Most unlikely survivors?

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Most unlikely survivors?

Postby Ridgefielder » Tue Jan 10, 2017 12:41 pm

We have threads on this forum on lines that should never have been abandoned and lines that should never have been built in the first place. That got me to thinking-- what would everyone consider to be the least-likely mileage to have *survived* from the high-water mark of New England railroading ca. 1910?

My personal nomination is the P&W's Groton Wharf Branch. This is the original New York, Providence & Boston-- a/k/a the Stonington Road-- main line to the Groton steamboat docks and the slips for the Thames River carferry. It became redundant as a main line when the Thames River bridge opened for service in 1889. It still serves industries along the Groton waterfront, including Electric Boat.

It is also probably the only active railroad line in the country that is "in play" on a public golf course! :-D
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Re: Most unlikely survivors?

Postby B&M 1227 » Tue Jan 10, 2017 3:33 pm

Given that it's 10 mins beyond the Vermont Border, I'd say the D&H Washington County Branch. A rural line from Rutland to nowhere, via nowhere. That it still exists as the Batten Kill is a miracle. Lines with far less mileage and many more customers have been torn up.

Grafton & Upton is another one. Hung on by a thread with Wheatabix but never abandoned, allowing it to become the transload road of today under Jon Delli Priscolli.

Heywood Branch?
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Re: Most unlikely survivors?

Postby TomNelligan » Tue Jan 10, 2017 5:35 pm

How about a line that was completely dead for forty years and then revived? That would be the MBTA's Greenbush branch. New Haven RR commuter service to Greenbush ended in 1959, and in 1962 the NH abandoned the line beyond Nantasket Junction due to a lack of freight traffic. Some rail was removed, some remained in place. By the 1980s the only part of the line that was still active was the couple miles between Braintree and the Fore River RR interchange, however the right-of-way beyond had been purchased by the state. Restoration as a commuter line was first proposed in the early 1990s and the line reopened in 2007.
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Re: Most unlikely survivors?

Postby BostonUrbEx » Wed Jan 11, 2017 4:54 am

The Hillsboro Branch is a big head scratcher. I don't know how customers have hung since Guilford came to be.

The combined 2.5 miles of the Danvers IT and South Reading IT for one lone customer. I'm surprised Guilford didn't manage to shed the gelatin plant and the Univar a long time ago.

The Lowell Hill IT, which surely would have been gone had it not been for the immediate proximity of Lawrence Yard.

The fact that the East Boston IT is still on the books and has a switch, even if it doesn't really go anywhere nor has seen a steel wheel in decades. The Medford IT, as well. I'm going to say that these only still "exist" because locals already run past them. Might as well hold on to them in case anyone can add some revenue to existing locals. Otherwise, seems to go against the Guilford mindset.

Track 61 in the redeveloped South Boston Seaport, which also hasn't seen a wheel in years, but is nearly fully in tact at the moment.

I'm always amazed that the Framingham-Leominster line is still as long and well served as it is today.
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Re: Most unlikely survivors?

Postby woodeen » Thu Jan 12, 2017 7:21 pm

Yeah, the Hillsboro Branch for sure. I got a copy of "High Green and the Bark Peelers" for Christmas (interesting book; about halfway through) and the author was writing off the Hillsboro Branch then (~1950) while predicting rosy times for B&M passenger trains.
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Re: Most unlikely survivors?

Postby kilroy » Fri Jan 13, 2017 2:13 pm

"High Green and the Bark Peelers"
Wow, I read that 30+ years ago. Book got lost somewhere in a move I guess as I don't have it any more. Wish I did.
Why do we drive on parkways and park in driveways?
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Re: Most unlikely survivors?

Postby FLRailFan1 » Fri Jan 13, 2017 10:59 pm

I think the Griffin's branch of the CNEZ should be stated.
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Re: Most unlikely survivors?

Postby Dick H » Sat Jan 14, 2017 8:17 am

I think the Hillsboro Branch between Nashua and Wilton would have been sold
off to either the state or the Milford and Bennington RR years ago, if it was not
the "personality conflict" between the owner of the M&B and PAR management.
With the someday sale of PAR, that might happen down the road...
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Re: Most unlikely survivors?

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Sat Jan 14, 2017 11:18 am

FLRailFan1 wrote:I think the Griffin's branch of the CNEZ should be stated.


Pretty much the duration of my childhood in central CT was spent watching the state tie itself into knots debating the Hartford-Bradley "Griffin Line" (dropping the "s") light rail line that was going to go on the Griffins ROW. It got *this* close to happening so many times, and the state kept punting some small portion of it back to re-study. Then two-time federal inmate Rowland became Gov. and immediately killed it so he could pursue his "Busways Everywhere!" asphalt self-enrichment scheme...which originally was going to pave over the Griffins in addition to the New Britain Secondary. And then a funny thing happened while the study firms were ripping off the state pushing paper: the freight came back.


Believe it or not, it is still in the official CT State Rail Plan to this day to acquire the ROW between the Farmington River and Bradley Branch for "future considerations", since nearly all of it is pre-graded CL&P power line ROW. The Griffin Line is dead! / The Griffin Line lives! / The Griffin Line will be neither dead nor alive for as long as I live! :P
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Re: Most unlikely survivors?

Postby NHV 669 » Sat Feb 25, 2017 2:02 pm

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:The Griffin Line is dead! / The Griffin Line lives! / The Griffin Line will be neither dead nor alive for as long as I live! :P


Schrodinger's ROW?

I'm gonna vote for all currently in-service trackage operated by NHCR south of Groveton, given that they operate something like 20-plus miles, with the bulk of it being for car storage and a single infrequent, one car delivery on-line customer. Given what this line once handled, the fact that the Berlin Branch has been gone 20 years west of Industrial Park Rd. in Littleton as a feeder route, or in- service past the Whitefield diamond, it's amazing the whole thing hasn't gone to the forest. But much like the G&U, Ed Jeffery and crew have run a solid operation, and the other half of the line is getting more tanks than they can seem to handle.
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Re: Most unlikely survivors?

Postby whatelyrailfan » Sun Feb 26, 2017 12:01 pm

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:
FLRailFan1 wrote:I think the Griffin's branch of the CNEZ should be stated.


Pretty much the duration of my childhood in central CT was spent watching the state tie itself into knots debating the Hartford-Bradley "Griffin Line" (dropping the "s") light rail line that was going to go on the Griffins ROW. It got *this* close to happening so many times, and the state kept punting some small portion of it back to re-study. Then two-time federal inmate Rowland became Gov. and immediately killed it so he could pursue his "Busways Everywhere!" asphalt self-enrichment scheme...which originally was going to pave over the Griffins in addition to the New Britain Secondary. And then a funny thing happened while the study firms were ripping off the state pushing paper: the freight came back.


Believe it or not, it is still in the official CT State Rail Plan to this day to acquire the ROW between the Farmington River and Bradley Branch for "future considerations", since nearly all of it is pre-graded CL&P power line ROW. The Griffin Line is dead! / The Griffin Line lives! / The Griffin Line will be neither dead nor alive for as long as I live! :P

I know exactly what you're talking about because I saw the same thing happening, I grew up in East Windsor, what about yourself?
Peace,
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Re: Most unlikely survivors?

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Mon Feb 27, 2017 8:28 am

whatelyrailfan wrote:
F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:
FLRailFan1 wrote:I think the Griffin's branch of the CNEZ should be stated.


Pretty much the duration of my childhood in central CT was spent watching the state tie itself into knots debating the Hartford-Bradley "Griffin Line" (dropping the "s") light rail line that was going to go on the Griffins ROW. It got *this* close to happening so many times, and the state kept punting some small portion of it back to re-study. Then two-time federal inmate Rowland became Gov. and immediately killed it so he could pursue his "Busways Everywhere!" asphalt self-enrichment scheme...which originally was going to pave over the Griffins in addition to the New Britain Secondary. And then a funny thing happened while the study firms were ripping off the state pushing paper: the freight came back.


Believe it or not, it is still in the official CT State Rail Plan to this day to acquire the ROW between the Farmington River and Bradley Branch for "future considerations", since nearly all of it is pre-graded CL&P power line ROW. The Griffin Line is dead! / The Griffin Line lives! / The Griffin Line will be neither dead nor alive for as long as I live! :P

I know exactly what you're talking about because I saw the same thing happening, I grew up in East Windsor, what about yourself?
Peace,
Jonathan


Bristol. I can remember doing a current events report in middle school social studies class in 1992 about the Griffins light rail debate, and how it was going to stimulate Hartford's moribund economy with forward-thinking late-90's sustainability.

25 years later I consider myself lucky that the 2018 inaugural run for Hartford Line commuter rail is pegged to happen while I'm still...just barely...clinging onto the tail end of my 30's. :wink:
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Re: Most unlikely survivors?

Postby ebtmikado » Mon Feb 27, 2017 12:26 pm

FLRailFan1 wrote:I think the Griffin's branch of the CNEZ should be stated.


The CNZR gets as many as 20 cars/day.

Lee
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Re: Most unlikely survivors?

Postby NashuaActon&Boston » Mon Feb 27, 2017 12:50 pm

Looking at New Hampshire, it's interesting how many seemingly more viable routes crumbled before the line to Lincoln north of Plymouth. It is quite scenic. But useless for so long. The Hillsboro is going to stay put as long as an independent RR continues to operate the trackage west of Milford. Close shave a few years back for the Hillsboro with PAR being temporarily awarded the M&B lease.
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Re: Most unlikely survivors?

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Tue Feb 28, 2017 8:53 am

NashuaActon&Boston wrote:Looking at New Hampshire, it's interesting how many seemingly more viable routes crumbled before the line to Lincoln north of Plymouth. It is quite scenic. But useless for so long. The Hillsboro is going to stay put as long as an independent RR continues to operate the trackage west of Milford. Close shave a few years back for the Hillsboro with PAR being temporarily awarded the M&B lease.


Milford & Bennington only uses 5 miles in the middle of the line between Wilton and Milford for the twice-daily conveyor belt trains between the quarry and the cement plant. The outer 15.5 miles haven't been used since Wilton Scenic went belly-up except for a few one-off M&B moves to keep it technically active for the sake of being technically active. For all the periodic rumors about Mondnock Paper at end-of-track being interested in rail again, the potential carloads from such a small plant are way too tiny to float the cost of maintaining all those track miles for itty-bitty M&B...and too small to cover the operating cost for PAR to run the Nashua local 2-1/2 times the distance.

M&B can only run those periodic "paper-active" negotiating-ploy moves for so long before the track out there really does need to be fixed with real money that can only be justified with revenue that ain't ever coming from that mill or another excursion carrier...so it's inevitable that someday it's going to be taken formally OOS west of the quarry. They're just delaying the inevitable as long as they can by milking the upgrades done (wasted?) 2 decades ago for Wilton Scenic until the snowmobiliers have chewed up the trackbed and enough winters have chewed up the crossings that the OOS designation is required. How many more years that takes before "paper-active" is no longer sustainable is anyone's guess, but there isn't a way forward for the state-owned track west of the quarry. It's eventually going to be trails-ville out there, though M&B's self-motivation and self-protection to claim as much operating territory as possible will delay that inevitable indefinitely (both the taking it OOS move, and the much later throwing-in-towel move). They're certainly going to keep the "paper-active" status to the mill maintained until Pan Am gets bought out by another company and that TBD buyer shakes out as zero threat to M&B for more territorial spite games like they had to endure a few years ago.
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