Nashua River Rail Trail when Active

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Nashua River Rail Trail when Active

Postby drvmusic » Thu Jun 12, 2014 8:42 am

Hi All,

Does anyone have or have links to any photos or video (especially including trains) of when the Nashua River Rail Trail in NH/MA was active as a railroad?

Thanks!
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Re: Nashua River Rail Trail when Active

Postby trainsinmaine » Thu Jun 12, 2014 11:53 am

Wikipedia contains a brief but quite good article about the trail and the history of its antecedent railroad (the Worcester, Nashua and Portland branch of the B&M). I do dispute one bit of information in it, however: the article states that the line was double-tracked between Worcester and Nashua in 1911. Worcester to Ayer, yes --- but I'm quite certain it wasn't double-tracked all the way to Nashua.
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Re: Nashua River Rail Trail when Active

Postby edbear » Thu Jun 12, 2014 5:12 pm

It was double track all the way to Nashua.
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Re: Nashua River Rail Trail when Active

Postby johnpbarlow » Fri Jun 13, 2014 5:14 am

There is a trail history kiosk at Groton along the trail featuring many RR photos. Many mileposts remain with mileage to Worcester on one side and mileage to Portland on the other.

Highly recommend the Nashua River Trail as a terrific and scenic trail for biking/roller blading/horse back riding/hiking. The paved path is smooth and wide reflecting the RR's double track RoW (eg, it seems wider than the Minuteman Trail built on B&M Lexington Branch). Nice ice cream shop in Pepperell, too. Watch out for rattlesnakes!
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Re: Nashua River Rail Trail when Active

Postby trainsinmaine » Fri Jun 13, 2014 6:41 am

edbear wrote:It was double track all the way to Nashua.


I'll take your word for it, edbear, but if so, the second track must have been removed a long time ago. My memories of the line go back to the '50s and I recall it only being single tracked. I don't know when the underpass over 119 in Groton was built, but it doesn't look wide enough to accommodate two tracks.
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Re: Nashua River Rail Trail when Active

Postby jaymac » Fri Jun 13, 2014 9:48 am

When it comes to wildlife cautions, don't forget the ticks.
"A white SUV with a roof antenna just might not be a company van."
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Re: Nashua River Rail Trail when Active

Postby b&m 1566 » Fri Jun 13, 2014 12:38 pm

The railroad bridge next to the fire station in Nashua is only one track. The bridge abutment however does look like it could support another track or two.
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Re: Nashua River Rail Trail when Active

Postby QB 52.32 » Fri Jun 13, 2014 5:38 pm

johnpbarlow wrote:Watch out for rattlesnakes!


I take it you speak from experience. I'm somewhat surprised, to tell the truth, and curious if you have more specific information as to the possible whereabouts.
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Re: Nashua River Rail Trail when Active

Postby johnpbarlow » Sat Jun 14, 2014 6:44 am

QB 52.32 wrote:
johnpbarlow wrote:Watch out for rattlesnakes!


I take it you speak from experience. I'm somewhat surprised, to tell the truth, and curious if you have more specific information as to the possible whereabouts.


I'm not a snake expert and I was going 10-15mph on my bike when I encountered it lying in an "S" on the pavement about a mile south of Pepperell so I could be wrong. I looked at pictures on the internet and by process of elimination that was my best guess. I didn't linger!
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Re: Nashua River Rail Trail when Active

Postby QB 52.32 » Sat Jun 14, 2014 8:47 am

Good to know, thanks.
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Re: Nashua River Rail Trail when Active

Postby edbear » Sat Jun 14, 2014 8:26 pm

Back in 1928, the WN & P from Ayer to Portland was downgraded. The the B & M had completed upgrading the Stony Brook with a Traffic Control System along with a longer segment Rollinsford to PT Tower 1. Other improvements included stone ballast, grade signals and more. At that time, the 2nd track was removed from service and later lifted, Ayer to Nashua. The Style B semaphores, Ayer to Westbrook were retired too. The north leg of the wye at North Chelmsford from the Stony Brook to the NH Route main was also constructed at this time.
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Re: Nashua River Rail Trail when Active

Postby trainsinmaine » Sun Jun 15, 2014 6:02 am

Thanks, edbear. I hadn't known this, though I was aware of the downgrading (and subsequent dismemberment) of the WN&P.

John Barlow: I read in several newspapers a few years ago that there were estimated to be well fewer than a hundred rattlesnakes left in New England north of the Mass.-Conn. border (and that Connecticut apparently had very few as well). They were thought to live in tiny colonies scattered here and there. But they do exist, at least outside Maine, and you may indeed have chanced upon one. The only rattler I ever encountered in my life was on the Cheshire Branch of the B&M in Fitzwilliam, about 45 years ago. I had been camping overnight on a nearby pond and decided to go for a walk on the roadbed in the morning. In those days the Cheshire was almost, but not quite, abandoned, so I figured (correctly) that I probably wouldn't meet a train. I did, however, meet a rattlesnake, curled up and sunning itself in the middle of the track. As I approached it, it began to rattle. I promptly turned around.
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Re: Nashua River Rail Trail when Active

Postby drvmusic » Mon Jun 16, 2014 8:55 am

johnpbarlow wrote:Highly recommend the Nashua River Trail as a terrific and scenic trail for biking/roller blading/horse back riding/hiking. The paved path is smooth and wide reflecting the RR's double track RoW (eg, it seems wider than the Minuteman Trail built on B&M Lexington Branch). Nice ice cream shop in Pepperell, too...


I second that! It is such a great, peaceful and scenic ride! That ice cream shop in Pepperell is great, too! Good incentive for the kids, too! We usually start at the trail end in Nashua.

I'll look for the kiosk with the pictures. I haven't seen any pics before of when the line was active and it'd be nice to see.

We stopped to eat lunch near the dam once and my daughter found an old, rusted railroad spike in the dirt :)
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Re: Nashua River Rail Trail when Active

Postby johnpbarlow » Tue May 12, 2015 5:45 am

Yesterday I was riding south on the bike trail through Groton when I noticed what looked like a newly constructed RR depot about 100 yards off the trail/RoW. I think the building is on Station Ave. I didn't stop to study it due to the chilly back door cold front that was setting up but next time I'm up that way I'll get some pictures. Anybody know anything about it?
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Re: Nashua River Rail Trail when Active

Postby johnpbarlow » Mon May 25, 2015 6:53 am

johnpbarlow wrote:Yesterday I was riding south on the bike trail through Groton when I noticed what looked like a newly constructed RR depot about 100 yards off the trail/RoW. I think the building is on Station Ave. I didn't stop to study it due to the chilly back door cold front that was setting up but next time I'm up that way I'll get some pictures. Anybody know anything about it?


Question answered: the depot-like building is Groton Electric Light Dept's new office building:

http://www.grotonelectric.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/NEW-Building-3-D.pdf
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