Yet Another Mystery Photo

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Yet Another Mystery Photo

Postby trainsinmaine » Sun Mar 05, 2017 12:54 pm

This photo appeared on eBay yesterday. Supposedly it depicts a spot on the B&M's Fitchburg Division in Athol, Mass. I'm from that area. It's not Athol, and two Athol friends confirmed that this morning. So . . . let the sleuthing start! (The picture has been sold, by the way.)

http://www.ebay.com/itm/OLD-LARGE-HISTO ... 2045831471
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Re: Yet Another Mystery Photo

Postby GU1001 » Sun Mar 05, 2017 7:32 pm

Could it be a view looking west at Ayer?
3 track east/west seems right.
Track veering off to the left seems correct.
Tower in the distance on the right seems to match.
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Re: Yet Another Mystery Photo

Postby Noel Weaver » Sun Mar 05, 2017 8:01 pm

It might be Athol Junction on the B & A which was/is a couple of miles east of Springfield Station. On the New Haven we delivered the B & A cars to track two east of the station interlocking and crossed over at Athol Junction to return to the balance of the train to make the Boston and Maine delivery in Yard Three which was about a mile or so north of the diamond. Yard Three was a joint yard operated by the B & M but had both NHRR and B & M employees involved in the operation while the engine terminal was a New Haven operation but again had employees of both railroads involved in its operation. On the other hand the passenger side was Yard One which was a New Haven operation but handled both railroads.
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Re: Yet Another Mystery Photo

Postby TomNelligan » Sun Mar 05, 2017 9:38 pm

GU1001 wrote:Could it be a view looking west at Ayer?


No. In the 1930's time frame of the photo, Ayer had a large passenger station on the north side of the tracks immediately adjacent to the tower, as well as a diamond where the ancestral Worcester, Nashua & Portland line crossed the Fitchburg division. No sign of either in the photo.
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Re: Yet Another Mystery Photo

Postby The EGE » Sun Mar 05, 2017 10:14 pm

I concur with Noel - I believe this is Athol Junction on the B&A facing west, with the Athol Branch at right. See this 1947 topo map which matches exactly with this view. That would also make sense with the signal tower numbering - I know the B&A numbered west to east, and tower 40 was at Springfield station.
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Re: Yet Another Mystery Photo

Postby jaymac » Mon Mar 06, 2017 9:40 am

Another possibility is an east-facing view at Athol Junction. The southwest section of the southeast 1939 Springfield USGS quadrant -- UNH or similar source -- seems to have a good match, including the structure on the hill to the right.
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Re: Yet Another Mystery Photo

Postby The EGE » Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:23 am

No, this is definitely a west-facing view at Athol Junction. To the right is a through line and to the left stub-end sidings; that matches with the Athol Branch to the north and sidings to the south. Additionally, this 1910 map shows the tower on the north side of the tracks.
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Re: Yet Another Mystery Photo

Postby jaymac » Mon Mar 06, 2017 11:21 am

I sit corrected.
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Re: Yet Another Mystery Photo

Postby Lincoln78 » Tue Mar 07, 2017 3:02 pm

Looks a lot like the tower at Ayer. Was there much architectural crossover back in the day?

Both lines have stations that are the iconic Richardson Revival style (B&M in Laconia, NH; B&A in Palmer and at least two on the current MBTA Green Line)(doubtless more).
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Re: Yet Another Mystery Photo

Postby dbperry » Wed Mar 08, 2017 1:25 am

Lincoln78 wrote:Looks a lot like the tower at Ayer. Was there much architectural crossover back in the day?

Both lines have stations that are the iconic Richardson Revival style (B&M in Laconia, NH; B&A in Palmer and at least two on the current MBTA Green Line)(doubtless more).


Veering a little off topic, but it sounds like the mystery was already solved...

9 stations on B&A designed by HH Richardson. The 2 on the green line are in the same style but not designed by him.

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Re: Yet Another Mystery Photo

Postby NashuaActon&Boston » Wed Mar 08, 2017 9:23 pm

Lincoln78 wrote:Looks a lot like the tower at Ayer. Was there much architectural crossover back in the day?

Both lines have stations that are the iconic Richardson Revival style (B&M in Laconia, NH; B&A in Palmer and at least two on the current MBTA Green Line)(doubtless more).



It's not Ayer, methinks. No trace of the Greenville Branch departing past the tower. Also, I believe by this era there was a large signal gantry over the Fitchburg which had a small shanty tower of its own. I need to consult my hoard of B&M Bulletins - I remember the image though need more details.
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Re: Yet Another Mystery Photo

Postby arthur d. » Sun Mar 12, 2017 6:07 am

NashuaActon&Boston wrote: I believe by this era there was a large signal gantry over the Fitchburg which had a small shanty tower of its own.



You are correct.
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Re: Yet Another Mystery Photo

Postby Pat Fahey » Mon Mar 13, 2017 8:46 am

Hi
The photo is at Athol , Mass the small yard to the left of the picture, is the B&A , Still standing in Athol but out of the photo is the three stall roundhouse . Pat
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Re: Yet Another Mystery Photo

Postby trainsinmaine » Mon Mar 13, 2017 1:27 pm

Sorry, Pat; I don't agree. If it's Athol, what is the track coming in from the right at an angle? Assuming that the B&A yard and roundhouse (which I visited two years ago --- it's used as a storage barn) are on the left, that means we are looking west. There was no branch line coming into that area from the north side. Also, the B&M, through Athol, was and still is a two-track line. Finally, if you click on the photo and look down the track past the second signal tower, there is an overpass spanning all three tracks, with a house to the right. No such thing exists in Athol. The lay of the land on the right doesn't resemble anything near the Athol B&A yard, either.

As suggested, I think we're looking at Athol Junction on the B&A.
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Re: Yet Another Mystery Photo

Postby etna9726b » Wed Mar 15, 2017 10:45 am

Would the distance between the stub tracks on the left be purely to avoid the telegraph poles, or possibly to isolate hazmat cargo, like munitions? Location is not far from the armory.
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