Shawmut Branch Railroad: Predecessor to Ashmont Branch

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Shawmut Branch Railroad: Predecessor to Ashmont Branch

Postby BostonUrbEx » Thu Nov 19, 2015 6:56 pm

There seems to be little about the Shawmut Branch Railroad out there, especially for pictures. Anyone have any history/info or pictures of this line before the Dorchester Extension (Ashmont Branch) occurred?

Some questions:

Was it grade separated to any degree? Did the line between Cedar Grove Cemetery and Neponset/Port Norfolk exist prior to the Dorchester Extension? Or was it built as a way to continue serving Milton/Mattapan now that it was isolated? What we the last customers along High Speed Line/when did freight end?
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Re: Shawmut Branch Railroad: Predecessor to Ashmont Branch

Postby The EGE » Fri Nov 20, 2015 12:14 pm

Some photos are available on Wikimedia Commons. Here's a sample.

Shawmut, 1926:
Image

Ashmont, 1923:
Image

Cedar Grove, 1923:
Image

Milton, 1923:
Image
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Re: Shawmut Branch Railroad: Predecessor to Ashmont Branch

Postby MBTA3247 » Fri Nov 20, 2015 1:05 pm

I'm at work with no access to my books, but I can give you a basic history of the route.

There were two branches in the area. The first was the Milton Branch, which left the Old Colony main at the Neponset River and terminated in Mattapan. The Shawmut Branch was built later, leaving the Old Colony main at Harrison Square and connecting with the Milton Branch just east of Butler after swinging through Dorchester. Sometime in the early 1900s the Old Colony grade-separated the main line and the first half mile or so of the Shawmut Branch (to just west of Geneva Ave). In the late 1920s the Shawmut Branch and western half of the Milton Branch were rebuilt to their present-day configuration with the Red Line and High Speed Line. The New Haven, PC and Conrail retained the remainder of the Milton Branch for as long as the Baker Chocolate factory remained in operation (1970s or '80s, I think), with spur tracks on both sides of the High Speed Line from Butler to Milton and on the north side of the trolley tracks to just west of Central Ave.
"The destination of this train is [BEEP BEEP]" -announcement on an Ashmont train.
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Re: Shawmut Branch Railroad: Predecessor to Ashmont Branch

Postby theseaandalifesaver » Fri Nov 20, 2015 4:27 pm

The spur tracks still (barely) exist. I wasn't aware they were used up until the 70's and 80"s though.
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Re: Shawmut Branch Railroad: Predecessor to Ashmont Branch

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Fri Nov 20, 2015 4:48 pm

theseaandalifesaver wrote:The spur tracks still (barely) exist. I wasn't aware they were used up until the 70's and 80"s though.


Official abandonment wasn't until '90-92, since there's a usual X years without traffic clause for doing an abandonment filing with a minimum of protest. So it was dead for a couple years and conclusively beyond the point where a new/returned customer had potential of returning by time paperwork was filed. But Conrail definitely was still going there during the Reagan Administration.
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Re: Shawmut Branch Railroad: Predecessor to Ashmont Branch

Postby atlantis » Sat Nov 21, 2015 8:32 am

Nice pics!! Amazing to see Ashmont when it was a nice place!
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