Walpole Union Station-National Historic Registry

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Walpole Union Station-National Historic Registry

Postby charding » Fri Jan 01, 2016 9:43 am

http://walpole.wickedlocal.com/article/ ... /151229236 - station of my youth - spent many of my formative years there under the tutorage of Bob Gray - unique, distinction construction - heavily used commuter station - so glad to see…let's hope it gets spiffed up and reopened for passengers, especially on cold, winter morning...
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Re: Walpole Union Station-National Historic Registry

Postby Tom coughlin » Fri Jan 01, 2016 2:41 pm

Although the partition separating the signal and section offices from the waiting room on the Old Colony side have been there for nearly 80 years, it would make the waiting room a lot brighter if they were taken down. Also, replicating the benches along that same wall.

I too spent many hours visiting with the agent/operator at Walpole. I still have a bunch of old block sheets. What I remember most is sitting quiet of the waiting room listening to the dispatcher on the block line.

Tom Coughlin
Stow, MA (I grew up in Walpole)
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Re: Walpole Union Station-National Historic Registry

Postby charding » Wed Jan 06, 2016 10:28 am

OK, have to highlight my favorite, home town railroad town, Walpole. If you a member of the NHRHTA and/or have access to its Shoreliner publication, in the last few years, Walpole has hit the trifecta.

* My Dad Maintained Cedar's Automated Diamond, by Harry B. Chase, Vol 37, Issue 4
* A Night on the New Haven Railroad, by Francis Donovan, Vol 35, Issue 4
* Bird Mills: East Walpole on the Wrentham Branch, by Rick Hurst & Edwin Motte, Vol 35, Issue 3

Lots of good photos from Rick Hurst, Frank Larabee, Phil Allen, Francis Donovan, Kent Cochrane, Ed Sweeney, Ed Motte, Bob Tweedy, John Anderson & Ed Ozog plus a great watercolor done in 1940 of a southbound freight on the Framingham-Providence line at the Cedar junction, done by Harry Chase in the 'Cedar' article and an illustration of the Walpole Tower in the Francis Donovan article done by Harry Chase in 1940.

The Walpole Historical Society on West St has or will soon have all three publications.
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Re: Walpole Union Station-National Historic Registry

Postby Tracer » Sat Jan 09, 2016 12:31 pm

What's up stairs? Was that a control tower or something?
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Re: Walpole Union Station-National Historic Registry

Postby charding » Sun Jan 10, 2016 9:48 am

…well, as best as I can remember, this was primarily for storage…before my time, it may have been used for something else...the agent would toss things like his out-of-date timetables up there…remember he allowed me to rummage through them…back in the day, there was a Walpole Tower…across the Old Colony line toward Franklin from the station…can't remember when it disappeared…also, as I remember, there was a CTC board in the station agent's office…enjoyed watching the lights change as a train approached…some of the other Walpole railroad history folks can probably amplify…again, I hope the station will be reopened...
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Re: Walpole Union Station-National Historic Registry

Postby Tom coughlin » Sun Jan 10, 2016 11:19 am

My grandfather started his 51 year career with the New Haven at the station as a passenger clerk in 1917. The ticket office was staffed with a clerk and agent. By that time, the signal tower (SS 232) had opened across the tracks. He told me that an employee used to live up there; probably an informal arrangement that management had no knowledge of.

A lot of people ponder what that tower was used for. Medfield Jct. and Sudbury, also on crossings, had similar towers. The tower could have been used for office space, maybe as a block station office.

In the late 40's, the functions of SS 232 were moved into the ticket office and the one employee became an agent/operator. I was told that the interlocking machine, which was quite old, was originally from another signal station. The machine was so heavy that they had to rebuild the floor under the ticket office to support it. When the CTC control was installed in the 1980's, I believe the model board (the board above the machine with the lights) was donated to the Walpole Historical Scociety. I hope that is true because you could almost re-create the ticket office as it was. The the track diagram towards the south still indicated "Willamantic" not Franklin.

Back to the tower; the walls were finished in a similar wood match board as the waiting room. When I was up there in the 70's, the walls were still finished in varnish like the waiting room was originally. As I recall, the baggage room on the Midland Division (Franklin Branch) side was also still in the original varnish. Whatever traces of an earlier use for the tower may have been obliterated when the roof was reconfigured.

I used to visit the operators often. One of the last New Haven era operators was Tom Hannon. He was there in the 80's when the CTC was installed. That was an interesting transition. They cut in the CTC in phases. The first phase was the cut over of Sprague St. Interlockimg at Readville followed shortly by Norwood Central then Franklin when those stations were closed as manned block stations. I'm not sure when the interlocking machine at Walpole was retired but there was a period when both the CTC console and the interlocking machine were both used. Also, CTC for the Needhan Branch and Stoughton Branch were added later At some point through all this, the agent/operator stopped selling tickets. I remember how stressed Tom Hannon would get with all this additional territory. So I started spending more time in the waiting room on my visits just listening to the dispatchers line and radio and staying out of Tom's way.

In the 60's and 70's the office was open 24/7 except for Sunday' 7am-3pm ( 1st trick). Sometimes Penn Central freight VP-1 (Selkirk-Providence) would be scheduled to come thru Walpole during Sunday 1st trick. The Saturday 3rd trick would call the dispatcher on the "block line" to get the "line up" of any trains due before he closed the office for,the night. If VP-1 was due, he would set the semaphore signal at the north end of the yard to "clear" before he left. The signal would re-set itself to stop (restricting) when the train passed. The Sunday 2nd trick operator would have to reset the lever for the signal before the interlocking machine would allow him to line up any routes.

There was a substantial expansion of the number of commuter trains in 1983-84 as a temporary measure during re-construction of the Southeast Expressway but this became permanent. There was no service on the Franklin branch on Sundays previously. Walpole became a full time interlocking station at this point.

Tom Coughlin
Stow, MA.

I grew up in Walpole in the 60's and 70's and spent a lot of time at the station. I remember agent/operators Tom Hannon, Joe Russo and Everett Bowles.
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Re: Walpole Union Station-National Historic Registry

Postby charding » Tue Jan 12, 2016 9:09 am

Tom, great!!!
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