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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September 8, Meeting in Review

  Carl Byron, B&MRRHS Past President, waits for crowd to assemble before beginning his talk on Ayer, Mass., as a railroad center. Some 40 to 45 people were present to hear his presentation. Richard Nichols photo

Carl Byron, B&MRRHS Past President, waits for crowd to assemble before beginning his talk on Ayer, Mass., as a railroad center. Some 40 to 45 people were present to hear his presentation. Richard Nichols photo

Carl Byron gave a fascinating presentation on the B&M at Groton Junction (aka Ayer, MA) before a full house at the society's meeting on September 8th. Using a number of venerable images which he has gathered, Carl gave us a front-row seat to the many changes in the railroad scene here over the years. As the name implies, this location was part of the Town of Groton before being sectioned off as the new Town of Ayer. He covered the early days of the Fitchburg, the Worcester, Nashua & Portland, and the Stony Brook, the Boston & Lowell's connection to Groton Junction. We were treated to images of locomotives, rolling stock, station buildings, and track and bridge changes, steam through to diesels, peppered with interesting insights from the presenter's knowledge of this area.

Of the many high points, the images of the giant steel "gantry" signal bridge stand out. This towering square structure supported signal masts which governed moves over the multiple diamonds east and west on the Fitchburg as well as north and south on the WN&P at Ayer station. The tower operator had to carefully climb a long stairway up to his perch in a small tower building on the northwest corner. This pre-dated the brick signal tower which replaced this gantry structure and still stands today. The gantry used to stand very close to the Boston end of the tower. Thanks, Carl, for your time and effort for our enjoyment! (R.K. Hurst)

On-Line Archives Update

September 18, 2018. We added Brad Blodget’s B&MRR Employee Magazine Index and Jack Dziadul’s B&M updated B&M Bulletin Index.

Jim Shaughnessy  1933 - 2018

TROY, N.Y. – Railroad photographer Jim Shaughnessy died Tuesday, Aug. 7, after a long illness. He was 84. Of all the pioneers who revolutionized railroad photography in the postwar decades, few equal the status of Jim Shaughnessy, one of the deans of the field, especially as measured by his powerful images from the steam-to-diesel era of the 1950s and ’60s.

Generally considered part of railroad photography’s “big three” – the others being Philip R. Hastings and Richard Steinheimer – Shaughnessy was a fearless artist who got in and around railroading as few others did. He was an important figure in the shift away from simple train pictures toward depictions of the entire railroad environment.

“Jim sought to contextualize the engines and trains he loved into a broader framework that spoke less about hardware and more about their role in everyday life,” says author and photographer Jeff Brouws, who wrote a lengthy profile of Shaughnessy for the lavish hardcover retrospective The Call of Trains (W.W. Norton, 2008). “Jim was a pioneer, a door-opener. His widespread acclaim deservedly conferred upon him the title of Master Photographer.”

Shaughnessy began his photographic career as a youth, focusing on Troy. The city was an ideal classroom, blessed with a variety of railroads and a compelling geography, tucked as it is into a narrow stretch of the Hudson River Valley north of Albany. The young photographer became a regular at Troy Union Station, a Beaux Arts edifice in the middle of town serving trains of New York Central, Boston & Maine, and Delaware & Hudson.

One of Shaughnessy’s favorite railroads was the D&H, which had its headquarters nearby in Albany. Many years later, his credentials fully established, Shaughnessy would write the definitive corporate history Delaware & Hudson for publisher Howell-North Books.

Jim Shaughnessy was born in Troy on November 24, 1933. After briefly attended Champlain College, Shaughnessy moved on to Troy’s prestigious Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, to prepare for a career as a professional engineer. At RPI, he joined the institute’s venerable model railroad club, where he became friends with another future railroad photographer and author, William D. Middleton.

As he moved beyond his teenage years, Shaughnessy began to take his camera further afield, heading mostly north and east, where he found rich hunting grounds in the northern reaches of New York, as well as Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Quebec, and the Maritime Provinces.

Shaughnessy was drawn to the major carriers of the region – B&M, Central Vermont, Canadian National and Canadian Pacific – but he also photographed smaller, iconic entities such as the St. Johnsbury & Lake Champlain and Saratoga & Schuylerville. His first photograph inTrains appeared in the May 1952 issue, a view of the Mount Washington Cog Railway near Bretton Woods, N.H., and credited “J.J. Shaughnessy.”

He also fell under the spell of the Rutland Railroad, and told the entire story of the railroad in his critically acclaimed book The Rutland Road, first published by Howell-North Books in 1964, with a new edition from Syracuse University Press in 1997.

Gradually Shaughnessy took his camera west to southern Ontario, Michigan, Ohio, and Illinois. He later said he made eight trips with his friend Phil Hastings, with whom his work is often compared.

Shaughnessy’s reputation grew considerably, mostly in the pages of Trains. The editors knew that, in Shaughnessy, they could expect images that were beautifully composed and technically flawless, evidence of his tremendous skill in the darkroom. He was a master of the action photograph, taken in all manner of inclement weather, but he was also made frequent night photographs and depictions of railroaders at work.

For longtime Trains Editor David P. Morgan, Shaughnessy was invaluable for another reason: his embrace of the diesel. Morgan’s great challenge in the 1950s was to sustain the appeal of the magazine despite the loss of steam, and Shaughnessy was an ideal foil. “Yes, the diesel was more predictable,” Shaughnessy said, “and it quietly went about its business. It presented a different kind of visual challenge. But this was a transition era. It would only happen once. I was glad to be there for it.”

The Railway & Locomotive Historical Society in 1987 honored Shaughnessy with its Fred A. and Jane R. Stindt Photography Award. In addition to his 2008 book The Call of Trains, his pictures were featured in another hardcover portfolio, Jim Shaughnessy: Essential Witness, published in 2017 by Thames & Hudson. 

Shaughnessy’s love of railroading never flagged, and his work continued to attract new fans into the 21st century. In 2007, Classic Trains magazine launched “The Shaughnessy Files,” a regular feature showcasing not only some of Shaughnessy’s best images – some for the first time – but also his memories of individual trips and subjects.

Apart from railroad photography, Shaughnessy had a long career as a licensed professional engineer. He taught civil engineering for many years and retired in 1995 as the director of environmental health for Rensselaer County. He is survived by his wife, Carol Shaughnessy, and by a son, James.

A wake for Jim Shaughnessy is scheduled for 4 to 7 p.m. Aug. 10, at the McLoughlin and Mason Funeral Home in Troy, followed by a funeral mass Saturday at Our Lady of Victory Church in Troy. Burial will be Troy’s Oakwood Cemetery. [Kevin P. Keefe, Trains Newswire]

Help Wanted: B&MRRHS Newsletter Editor

July 30, 2018 - The Boston & Maine Railroad Historical Society seeks a qualified person to become our B&MRRHS Newsletter editor. 

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

  • Work with the printer to produce the Newsletter

  • See that the completed Newsletters are delivered to our mailing crew by the 15th day of every even numbered month.

The editor’s duties do not include stuffing or mailing 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 at fnowell3@gmail.com

Folk Festival Draws 2,000 to Combine

 B&MRRHS Chairman Paul T. Kosciolek and visiting "passengers" enjoy the ambiance of Combine No. 1244 at the 2018 Lowell Folk Festival. Richard Nichols photo

B&MRRHS Chairman Paul T. Kosciolek and visiting "passengers" enjoy the ambiance of Combine No. 1244 at the 2018 Lowell Folk Festival. Richard Nichols photo

 B&M 0-4-0 No. 410 and coach-baggage combine No. 1244 were in gleaming condition thanks to the efforts of Jim Nigzus and his crew of volunteers. Richard Nichols photo

B&M 0-4-0 No. 410 and coach-baggage combine No. 1244 were in gleaming condition thanks to the efforts of Jim Nigzus and his crew of volunteers. Richard Nichols photo

 Nearly 2000 people passed through the combine on the two days of the Lowell Folk Festival, July 28 and 29, 2018. The HO layout is at right, exhibits line the walls, and lanterns from the Society's hardware collection hang overhead. Richard Nichols photo

Nearly 2000 people passed through the combine on the two days of the Lowell Folk Festival, July 28 and 29, 2018. The HO layout is at right, exhibits line the walls, and lanterns from the Society's hardware collection hang overhead. Richard Nichols photo

 The HO scale model railroad layout was a big hit with visitors. Mal Sockol and Richard Nichols put the layout into top form ahead of the Folk Festival. Richard Nichols photo.

The HO scale model railroad layout was a big hit with visitors. Mal Sockol and Richard Nichols put the layout into top form ahead of the Folk Festival. Richard Nichols photo.

 Russ Munroe, noted photographer of the B&M, relaxes in the coach end of the combine. Richard Nichols photo.

Russ Munroe, noted photographer of the B&M, relaxes in the coach end of the combine. Richard Nichols photo.

Lowell, Mass., July 30, 2018 -- Upwards of 2,000 visitors passed through B&M combine No. 1244 during the two days of the 2018 Lowell Folk Festival. Visitors were welcomed by a crew of Society volunteers who explained the history of the car and the exhibits contained inside. Children were impressed with the operating HO layout that portrays the railroad working in a New England industrial city in the transition era from steam to diesel. A selection of B&M Railroad memorabilia was on display as were several professionally produced panels outlining the railroad history of Lowell. The HO layout and exhibits filled the baggage end of the car while in the coach end were located the sales table, a pot belly stove, and authentic walkover seats. 

The combine is attached to B&M steam locomotive No. 410, an 0-6-0 Class G-10 switcher. The 410 is owned by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the combine by the National Park Service. The Boston & Maine Railroad Historical Society has assumed responsibility for both units. 

Both locomotive and combine were in spotless shape, owing to the efforts of the Society's 410 Committee headed by Jim Nigzus. The combine will be open to visitors on Saturdays through August 25 from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM. 

On-Line Archives Update

July 2, 2018. Archives Committee members Robert P. Fuller and Mark Fecteau have compiled and transcribed, respectively, an index of the first series of Authority for Expenditure (AFE) records which cover the years from 1910 to 1923. AFE records detail capital improvements and changes during the period. They are presented in excel spreadsheet format and can be sorted and searched. Last year we added the second series running from 1920 through 1970. 

Model Photos Added

Cam Green submitted some colorful photos of his Maine Central layout under construction

History of the Amesbury (Mass.) Branch

Society member and Hardware Curator Richard Nichols has prepared a profusely illustrated history of the B&M's Amesbury Branch for use by on-line visitors. 

On-Line Archives Update

June 17, 2018. We updated the inventory of right of way and track maps

June 2, 2018. We updated the on-line catalog.

Gary Gurske Presentation, May 12, Plymouth New Hampshire

On Saturday, May 12, 2018, the Boston & Maine Railroad Historical Society returned to the hospitable Plymouth, N.H. Regional Senior Center in Plymouth. This is the former B&M RR station on the Boston to Montreal route (via Woodsville, NH). The program was:  Through a Trainman's Eyes, presented by the entertaining Gary Gurske, who began his career as brakeman with Penn Central in 1970, eventually retiring from Conrail.  Usually with camera in hand, he worked various locals in Connecticut,  then Springfield, Beacon Park and the B&M's Boston engine house.  Gary was even part of the crew handling the Barnum & Bailey train.  The meeting is open to members, their guests, and the public.  Location is 8 Depot St., Plymouth, N.H.  03264

 Gary Gurske presents his rail adventures at the Boston & Maine Railroad Historical Society's meeting Plymouth, N.H., May 12, 2018. Staff Photo.

Gary Gurske presents his rail adventures at the Boston & Maine Railroad Historical Society's meeting Plymouth, N.H., May 12, 2018. Staff Photo.

 A crowd of about 50 members and guests was on hand. Staff Photo.

A crowd of about 50 members and guests was on hand. Staff Photo.

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Jimmy Nigzus (L) and Bill Hodges man the sales table. Staff Photo

 

Archives Expansion at North Chelmsford

The Society's Archive Collection has expanded recently with the receipt of some large donations. In March we acquired an additional 700 square feet of space at North Chelmsford for additional storage and processing. 

  March 1, 2018. Here is the space (approx. 700 square feet) as we acquired it. Staff photo

March 1, 2018. Here is the space (approx. 700 square feet) as we acquired it. Staff photo

  March 11, 2018. New shelving built to accommodate expanded Archives Annex. Jim Nigzus was in charge of the work crew that included Dan Hyde, Fred Brown, Jimmy Nigzus, Richard Nichols, and Paul Kosciolek. Staff photo

March 11, 2018. New shelving built to accommodate expanded Archives Annex. Jim Nigzus was in charge of the work crew that included Dan Hyde, Fred Brown, Jimmy Nigzus, Richard Nichols, and Paul Kosciolek. Staff photo

  March 20, 2018. Jim Nigzus builds additional shelving. Many boxes have already been moved into the new space by Jimmy Nigzus, Rick Kfoury, Richard Nichols, and Tim Hairston. Staff photo

March 20, 2018. Jim Nigzus builds additional shelving. Many boxes have already been moved into the new space by Jimmy Nigzus, Rick Kfoury, Richard Nichols, and Tim Hairston. Staff photo

  March 31, 2018. Archives work session devoted to moving storage boxes into the new space and to trying out our new continuous feed scanner. The scanning crew is pictured here. Left to right: Jimi Smith, Coley Walsh, Jack madden, and Bob Farrenkopf. Dan Hyde photo

March 31, 2018. Archives work session devoted to moving storage boxes into the new space and to trying out our new continuous feed scanner. The scanning crew is pictured here. Left to right: Jimi Smith, Coley Walsh, Jack madden, and Bob Farrenkopf. Dan Hyde photo

  March 31, 2018. Archives work session. Moving crew at left takes a break while scanners keep working. Left to right: Rick Hurst, Mal Sockol, Brad Blodget, Carl Byron, Rick Nowell, Jimi Smith, and Coley Walsh. Dan Hyde photo

March 31, 2018. Archives work session. Moving crew at left takes a break while scanners keep working. Left to right: Rick Hurst, Mal Sockol, Brad Blodget, Carl Byron, Rick Nowell, Jimi Smith, and Coley Walsh. Dan Hyde photo

  April 8, 2018. Showing the new table built by Jim and Jimmy Nigzus for processing and scanning documents. Note storage shelf below for supplies and wheels with brakes. Hard surface is perfect for many processing tasks. New scanner is at right. Staff photo.

April 8, 2018. Showing the new table built by Jim and Jimmy Nigzus for processing and scanning documents. Note storage shelf below for supplies and wheels with brakes. Hard surface is perfect for many processing tasks. New scanner is at right. Staff photo.

 Archives Committee members pause for group shot during work session at North Chelmsford on March 31, 2018. Front row left to right Alan lePain, Rick Hurst, Society President Dan Hyde, Matthew LePain, and Caleb LePain. Back row Jimi Smith, Earl Tuson, Rick Nowell, Jack Madden, Carl Byron, Brad Blodget, Bob Farrenkopf, Coley Walsh, Mal Sockol, and Rick Conard. Alan LePain photo.

Archives Committee members pause for group shot during work session at North Chelmsford on March 31, 2018. Front row left to right Alan lePain, Rick Hurst, Society President Dan Hyde, Matthew LePain, and Caleb LePain. Back row Jimi Smith, Earl Tuson, Rick Nowell, Jack Madden, Carl Byron, Brad Blodget, Bob Farrenkopf, Coley Walsh, Mal Sockol, and Rick Conard. Alan LePain photo.

On-Line Archives Update

March 29, 2018. We added an employee magazine article on an icing machine at Mechanicville

March 24, 2018. We added an updated Modelers Notes index, updated to MN 166, prepared by Jack Dziadul

March 18, 2018. We added C Class (4-6-0) Ten-Wheeler large format drawing list.

March 5, 2018. We added "The Growth of the Express Business in the United States."

February 27, 2018. We added the Archives Committee Report for 2017.

February 23, 2018. We added a list of turntables in all divisions, Dec. 1925

February 18, 2018. We added an organization chart from c1925-7.

Wayne M. Gagnon 1949 – 2018

 Wayne M. Gagnon

Wayne M. Gagnon

We are saddened to report that B&MRRHS Secretary and Past President Wayne M. Gagnon died on January 29, 2018 in Keene, N.H.

He was born July 18, 1949 in Nashua, graduated from Nashua High School and New Hampshire College and held a master’s degree from Rivier College. He resided in Bedford and Manchester before moving to Keene where he lived for many years.

Wayne was a Viet Nam veteran, serving in the U.S. Army. As a transportation specialist, he helped many veterans return to their homes.  

Known to his friends in Keene as “Hoss,” Wayne was the ambassador for Bulldog Design where he had worked for the many years. He enjoyed helping with the day to day operations of the business, as well as going out into the community to deliver orders and meet with customers. Prior to that, he worked at Keene Middle School and earlier still was employed by Osram Sylvania, Markem Corporation, and Kollsman Instruments as a Procurement Specialist.

Wayne was an avid rail enthusiast. He loved the history of railroads and their historical importance, especially that of the Boston and Maine Railroad. Wayne’s family connections with the B&M fueled his passion for the hobby and led him to be a member and director of the Boston & Maine Railroad Historical Society and of the Flying Yankee Restoration Group, where he strived to keep the importance of the rail system alive. Wayne was President of the B&MRRHS from 2011 to 2013 was currently serving as our secretary.

He leaves his wife of nearly 42 years, Ann M. Gagnon, two children and their families, and many friends that he met through his interest in railroad history.

Calling hours were held on Friday, February 2, 2018. Burial will take place at a later date with military honors at the New Hampshire Veterans Cemetery in Boscawen. Donations in Wayne’s honor can be directed to: Flying Yankee Restoration Project, WWW.flyingyankee.org. All services are under the care of Cheshire Family Funeral Chapel and Crematories, 44 Maple Ave. Keene, NH. 03431.

Adapted from Cheshire Family Funeral Home website https://cheshirefamilyfuneralhome.com/wayne-hoss-gagnon

Springfield Show 2018

The Boston & Maine Railroad Historical Society participated in the 50th anniversary of the Amherst Railway Society’s Railroad Hobby Show at the Eastern Sates Exposition Fairground (Big E), in West Springfield, MA on January 27th and 28th, 2018.

It is a great opportunity for the B&M RRHS to meet members along with new friends, along with selling society merchandise.  The society also signed up many new members.  We had a terrific weekend, society volunteers answered countless questions, and gave out information about our society.  This endeavor is not possible without the help of the following volunteers:

Paul Kosciolek, Dave Hampton, Donald Hampton, Jimmy P Nigzus, Carl Byron, Rick Hurst, Mal Sockol, Rick Nowell, Justin Winiarz, Ashlee Winiarz, Stephen De Francesco and Jim Nigzus

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Left to right: Paul Kosciolek, Donald Hampton, Dave Hampton, Mal Sockol

 

Don't forget our meeting on January 13

Our postponed December meeting will be held Saturday, January 13, at Rogers Hall, Lowell, Mass. Refreshments and presentations by members will be the order of the day.

On-Line Archives Update

Lowell, Mass., January 11, 2018. We published an update to Jack Dziadul's B&M Bulletin Index.

Lowell, Mass., January 5, 2018. We published an updated Guide to the B&MRRHS Archives.

 
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410 Ready for Christmas

 

Hardware Committee Publishes Report for 2017

Lowell, Mass., December 17, 2017--The Hardware Committee has published its report for the year ended December 31, 2017. The report includes information about the collection and how it is housed as well as statistics concerning the work that has been done and donors. Some 129 items were processed in 2017 bringing the total of registered items in the collection to 1,935. Read the report by clicking here.

December 9 Meeting Cancelled. Program Postponed to January 13

On-Line Archives

Lowell, Mass., December 9, 2017--We have updated our Paint and Color Guide.

November Meeting Highlights

Lowell, Mass., November 18, 2017 -- The Society held its November membership meeting today at Rogers Hall, Lowell. Chairman Paul Kosciolek called the meeting to order and announced the results of the 2017 election of officers and directors. Daniel W. Hyde (Dan) was elected to the office of President. Other officers elected were James Nigzus (Jim), Vice President; Paul T. Kosciolek, Treasurer; Wayne M. Gagnon, Secretary; Michael E. Basile, Jr. (Mike), Clerk. Directors elected were James P. Nigzus (Jimmy); Russell F. Munroe, Jr. (Russ); and Paul T. Kosciolek. Click here for a complete roster of officers, directors, and staff.

Past President Carl R. Byron furnished the entertainment for the meeting. Carl's two part presentation began with his 1975 chase of the American Freedom Train from Williamstown, Mass., to East Deerfield, Mass. The second section was a railroad history of the Shelburne Falls, Mass. area.

The time is now to put our December 9, meeting on your calendar. This will be our annual Holiday meeting and will feature refreshments and entertainment by our members. Click here for more information.

On-Line Archives Update

Lowell, Mass., November 19, 2017 -- We have updated our Archives Catalog.

Lowell, Mass., November 18, 2017 -- Through the efforts of Archives Committee member David Ashenden, we have begun to add old B&MRRHS Newsletters to the On-Line Archives page. Now some 45 years old, these Newsletters paint a vivid picture of New England railroading and rail-fanning in the early years of our Society.

Plymouth, NH B&MRRHS North Country Meeting October 21, 2017

For the fifth year in a row we held our meeting at the Plymouth, NH former B&M Railroad Station, now the home of the Plymouth Regional Senior Center.  The program was “The Claremont and Concord Railway” by Bruce Davison.  Bruce worked for the railroad in the 1970’s.  He took us on a wonderful journey through pictures of his time on the railroad in addition to other photos he collected over the years.  We saw many unique trains, switching operations and even a rare automobile outfitted to run on the rails.  Many questions were asked and Bruce was more than willing to answer.  Over 75 people attended and enjoyed the show.  Bruce even baked cookies for everyone attending the meeting! Obviously they tasted good because there were none left.

Another highlight of the day was the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railway foliage extra which stopped by the station.  We were welcomed to climb aboard and view the equipment.  Thanks to the crew, most of them B&MRRHS members, for being so gracious.

Special thanks goes to the Plymouth Regional Senior Center for allowing us to hold our meetings in the beautiful station, and to director Gail Emmons-Shaw.

Also thanks go out to the “crew” of member helpers, Jerry Kelley, Paul Kosciolek, Rick Hurst, Hank Binney, Nelson Kennedy, Bill Hodges, and Karen Nigzus.

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On-Line Archives Update

Lowell, Mass., Nov. 19, 2017 -- Jack Dziadul has submitted an updated version of his index to the B&M Bulletin, including the most recent issue, Vol. XXX, No. 3.

Lowell, Mass., Nov. 11, 2017 -- Jack Dziadul has submitted an updated version of his index to Modelers Notes, including the most recent, #165.

Lowell, Mass., Oct. 28, 2017 -- We added the (Leroy) Hutchinson and (Clyde) Smith roster of B&M passenger equipment that appeared in the B&M Bulletin between 1980 and 1994. Thanks to Rick Hurst for preparing this for the web.

Lowell, Mass., Oct. 27, 2017 -- We have added a new index to the B&M Bulletin, a work in progress by Jack Dziadul. This new index is in Excel format which permits sorting by subject, author, etc.

Celebrate Laconia 

The Laconia, NH Historical Society along with “Celebrate Laconia”, held a 125th anniversary celebration of the historic Bradford Gilbert designed Railroad Station on August 19, 2017.  Bradford Gilbert was a well-known New York Architect who designed the railroad station in 1892.

The Boston & Maine Railroad Historical Society was asked to help with this celebration, which we were pleased to do.  A day long celebration of the railroad station took place at the station in Laconia.  Activities included train rides, food, music, model train layout, Operation Lifesaver, and several vendors.  The society had some railroad artifacts on display inside the station along with society merchandise.  Founding father Carl Byron spoke along with local dignitaries on the importance of the railroad to Laconia.  We even demonstrated the lost art of “hooping” train orders at the end of the day.  Member Mike Gooden was our conductor hooping orders to engineer George Kenson, also a member.

There was also a 3 month exhibit on the railroad and the Laconia Car Company in the Laconia Library.  The Laconia Car Company manufactured trolleys and railroad cars.  The B&MRRHS loaned railroad items for this exhibit.  This was a successful event for our society.  We were pleased to be a part of this celebration.

Submitted by: Jim Nigzus

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Richard Nichols Named Curator

Lowell, Mass., September 28, 2017 -- The B&MRRHS board of directors at its meeting of September 9, appointed Richard Nichols as Curator of the Society's hardware collection. The appointment was made in recognition of Richard's effort to catalog and preserve our hardware collection and his efforts to bring the collection before the public. Over the past several years as a member of the Hardware Committee, Richard has spearheaded an effort to label, catalog, and photograph our collection of railroad equipment. He has taken charge of the Hardware section of the Society's web-site and has posted photos of most of our hardware items along with interpretive material. Through his work to clean and preserve hardware items the collection is now in excellent shape.

September Meeting Features Henry Marrec

 Henry W. Marrec was the speaker at the September 9, meeting of the B&MRRHS. Staff photo

Henry W. Marrec was the speaker at the September 9, meeting of the B&MRRHS. Staff photo

Lowell, September 9, 2017 -- The Society kicked off its 2017-2018 membership meetings today with a presentation by Henry W. Marrec at Rogers Hall. Henry's digital video of Super 8 films featured B&M, MEC, BAR, D&H and E-L during the 1960's and 70's. The Hoosac Tunnel, Central Mass. and Lexington Branches, the BAR at Northern Maine Junction, and D&H Colonie Shops were just part of the presentation. He concluded with digital action along the Columbia River highlighting U.P., BNSF and Amtrak in a display of modern railroading in majestic scenery, shot in 2007.

Upcoming meetings are scheduled for October 21 at Plymouth N.H. (Bruce Davison and the C&C); November 11 at Rogers Hall (Carl Byron and the American Freedom Train); and December 9 (Holiday Party and Member Videos).

On-Line Archives Update

September 19, 2017 -- We added an 1869 employee time table. This one formed part of the B&M's book of operating rules.

Hardware Collection Update

August 19, 2017 -- Hardware curator Richard Nichols reports that the framed photos recently donated by Henry W. Marrec have been added to the Hardware Collection. See our Hardware page to view the photos.

On-Line Archives Update

August 30, 2017 -- We added Fitchburg Division employee time tables dated Oct. 2, 1911, and June 21, 1915 to the On-Line Archives page.

August 20, 2017 -- We finished adding 1924 issues of MEC Employees Magazine to the On-Line Archives. The May 1924 issue was unavailable for scanning. If you have it and would like us to scan it, contact the Archives Chairman

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

 Dwight A. Smith begins his illustrated talk on the B&M in New Hampshire. Rick Nowell photo

Dwight A. Smith begins his illustrated talk on the B&M in New Hampshire. Rick Nowell photo

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

 Justin Winiarz was the featured speaker at the April 8, 2017 meeting of the Boston & Maine Railroad Historical Society

Justin Winiarz was the featured speaker at the April 8, 2017 meeting of the Boston & Maine Railroad Historical Society

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

 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 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: 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

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.

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

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