Boston & Maine Railroad Historical Society

The Boston & Maine Railroad Historical Society is composed of people who share a common interest in the history and operations of the Boston and Maine Railroad and other related railroads.  READ MORE

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NEWS

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

Russell F. Munroe, B&MRRHS Historian, at the Society's General Meeting, March 11, 2017. Staff Photo

Russell F. Munroe, B&MRRHS Historian, at the Society's General Meeting, March 11, 2017. Staff Photo

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 presenation 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.

March 14, 2017 -- We have expanded our listing of Authority for Expenditure records compiled by Robert P. Fuller and transcribed by Mark Fecteau so that we now cover capital improvements and changes made between 1920 and 1959.

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: bmbobwarren@comcast.net

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

B&MRRHS director and program co-chairman Mal Sockol (left)  introduces retired B&M and Amtrak dispatcher Carl Senftleben to the members at Rogers Hall on January 14, 2017. (Rick Nowell photo)

B&MRRHS director and program co-chairman Mal Sockol (left)  introduces retired B&M and Amtrak dispatcher Carl Senftleben to the members at Rogers Hall on January 14, 2017. (Rick Nowell photo)

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.

Election Results

B&MRRHS officers, board members, and staff met at Rogers Hall, Lowell, Mass., January 14, 2017

B&MRRHS officers, board members, and staff met at Rogers Hall, Lowell, Mass., January 14, 2017

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

December 23, 2016 - We added

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.

Duties:

  • 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.

Qualifications:

  • 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 fnowell3@gmail.com

Gary Gurske takes Society Members on American Tour

Gary A. Gurske

Gary A. Gurske

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. 1925 -2016

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

On-Line Archives Update

November 10, 2016 - We have expanded our tabulation of AFE (Authority for Expenditure) records, compiled by Robert Fuller and transcribed by Mark Fecteau.

 

Plymouth Meeting Draws 43 Railfans

B&MRRHS banner marks the location of the October 15, meeting at Plymouth depot, Plymouth, N.H.  Chuck Spence photo.

B&MRRHS banner marks the location of the October 15, meeting at Plymouth depot, Plymouth, N.H.  Chuck Spence photo.

Crowd of B&MRRHS members assembles to meet and greet the crew Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad autumn foliage excursion train at Plymouth, N.H. , October 15, 2016. Chuck Spence photo.

Crowd of B&MRRHS members assembles to meet and greet the crew Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad autumn foliage excursion train at Plymouth, N.H. , October 15, 2016. Chuck Spence photo.

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.

Gregg McFarland, one of the featured speakers at the October 15, meeting, talks about railroading in the Granite State. Chuck Spence photo.

Gregg McFarland, one of the featured speakers at the October 15, meeting, talks about railroading in the Granite State. Chuck Spence photo.

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.

October 15, 2016 -- We added an updated version of the Archives Catalog. The entries are arranged by classification number.

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

Boston and Maine doodlebug and trailer cross a typical Fitchburg Division deck truss bridge on the Nashua Valley Railroad Association layout in Shirley, Mass. Sept. 17, 2016. Mal Sockol photo.

Boston and Maine doodlebug and trailer cross a typical Fitchburg Division deck truss bridge on the Nashua Valley Railroad Association layout in Shirley, Mass. Sept. 17, 2016. Mal Sockol photo.

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 3, 2016 -- We have added an Index to Modelers Notes and a List of B&MRRHS Members from 1971, our founding year.

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 21, 2016 -- We have added employee (1941) and public (1946) time tables for Maine Central Railroad.

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

B&MRRHS volunteer Mal Sockol tries out new coach seats recently donated to B&MRRHS by Vermont Rail System. Richard Nichols photo

B&MRRHS volunteer Mal Sockol tries out new coach seats recently donated to B&MRRHS by Vermont Rail System. Richard Nichols photo

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

July 8, 2016 -- David Ashenden updated his Maine Central Employees Magazine Index 1924-1930 and added comments.

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     hydesierrahd@aol.com 

Hardware Chairman                      Dan Hyde     hydesierrahd@aol.com

Membership Secretary                 Kathy Winiarz     cpc835-dd@juno.com

Modelers Notes Editor                  Bob Warren     bmbobwarren@comcast.net

Program Co-Chairmen                  Mal Sockol  and Jim Nigzusmalsockol@aol.com 

Webmaster                                         Jim Nigzus, Jr. jimnigzus@comcast.net

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

Jerry Kelley describes the construction of the Hoosac Tunnel at B&MRRHS meeting at Plymouth, N.H. depot, May 21, 2016

Jerry Kelley describes the construction of the Hoosac Tunnel at B&MRRHS meeting at Plymouth, N.H. depot, May 21, 2016

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, fnowell3@yahoo.com.

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

www.railroadhobbyrshow.com www.amherstrail.org.  Phone: 413.205.5061 during show only

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

Hardware Department

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 20, 2015. We added Authority for Expenditure 1920 - 1929, Selected and Annotated. Introduction and Data Base

August 15, 2015. We added a map of the B&M RR at its greatest extent in 1915.