Newton Lower Falls Branch (Mass.)

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Newton Lower Falls Branch (Mass.)

Postby Tracer » Mon Feb 09, 2009 10:45 am

Anyone know the history of the line? A quick google search mentioned something about a dilapited tunnel and platform, could that be over near riverside? I also believe it crossed rt 16 in Wellesley, was that were the station was?

thanks
Tracer
 

Re: Newton Lower Falls Branch (Mass.)

Postby TomNelligan » Mon Feb 09, 2009 11:11 am

The branch ended at Route 16 on the Wellesley/Newton line. In ancient times it may have crossed the street, but by the time I first saw it in the 1960s it ended just north of it. The now-closed Grossman's building supply store that still stands there was the last active freight customer, into the 1970s. There was no rail tunnel on the line, but there was a pedestrian underpass at the B&A Riverside station where the branch divered from the mainline.
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Re: Newton Lower Falls Branch (Mass.)

Postby boatsmate » Tue Feb 10, 2009 5:13 pm

as near as I remember the line ended in wellesely just accross from Grossmans. I think there was a run around there but I can't remember. the only time I remember seeing a train there they used the area accross the st for head room to service Grossmans as the switch was set so that trains had to go past it outbond and then back in to spot cars.
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Re: Newton Lower Falls Branch (Mass.)

Postby trainsinmaine » Wed Feb 11, 2009 7:59 pm

Old USGS maps indicate that the line did cross Route 16 (as late as 1950, anyway), and ended just southeast of the crossing. I haven't been in that area for some time, but if memory serves, the last time I drove through there I crossed what appeared to be old ROW and wondered what it was.
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Re: Newton Lower Falls Branch (Mass.)

Postby thebigham » Thu Feb 12, 2009 11:43 am

Is the line on this topo map?

http://docs.unh.edu/MA/nwtn46sw.jpg
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Re: Newton Lower Falls Branch (Mass.)

Postby thebigham » Thu Feb 12, 2009 11:49 am

^Wrong map.

I think this is it:

http://docs.unh.edu/MA/fram94ne.jpg
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Re: Newton Lower Falls Branch (Mass.)

Postby Tracer » Thu Feb 12, 2009 4:33 pm

thebigham wrote:^Wrong map.

I think this is it:

http://docs.unh.edu/MA/fram94ne.jpg


Interesting map. How accurate is this map? Currently the branch only crosses the charles river once(just east of the former grossmans). Could there have been a major realignment when they built rt 128?
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Re: Newton Lower Falls Branch (Mass.)

Postby TomNelligan » Thu Feb 12, 2009 6:10 pm

Triker wrote: Interesting map. How accurate is this map? Currently the branch only crosses the charles river once(just east of the former grossmans). Could there have been a major realignment when they built rt 128?


Good question. That map does show the branch leaving the mainline on the west side of the big arch bridge that carries the B&A over the Charles and traveling a bit on the northwestern side of the river. By the time I saw it in the late 1960s, after the Mass Pike, Route 128, and the Riverside trolley yard had been constructed in the area, the branch diverged from the same switch as the former Highland Branch (Riverside Line) on the east side of the arch bridge, and ran along the back edge of the MBTA yard and across Route 128 on the still-standing bridge.
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Re: Newton Lower Falls Branch (Mass.)

Postby Tracer » Fri Feb 13, 2009 6:58 pm

http://www.wardmaps.com/viewasset.php?aid=77

Ward map from 1917 showing the line on the other side of the river(check the lower left corner of the map), so there must has been a realignment when the pike/128 were built. It looks like part of the line once ran threw leo j golf course(I played there a few years back and I wish I knew the line ran threw it). I wonder if you can still see the old bridge abutments were it crossed the charles river before the realignment.

(Its funny when you google this branch this topic turns up on the first page)
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Re: Newton Lower Falls Branch (Mass.)

Postby Bemused » Sun Feb 15, 2009 5:31 pm

I worked part-time for the Post Office while attending BC during the late 60s/early 70s. Every now and then I would deliver one of the mail routes in Newton Lower Falls.

As I recall the branch ran behind and parallel to Pine Grove Avenue once the 128/95 crossing was complete. "Behind" in the sense the line ran through-or close to-several backyards on Pine Grove before eventually crossing Pine Grove. From that point the line ran between St. Mary's St. and Baker Place, crossed Concord St., entered property abutted by and housing (then) the Bigelow Oil Co. offices and terminal, crossed the Charles River on a wood trestle, entered Wellesley (Grossman's Lumber) and did, in fact, cross Route 16 for a very short, i.e. >30 yards, distance, basically room enough to park their engine. B&A/PC crews would leave their engine and walk the short distance for coffee at the former Pete's Coffee Shop.

Freight consisted of lumber for Grossman's (boxcars and various lumber transporters) and (rarely) a tank car left at Bigelow Oil on a very short spur track. As noted previously, there had to be a run around track on Grossman property to facilitate switching/exchange of MTs with loads.
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Re: Newton Lower Falls Branch (Mass.)

Postby Tracer » Sun Feb 15, 2009 8:09 pm

Thanks bemused!

Article about the line from a Newton newspaper if anyones interested
http://www.wickedlocal.com/newton/news/ ... ifferences
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Re: Newton Lower Falls Branch (Mass.)

Postby Tracer » Tue Jan 05, 2010 8:32 am

There is currently a bid out to turn the railroad bridge over the Charles River near Newton Lower Falls into a walkway. They will also build a foot path on the right of way between Rt. 16 in Wellesley and Concord st in Newton. Work on the bridge should start in the spring.
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Re: Newton Lower Falls Branch (Mass.)

Postby bingdude » Sun Jan 10, 2010 12:05 pm

My grandmother used to live in Wellesley and I saw that line many times in the 60s and 70s. In those days the rails crossed Washington Street and ended. But they once went all the way through the parking lot that is there now (about 150 feet) and ended at an engine shed. This line was once electrified and it had passenger service into the 1950s (electricfication ended in 1930--the Middlesex and Boston trolley line sold power to the B&A to run it and that's when they went all bus).

A scene from a movie was shot at the Concord Street crossing in the late 1960s. The movie company had to find an old gas-electric combine to use for the shot. I forget the title of the movie but I think it is the same movie that had the trolley line rebuilt in Belmont for them.

I always thought it would be a good idea to rebuild this line and run a shuttle trolley to riverside. Obviously that wouldn't be practical. I hope they can rail-trail it. I once tried to walk it from Washington Street to Riverside. I only got as far as the other side of Concord St. before the weeds got too thick.
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Re: Newton Lower Falls Branch (Mass.)

Postby Tracer » Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:46 am

Wellesley/Newton lowers falls circa 1910:
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Re: Newton Lower Falls Branch (Mass.)

Postby ThinkNarrow » Tue Jan 12, 2010 3:33 pm

bingdude wrote:A scene from a movie was shot at the Concord Street crossing in the late 1960s. The movie company had to find an old gas-electric combine to use for the shot. I forget the title of the movie but I think it is the same movie that had the trolley line rebuilt in Belmont for them.
The movie that had the trolley line rebuilt would be "The Cardinal" (1963). See http://www.trolleymuseum.org/collection/boston/396.html
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