MBTA Boston-Concord Service: 1980-1981

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theseaandalifesaver
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MBTA Boston-Concord Service: 1980-1981

Post by theseaandalifesaver » Sat Apr 11, 2009 11:52 pm

Is it true that the MBTA once ran to NH?

If this is true, could someone answer the following questions for me?

What current rail line did the MBTA use? I'm assuming either Haverhill or Lowell. Seeing that those are the only two north-side lines that continue further North.

What towns/cities did the train serve?

Are there any signs of the stations still? I know that there's still very little of the Gardner, MA station. And that the big "T" sign was only taken down fairly recently.

Thanks!

cpf354
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Re: former MBTA NH train

Post by cpf354 » Sun Apr 12, 2009 12:12 am

Yes. Boston to Concord, NH, via Lowell, circa 1980. Don't know about stops or stations but there's a good chance it stopped in Nashua and Manchester. It was a federally funded pilot program, and it ended when the money stopped.

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ST214
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Re: former MBTA NH train

Post by ST214 » Sun Apr 12, 2009 12:55 am

All that's left is a strip of asphalt that was the platform....there's a MART garage there now.
theseaandalifesaver wrote:I know that there's still very little of the Gardner, MA station. And that the big "T" sign was only taken down fairly recently.

Thanks!
Hoping for a rebirth of the Screamer fleet.

TomNelligan
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Re: former MBTA NH train

Post by TomNelligan » Sun Apr 12, 2009 6:25 pm

The Boston-Concord service restoration lasted from January 1980 to February 1981. The service patterns was a morning train southbound, a midday round trip (which was covered at one point by a British Leyland railbus that was over here on demo), and an evening train northbound. As Mr. Cpf has noted, it was funded by a Federal grant, which was well-timed with respect to the 1980 New Hampshire presidential primary. But when that one-year grant ran out, New Hampshire declined to pick up the tab and passenger service north of Lowell once again ceased. Stops north of Lowell were Nashua, Merrimack, Manchester, and Concord. The "stations" at the first three were just paved platforms, and at Concord the train used the former 1950s-era B&M station that had become the bus depot.

ThinkNarrow
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Re: Former MBTA Service to NH

Post by ThinkNarrow » Sun Apr 12, 2009 8:17 pm

A friend and I rode the evening train to Concord by both driving there, leaving one car there and taking the other car to Lowell to board the train there. Ridership to Nashua was pretty good. Ridership to Manchester was so-so, and ridership to Concord was almost nil.

-John

djlong
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Re: MBTA Boston-Concord Service: 1980-1981

Post by djlong » Mon Apr 13, 2009 8:49 am

One interesting note about that service.

Originally, it was just going to have stops in Nashua, Manchester and Concord. However, the citizens of Merrimack (just north of Nashua) actually picketed the line demanding a stop in their town. It was effective enough to get a simple asphalt slab laid down to make the stop in Merrimack.

Compare this to the reaction of towns along the Greenbush line in the 1990s. You would have thought that the Four Horseman of The Apocalypse were driving each train to/from the South Shore.

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Re: MBTA Boston-Concord Service: 1980-1981

Post by FrankG » Mon Apr 13, 2009 10:54 am

I found this old building on Google Maps. It looks like it was probably a station at one point, and now looks like it is a private residence or small office:

http://maps.google.com/maps?sourceid=na ... 3333333333

Was the 1980's-era stop near here, or was it somewhere else?

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Otto Vondrak
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Re: MBTA Boston-Concord Service: 1980-1981

Post by Otto Vondrak » Mon Apr 13, 2009 12:08 pm

Was there a regular timetable for this service? Was it operated as part of the Lowell Line?

Was there even a "Lowell Line?"

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B&Mguy
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Re: MBTA Boston-Concord Service: 1980-1981

Post by B&Mguy » Mon Apr 13, 2009 3:00 pm

There was indeed a schedule for this service. I found an old timetable a few years ago at a show. It was on the Lowell line schedule since it was an extension of this service. It was a standard MBTA Commuter Rail schedule from 1980, with the purple color scheme. I’m not sure how they did it when the service became the railbus shuttle though.

I’ve always wondered why the switched from full train sets to the railbus. Does anyone know?

Philip Wirth
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Re: MBTA Boston-Concord Service: 1980-1981

Post by Philip Wirth » Mon Apr 13, 2009 3:03 pm

It was probably awfully confusing to some people to have two stations named "Concord."

GP40MC 1116
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Re: MBTA Boston-Concord Service: 1980-1981

Post by GP40MC 1116 » Mon Apr 13, 2009 3:10 pm

This may answer some of your question's.

http://www.nashuacitystation.com/?article=commuterrail

madcrow
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Re: MBTA Boston-Concord Service: 1980-1981

Post by madcrow » Mon Apr 13, 2009 4:04 pm

One unreliable rumor I've also heard something about there having been plans to restart the service (again) a few years later, but Guilford blocking the T from running trains over the trackage it still owned (aka everything north of Lowell) due to the same hatred of all things "passenger" that led them to not even try and bid for contract renewal in '86.

TomNelligan
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Re: MBTA Boston-Concord Service: 1980-1981

Post by TomNelligan » Mon Apr 13, 2009 4:35 pm

GP40MC 1116 wrote:This may answer some of your question's.

http://www.nashuacitystation.com/?article=commuterrail
Good article, except that the startup date is wrong. As I wrote above, the service ran from January 1980 until February 1981. I witnessed the inaugural run on January 28, 1980 and you can find my photos in the March 1980 issue of Passenger Train Journal. The service ended fairly abruptly on February 28, 1981 when the money ran out.
madcrow wrote:One unreliable rumor I've also heard something about there having been plans to restart the service (again) a few years later, but Guilford blocking the T from running trains over the trackage it still owned


There was never any serious funding in place for a second restoration in the 1980s.

cpf354
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Re: MBTA Boston-Concord Service: 1980-1981

Post by cpf354 » Mon Apr 13, 2009 10:45 pm

In the revisionist history department, I observe that a comment was made about Guilford's 1986 loss of the commuter rail operating contract, with the implication that it was becasue they "hated passenger trains". While I don't know the entire story, my recollection was that the T refused to renew with Guilford becasue of disruptions to commuter service caused the strikes at the time. In other words, it wasn't Guilford's idea. Didn't they express interest in getting the contract back when Amtrak's was up? As for not wanting passenger trains on their own routes, they don't want the liability.

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Re: MBTA Boston-Concord Service: 1980-1981

Post by MBTA3247 » Tue Apr 14, 2009 12:07 am

cpf354 wrote:Didn't they express interest in getting the contract back when Amtrak's was up?
As I understand it, the T pretty much had to beg Guilford to submit a bid so they could maintain the illusion of competitive bidding, and the bid Guilford submitted was designed to be rejected.
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