• Samuel Pinsly - Shortline Empire

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New England
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New England

Moderators: MEC407, NHN503

  by mdamico23
How about a lesser known individual in railroad circles- Samuel Pinsly (1899-1977). Mr. Pinsly owned several "famous" shortline railroads such as the Hoosac Tunnel & Wilmington, Saratoga & Schuylerville, Suncook Valley, Claremont & Concord, Sanford & Eastern, Montpelier & Barre, St. Johnsbury & Lamoille County, Greenville & Northern and Frankfort & Cincinnati. Perhaps Mr. Pinsly was a head of his time in the fact that he operated this family of shortlines from a central HQ (in Boston), much the way "modern shortline companies" (such as RailAmerica, Emmons, Kyle, GWI Industries etc). own many lines scatted all over the country. Does anyone have any memories of Sam?

Trivia question- what do many of the above listed railroads have in common with the Boston & Maine??

-Mike D'Amico
-[email protected]
  by eddiebear
First, I don't think he owned the Suncook Valley. The S & S, C & C and S & E were former parts of the Boston & Maine which he acquired from that road. The St. J & LC and M & B had been on one incarnation or another in the Boston & Maine family many years in the past, but Pinsly did not acquire them directly from the B & M.

I knew Mr. Pinsly. I met him a few times at New England Railroad Club annual banquets, usually early May, at the Copley Plaza Hotel. He was a very entertaining individual. His wife, who outlived him many years, was born Jessie Salzberg, of the Salzberg junk dealer family from NY City (Queens, I think). The Salzbergs also dabbled in railroads starting with the Unadilla Valley in Central NY. They bought it to scrap but the property and region looked promising enough that they gave the road a chance and ran it for several decades.

The Pinsly properties had their general offices at 150 Causeway St., 11th floor, Boston. Operating headquarters were out on the shortlines. The Pinslys resided at a Beacon St., Boston address.
  by mdamico23
Hi Ed,

Mr. Pinsly did own the Suncook Valley in NH very briefly- he purchased it in the Fall of 1951 and it was abandoned in 1952. The SV's 44-Tonner (#3), ended up on the Sanford & Eastern after the SV was abandoned.

You are right with the trivia question- most of Pinsly's lines were at one time or another in the Boston & Maine's galaxy (with the exception of the Frankfort & Cincinnati and the Greenville & Northern). Pinsly's office was in the former B&M HQ, until the B&M moved to Billerica, MA in the 1970s.

I knew about the Pinsly-Salzberg connection. Murray Salzberg (who owned the WAG, Arkansas & Ozarks and others) was Sam's brother-in-law. In fact, Sam bought the StJ&LC for $1 million + from Murray in 1967. Wonder if these two ever had talks about their various shortline properties? Murray died in 1984.

Is Sam's daughter still running the Pinsly organization? I have conducted some research on the Pinsly lines and once spoke to an individual who worked for the Frankfort & Cincinnati. He liked the old man, but did not have very nice things to say about Maggie (the daughter). Then again, she was responsible for abandoning it.

-Mike D'Amico
  by Otto Vondrak
mdamico23 wrote:Is Sam's daughter still running the Pinsly organization?

Progressive Railroading, November 2007 - Maggie Silver retired as chairman of the Pinsly Railroad Co., which her late father Samuel Pinsly started in 1938. The company promoted Michael Rennicke to VP and general manager of the Pioneer Valley Railroad and a Railroad Distribution Services unit in Massachusetts; and Angela Depalo, to director of human resources.