Ford Yard in Ayer

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Ford Yard in Ayer

Postby Engineer Spike » Sat Aug 20, 2016 10:22 pm

When did the B&M develop the Ford Yard in Ayer, near the Willows? How did they manage to capture this business instead of PC-CR?
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Re: Ford Yard in Ayer

Postby edbear » Sun Aug 21, 2016 4:33 pm

B & M built the Ayer Auto Facility about 1973. I seem to think N & W helped with the financing; it was run through the bankruptcy court. The Ford business was a New Haven operation and that road had some sort of facility in Readville. Penn Central was probably at a very low point when N & W/B & M and Ford built the Ayer facility. I think it was 6 tracks, right off Willows Road (THE WILLOWS). When I worked at Amtrak, one of the former New Haven trainmen who became a trainer, mentioned his first day on the road. I think the autos came in via Maybrook to New Haven, probably through Hartford-Willimantic-Plainfield-Putnam-Readville. On his first day, a car of Fords went on the ground at Versailles, CT on the Willimantic-Plainfield branch. It was about 1965. Much earlier, when I was a teenager, maybe 1959-1960, I photographed an auto rack of new Fords in the NH yard in Framingham, so maybe initially the Fords came via NYC to Framingham. Boston area auto yards were Readville-Ford (later Ayer), Framingham-GM, Westboro-Chrysler, Somerville-American Motors.
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Re: Ford Yard in Ayer

Postby edbear » Mon Aug 22, 2016 7:53 pm

The access road into the Ayer Auto Facility was Berkshire Blvd., named after Harry B. Berkshire, Chief Engineer of the B & M, who was imported from the Penn Central. I was thumbing through a 1960s Official Guide and Harry was an engineering officer on NYC Lines out of Detroit. He later renewed his acquaintance with his former boss, Al Perlman, when he left the B & M for the Western Pacific. At the B & M, we were always suspicious of numerous imports off the Penn Central. However, most (but not all) of those who came from the New York Central side of the PC were much more polished and easier to deal with than those from the Pennsylvania side of the PC. We had them both.
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Re: Ford Yard in Ayer

Postby NashuaActon&Boston » Mon Mar 13, 2017 6:15 pm

Was Conrail somehow involved in the development of the Ford Yard in Ayer? I worked there as a young guy unloading autoracks in 2001. I believe CSX owned the property, thus perhaps an old Conrail connection..?
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Re: Ford Yard in Ayer

Postby edbear » Tue Mar 14, 2017 2:22 pm

No. Norfolk & Western loaned the B & M the funds to build it and B & M repaid the loan. The Ford business had been a New Haven RR operation into Readville and continued as Penn Central traffic. N & W got the business away from Penn Central and got the B & M into the auto business.
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Re: Ford Yard in Ayer

Postby Noel Weaver » Tue Mar 14, 2017 5:15 pm

The New Haven handled the auto traffic to Readville in a dedicated train more or less although it was ran via Waterbury and Hartford. The only other traffic they handled on the "Ford Train" was some hot cars of meat for Waterbury. This had been a regular Sunday move for years. I agree with the comment that the NYC folks were far better to work with than the former PRR people were.
After rhe take over the Fords ran on the B & A and the service went downhill from there.
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Re: Ford Yard in Ayer

Postby newpylong » Tue Apr 11, 2017 9:41 am

Lease with CSXT ends this year...
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