Eastern Mass, Middlesex and Boston, Fitchburg and Lowell...

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Eastern Mass, Middlesex and Boston, Fitchburg and Lowell...

Postby jrc520 » Sat Oct 13, 2012 8:40 pm

So, you have heard it here first, I'm going to try and write a book. The plan is to cover everything BUT Boston - So Eastern Mass, the Middlesex and Boston, the Fitchburg and Leominster, the Worchester Lines, etc. I'm thinking track maps, photos, as detailed of descriptions of the operations as I can get, cool little stories if any have survived.

In this thread will be all of the following:
Random questions from me about these companies
Random information from you, the reader on these companies
Places where various documents reside these days
People I should go talk to
Places to go see
Other things that I haven't thought of

As suggested to me, I'm going to join the BSRA, and pick at their collective brains. I also plan on checking out Seashore, and the George Sanborn library.

I'm a huge novice compared to many here when it comes to this sort of thing, so stick with me. I also have a new job with weird hours(though breakfast meetings with people are easier now, heh) and a child on the way. So this will take some time, but none the less, I want to do it. It's a subject I don't know a lot about, and want to know more about, and I'm sure you guys want to know more too!
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Re: Eastern Mass, Middlesex and Boston, Fitchburg and Lowell

Postby MBTA3247 » Sun Oct 14, 2012 2:32 pm

My main suggestion would be to not try and do a single book covering all those systems. BSRA already did one years ago ("From Boston to the Berkshires"), and due to size constraints had to leave out all the really interesting details of each system. I suggest picking just one system and focusing on that. Personally, I'd like to see a book on the Eastern Mass and its predecessors (Boston & Lynn, Old Colony St Rwy, Brockton St Rwy, etc) - there's been very little written about that beyond where it connected with BERy.

As for track maps, Leo Sullivan would be the guy to talk to. He has tons of them.
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Re: Eastern Mass, Middlesex and Boston, Fitchburg and Lowell

Postby jrc520 » Sun Oct 14, 2012 3:17 pm

Yea, I am more and more convinced that an Eastern Mass book would be the thing to do. I've been discussing with 3rdrail in the other thread how big the idea really was, and yea, Its looking like it's Eastern Mass all the way. I like the idea of doing a bit of the history as well - I don't want to get too crazy :-p I kid, I kid. I intend to get as much information as I can.
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Re: Eastern Mass, Middlesex and Boston, Fitchburg and Lowell

Postby 3rdrail » Sun Oct 14, 2012 3:35 pm

You'll have your hands full with just the Eastern Mass. And as I said before, the nice thing is that aside from those two NRHS "Bulletins" that I spoke about, I have not seen a lot on the EM, which was a very important company, surpassed only by BERy around metropolitan Boston. There are still guys around that drove for them (had hands on a controller ??). It would add tremendously to a book of this nature to put in what most traction authors don't - and that is human anecdotal stories. They tend to write about machines and places but not people. A book that had cold, hard fact intersperced in no particular order with "war stories" would be golden. Even one source would be great in that regard, three would be heaven !
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Re: Eastern Mass, Middlesex and Boston, Fitchburg and Lowell

Postby edbear » Sun Oct 14, 2012 8:32 pm

There are EM track plans around. I got my set about 30 years ago, 11x17 photocopies, all divisions except Haverhill and those that crossed into RI and NH. A fellow I knew at the B & M knew someone on the MBTA and I was told when the MBTA acquired EM bus operations about 1965, the plans were included with all kinds of files that went to the MBTA. Motor Coach Age profiled some of the bus operations that has info. on conversions of rail lines. MC Age did the entire EM bus history plus separate issues on the Melrose and Weymouth Divs. You have a lot of work ahead of you.
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Re: Eastern Mass, Middlesex and Boston, Fitchburg and Lowell

Postby jonnhrr » Mon Oct 15, 2012 1:47 pm

An Eastern Mass book would be great. I'd buy a copy!

Bradley Clarke;s book "Streetcar lines of the Hub - the 1940's" has a chapter on the Quincy lines and on the Stoneham line, which used Boston El trackage (and operators) for parts of their runs.
That book is also in my humble opinion a good model of what a transit book should be like, combining factual information with anecdotal stories e.g. the operator on the Hough's Neck shuttle who decided to run to Field's Corner because he got bored :-).

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Re: Eastern Mass, Middlesex and Boston, Fitchburg and Lowell

Postby Aerie » Mon Oct 15, 2012 5:03 pm

Until maybe 10 years ago, the MBTA and the LRTA still scheduled a meet of buses at a turnoff on the side of the road (Rte 38) on the North Woburn/Wilmington line. I think it was MBTA 134 and LRTA 12, but I am not positive. I believe this meet dated from streetcar days where the two companies exchanged streetcar motormen/fareboxes here on the ride from Lowell to Boston, similar to what happened at the Sheepfold on the Stoneham line.
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Re: Eastern Mass, Middlesex and Boston, Fitchburg and Lowell

Postby wicked » Tue Oct 16, 2012 11:32 am

I didn't know there was a North Woburn/Wilmington meet. Knew about Billerica/Burlington in the bus era, but not the other one.

And yeah, I'd definitely be interested in reading such a book. Others on this thread are correct on including personal anecdotes; people are almost always the real story.
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Re: Eastern Mass, Middlesex and Boston, Fitchburg and Lowell

Postby blackcap » Tue Oct 16, 2012 12:19 pm

LRTA's Route 12 goes to Burlington Mall, where connections can be made to MBTA's Route 350 and to Burlington and Lexpress bus routes.

As for Woburn, the Wilmington turn-around most likely was for the EM's North Woburn-Medford Sq. service, and transfers to BERy/MTA service was made at Medford Sq. In 1970, this service was combined with MBTA's Route 103 (Medford Sq.-Sullivan) to form the current Route 134.

Page 77 of the MBTA route history has a brief history of Route 134 and its predecessors.

This map (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:1899_Massachusetts_electric_railways.jpg) shows a loop at the Woburn-Wilmington line with some service continuing to Wilmington.
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Re: Eastern Mass, Middlesex and Boston, Fitchburg and Lowell

Postby Gerry6309 » Tue Oct 16, 2012 3:34 pm

blackcap wrote:LRTA's Route 12 goes to Burlington Mall, where connections can be made to MBTA's Route 350 and to Burlington and Lexpress bus routes.

As for Woburn, the Wilmington turn-around most likely was for the EM's North Woburn-Medford Sq. service, and transfers to BERy/MTA service was made at Medford Sq. In 1970, this service was combined with MBTA's Route 103 (Medford Sq.-Sullivan) to form the current Route 134.

Page 77 of the MBTA route history has a brief history of Route 134 and its predecessors.

This map (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:1899_Massachusetts_electric_railways.jpg) shows a loop at the Woburn-Wilmington line with some service continuing to Wilmington.


The red circle on the map does not indicate a loop. It indicates detail too small to indicate on the map, possibly a carhouse, a siding to pass or reverse cars, or some other type of detail. The Lynn and Boston (shown as owner) did not run meets of cars from different divisions, rather they focused on through service. North Woburn would have been a turn back for cars originating somewhere in the Elevated's territory - probably the Brattle Loop at that time. All Lowell cars would have run through. The more recent meets are a product of the present day transit authorities not wanting to impact each other's fare territories.
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Re: Eastern Mass, Middlesex and Boston, Fitchburg and Lowell

Postby jrc520 » Tue Oct 16, 2012 8:56 pm

I think we have a hit feature with personal stories ;-) If you know anyone who has such stories, point them my way! I'm only in the starting stages of this, and it'll be a while before I have anything even close to a preview for you guys(think months before I have anything resembling proper chapters), but anything I can get I will take. I'm planning on getting to the State Transportation Library this Friday, unless work is too busy(I get off at 8am, so it all depends on if I'm willing to face Boston traffic ;-) )
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Re: Eastern Mass, Middlesex and Boston, Fitchburg and Lowell

Postby wicked » Wed Oct 17, 2012 9:55 pm

If you're ever looking for a proofreader/copy editor, drop me a line.
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Re: Eastern Mass, Middlesex and Boston, Fitchburg and Lowell

Postby 3rdrail » Wed Oct 17, 2012 11:04 pm

jrc520 wrote:I think we have a hit feature with personal stories ;-) If you know anyone who has such stories, point them my way! I'm only in the starting stages of this, and it'll be a while before I have anything even close to a preview for you guys(think months before I have anything resembling proper chapters), but anything I can get I will take. I'm planning on getting to the State Transportation Library this Friday, unless work is too busy(I get off at 8am, so it all depends on if I'm willing to face Boston traffic ;-) )


Four passive expressions in this one post (underlined), jrc ! If you are really going to write this book, you have to get out there and be aggressive ! ...and that's if you're salty. If you're starting as a newbie, twice as much ! Go get 'em !
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Re: Eastern Mass, Middlesex and Boston, Fitchburg and Lowell

Postby jrc520 » Thu Oct 18, 2012 3:49 am

Oh I'll be aggressive alright ;-) Baring exhaustion, I'll be starting my research tomorrow after work(I work 12-8am, so it'll be an easy trip to Alewife, then to the state transportation library). Let's hope they have a nice amount of material.
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Re: Eastern Mass, Middlesex and Boston, Fitchburg and Lowell

Postby 3rdrail » Thu Oct 18, 2012 11:10 am

If I may make a suggestion regarding the Sanborn Library; Plan beforehand what you are looking for. They have so much info there that you'll be quickly overwhelmed without a road map. For example, if you targeted EM Routes, that would be an all-day job by not only including routes but also dates, truncations, extensions, specials, hours operated, stops, equipment used during what time period, etc. etc. "It's a dirty job, but somebody's gotta do it !"
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