• Abandoned railroad hunting

  • A forum for teen railroad enthusiasts
A forum for teen railroad enthusiasts

Moderator: TAMR213

  by #7470
Hey guys. Im Matt. a 15 year old RR enthusiest. I live in Wakefield MA. My favorite thing to do in the warm seasons is to travel the rails of an old abandoned RR line that used to run through my town. I'm not sure, but, i am pretty sure that this line was part of the B&M because it branches off the ex-B&M now commuter rail line which is still in operation today. The line i'm interested in is the line that branches off of it. It recentley went out of service and gets worse every year. This RR was passenger, then converted to freight. The trains would come three or four times a year, although my friend says it came everyday where he lived, then one year the trains just didn't come. The last freight train was in the winter of 2002. It was pulled by a GP-7 and derailed at a RR crossing, one of those crossings that crosses a huge street at a 45 degree angle. That was the last time i ever saw it. I've been exploring this line on my bike with a couple of my buddies, taking every scrap part i can find. Just wondering if any one knows of this line in Wakefield MA or also likes to go RR hunting themselves. Send yur feedback!

  by B&MYoshi
I'm sorry, I'm not quite sure I place the line in Wakefield that you are talking about.

However, I love abandoned lines (well, obviously I don't like them being abandoned). I'm in B&M territory as well. My closest abandoned lines are the Maynard Branch that began in South Acton and the old NH Framingham and Lowell in North Acton.

After hearing about the Maynard branch, I wanted to see how much is left. While at SA station about a year ago, I searched for clues of its existance. Underneath the thick brush and leaves (This was November) I saw an old switch on the line. The switch (presumably for a spur) and the rest of the maynard branch have been cut off from the main by the Rte 27 approach to the new bridge over the main. I also saw an old telltale without the hanging rope that warns brakemen, just a big metal bar to throw them off the roof :-(. I believe that this telltale was for the water tower that stood at the edge of the branch. I haven't gotten the chance to walk the old line, and I didn't really feel like walking on a muddy portion of the line with nobody there around me and with no bike lock for my bike (No way to get my bike down to the tracks).

The old F&L ended service about 6 years ago with the termination of service to a lumberyard in North Acton (the name is escaping me now). The line was run by the Bay Colony using a 44 tonner. The real scene was in East Acton where trains had to be flagged across a 4 lane, high-speed Route 2 with sloping sides that would initially make visibilty worse as well as braking distance longer for oncoming vehicles. I wouldn't want to be a conductor on this train! The old line is still intact. Starting north from W. Concord, the old diamond can be seen paved in brick between the F&L and the Fitchburg. While there is a bridge out between W. Concord and the State Prison, its easy to pick the line back up where Commonwealth crosses it beside the prison. Later, the line passes through some nice farmland, and the line can be seen from (and is crossed by) route 2. After that, the line is pretty nice and is preserved, passing through some nice farmland, woods, and past alongside a brook (again, the name is escaping me). I cross this line very often in my regular activities on trips to N. Acton. Most roads that it crosses have no remaining protection from before. Rte 2A has some decrepit flashers. However, I think there is a shed there that may be a NH vestige. I need to check it out, it might be a well. :-) Later, it parallels Rte 27 for quite a while, so it pays to take Rte 27 from Acton to Maine Trains in Chelmsford.

Well, unnecessarily long narrative...but...well...

  by Guilford Guy
Hey nuther B&M fan here. Common practice of the Railroad's is to cut service after a derailment. happened on the southernmost end of the F&L a few years ago. Anyways probably the southern portion of the B&M's original Newburyport line before B&M snatched up the Eastern they built their own line up to Newburyport via Danvers and Topsfield. Sad how the big G killed off everything Dustin didn't.

  by stevo
there are two lines in nashua NH. one goes north to manchester, concord, and eventually white river junction and montreal. that one sees trains a few times a month. the other line goes west to milford and further, not sure how far. (at least to wilton, it's the same line the wilton scenic ran on) anyways, i saw a derailment there once and have never seen a train on it since, but i know it's used because on my way to school this morning i noticed that a box car that has been sitting on a siding for a while is gone now.

anyways, the only abandoned rail hunting i've ever done is for the nashua-manchester street railway, which, obviously, ran between nashua and manchester. my friend matt, my brother, and i once went and found the right of way. we found some old stuff along the right of way: lots of bridge abutments, a bracket arm, and a coil of fence.

but that was the only abandoned rail hunting i've ever done. i'm more into the modern railroads.

  by jgallaway81
I'm no longer in my teens (I'm 26) but I still love walking along an abandoned line... as long as it hasn't been converted to a rails-trails program.

In my home area of Freedom/Arcade NY, the remains of the Buffalo, Attica & Arcade, and the NG predecessor, Tonawanda Valley & Cuba; the Buffalo & Susquehanna system, and the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsurgh from Machias Jct to Silver Springs.

Having moved to the Houtzdale/Philipsburg PA area in 2006, I have the remains of Alley Popper as well as several abandoned RJCorman nee CR/PRR mine branches.

Walking through the trees, listening to the birds chirp, the creek churn & babble, while wlaking back in time... its a wonderfully relaxing experience.

Just becareful and stay off the live rails.... they tend to ruin your day.