Land-Locked Maroned Cars in southeast Mass

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Re: Land-Locked Maroned Cars in southeast Mass

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Fri Sep 29, 2017 7:52 am

WHBranch wrote:As I understand it, the train that carried passengers from the Fall River Line boats to Boston used this line. Originated in Fall River, crossed the Taunton River, then went up to Taunton on the west bank, again crossed the river and went up the Weir Branch, bypassing the city and going through the Hockamock to Easton, then from Stoughton to Randolph, crossing what is now Rte. 24. This must have been a very well maintained piece of railroad (and fast) to handle this premium train. Part of the route is being considered for the Southcoast Commuter Rail now, if that ever happens.

Henry B.

There was so much route duplication on the Old Colony that trains from Boston to FR/Newport took multiple routings.


Some went straight off the Stoughton Line through the Weir Jct. diamond onto this branch as you describe, then crossed the Taunton River at the Mallard Point drawbridge. This was also the primary route taken by all the New York trains to Newport back when all the robber barrons had their summer mansions there.

And then some Boston trains took the Cape Main to Middleboro, then went southwest through Middleboro Jct. onto the Lakeville Branch. At current Middleboro wye, the Middleboro Secondary + layover yard are at the "9:00" position and the Cape Main is at the "5:00" position; the Lakeville Branch used to be at the "7:00" position. The current Fall River main from Myricks Jct. to where the Somerset Branch merged in was a continuation of the Lakeville Branch that went through Myricks Jct. on a diamond.

Mallard Point draw was abandoned in the mid-1930's cutting the Somerset Branch at its current landbanking terminus past Sandy Point Rd. in Somerset. Lakeville Branch between Middleboro Jct. and Myricks Jct. was abandoned at the same time because the only on-line freight on that segment was local agriculture, which had collapsed in the Depression. After that the NYC-Newport and Boston-Newport routes were consolidated over the New Bedford main between Weir-Myricks on the current South Coast Rail route...only a couple minutes longer but at a lot of cost savings for shedding all that redundant trackage. I think some limited BOS-FR service may have continued via Middleboro Jct. to Cotley Jct. (a.k.a. the SCR "Middleboro Alternative" route), again at a mild schedule penalty, but primary Boston service right to the end in 1958 always went via the Stoughton Line.

I suppose if you could go back in time and re-pick which routes to save and which to consolidate, the Somerset Branch + drawbridge would've been the better present-day commuter rail line to Fall River, being faster/straighter and hitting more population on the west side of the river than the current Lakeville Branch remnant on the east side that stays in very sparse Assonet skirting the edge of Freetown State Forest. And then you'd abandon the Lakeville Branch remnant (i.e. the current main) from Myricks Jct. to the river, meaning New Bedford would split from FR at Weir Jct. instead of Myricks Jct. But the time penalty really isn't big enough to second-guess the NYNH&H when being able to delete a costly drawbridge from the maintenance budget was a high-value proposition for the railroad at the nadir of the Great Depression.
F-line to Dudley via Park
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