• Central Mass Branch

  • Discussion relating to the pre-1983 B&M and MEC railroads. For current operations, please see the Pan Am Railways Forum.
Discussion relating to the pre-1983 B&M and MEC railroads. For current operations, please see the Pan Am Railways Forum.

Moderator: MEC407

  by frrc
Last edited by frrc on Fri Jan 08, 2010 10:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

  by kwf
I've walked that section before and never noticed. It was during the summer, so perhaps it was overgrown.

  by BrianS
[quote="NellsChoo"]Are there any signs at all of these Central Mass branch tracks? Is this what the Minuteman rail-trail is? I hate rail trails... they are evil... Can you tell I am biased??[/quote]

Its either a railtrail or let give the roadbed back to mother nature or let home owners destroy it with pools and swingsets and sheds.

A group of people are doing wonders with the western end of the Central Mass branch out here. Also soon, one will be able to bike from Northampton Mass to New Haven, CT all the way down the Canal line on the old New Haven


I lived in Saxonville section of Framingham all through the 1970s and remember the CM track running past the dump and meadow next to the Sudbury River, crossing Rt 20 in Sudbury by the Cafe Stuga (sp?), but only once in 1972 did I see a Budd RDC on that line heading west. I'm guessing that was around the end of passenger service on that line. However, once in 1973 - 74 timeframe I was woken up in the middle of the nght by the whistle of a stream locomotive someplace nearby. I thought it was a dream because no one else in the house heard it.

Shortly afterwards I read in the newspaper that the owner of Steamtown (when it was located in VT) F. Nelson Bount, had run a special steam train for his son's wedding in Sudbury or Wayland to a girl that lived in that area. I wish I had was a railfan back then and had taken pictures. Has anyone else heard that this story or was the whole thing a dream?

Well, thanks WOG820. You made my day! My ex-wife thougth I was nuts when I asked her if she heard a steam whistle in the middle of the night.

It is a wild coincidence that I now live in NJ and walk along the Rahway Valley ROW and keep an eye on it's restoration (which is temporarily stalled) F. Nelson Bount was my kind of guy - I wish I could have met him.
  by boltontownhall
"eddiebear" stated correctly that the end of passenger service from Clinton to Boston ended 5/17/58. I would appreciate knowing what freight traffic (type, frequency, engines) would have continued to use the Clinton to Boston segment from that point in time, until...? Seems like sometime in the mid 1960s, the tracks were put out of service from Clinton to Berlin, and the bridge at the West Berlin station was removed. Anyone know the specific dates and details of the final years of operation over the tracks on the famous Clinton trestle and the tunnel? As far as I know, freight operations ended in 1975 from Boston to Berlin, the next station eastbound?


  by mikedreslinski
If I am remembering correctly the Clinton trestle was removed in 1974 and I think the last freight trip was made to Hudson in 1980.

  by boltontownhall
These are all the relevent dates I have found about the twilight of service on the Central Mass. Was that last passenger train to Clinton on 5/17/58 the last train of any kind to ever run out to Clinton? Did they run freight to Clinton a little bit longer? Arguably only 3 months passed until the tracks were placed out of service to Clinton.

1956 - 05/05 - last steam locomotive run from Clinton to Boston
1956 - 07/23 - last steam locomotive run on the entire B&M line
1958 – 05/17 – last passenger service (from Berlin) to Clinton
1958 - 08/11 - all track west of Berlin put out of service
1959 – 11/01 – (Some) “tracks removed” between Berlin and Clinton
1960 – 01/11 – demolition of the bridge in West Berlin at 5 corners
1965 - 01/15 - end of pass. service west of South Sudbury out to Hudson
1970 - - Bridge removed over Rt 70 in Clinton (west tunnel entrance)
1975 - 02/07 - tracks out of service west of Hudson (to Berlin)
1975 - 07/10 - demolition of the Clinton trestle over the Wachusett Dam
1980 - 06/19 - last freight train to Hudson
1980 – 08/14 – last freight to South Sudbury west of Waltham North
1980 - 08/22 - embargo on all trains west of Waltham North
1980 - 09/11 - Tracks W of Bacon St. crossing in Waltham out of service

Aside from the famous "wedding train" that ran in 1973 (previously discussed), does anyone know anything about the Central Mass "rail fan" trip of 4 RDCs on October 12, 1973? This is mentioned in the article called The Central Mass Revisited that was in the B&M Journal, with a photo of that railfan train crossing Route 128. Did it go all the way out to Hudson?
Thanks for info!


  by MrB
Whatever happened to the wig-wag signal that was on lower Main St. in Hudson next to the old Poor Farm Lounge, across the street from Rich's Auto Junkyard? I've seen a wig-wag signal in front of a model railroading club on Rte. 85 in Bolton, but don't believe it to be the same one as was at the Central Mass. crossing mentioned.
  by MrB
I've been working behind the Central Mass. line in Hudson and a thought came to me, every section of the CMRR that I have seen in Hudson, Sudbury, Clinton, Berlin, etc. are all single track. From what I have read here and on other websites it sounds like to CMRR was quite active in it's earlier days, how could they have run all of these trains without double tracks or sidings, unless all trains went one way in the morning and reversed for the afternoon? Just kidding about that, but seriously how could they have run the trains with a single track?
  by MaineCoonCat
There was (still shows on town GIS map) a spur that came off in South EAST Sudbury (A bit east of the S. E. Sudbury station) in a northerly direction to just south of route 20 (right on the west side of the Buddy Dog Humane Society building) almost opposite Goodmans Hill Road. The property is now owned by Nstar. I think it was previously owned by Boston Edison. Was this built to bring in BEco equipment or did it have another purpose originally? I vaguely remember freight cars on it when I was a kid. AFAIK, the adjacent Linde facility did not have rail service.

Sudbury GIS map: http://www.mapsonline.net/sudburyma/index_public.phtml

Edited 11/31 0121 Est. Corrected references to read "East Sudbury". Apologies for any confusion.
Last edited by MaineCoonCat on Wed Dec 09, 2009 1:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
  by davidp
I've read that during the WWII the Central Mass saw frequent ammunition trains from the Army reservation near White Pond on the Sudbury - Hudson line. The trains were interchanged with the NH at South Sudbury.

In 1981 I drove eastward beside the CM track from the White Pond Road crossing and found yard tracks largely in place within the abandoned military facility between the CM and Hudson Road. The ROW is way too overgrown to do that today. However, check out Google maps - while the CM is no longer shown as a railroad, Google shows a web of tracks north of Hudson Road in the old ammo dump. This land was transfered to the Commonwealth and the Assabet NWR several years ago, and it appears the tracks were long gone prior to that. The military ROW can still be scene in Google ariel photos as well.
  by MaineCoonCat
Hmm! You're right. I just noticed the tracing is gone from Google Earth except for north of Hudson Rd. I'm fairly sure the iron's been removed from "on post", however it still remains fairly intact on the ROW through Sudbury. I don't think the "T" has any intention of paying the cost of removal. Though I know it'll never happen, I dream of a light rail line from Hudson to the Fitchburg commuter rail in Waltham.. Oh well.. I see Google also "erased" the Lowell secondary.

Ooops! I just noticed a big error in my previous post. Where I referred to "South Sudbury" I should have referred to East Sudbury and it's associated station at Landham Rd. My apologies! :(