Final Customers - Boston Area

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Final Customers - Boston Area

Postby BostonUrbEx » Sun Jan 15, 2017 5:35 pm

Started this purely out of interest as to the final customer in East Boston, and figured I could pinpoint other final customers along the way.

Railroad | Municipality/Neighborhood | Customer | Year

Penn Central ? | East Boston | __________ | ____

Penn Central ? | Chelsea | __________ | ____

Conrail ? | Cambridge | NECCO | ____

Boston & Maine | East Boston | MBTA (Blue Line's Hawker Siddeley fleet) | 1978 ?

Boston & Maine | Revere | __________ | ____

Boston & Maine | Chelsea | __________ | ____

Guilford/Pan Am | Lynn | US Plastics ? | 199_

Guilford/Pan Am | Charlestown | Boston Paperboard | Current (rare)

Guilford/Pan Am | Somerville | MS Walker | 2016 ?

Guilford/Pan Am | Medford | Crystal Cold Storage | 200_

Guilford/Pan Am | Malden | Piantadosi | 199_
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Re: Final Customers

Postby Arborwayfan » Sun Jan 15, 2017 11:59 pm

Do you count Ringling Brothers, which apparently is about to come to Boston for the last time, as a CSX customer on the Grand Junction? Their one big mixed train actually did/does unload there (thus the former parade of elephants up Mass Ave).
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Re: Final Customers

Postby GP40MC1118 » Mon Jan 16, 2017 9:34 am

Boston Paperboard, Somerville. May or may not be active. Last cars received were in 2015.

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Re: Final Customers

Postby BostonUrbEx » Mon Jan 16, 2017 11:14 am

Boston Paperboard has a Charlestown address, but a corner of the property is in Somerville. There was activity in 2016, but maybe it was only the removal of an empty?
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Re: Final Customers

Postby GP40MC1118 » Mon Jan 16, 2017 12:47 pm

Yep, it took a long time to pull the empty out of there.

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Re: Final Customers

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Mon Jan 16, 2017 1:56 pm

Arborwayfan wrote:Do you count Ringling Brothers, which apparently is about to come to Boston for the last time, as a CSX customer on the Grand Junction? Their one big mixed train actually did/does unload there (thus the former parade of elephants up Mass Ave).


Circus does unload there on the passing siding next to MIT.

Necco candy used to unload on the street-running siding that branched off adjacent to Ft. Washington Park in Cambridgeport, ran down the back alley to Pacific St., then street-ran down Purrington to Necco's Cross St. railcar loading dock (note the telltale boxcar height in the garage doorway, and squint to see a few inches of rails buried in concrete underneath the garage door). I think Conrail stopped delivering there by 1990, but the siding itself remained intact until 2003 thereabouts. I lived a few blocks over off Brookline St. from '00-02 and went urban-exploring back here all the time. Tracks were fully intact and operable the whole way, so Necco may have been considered a 'dormant' customer for the whole balance of the 1990's who held onto their rail access until they agreed to sell the Cambridge plant for redevelopment and formally committed to a 2-3 year relocation schedule for pulling out to the 'burbs. It was probably Year 2 or 3 of CSX taking over from Conrail when they announced the factory sale. '03-04 was when Cambridge DPW contractors started pulling up track on the siding and re-streetscaping those streets. The last of the rail on that back alley didn't completely disappear until the last 4 years or so. Dirt-choked remains of the start of the siding still exist in the form of the derelict third track paralleling Waverley St. at start of the 2-track passer, though switch was pulled out no later than 15-17 years ago coinciding with CSX's rehab of the passing siding.



There also used to be a Conrail on-line customer on the GJ off Fulkerson St. a couple blocks north of Kendall Sq. Service discontinuance was early-80's with cutoff point for the siding's survival as 'dormant' going concern of '89-90 thereabouts. Behind that small row of warehouses and taxi company lots on Fulkerson from the Binney St. block up to Spring St. you can see telltale signs of a siding the way the backside of the buildings curve. Siding's easily visible in the Historic Aerials 1978 overhead, sporting a lone parked boxcar; track layout depicted on the 1979 topo view. Note on the '78 view that Galileo Galilei Way doesn't yet exist, and the 4-lane section of Binney St. was still a narrow 2-lane neighborhood street! The new street grid on top of covered-over Broad Canal wasn't completed until '83-84. Siding was ripped out by the next overhead view from '95. I'm guessing actual date of ripping out the siding was in the '88-92 timeframe when the second big wave of Cambridge Ctr. building infill got underway. (Construction was a fits-and-starts exercise because of the '87 market crash and '90 recession mini-interruptions; believe it or not Kendall was considered a "failed" redev back then because of the impatience with Cambridge Ctr. real estate's sluggish start.)

That same siding was actually a whole small B&A yard unto itself active until the Penn Central bankruptcy serving the Canal district around Kendall. Broad Canal used to go right into the heart of Kendall until it was covered over west of present-day Cambridge Galleria in the early-70's to reclaim land for Cambridge Center urban renewal. Check out how many cars are stuffed in that constrained yard space in the '69 view, in an otherwise famine era for inner city freight traffic! Wasn't historically that long ago when Kendall was still a major heavy-industrial center sustaining major carloads from all the adjacent factories around the square.
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Re: Final Customers

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Mon Jan 16, 2017 2:28 pm

BostonUrbEx wrote:Guilford/Pan Am | Medford | Crystal Cold Storage | 2010


Last confirmed movement on the branch to Crystal was Summer 2010, and it is confirmed that there have been no movements whatsoever since. Just some weed-spraying within the past year. All documented in the long-buried Medford tracker thread on the PAR subforum. Believe it or not, the warehouse is still advertised on PAR's website to this day as an active cold storage customer. That one is still a going concern and the branch retains full-active operating status (though probably not operable until it gets a fresh FRA inspection) because of the active customer contract. However, they are far past the inactivity threshold where PAR can break the contract through formal FRA embargo or formal STB docket. They don't have an unbreakable deal-with-Satan level contract like Newlyweds on the Watertown Branch had where it took years of negotiation and some amount of sunk cost in customer settlement to break the contract and abandon the line.

Only reason Medford hasn't been tossed aside is the on-again/off-again beer distributor negotiations...which are now off-again (for good?) because PAR and the customer could never reach a compromise on the customer's request for oversize boxcars. They aren't keeping it active for the cold storage contract, since it doesn't look like they'll ever use rail again. If/when the Bud deal gets declared dead-dead-dead beyond a reasonable doubt, that abandonment filing gets filed ASAP. In the branch's current business state it's not even worth the cost of taking a pickup truck and doing a yearly test of the Middlesex Ave. grade crossing equipment, or picking up the phone from the MBTA to rubber-stamp the occasional MOW parking request at the junction switches. At least with the inactive portion of South Peabody they're collecting pocket change in annual rent and getting free weed-spraying from the Peabody Municipal Light power lines along the ROW from Rousselot to end-of-track and have no crossing protection to maintain at the 3 dormant grade crossings. That one can stay rainy-day OOS perpetually. Medford actually takes a couple brain cell's worth of annual attention to keep on the books.
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Re: Final Customers

Postby B&M 1227 » Mon Jan 16, 2017 6:04 pm

Agway in Waltham on the Central Mass. I want to say 1994?

Unknown Lumberyard in Sudbury was I believe the last customer on the southern end of the Framingham & Lowell. After the May 2000 derailment service was annulled.

Also on the F&L was the North Acton Lumberyard, serviced by a Guilford Trackmobile in the 80s, and later by Bay Colony using a former D&MM 44 tonner. The 44 tonner was still there in 1998/1999 when my dad and I went exploring. By that point the windows had all been smashed. I think service may have stopped in 1995?

Newlyweds Foods, Watertown, Winter 2007 or 2008.

On the Freight Cutoff, I believe the westernmost portion lasted until 1988 or thereabouts to serve Dewey & Almy Chemical just east of the Rt 2 overpass. It wasn't until this segment was abandoned that the access road from Alewife up to the rt2/rt16 interchange was built. A small segment on the eastern end lasted until 1997 serving MaxPac just east of Cedar St in Somerville.

Lexington Branch still had the produce customer in Arlington Center, a sporadic car for Arlington Coal & Lumber, and I believe a couple more lumberyards in Lexington and Bedford, when service was embargoed in 1980.

Stoneham Branch, Atlantic Gelatin, late 80s, early 90s?
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Re: Final Customers

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Mon Jan 16, 2017 7:14 pm

B&M 1227 wrote:Agway in Waltham on the Central Mass. I want to say 1994?


1987. That's well-documented as the last use, with abandonment of trackage rights coming soon after. Customer possibly a victim of the Guilford strike?

Unknown Lumberyard in Sudbury was I believe the last customer on the southern end of the Framingham & Lowell. After the May 2000 derailment service was annulled.


2001 was the last documented move, but IIRC that was only to pick up some empties stranded during the embargo.

Also on the F&L was the North Acton Lumberyard, serviced by a Guilford Trackmobile in the 80s, and later by Bay Colony using a former D&MM 44 tonner. The 44 tonner was still there in 1998/1999 when my dad and I went exploring. By that point the windows had all been smashed. I think service may have stopped in 1995?


'92 was the official abandonment. Though who knows when the last actual revenue run was.

Newlyweds Foods, Watertown, Winter 2007 or 2008.


2008 was the last official move, to pick up a single empty. Last revenue delivery of a flour hopper was in Fall '06. Last rail move of any kind on the branch was Dec. '08 when they drove the ballast regulator that had been parked at Newlyweds inbound until it got stuck in a snowbank by the Waterworks in Cambridge. It lay stranded next to the Fresh Pond walking path for almost 2 months covered in snow before they brought in a tow truck onto the path and took the thing off the rails onto a flatbed.

Fun fact: I was nearly hit by the loco returning light from that last '06 revenue run! I was driving across the Fresh Pond Mall parking lot/New St. grade crossing a little after dusk. The weeds were so tall they covered up the whole bottom half of the loco making it and the headlight virtually invisible as it rounded the curve, and the engineer did @#$%all to slow down...let alone stop-and-protect...that completely unguarded/unsigned crossing. More a curiosity than anything as the loco was only doing 5 MPH and I wasn't going too fast on that dragstrip of a back parking lot, but it caught a few drivers heading to Apple Cinemas for the evening by surprise to see a solo Geep come lollygagging through the overgrowth!

On the Freight Cutoff, I believe the westernmost portion lasted until 1988 or thereabouts to serve Dewey & Almy Chemical just east of the Rt 2 overpass. It wasn't until this segment was abandoned that the access road from Alewife up to the rt2/rt16 interchange was built. A small segment on the eastern end lasted until 1997 serving MaxPac just east of Cedar St in Somerville.


MaxPac definitely got deliveries into the early-'aughts. '08 was the abandonment, and I don't think it sat idle for too much longer than the mandatory 2-years-past-last-traffic reg for STB discontinuance dockets.

Lexington Branch still had the produce customer in Arlington Center, a sporadic car for Arlington Coal & Lumber, and I believe a couple more lumberyards in Lexington and Bedford, when service was embargoed in 1980.


It was briefly de-embargoed in 1981 until Town of Arlington settled the whole discontinuance legal hullabaloo with the line. Somewhere on board search there's an official employee retelling of the last revenue move to the lumber yard in '81.

Stoneham Branch, Atlantic Gelatin, late 80s, early 90s?


Per board search it was embargoed Maple St. to end-of-track on the 3/21/1975 bulletin, then quickly abandoned. Track to the gelatin customer was embargoed for track conditions 7/25/1989, and moved to the long-term OOS column 10/24/1991 (termination of the customer contract?) with spiking of mainline switch. But supposedly deliveries stopped for good as result of the Guilford strike. Abandonment of trackage rights wasn't processed until 10+ years afterwards, however.
Last edited by F-line to Dudley via Park on Tue Jan 17, 2017 8:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Final Customers

Postby TomNelligan » Mon Jan 16, 2017 10:08 pm

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:
B&M 1227 wrote:Agway in Waltham on the Central Mass. I want to say 1994?


1987. That's well-documented as the last use, with abandonment of trackage rights coming soon after. Customer possibly a victim of the Guilford strike?


Agway wasn't the last customer on the Central Mass; it was the next-to-last. After service to the Agway off Lexington Street in downtown Waltham ended, the absolute last freight customer on the line was the now-defunct Furman Lumber outlet off Linden Street, less than half a mile from the mainline connection at Beaver Brook. (The site now seems to be a junkyard of some sort.) Deliveries there continued for at least a couple years after the B&M/ST stopped going to Agway, with the end of active track at that time being just short of the Linden Street trestle. Unfortunately, I don't remember exactly when Furman went out of business there and rail service quit. That 1987 date may reflect the final run to Furman Lumber rather than the Agway facility a mile farther out the branch. I was living within sight of the line at the time but didn't take enough notes, although I do seem to remember that the last run to Furman was late 80s-ish, and I want to say that Agway service ended early/mid-80s.
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Re: Final Customers

Postby Sir Ray » Tue Jan 17, 2017 10:26 am

"Guilford/Pan Am | Somerville | MS Walker | 2016 ?"
A question slightly off topic. Just wondering, I read up on this. M.S. Walker was supposed to move to a new rail-served location in Dedham, but as usual for these types of stories the on-line trail just peters out toward the end of 2015. I checked the Google maps imagery which shows a facility at what I think was the planned location off Meadows Road being served with CyroTran reefers, but that looks to be an existing industry. There is also a site south of that, shown as empty in the view the first time I checked, but now seems to have a facility being constructed in the second view, hard to tell.
Anyway, did M.S. Walker move into a new facility at that location as proposed in 2015?
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Re: Final Customers

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Tue Jan 17, 2017 10:55 am

Sir Ray wrote:"Guilford/Pan Am | Somerville | MS Walker | 2016 ?"
A question slightly off topic. Just wondering, I read up on this. M.S. Walker was supposed to move to a new rail-served location in Dedham, but as usual for these types of stories the on-line trail just peters out toward the end of 2015. I checked the Google maps imagery which shows a facility at what I think was the planned location off Meadows Road being served with CyroTran reefers, but that looks to be an existing industry. There is also a site south of that, shown as empty in the view the first time I checked, but now seems to have a facility being constructed in the second view, hard to tell.
Anyway, did M.S. Walker move into a new facility at that location as proposed in 2015?

They're relocating to Readville, to be served by CSX out of the yard. I don't know if said relocation has actually happened yet but the lease has been signed, compensation checks to Walker from the state cashed, and so on.
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Re: Final Customers - Boston Area

Postby NashuaActon&Boston » Wed Jan 25, 2017 12:22 am

Does anyone have any further information on the 2000 CSX Framingham & Lowell derailment in Sudbury? Impressive photo! I missed that one somehow..
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Re: Final Customers - Boston Area

Postby BostonUrbEx » Wed Jan 25, 2017 3:02 pm

Updating with info from thread.


Railroad | Municipality/Neighborhood | Customer | Year

Penn Central ? | East Boston | __________ | ____

Penn Central ? | Chelsea | __________ | ____

Conrail ? | Cambridge | NECCO | ____

CSX | Sudbury | Sudbury Lumber ? | 2000

Boston & Maine | East Boston | MBTA (Blue Line's Hawker Siddeley fleet) | 1978 ?

Boston & Maine | Revere | __________ | ____

Boston & Maine | Chelsea | __________ | ____

Guilford/Pan Am | Lynn | US Plastics ? | 199_

Guilford/Pan Am | Charlestown | Boston Paperboard | 2015 / Current ?

Guilford/Pan Am | Somerville | MS Walker | 2016 ?

Guilford/Pan Am | Medford | Crystal Cold Storage | 2010

Guilford/Pan Am | Malden | Piantadosi | 199_

Guilford/Pan Am | Watertown | Newlyweds | 2006

Guilford/Pan Am | Waltham | Furman Lumber | 1987 ?

Guilford/Pan Am | Stoneham | Atlantic Gelatin | 198_

Guilford/Pan Am | North Acton | North Acton Lumber | 199_


Thank you to everyone for your help. Hopefully we can continue to add to this.
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Re: Final Customers - Boston Area

Postby B&M 1227 » Wed Jan 25, 2017 5:16 pm

Guilford gave up on North Acton in the 80s I think. Bay Colony took over the operation for the last few years.

Also cross-quoted from an older thread-
mick wrote:The local freight that served the Lexington Branch up until 1980 (yes it was 1980 not 1979) was down to two customers by the time operations ceased; New England Farms, a large produce warehouse in Arlington that got PFE reefers, and another buisness in Arlington whose name escapes me, they transloaded steel from flatcars at the small yard behind New England Farms on Water St. I never saw a car at Arlington Coal and Lumber after the Blizzard of '78, though they may have got some. Anyway, New England Farms moved it's operations to Readville, MA. in 1980, and the site is now condos. I remember seeing the last string of empty reefers go by with a GP-9 as I was at football practice at Spy Pond Field. The regular engine on this job for many years was B&M SW #1227.


Also, did anyone mention Mystic Wharves Branch? Did that make it to Guilford? It's almost entirely intact I believe?
Did we ever hear a music sweeter than the one that thrills, as it floats along the Deerfield, as it echoes o'er the hills.
How we watch that little engine as it stalks across the plain; was there ever music sweeter, was there ever sight completer, than the coming of the train?
-E. A. Fitch
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