Needham Line Questions / Discussion

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Re: Needham Line Questions / Discussion

Postby 3rdrail » Sat Aug 11, 2012 9:45 pm

Actually, the stone bridges are pretty quiet. In comparison with the Robert Street Bridge, a steel bridge just outside of the Roslindale Square Station, the stone bridges are much quieter. TD has it right. He is referring to the "other side" of Rte. 1 from the parking lot, meaning the east side. Up until a few years ago, tracks crossed Eastern Ave. on the south side of the Rte. 1 intersection. These were probably lead tracks to the area that he speaks about.
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Re: Needham Line Questions / Discussion

Postby Teamdriver » Sun Aug 12, 2012 11:29 am

Yes , i meant the area on the other side, or the easterly side , of rte 1. Not the muni parking lot.This area was one of those older freight car unloading areas, just basically a concrete box, the height of the railcar door, where you backed a truck up to, on the other side of the spotted rail car, and trans-loaded, from rail car to truck. This trackage ( not sure how many there were ) continued across Eastern ave to the oil company tanks, and upon further trying to recall, may have continued southerly behind the old Lechmere sales, then crossing what is now called Legacy bvld, and may have sided up to what was Allied Paper Box on Allied drive ( not sure if this was from another connection ).At any rate, what is now Legacy Place in Dedham was formerly a bunch of construction company lots and concrete pipe companies, might have had rail related business.I just took all that stuff for granted as part of the industrial environment, didnt pay total attention.Wish I took pictures back then......................
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Re: Needham Line Questions / Discussion

Postby theseaandalifesaver » Sun Aug 12, 2012 11:46 pm

When was the last time a train has passed down the tracks further than the end of the MBTA's Needham Heights station?
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Re: Needham Line Questions / Discussion

Postby MBTA1016 » Mon Aug 13, 2012 2:48 pm

theseaandalifesaver wrote:When was the last time a train has passed down the tracks further than the end of the MBTA's Needham Heights station?

The third leg of the wye at needham junction heads toward medfield and millis. The line has a junction with csx's Framingham subdivision. The last time it was used was three or four years ago(i think). Bay colony railroad served the gaf plant in millis before they closed. The plant is still there to this day. Bay colony actually had an engine scrapped near the wye last year or the year before.

Sorry I thought needham heights station was at the wye. My fault for not reading the question twice before posting an answer.
I'll look for that info. I read somewhere yesterday it was used as the newton circuit before the mbta came into existence, more info to come.
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Re: Needham Line Questions / Discussion

Postby MBTA1016 » Mon Aug 13, 2012 3:16 pm

Ok I got the info off the Wikipedia page for the greenline d branch. The third paragraph down in the history part tells you all u want to know.

"In 1884, the Boston and Albany Railroad built a connecting line from Riverside on their main line southeast to what became Cook Street Junction on the NY&NE in Newton Highlands. The NY&NE had been sold to the B&A in 1882 north of the junction, giving the B&A full ownership of their Highland Branch. The B&A instituted loop service ("Newton Circuit"), going one way to Riverside on the main line and the other way on the Highland Branch; the NY&NE continued to use the branch as well.

In 1906 the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad built a new cutoff from Needham Junction east to their Dedham Branch at West Roxbury, and began routing NY&NE trains that way. However, in 1911, they too began running loop service on the "Needham Circuit", running one way on the old Boston and Providence Railroad to West Roxbury and the other way on the B&A Highland Branch.

NYNH&H service through Newton stopped in 1925, and the last B&A train ran over the Highland Branch on May 31, 1958."
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Li ... #section_1 Is the link to the Wikipedia page.
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Re: Needham Line Questions / Discussion

Postby The EGE » Mon Aug 13, 2012 3:41 pm

Mbta fan, it would do you well to actually read other peoples' posts, rather than just taking a wild guess.

What theseaandalifesaver is asking is when was the last time a train ran on the section of track between Cook Street Junction and Needham Heights. 1958 was almost certainly the last time a train from the Highland Branch ran to Needham, but freights have run past Needham Heights into Newton Upper Falls much more recently - my 2010 guide gives the section as OOS but not abandoned.
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Re: Needham Line Questions / Discussion

Postby MBTA3247 » Mon Aug 13, 2012 4:05 pm

It should be noted that the "Needham Circuit" only lasted a few years. The federal government ordered it discontinued citing anti-trust concerns.
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Re: Needham Line Questions / Discussion

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Mon Aug 13, 2012 4:54 pm

The EGE wrote:Mbta fan, it would do you well to actually read other peoples' posts, rather than just taking a wild guess.

What theseaandalifesaver is asking is when was the last time a train ran on the section of track between Cook Street Junction and Needham Heights. 1958 was almost certainly the last time a train from the Highland Branch ran to Needham, but freights have run past Needham Heights into Newton Upper Falls much more recently - my 2010 guide gives the section as OOS but not abandoned.


It was signed over to the trail lobby with the lease approved last month. Last move on the line was 2008 when Bay Colony scrapped its derelict Alco loco that was sitting at the end of the line. Towed it onto the freight spur and torched it in the parking lot. I think last time active customers were served was 2005-06 thereabouts.

The state rail map has lots of MBTA OOS trackage that haven't been updated to current abandoned status.
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Re: Needham Line Questions / Discussion

Postby The EGE » Mon Aug 13, 2012 6:27 pm

I was going off the map in my 2010 copy of Ronald Dale Karr's Lost Railroads of New England which is an excellent book. But, a lot can happen in two years.
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Re: Needham Line Questions / Discussion

Postby MBTA1016 » Mon Aug 13, 2012 8:17 pm

I thought freights only went from needham junction to medfield and never went towards needham heights. Sorry for the mistake.
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Re: Needham Line Questions / Discussion

Postby The EGE » Mon Aug 13, 2012 8:48 pm

There was actually quite a bit - see the 50s topos and the 1955 aerial here: http://www.historicaerials.com/aerials. ... year=T1958
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Re: Needham Line Questions / Discussion

Postby MBTA1016 » Mon Aug 13, 2012 8:52 pm

Thanks ege. It just didn't look like that on google earth.
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Re: Needham Line Questions / Discussion

Postby theseaandalifesaver » Tue Aug 14, 2012 12:44 am

I was only asking when the last time a train was on the tracks because they tracks look like they're in decent condition. It's definitely seen some action since the 50's.

Is it still used?
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Re: Needham Line Questions / Discussion

Postby Rbts Stn » Tue Aug 14, 2012 7:59 am

theseaandalifesaver wrote:I was only asking when the last time a train was on the tracks because they tracks look like they're in decent condition. It's definitely seen some action since the 50's.

Is it still used?


Not still used, but used in the past 20 years to the industrial plants beyond Oak Street.

A few other threads here talk about it in great detail. Search "Needham" and "Newton".
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Re: Needham Line Questions / Discussion

Postby Arborwayfan » Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:48 am

The grassy field in the picture a few posts back gets is odd shape from being built the site of a wye. Up through the early 80s it at least some of the tracks were still there, in a typically weedy disused railroad yard, and up until the bridge projects of the last ten years or so the granite abutments and retaining walls were still there, too. There may still be rail visible in the parking lots of the businesses south of the field.
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