410 and Combine Project
The historic industrial city of Lowell, Massachusetts is home to Boston & Maine Railroad steam locomotive No. 410. Together with its combination coach-baggage car No. 410 is the visual centerpiece of the city and the focus of our Society’s preservation efforts.
The 410 was built by the Manchester Locomotive Works at Manchester, N.H., in June 1911. This locomotive did switching duty at Lowell and other locations on the B&M during her active days on the railroad. A switching locomotive is designed to deliver cars of raw materials from the railroad yard to local industries, to pick up loaded and empty cars, and to make up and break down intercity trains that will be moved to distant destinations by larger, more powerful “road engines.” The 410’s short wheel base was particularly useful in navigating the tight curves and narrow clearances of the industrial tracks that wound through the streets and alleys of Lowell.
Like all steam-powered engines No. 410 was rendered obsolete by diesel engines that required far less maintenance. Sold to the H. E. Fletcher Granite Company in Westford, Massachusetts on June 28, 1950, No. 410 worked in a quarry until her flue time expired and she was replaced by another retired B&M steam switcher in April 1952. Later, No. 410 was acquired by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for preservation at the Museum of Transportation in Boston and was moved to the B&M Shops at North Billerica, Massachusetts. This plan was not realized, however, and through the efforts of national, state, and local agencies No. 410 was brought to Lowell on July 17, 1993. The Society has been involved with the restoration since 1992 when a group of our members started working on the engine at North Billerica. By the time it arrived at Lowell, brought by rail and then lifted by crane to the track where she now sits, No. 410 had been scraped, painted, and lettered by B&MRRHS volunteers.
The railcar, No. 1244, is set up as a combination coach-baggage car, known by railroaders as a “combine,” but was built by the Pullman Company in July 1907 as a 72-passenger coach. It is 60 feet 2 inches in length and has open platforms at both ends. It was built as No. 1244, renumbered to 244 in 1930, and rebuilt as maintenance of way car No. M3031 at Concord, N.H. in September 1946. It was sold to Luria Brothers in 1962, and then led a nomadic life on the St. Johnsbury & Lamoille County Railroad, the Montpelier and Barre Railroad, and the Goodwin Railroad. Following a sojourn at Wolfeboro Falls, N.H., No. 1244 the car came to Lowell. It is owned by the Lowell Historic Preservation Commission. The section of track on which it sits is on land owned by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and is adjacent to the site of the original Boston and Lowell station at the corner of Merrimack and Dutton streets. The B&MRRHS displays items from its hardware collection in the combine. An attractive exhibit in the combine, “The History of Railroads in Lowell,” was opened to the public in June 1993, made possible with a grant from the Lowell Historic Preservation Commission.
The B&MRRHS and the National Park Service share the responsibility for maintaining the car.