastic group stocked the shelves, answered inquiries, and kept the cash register ringing. A wide variety of clothing, new and used books, calendars, posters, and railroad documents were available for purchase. Several new members were enrolled and imbued with the B&M spirit.
Past B&MRRHS President Wayne Gagnon was on hand to record the contributions of the various participants, “called from the spare board for the LOSP (Lowell- Springfield) road crew,” as he puts it in evocative railroad language.
"Fred and Quesen Brown: indispensable, set-up, display, and sales (the chocolate fudge showed its true colors (albeit maroon and gold) !!!
Dave and Don Hampton, transportation and sales
Rick Nowell, archives and sales
Rick Hurst. archives and sales
Jim and Jim, Jr. Nigzus, overall organization, promotion, and sales
Carl Byron, publicity and promotion
Russ Monroe, publicity and promotion
Justin Winiarz and Ashley Savage, publicity and promotion
Wayne Gagnon, Historical/Archives, and sales
Paul Kosciolek, chairman and 'bean counter' "
“Without their contributions, none of this could have been accomplished, nor the B&MRRHS, show our B&M colors”
Wayne waxed poetic when he wrote, “This was my/our B&M weekend to meet old friends, to make new friends, and to try and keep/bring B&M into their family ... and remember those who served and who have passed in perpetual B&MRR 'High-Green' country ... may their burdens be light and ‘hands free’ from the tender. Thanks for a great weekend!”
On-Line Archives Update
February 11, 2016 -- We added the 2015 Archives Annual Report
February 5, 2016 -- We added an exhibit of Road Operated June 30, 1915.
February 5, 2016 -- We published an updated version of our roster of steam locomotives acquired prior to the start of numbering in 1865.
The Springfield Show
The B&MRRHS will participate in the Amherst Railway Society Railroad Hobby Show again this year. The Show, largest in the Northeast, will be held on January 30, and 31, 2016 at the Eastern States Exposition Center in West Springfield, Mass.
The B&MRRHS tables will be found in the Better Living Center, Section 42, Tables E, F & G
TIMES: Saturday, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Sunday, 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
ADMISSION: General Admission: $14 Children: 15 & under, free when accompanied by an adult
A.R.S. CONTACT: David Royce 413.267.4555
The Amherst Railway Society notes, "The show features real life and scale model railroads, historical societies, travel agencies, art shows, flea market dealers, importers, manufacturers and photographers. Modelers’ exhibits will display outstanding handiwork on layouts ranging from the tiny Z scale which fits on a coffee table, a monster 80 foot N-Trak system, to our own Amherst Belt Lines Modular layout that boasts 8+ scales miles of track. There are a series of hands-on clinics at the show allowing folks to see how much fun this hobby can be!"
New Membership Application Added
January 20, 2015. We added a new membership application that can also be used for renewals.
Vincent M. Bernard, 1928 - 2015
Haverhill, Mass. -- Vincent M. "Vin" Bernard, noted B&M signal authority, died unexpectedly at his home on December 22, 2015. He was 87. Vin was born in Lawrence, Mass. and was a graduate of Central Catholic High School, Lawrence, and Northeastern University. He relocated to Haverhill when he married his wife, the late Maureen H. (Sullivan) Bernard. Until his retirement he was employed as an electrical engineer at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. An avid railroad hobbyist, Vin authored B&M Bulletin articles on B&M signaling systems and the West End and submitted many photos and comments to the magazine illustrative of signaling equipment and pratice. He was member of the B&MRRHS Archives Committee. A funeral service will be held at Linwood Cemetery, Haverhill, on Monday December 28, at 11:30 a.m. Friends are welcome to attend. For more information visit: www.linnehan-grondin.com
On-Line Archives Update
December 27, 2015. We updated our searchable Catalog and it is available here.
Hardware Committee Report Now Available
December 12, 105. The Hardware Committee has published its report for 2015 and it is available here.
On-Line Archives Update
December 11, 2015. We updated our list of Classifications and added cross-references and clarifications to help researchers and catalogers.
New Images in Modelers Section
December 6, 2015. Mr. Edward J. Ozog submitted some beautiful pictures of B&M boxcars that he has modeled. Click here to view.
Revised Archives Hours
Lowell, Mass., October 28, 2015. The Center for Lowell History, where our Archives collection is housed, is now open Tuesday through Friday from 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. In September CLH had shortened its schedule from six to three days, so we have gained a day of availability. As always, we recommend that intending visitors call ahead to confirm hours, 978-934-4997.
Society Announces Fall Program
Lowell, Mass., September 29, 2015. The Boston and Maine Railroad Historical Society's Fall 2015 meetings will be held as follows:
- October 17. Member meeting at Plymouth, N. H. depot. Dwight Smith presentation.
- November 14. Member meeting at Rogers Hall, Lowell, Mass. Gary Gursky presentation.
- December 12. Holiday party and member show and tell at Rogers Hall, Lowell, Mass.
Our monthly meetings feature a nice mix of sociability and information about the B&M and New England railroading in general
November 8, 2015. The Hardware Committee released its report for October.
July 24, 2015. The Committee has added three new files to the Society web site. They are: B&MRR and MECRR Diesel Locomotives Builders' and Number Plates, B&MRR Hand Tools and Equipment, and B&MRR Switching and Other Equipment.
June 7, 2015. The Society's Hardware Committee has published an updated inventory of items given to us by generous members and friends.
New On-Line Archives Items
November 27, 2015. We added Addenda to Minuteman Steam.
November 23, 2015. We added a listing of contents of file boxes in the Leroy C. Hutchinson Collection.
November 1, 2015. We updated our index of right of way and track maps.
August 15, 2015. We added a map of the B&M RR at its greatest extent in 1915.