Wilmington Jct and Lowell Jct stations

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Wilmington Jct and Lowell Jct stations

Postby BostonUrbEx » Sun Aug 16, 2015 1:27 am

I recently, but can't remember where, came across a picture of a Wilmington Jct Station (allegedly, it was taken from quite afar). It would have been served by Boston-Lowell trains (via Salem & Lowell RR), Salem-Lowell trains, and Boston-Portland (and everywhere in between, via both NH Main and Western Route) trains. However, I can't find any evidence of any roads ever being in the area, let alone much population. Even some 1938 imagery doesn't show any sign of roads, nor any station at that time either. Anyone know where the station was located exactly/what the layout was?

And perhaps it was a transfer point only (ie: Haverhill to Salem, just change trains at Wilmington Jct!)?



Also, in regards to Lowell Jct Station, did it serve all three legs of the wye? Or just the mainline? Did B&M even have passenger service on the Lowell Branch?
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Re: Wilmington Jct and Lowell Jct stations

Postby The EGE » Sun Aug 16, 2015 8:41 am

1875, 1889, 1891, and 1904 maps all show WJ located on the northern side of the junction - thus serving the B&M (Western Route) and B&L (Salem & Lowell) but not service to Lowell via either the lower Western Route nor the Wildcat. That makes sense - the B&M and B&L would both make money off the Salem to Lawrence market (a big market back in the day - Salem-Lawrence was the only major turnpike in eastern Massachusetts that didn't radiate from Boston) and take money from the Eastern's Essex Railroad, without cutting into each others' businesses. The earlier two maps show proposed roads to the station, but I do not believe these were ever constructed.

Lowell Junction served the south end of the wye - see the 1891 map and this station photo. The Lowell Branch was hugely important for the B&M - it let them compete with the B&L on both Boston-Lowell and Lowell-Lawrence traffic. Boston-Lowell (later Lowell Junction-Lowell doodlebugs like that picture) and Boston-Lawrence-etc trains stopped; Lowell-Lawrence trains had no need to since it wasn't a very populated area. The State of Maine used the branch until October 29, 1960, and a remaining Worcester-Ayer-Lowell-Lawrence-Haverhill RDC lasted until around the end of the year.
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Re: Wilmington Jct and Lowell Jct stations

Postby bmcdr » Fri Aug 21, 2015 6:16 pm

After finding a 1914 valuation map of Wilmington Jct., I became fascinated with the whole junction and decided to investigate. In 1914 there was, in addition to the "Wildcat Branch" and the Portland Division mainline, a three track interchange yard located between the branch and the main, two stations, a signal tower, a wye connecting the main to the Salem & Lowell, a diamond, and several smaller buildings listed as company dwellings.

Armed with this map and three photographs from the Beverly Historical society, myself and a friend set out to do some digging twenty years ago. We managed to find the S&L right of way buried in the trees and brush and the spot where it crossed the B&M, to this day, you can still see it if you look hard enough. The wye ran from the S&L branch to the eastbound mainline east of the diamond (today, Route 93 obscures this right of way). We also managed to find the cellar hole for the old B&M station(there were two stations at this location, one built by each RR), in the cellar hole we found the remains of the blue porcelain station sign, a desk, and a coal scuttle.

Right now, I'm in the process of scanning three photographs of the area, and will share them with you shortly...........so stay tuned.
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Re: Wilmington Jct and Lowell Jct stations

Postby bmcdr » Fri Aug 21, 2015 6:32 pm

S&L.jpg
Here is a shot of the S&L station at Wilmington Jct. taken in 1929, the line had already been abandoned. Built in 1856 this building was adjacent to the S&L about 100 yards from the B&M diamond, towards Lowell.
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Re: Wilmington Jct and Lowell Jct stations

Postby bmcdr » Fri Aug 21, 2015 6:34 pm

WJ 2.jpg
Next is an undated photo showing the B&M tower and station before the S&L was abandoned. The S&L branch runs in front of the station and the Portland Division mainline runs left to right.
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Re: Wilmington Jct and Lowell Jct stations

Postby bmcdr » Fri Aug 21, 2015 6:37 pm

WJ 1.jpg
[Lastly, is a shot taken in 1929 after the S&L had been torn up.
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Re: Wilmington Jct and Lowell Jct stations

Postby Rockingham Racer » Sat Aug 22, 2015 5:00 am

Fascinating. Thanks for posting!
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Re: Wilmington Jct and Lowell Jct stations

Postby octr202 » Mon Aug 24, 2015 6:35 am

Seconded - fascinating look at what was once there (since I ride by it every day, had no idea). Many thanks for sharing those.
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Re: Wilmington Jct and Lowell Jct stations

Postby Rbts Stn » Mon Aug 24, 2015 11:41 am

what happened with the blue porcelain station sign?
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Re: Wilmington Jct and Lowell Jct stations

Postby bmcdr » Mon Aug 24, 2015 6:48 pm

My friend took it home, unfortunately, when they tore down the station, someone took the sign and wrapped it around a pole or tree, pretty much destroying most of the porcelain, there was just enough left to determine that the sign once said "Wilmington Jct."
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Re: Wilmington Jct and Lowell Jct stations

Postby bmcdr » Mon Aug 24, 2015 7:51 pm

1914.jpg
I decided it was time to dig up a copy of the 1914 valuation survey map, the B&M mainline is in blue. Click on the image to enlarge.
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Re: Wilmington Jct and Lowell Jct stations

Postby BostonUrbEx » Mon Aug 24, 2015 7:55 pm

Wow! That's amazing! Thank you for that!

It appears that switch-point derails were used to protect the diamond in all directions.
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Re: Wilmington Jct and Lowell Jct stations

Postby b&mmodeler » Thu Dec 31, 2015 7:58 am

Thank you David for providing such fascinating information and photos. I have been searching for information about Wilmington Junction for several years due to my interest with the B&M and the fact that this junction is in the woods behind my home.

In response to a question in the original post, I had also wondered what road lead to the junction. A review of 1938 aerial photography found on www.historicaerials.com seems to show that the only road that leads to Wilmington Junction came from the Ballardvale Street.
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Re: Wilmington Jct and Lowell Jct stations

Postby b&mmodeler » Sat Jan 23, 2016 8:35 am

Below is a link from The B&M RRHS Flickr page of Wilmington Junction

https://flic.kr/p/ip6a9y
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Re: Wilmington Jct and Lowell Jct stations

Postby bmcdr » Fri Jul 01, 2016 6:00 pm

For the last 2 days the "T" has had a contractor at Wilmington Jct. completely removing all trees and brush from between the mainline and the Wildcat Branch and along the mainline up to the Route 93 overpass. While passing through there this morning on the work train, I noticed you can catch a glimpse of the old wye that connected the B&M with the Salem & Lowell just before the overpass. When I explored this roadbed in the 1990's it only went into the trees for a short distance because Route 93 now obscures the rest of it. When I asked the foreman working with us why they were brushing out that far back from the mainline, he said that there was talk of putting in a controlled passing siding there. So, take it for what its worth, it could be fact, or it could just be rumor, God knows, rumors have a habit of running rampant on the railroad.
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