• Customers of the old Central MA RR

  • 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 MrB
I am thankfully old enough to remember the very tail end use of the old CMRR line at least to Hudson and was wondering what customers were along this line. I remember a Firestone plant on Apsley St. in Hudson, but by the time I moved to Hudson it certainly did not look operational anymore. I know all about the munitions dump for Fort Devens, but looking along the line on maps it doesn't seem as if this line could have produced much business in the way of freight. With it being only one line least thru the Berlin-Wayland area how much traffic could this line have actually handled?? I've also heard mention of a yard, granted it had to be a very small one that was nestled next to Main Street across from the old Durand Chevrolet location. By the mid 70's the only sign that there may have even been a yard was just a worn area of land, no rails or ties visible. Any information for this area, Clinton-Wayland would be greatly appreciated.
  by eddiebear
Up until the early 1950s, the larger towns on the Central Mass. had coal yards, but as oil and gas became the dominant heating fuel, that traffic went up in smoke and no other business came in to replace the volume and revenue.
Waltham North & Highlands - There were a few industries around here.
Weston, Ogilvie (near Cherry Brook), public delivery track
Wayland, public delivery track
East Sudbury, Linde Corp. this came probably in 1950s
South Sudbury, public delivery track, RADIN Inc a furniture company had a siding put in about 1970. After the end of the B & A Saxonville Branch was lopped off, Saxonville Lumber took deliveries here for a spell. Mullen Lumber
Ordway - The ammo dump was pretty secure here well into 1970s.
Near Poor Farm xing Kane Corp. built a 1950s style industrial park and they and maybe a few other firms had sidings here.
Hudson, LaPointe, public delivery track, I think there was a coal trestle by Houghton St. (Marlboro Branch); there's some kind of mill just west of town beyond fire station at rotary. They probably used the rr at one time.
Berlin, public delivery track; some lumber co. was taking cars right until the end. There's also a concrete-quarry type operation here off Route 62. This was proposed for gravel train operation about 1961 to Weston (Mass. Broken Stone) for Route 128 widening. Didn't happen.
During the early 1950s, Boston Edison obtained an easement for a transmission line along the CM in Sudbury, Wayland and Weston and the installations were done using a work train with digging equipment to dig foundations and others to bring in the tower material, cable and concrete for foundations.

  by TomNelligan
The very last active freight customer on the Central Mass was the lumber yard at South Sudbury that was switched by Conrail after the B&M pulled out, lasting up until a couple years ago.

In its final couple years the only customers on the line were in Waltham. The last B&M-served customer was Furman Lumber in Waltham, which used to get two or three cars a week. It was switched off the Central Mass line at the point where the Central Mass and Fitchburg run parallel, just east of the still-standing trestle over Linden street. When Furman went out of business in the mid-1980s, that was the end of the last active half-mile of the Central Mass.

The next-to-last active customer was the feed distributor just west of the Lexington Street crossing in Waltham. They either stopped using rail or closed down in the early 1980s.

  by wolfmom69
When did the large petroleum tank farm close down in the Waltham area? I think it was Mobil(Socony-Vacumn) at least through the 1950's,and then maybe Shell? Think it was in Clematis Brook area,but not sure if on the Fitchburg or the Central Mass. Thanks for any info. Bud
  by eddiebear
When I worked for the B & M, Shell's tank farm off the CM at the Waltham-Belmont line had a track connection maintained in very usable condition. One of the guys if the B & M Freight Revenue office said this was Shell's insurance if truckers were ever strikebound. They would take rail deliveries. I never saw a car on that track.
  by kwf
In the early 90's I worked for a company that had it's headquarters in a building behind the Waltham pd. The building is a two story affair that was directly on the CM row and had a siding up against the loading dock. I don't know the buildings previous uses, but I'd say it was light industrial in nature. I don't know much more than this, but I love to read about this old line....

  by TomNelligan
The Waltham tank farm closed roughly ten or twelve years ago, or maybe a little more... I've been driving past that spot just about every day since the mid-80s so the exact date is a blur. The site is now an office park.

In ancient times there was also a siding across Waverly Oaks Road at that point that went to the Fernald School power plant, which at one point got coal by rail. Some of that rail was visible until the office park completely regraded the area.

  by NRGeep
I think Furman closed in the mid 90's. Now the mystery of that siding near Fernald school has been solved. :-) Was the Central Mass ever used as a detour route for the Fitchburg Line? Seems if there was ever a major derailment between Clematis and Concord they may have been able to detour on to the Marlborough branch from the CM back onto the Fitchburg?
  by eddiebear
The Central Mass. was not used as a detour route of any consequence in modern times anyway. In a B & M Employee Magazine, probably late 1927 or early 1928, there's an account of how the B & M operated during the heavy rains in Nov. '27 which wiped out much of the CV and badly damaged parts of the Rutland. On the worst night, the NY bound State of Maine was detoured all the way to West Cambridge on the CM to bypass washouts on several lines. It makes for great reading.
The CM had light rail and short sidings. Should there be a major catastrophe on the Fitchburg route, the B & M was more likely to detour via Lowell and the Stony Brook Branch.
The CM was the B & M high/wide route until mid-1950s and oversized loads were routed that way until clearances were improved on the Fitchburg.