Mystery Photos New England?

Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New England

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RG479
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Re: Mystery Photos New England?

Post by RG479 » Tue Jun 18, 2013 6:55 pm

I believe that Mr Malone is correct. I passed the second photo on to probably the best expert on narrow gauge that I know:

"It shows Scotland Wharf, VA on the SS&S (3') after line was abandoned in 1929. Photo was made by late Henry Crittenden and shows SS&S #20 and 24 (BLW 2-6-2s) in December 1931. Full story of the SS&S is being covered in seven NG &SL GAZETTE articles that stared with Jan/Feb 2013 issue and will continue in each issue through Jan/Feb 2014. Scotland Wharf was on the James River, just across from Jamestown Island (via State Ferry that still operates)
Mal Ferrell

That was a 3' line that ran to the James River in Virginia.
Bob Meckley
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Noel Weaver
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Re: Mystery Photos New England?

Post by Noel Weaver » Wed Jun 19, 2013 12:14 am

I can not recall any particular location on the New Haven Railroad where they had a wooden platform at least not in my time. I think you would be more likely to find a wooden platform on either the Boston and Maine, Maine Central or the Bangor and Aroostook. The only wooden platforms that MIGHT have existed on the New Haven, I think, would have been on the old Central New England trackage but again I am not sure either.
Noel Weaver

highrail
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Re: Mystery Photos New England?

Post by highrail » Wed Jun 19, 2013 7:27 am

Noel, I figured if anyone could crack this case it would be you :-D
Steve

trainsinmaine
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Re: Mystery Photos New England?

Post by trainsinmaine » Wed Jun 19, 2013 9:19 am

As regards the suggestion this may be on the New Haven, it's not Williamsburg or Turners Falls. I know where the termini of both branches were, and the topography in the photos doesn't match either one. Moreover, Turners Falls was --- and is --- a good-sized village, and this obviously is not.

I'm not completely convinced that this is a photo of the end of a branch line, though I'll concede it's a possibility. I do agree that the track is almost certainly that of a branch and not a main, as the telegraph poles down the track each appear to have only one crossarm and (as nearly as I can see) five insulators. Further, I would guess the picture was taken sometime between 1920 and 1940, when a lot of branch lines in New England were abandoned.

All of that having been said, I have no idea where this is. I don't think it's anywhere on the Central Mass.; I've traced the whole line over the years, have seen photos of all the former depots, and I don't recognize the spot. I'm inclined to think it's elsewhere on the B&M, maybe up in New Hampshire somewhere; or, perhaps, even on the Rutland. It doesn't look like anything on the MEC or BAR that I'm familiar with, having lived in Maine for nearly 40 years and knowing both lines quite well.

I'll keep lookin'.

Ridgefielder
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Re: Mystery Photos New England?

Post by Ridgefielder » Wed Jun 19, 2013 2:34 pm

trainsinmaine wrote:I'm not completely convinced that this is a photo of the end of a branch line, though I'll concede it's a possibility. I do agree that the track is almost certainly that of a branch and not a main, as the telegraph poles down the track each appear to have only one crossarm and (as nearly as I can see) five insulators. Further, I would guess the picture was taken sometime between 1920 and 1940, when a lot of branch lines in New England were abandoned.
The reason I think it's the end of the line is the platform track. The rails on that track bend to the left not far past the end of the platform and join the middle track. Any station I've seen of this vintage that had a siding adjacent to the station would have actually had the rails on the siding pass through the platform, as if it were a grade crossing: Wilton, CT was like this until the high level platforms were built in the mid-90's.

In looking at the picture again (I converted it to a .jpg so I could blow it up) it looks like there's a water column just past the end of the platform-- it's in line with a telegraph pole so it's hard to see at first. Did some roads favor using columns instead of a spout hinged to the tank itself?

Another potential clue is the light-colored building farthest to the left in the middle distance, with three very long windows and the gable end facing the road. The front is hidden by an elm tree but I'm willing to bet money that's a New England-style wooden country church. I attended one just like it as a small child. Could certainly help to locate the place on a topo map.

And I'm going to amend my initial post on this. I still think it's the end of a branch however I think the end of track is behind us: the water column placement seems to make more sense that way.

trainsinmaine
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Re: Mystery Photos New England?

Post by trainsinmaine » Wed Jun 19, 2013 4:27 pm

I agree with you, Ridgefielder --- if this depicts the end of the line, the terminus is behind the photographer. Everything you've said makes sense.

I noticed the long white building in the far left, too. My guess is it's either a church or a fraternity hall --- Grange, Masons, whatever. Too bad we can't make out a possible steeple behind the tree.

Someone suggested this might be part of the B&A's "Rabbit Road" in the Quabbin area between South Athol and Enfield. That, of course, was a through route. I've never seen a scene on that line that resembles this, either, though the photo may have been taken from an angle that would throw me off.

The mystery deepens . . . I love this kind of stuff.

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Re: Mystery Photos New England?

Post by B&M 1227 » Wed Jun 19, 2013 8:52 pm

Thanks for the ID on the 3 footer, I guess a few straglers from outside New England found there way into the postcard box. My original thoughts on the standard gauge pic was something from the B&M's Lincoln branch, though it could be anywhere. I believe there are still some wooden platforms intact on that section of railroad. Your deductive efforts are much appreciated! Thanks again!
Did we ever hear a music sweeter than the one that thrills, as it floats along the Deerfield, as it echoes o'er the hills.
How we watch that little engine as it stalks across the plain; was there ever music sweeter, was there ever sight completer, than the coming of the train?
-E. A. Fitch

trainsinmaine
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Re: Mystery Photos New England?

Post by trainsinmaine » Mon Jul 01, 2013 7:28 am

A very knowledgeable railfan friend of mine thinks this may be a photo of Buckland Depot, MA, across the river from Shelburne Falls. We would be looking northwest, up the B&M main toward Charlemont and the Hoosac Tunnel. The famous "Bridge of Flowers" would be to the right, beyond and to the east of the depot.

The topography jibes with my buddy's conjecture, but if this was taken between 1920 and 1940 --- as I think it was --- the sparsity of activity, the weedy tracks, and the absence of any sign of the Shelburne Falls & Colrain Street Railway (which, IIRC, shared the B&M/New Haven depot) --- leads me to think it's somewhere else. I'm opting for New Hampshire, but I haven't a clue where.

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Re: Mystery Photos New England?

Post by Ridgefielder » Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:37 am

trainsinmaine wrote:A very knowledgeable railfan friend of mine thinks this may be a photo of Buckland Depot, MA, across the river from Shelburne Falls. We would be looking northwest, up the B&M main toward Charlemont and the Hoosac Tunnel. The famous "Bridge of Flowers" would be to the right, beyond and to the east of the depot.

The topography jibes with my buddy's conjecture, but if this was taken between 1920 and 1940 --- as I think it was --- the sparsity of activity, the weedy tracks, and the absence of any sign of the Shelburne Falls & Colrain Street Railway (which, IIRC, shared the B&M/New Haven depot) --- leads me to think it's somewhere else. I'm opting for New Hampshire, but I haven't a clue where.
I'm convinced its a branch or a shortline, not a main. Look at how light the rail is.

I thought New Hampshire too, and going on my theory that we're at the end of the line I Google-image-searched the terminal stations of pretty much every branch in VT, Western Mass and NH that was a stub-end in steam days. I blanked. None of them had a one-story station with a hipped roof, a bay window facing the track and two chimneys.

Could this be somewhere in Upstate New York, maybe part of that B&M branch network that used to exist north and east of Albany, or one of the branch lines that reached down into the Finger Lakes region? The topography and architecture of that part of the world would be similar.

trainsinmaine
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Re: Mystery Photos New England?

Post by trainsinmaine » Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:53 am

I fully agree, Ridgefielder. Excluding Maine, it's somewhere in northern New England, eastern New York, or --- as it occurred to me this morning --- the Eastern Townships of Quebec. I've sent the photo to a fellow in Sherbrooke who has done a website (few photos, unfortunately) of old depots in the Townships. We'll see what happens.

I'm certain it's not on either of the two B&M branches in upstate New York. It's not Hoosick Falls, nor is it on the old Saratoga and Schuylerville Branch, whose history and location I know quite well.

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Re: Mystery Photos New England?

Post by 3rdrail » Mon Jul 01, 2013 1:41 pm

bunky wrote:That second picture is not two foot gauge. The passenger car is too wide and tall.
I agree with you regarding the dimensions of the box on that coach, Bunky, but I wondered if that could have been a standard gauge coach that was converted with narrow-gauge trucks. To back that idea up, I noticed significant overhang on the sides of the coach beyond the sides of the trucks as well as the obvious gauge disparity between it and the trailer that it's coupled to which definitely is narrow gauge if not 2'. I agree that this is probably after abandonment as the cars are set about in an inconvenient manner for it to have happened while they were functional. I think that we're looking at two different roads with #1 being a standard gauge main line and #2 being a remote narrow gauge one.
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RG479
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Re: Mystery Photos New England?

Post by RG479 » Mon Jul 01, 2013 4:51 pm

It looks like everyone is stumped by the depot picture including me. Are there any other pictures in the collection that were taken at the same location? The depot looks tiny and possibly boarded up. I tried to blow up the picture to read the sign on the building in the center background but it dissolve into pixel dust. The white object way in the background may be an old style cross buck.
Is it even in New England? Photographers often traded copy negatives to each other in the 1930'3 and 40's. It would be hard to find the original in anyone's collection unless he took it himself.

Bob Meckley

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Re: Mystery Photos New England?

Post by B&M 1227 » Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:19 pm

The photos were mixed among many pictures of the B&M and MEC and NH in Massachusetts/Vermont/New Hampshire. I looked through the postcard archive on Gary Lapointe's website, but couldn't find any similar looking stations. I also noticed the station is missing the obligatory B&M train order board, so it's likely not a B&M building.
Did we ever hear a music sweeter than the one that thrills, as it floats along the Deerfield, as it echoes o'er the hills.
How we watch that little engine as it stalks across the plain; was there ever music sweeter, was there ever sight completer, than the coming of the train?
-E. A. Fitch

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Re: Mystery Photos New England?

Post by Cowford » Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:20 pm

Ok, a few more "clues" in the pic that may help ID the location. The "crossing" in the foreground - this looks like it may be a culvert given that (a) a car is parked on it, (b) there is a railing on field side of the platform and (c) there are a couple of planks with raised fastener heads... almost looks like there's a foundation of some sort under the planks.

The skirting on the station is odd. The 3-4' "fence" comes out flush with the operator's bay. (And what is that box with the pitched roof? I thought at first it looked like a dispatcher's phone, but it's much too high for that.)

And this is complete conjecture, but the tracks seem to show the telltale signs of locomotive layovers. (Cinders, etc. It's very weedy with the exceptions of some spots in front of the station.)

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Re: Mystery Photos New England?

Post by Ridgefielder » Fri Jul 19, 2013 1:31 pm

B&M 1227 wrote:The photos were mixed among many pictures of the B&M and MEC and NH in Massachusetts/Vermont/New Hampshire. I looked through the postcard archive on Gary Lapointe's website, but couldn't find any similar looking stations. I also noticed the station is missing the obligatory B&M train order board, so it's likely not a B&M building.
I'm wondering if it's one of the small roads in Upstate New York-- the Ulster & Delaware, say, or the Fonda, Johnstown & Gloversville or the Danville & Mt. Morris.

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