Discussion relating to the pre-1983 B&M and MEC railroads. For current operations, please see the Pan Am Railways Forum.
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Would anyone know if the B&M would have ever detoured passenger trains to either North Billerica or Concord, Mass. over the branch after it went freight only beyond Bedford? A friend of mine from Concord recalls his mother might have ridden a train to Concord in 1954 due to some kind of service interruption on the Fitchburg Div. main line.
Detours could not be made through Concord because the branch dead-ended there, no connection with the Fitchburg. A more logical detour to North Billerica was Boston to Wilmington Jct., back-up move to Wilmington and then head to North Billerica and Lowell. I saw that done a couple times when I worked at B & M due to mainline derailments between Wilmington and Boston. This routing was a lot better than via Lexington. No restriction on motive power and under automatic signal protection most of the way except for dark territory Reading-Wilmington Jct. Also all crossings had protection even if the dark section had very short circuits and engineer had to run up to Stop posts to activate crossing protection.
The branch between Bedford and West Concord was known as the Reformatory Branch and ended just east of the rotary. There was a brief period where the line continued on and joined the Nashua Acton & Boston Railroad that was along side the Framingham and Lowell Railroad just west of the rotary but that last half mile or so was short lived and was long gone by the 1950's.
Thanks for the replies. I know the Reformatory Branch only got as far as Concord at the time, and that it was also kind of sketchy even for freights then ( a light engine went over on it's side in Concord in the 40s) so I found it unlikely they would have run a Bedford commuter train out there just to accommodate passengers to Concord. Well, I'm sure there lots of extra moves lost to history that we'll never hear about! I recall taking an inbound Fitchburg Div. commuter train that was detoured over the Freight Cut-Off due to flooding at Porter Square. The conductor told me it was common to do that when Porter Square was flooded or there was some other problem between Boston and Hill crossing.