• Pan Am (Lowell Line) through Manchester

  • Guilford Rail System changed its name to Pan Am Railways in 2006. Discussion relating to the current operations of the Boston & Maine, the Maine Central, and the Springfield Terminal railroads (as well as the Delaware & Hudson while it was under Guilford control until 1988). Official site can be found here: PANAMRAILWAYS.COM.
Guilford Rail System changed its name to Pan Am Railways in 2006. Discussion relating to the current operations of the Boston & Maine, the Maine Central, and the Springfield Terminal railroads (as well as the Delaware & Hudson while it was under Guilford control until 1988). Official site can be found here: PANAMRAILWAYS.COM.

Moderator: MEC407

  by cu29640
 
Some questions about this line. When was it single tracked with CTC sidings? When was it cut a through route and downgraded to a mere local branch line? How did the traffic drops so much from a line that was once double tracked (for a reason)...down to a few cars a day now.
  by newpylong
 
The last train on the Northern Railroad between Concord and White River was around 1978. (I do think there were a few detour trains a couple years after when there was an issue on the Conn River.) The line was the main freight and passenger route between Boston and Canada/Montreal. In the mid to late 70s Boston began to be severely downsized in regards to freight. For what little there was left it made financial sense to send it around to the Conn River Main and kill the route with no online carloads.

I don't know when the New Hampshire division NC to Concord was single tracked. I would ASSume around the same time or a little later when they redesigned a lot of trackage and laid all the "bankruptcy rail" down. It isn't. a branch line now though - still considered a mainline. The locals stay quite busy still out of Nashua.
  by cpf354
 
The route was first single tracked in 1952, IINM, from Tie Plant, just North of Nashua, to South Manchester, with a siding at Merrimack, and from Amoskeag, North of Manchester, to Bow, with a siding at South Hooksett. It was probably the first major main line single tracking project on the B&M.
Consider joining the Boston and Maine Historical Society if you have a curiosity about the history of the former B&M routes.
  by cu29640
 
Thanks. I would be interested in joining the B&M Historical Society. Any links I need to get there?

So what cause the loss for freight in the Boston area. (grown greatly in other areas)

And was the Manchester Route preferred over the CT River Line when the freight volumes were higher...because it was quicker? as they do end up in the same place.
  by TomNelligan
 
cu29640 wrote:Thanks. I would be interested in joining the B&M Historical Society. Any links I need to get there?
http://www.bmrrhs.org
So what cause the loss for freight in the Boston area. (grown greatly in other areas)
(a) Deindustrialization... the traditional manufacturing industries that once used rail freight have almost completely disappeared from greater Boston as well as the rest of southern New England. The soSoftware and biomedical companies and such that replaced them don't ship carload freight.
(b) Truck competition, which is usually faster and more economical for shipments under a few hundred miles.
(c) Railroad deregulation, which allowed railroads to drop customers that they considered unprofitable and concentrate on high volume shippers.
(d) The inflated cost of Boston real estate, which make railroad yards far more valuable as development sites. That's what has happened to former New Haven (South Boston waterfront), Boston & Maine (Northpoint and assorted other developments), and now Boston & Albany (Beacon Park) freight facilities.

But don't forget that a lot of the container traffic shipped by CSX through Worcester and NS through Ayer is Boston-area business that travels by rail west of those points.
And was the Manchester Route preferred over the CT River Line when the freight volumes were higher...because it was quicker? as they do end up in the same place.
Yes, the New Hampshire Division was the preferred route for traffic between Boston and the CV/CP interchanges at White River Junction up through the 1960s because it was more direct. There was also a lot more on-line business at Concord, Manchester, and Nashua in those days.
  by Allouette
 
There was some local activity on the North end in Westboro (West Lebanon) and Lebanon until about 1985, serving a propane dealer and a steel distributor. The last detour move was in 1986.
  by newpylong
 
Allouette wrote:There was some local activity on the North end in Westboro (West Lebanon) and Lebanon until about 1985, serving a propane dealer and a steel distributor. The last detour move was in 1986.
The Claremont & Concord still operates between WRJ and West Lebanon (Wolfboro) to their Eagle Leaf transload (primaril salt, lumber and cement) and a lot of LPG right in the yard.
  by Engineer Spike
 
One of the above questions was about the traffic of the Conn River, vs. the New Hampshire Div. As has been stated, the NH Div. was for Montreal-Boston traffic. The Conn River was a connection from the New Haven and Montreal.

To clarify, there was little traffic left, which was Boston bound. What was left could be brought down the river, and added at E. Deerfield to eastbound trains.for Boston. This all happened around the time Mystic was downgraded (yards in Somerville and Cambridge).

B&M's focus changed to that of a bridge line between Conrail and D&H in New York, and Maine Central in Portland, ME, and the Conn River. That connected the Canadian roads to Conrail in Springfield, MA.
  by jaymac
 
Other contributors to the decline of things between Boston and WRJ include the Saint Lawrence Seaway: With Canadian wheat moving to an all-maritime and all-season routing to Europe, freight traffic to the Hoosac Tunnel Docks, a source of decades of income for the B&M, vanished. Also, the impending and then progressing construction of I-93 and I-89 permitted more rapid and more flexible car and bus travel between Boston and Montréal and other Québec points, propelling demise of passenger service. With less freight traffic overall, rerouting what might have otherwise been routed on the Northern to the Conn. River became more feasible, permitting all sorts of cost reductions for and from the Northern. If you ever get access to older ETTs, check out tonnage allowances: The Northern was neither easy nor economical running. Bailing on the Northern made good survival sense.
  by b&m 1566
 
Allouette wrote:There was some local activity on the North end in Westboro (West Lebanon) and Lebanon until about 1985, serving a propane dealer and a steel distributor. The last detour move was in 1986.
I always thought it was 1982.
I do know that during the strikes NEGS was trying to get permission to run north and interchange at White River Jct, so he could keep doing business but Peter told me it never happened.
  by NHV 669
 
newpylong wrote:1982.http://users.vermontel.net/~tomh/RAIL/NorthernRR.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Tom has some amazing old Upper Valley pictures. Glad someone documented it before it was too late. So much trackage was up here all gone.
Thanks. This link had been posted previously somewhere else, but I lost it when my old computer crashed this summer. I'll have to explore when I move back east, my mother lives mere blocks from the end of actual rail on the line