• Defunct lines in downtown Nashua

  • 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 jlarose
Is there anyone from the Nashua area who remembers the old Worcester, Nashua & Portland branch which was still active downtown until the early 90s? I have a large municipal map of Nashua from 1983 that shows the line from the yard near the river still existed all the way to the turnpike, at which point it terminates. I know the line was severed long before that and a small branch still existed in south Nashua from Ayer. I'm just curious of the segment specifically downtown, who/what was still being served along West Hollis St. at the end of the 80's. Having been born in '84, I can't recall ever seeing a train on that line more than once, and I might even be imagining that.

Also, I remember that line also had a very short spur at East Hollis and Allds that my 1983 map shows going almost all the way to what is now Globe Plaza (at the time would have been Simoneau).

I've found tidbits here and there online that correspond to my young memories, but if anyone can fill in the gaps of information that would be much appreciated.


  by citystation1848
Well, Edgecomb Steel was the only industry on the Worcester & Nashua line during our time. Once and a while (if you're a passenger in a car) you can see the rails still in the floor of now MacSteel from the highway when the door is open. I don't believe there were any other customers on the line, unless the casket company got served too.

I don't remember what was on the NA&B. My assumption would be the tracks went as far as Lake Street to the mill building there, and there was a business on East Hollis Street that it served. This would be the line that goes past Elm Street Jr. High (err, rather Middle School now) and near Simoneau Plaza.

I never saw trains on either of these lines, but I have a picture in my collection of a train crossing Main Street next to City Hall on the W&N from Mr. Morse, who worked on the B&M and I had worked with him on the Wilton Scenic Railroad. The photo is on my website:

http://www.nashuacitystation.com/railro ... y=guilford

Also, take a look around my website, you may get a good chunk of local info there, and if you have any suggestions of what to add to Nashua, I'll be open to adding it.

Matt Cosgro
(NHS '04)
  by citystation1848
Hi Everyone,
I have this photo post card of Nashua Union Station:

http://www.nashuacitystation.org/view.p ... 0photo.jpg

I love this photo since it shows all the activity around Nashua Union Station. If you look at the right edge of the photo at the pole, is that a ball signal? I never realized Nashua had one, but it would make sense with the diamond there.


  by Mattydred

What sidings, or locals, are still active in Nashua? If any. Just curious. I was downtown last fall, and noticed that the tracks near Canal Street were looking pretty shabby. I don't get down there much. Any info would be appreciated.

  by citystation1848
Shabby! Nah, your eyes are fooling you. What it is, is that other railroads put too much money into their tracks, you only need to run trains at 10 mph...

Yup, they're still used...
http://photos.nerail.org/showpic/?20080 ... 528317.jpg

The track along Canal Street is the Hillsboro Branch which still has a few businesses in Nashua out by the airport and in Milford.

As for train activity, Nashua is still pretty busy. There's at least two locals, NA-1 and NA-2. There used to be EDNA to deliver cars to Nashua, but I believe that's changed to NA gettings the cars at Ayer. And of course there's the coal train that runs to Bow frequently to PSNH's Merrimack Station.


  by Mattydred
Excellent. I always liked that little spot!

  by jscola30
So I was up at train show in milford and noticed some tracks along amherst st and I think they crossed it once, they looked like they could be in service but the crossing said exempt. What's this?

  by citystation1848
Those tracks you saw is the Hillsboro Branch. "Exempt" just means that speeds are low and train frequency is so low that vehicles that normally stop for railroad crossings don't have to. The railroad usually flags the crossings if there isn't grade crossing protection such as crossing lights.


  by b&m 1566
I always thought that "EXEMPT" meant that the track was no longer in service? Instead of spending the money to remove the protection device (sign and or lights) they just slap a sign up.

  by citystation1848
Well those tracks are far from abandoned with customers still being served on the west side of Milford. Once you get past Wilton into Lyndeborough the tracks are "out of service." No trains run past the stone quarry in Wilton.


  by tom18287
the exempt sign has nothing to do with the signals. it has to do with school buses and oil trucks. by law, they must stop at all rail crossings. no matter have overgrown. the exempt sign mean they dont have to.

  by rp00005
A little more information on the stretch of road that was the WN&P in Nashua up until the abandonment in 1990; Edgcomb Steel was actually not the last customer before the line was abandoned; Lochhead Millworks on Ledge St had two empty boxcars sitting on the canal side of thier building; Guilford went up to pick them up with a locamotive, but derailed right behind Romies Auto; there was a picture in the Nashua Telegraph of the loco sitting on the ground. They sent a payloader up and pulled the cars back to the yard one at a time. Besides Edgecomb and Lochhead, there was Consolidated Foods (located down from Edgecomb); before CF, there was a switch that went to a tool and die company and then Edgecomb Steel; I have a picture of two boxcars at this location; when they switched Edgecomb, they would have to pull the line and then push the loads back in. Another note, Guilford left a refer of frozen seafood sit in Nashua Yard and rot all summer during 1979; they delivered the car in August, my guess is they couldn't petition for abandonment if they had existing customers on the line; this was the last car CF recieved; they closed shortly after this; if interested, I can talk more about the customers towards Nashua Yard and also on the Acton Road. Let me know.

  by citystation1848
rp00005 you've peaked my curiosity regarding the history that you know!


  by rp00005
Thanks for the interest Matt; when I was younger, I lived on Ledge St; when the switcher was working, it would shake the house, our signal to head to the tracks and watch them work. Before I go further down the line, Edgecomb had planned to expand thier operations with a new building and product line which would have required large coils of steel. As the tonnage would have been extreme, they asked Guilford to upgrade the track (1.7 miles from the switch off the Hillsboro) they also guaranteed tonnage and a possible exstension of the line to UPS; Edgecomb was willing to pay for half, but Guilford sent a letter back stating if they wanted the track replaced, they would have to pay for it themselves (1.2 million per mile) plus upgrade all of the grade crossings. Of couse, this never happened. Just before the crossing at Seventh St, there was a small yard the WN&P had; I think they called it Yard 4; if you look between Sixth and Fifth St, there is a concrete pier that was part of the signal tower for the yard. About 100 yards before the Eaton St. bridge, there was a switch for a coal and oil company; they took both tank cars and hoppers. I remember Rousseau Oil with a tank car of #2 heating oil on the siding. Just after the bridge, there was a switch for the run around that ran down to the switch at Pine St. On the other side of Pine St was the switch to go into the Millyard. Batesville Casket always had at least two boxcars of lumber, usually Illinois Central cars, protected by a derail; these cars were unloaded by hand and fed down a chute into the basement; heading into the Millyard, at Everett Ave, there was a switch that split the track to both sides of the mill building; to the left along the canal, Lochhead Millworks always had at least two boxcars; further down at the beginning of the Pine St Extension, there was a small switch in the street, this was protected by three pieces of rail driven in the ground; the track went straight into the boiler house for the mill; they use to unload hoppers of coal into a pit; it was no longer used as Irwin Plastics used oil to run the mill; the other track went to NIMCO (Nashua Industrial Machine Corp) and then to a warehouse at the end; I remember large rolls of paper being stored in this building; not sure if it was part of Nashua Corp or not, but both businesses recived service from the B&M. On the other side of the switch on Everett St the track ran up to a switch at Ledge St; this ran to the front of Lochheads building; they had a huge collection box above the ground for sawdust; the box had a trap door to unload the sawdust into a gondola; as kids, we would watch as a man would stand in the rail car with a pole and open the door, covering himself with sawdust; he would have to shovel the box clean and move the dust around to fill the car evenly. the track also ran to the right of the mill; Lochhead unloaded boxcars from the left and loaded finished wood products from the right. further down, there was a switch that went into a small fenced in siding; there was always a tank car of heating oil that Doehla Greeting Cards used; the track continued around the side of the building to the loading docks for Doehlas'; they took three to eight cars at a time. The next set of businesses were located across Main St. just beyond Spring St. I will detail next time. Thanks again.
  by lecon
I'm an amateur portrait photographer and would like to do a photo shoot on a railroad track, I've seen the tracks running along Amherst St. from Merrimack to Milford, can anyone recommend what to do? should I check a train schedule? if so where? should I do it near a street intersection so I become aware by a flager or lights if train is coming? I won't have any extra equipment with me besides my camera. Please advice...