Nashua NH had an old rail crossing to Hudson back then. They tried to blow it up to contribute the steel for the war effort but the bridge suvived the explosion. They ended up removing it 'by hand' (torches, cutters). The stone piers are still there in the Merrimack River.
I don't remember if the El was faster or slower than the SWC. I rode it outbound a lot in the 86-87 school year, the months right before and after it changed, so I think I would have noticed if there was a significant difference. On the other hand, I could have noticed at the time and forgotten in the following 30 years. Or there could have been slow orders or lower speed limits due to (permanently) deferred maintenance of the El by the last few months.
Inbound, the new route had the advantage of not having to stop and proceed very slowly around the Dudley curve.
I rode the el daily during the early '50s between FOREST HILLS and SUMMER/WINTER. It seems to me that the current Orange Line trip from FOREST HILLS to DOWNTOWN CROSSING (same station renamed) is 5 or 6 minutes faster. But the scenery and "summer ventilation" was definitely more pleasant in the old days.
Does anyone else remember when the el door operators, assigned one to each two cars, used to ride outside between the cars, seated on a broad (about eight inches wide) leather portable hammock that clipped on both ends to one of the cars? Obviously this was only in good weather, in less than ideal conditions they rode inside the following car. I don't remember whether they rode outside the car while in the subway. Does anyone have pictures of this scary pre-OSHA practice?
I don't remember the little leather hammock things, but I do remember then standing between the cars to open the doors. In my memories they are wearing big coats. I think there's a discussion of the outside door-opening workplace in another thread someplace; I think I may have started it by asking if my 5 year old mind had invented a crazy thing from 1979 or whenever.
My middler-year (1962-3) co-op job at Northeastern had me transferring from a Forest Hills train to a Cambridge train. My strong memory from that year was how much punier the Forest Hills cars were, not -- to be fair -- as puny as the Orient Heights cars, but close. Any guards between cars in the various tunnels between Ashmont and Cambridge must have had hearing damage. Just the contrast between the two car-body types shows how much planners were willing to upscale in a relatively short period.
"A white SUV with a roof antenna just might not be a company van."
The 1100s had to slow down, too. They usually, or maybe always, had to stop or almost stop. When I was little my mom and I always tried to snag the railfan seat next to the cab going inbound, and one of the things to see was the trip arm at the Dudley tower, just before the curve. Once when I was maybe five or six the motorman drove with his door open and showed me things; I think he explained about the trip arm, which was, I think , always up (and the signal set at stop) until the train slowed way down or stopped. This was the late 70s, the last years of the 1100s.
There were timers that enforced the speed approaching and around the Dudley curve, one at the start of the curve and one just before the 2nd part of the "S" into the station, where the loop track connected. These were red until a set time after the train had entered the block then cleared to yellow.
Avatar Photo - P&W local from Gardner to Worcester at Morgan Rd., Hubbardston
"In the fall of 1985, four teams of photographers started a project to document the elevated Orange Line and the communities it served before its planned demolition in 1987. The project, conceived by the photographer Linda Swartz, and managed by Urbanarts, Inc. for the MBTA, paired a professional photographer with a student from the photography program at the Hubert H. Humphrey Occupational Resource Center." (web- Digital Commonwealth.)