The Latest News

UPDATED:  December 17, 2017

In Chronological Order

December 17, 2017  Minuteman Bikeway 25th Anniversary Documentary

Local producer Kim Downey did a terrific job creating this documenary about the genesis of the Minuteman Commuter Bikeway on its 25th anniversary. FBDP president Jim Shea was among the people she interviewed for it.

December 17, 2017  Holiday Open House a Success

We appreciate the many visitors who came to see the Freight House Welcome Center and Budd Car Museum on the weekend of December 2 and 3. View a time-lapse (20 times normal speed) video that was recorded by one of the building’s webcams.

December 17, 2017  Freight House to Close for the Winter

The Freight House Welcome Center is to close for the winter after December 23. Please visit the online store if you are interested in any of our local history-related merchandise. The Freight House will likely reopen sometime in April, the date to be determined by the weather and bikeway activity.

November 11, 2017  Freight House Holiday Sales Event, December 2 and 3

Please visit the Freight House on the weekend of December 2 and 3, 10:00 to 5:00, for a holiday open house. See the Budd Car museum and a model railroad of Bedford in the 1950s. Local history merchandise from the Friends, Historical Society and Minuteman Company will be featured.

Holiday sales event 2017
Holiday sales event postcard
Click the above image to see a postcard that is being mailed to all Bedford households.

October 29, 2017  2017 Annual Report

Please click here to view a PDF of the Annual Report that was presented at the 2017 Annual Meeting.

October 29, 2017  Freight House Public Restrooms

An anonymous donor has provided the funds to have the Freight House public restrooms open on weekdays during November and April, months of the year when they are normally open only on weekends. The donation will pay for daily custodial labor to maintain the restrooms.

October 29, 2017  Freight House Fall/Winter Schedule

Beginning on November 4 and depending on volunteer shopkeeper availability, the Freight House will be open on Saturdays between 11:00 and 5:00 and on Sundays between 2:00 and 5:00. If you plan to travel a significant distance to visit, we recommend that you phone (781-687-6180) ahead to ensure that the Freight House is open. The Freight House welcome center normally closes for the season by the last weekend in December.

October 29, 2017  Officer Elections

Members who attended the Annual Meeting on October 21 reelected by a unanimous vote the current officers to new two-year terms: clerk Michele Herron, treasurer Walter Weinfurt, vice president William Deen, and president James Shea.

October 29, 2017  Freight House Platform Project

A contractor for the Bedford Facilities Department has begun work to rebuild the dilapidated Freight House platform, ramp, steps and railings. Access to the Freight House front door might be curtailed at times. The work is expected to be finished by mid-November.

September 16, 2017  Boston & Maine Potbelly Stove Is Donated

The organization is most grateful to Martin Merva for his donation of a vintage Boston & Maine Railroad #1 potbelly stove that he purchased, restored and donated to FBDP. This type of stove was used to heat the railroad's smaller buildings. It is on display inside the Budd Car's baggage room.

Martin Merva and his daughter Piper are seen with the restored B&M #1 potbelly stove that they donated to the Friends.
B&M potbelly stove

September 10, 2017  New Freight House Schedule

The Freight House welcome center is currently scheduled to be open on Saturdays between 10:00 and 6:00 and on Sundays between 2:00 and 6:00. Sunday morning openings would be possible if someone (either on a volunteer or paid basis) is available to be a shopkeeper during that time. Please contact vice president Bill Deen for more information.

August 13, 2017  Annual Meeting on October 21 at Noon

The organization's Annual Meeting and Officer Elections is scheduled to occur on Saturday, October 21, at noon, inside the railroad car at Depot Park. Entertainment will include presentations about the MBTA's mid-1970s study to extend the Red Line to Arlington Heights and beyond via the Lexington Branch right-of-way and early history about plans to use the corridor as a rail-trail. A complimentary lunch will be provided. Guests of members are welcome. Please mark your calendar!

July 1, 2017  Freight House Now Open on Sundays

The Freight House welcome center and railroad car museum are scheduled to be open on Sundays this summer between 10:00 and 6:00. Saturday openings are dependent on the availabity of shopkeepers. If you are interested in helping the organization on Saturdays or any other time, please contact vice president Bill Deen.

April 14, 2017  Reformatory Branch Rail-Trail Update

Bedford's engineering consultant recently presented an update about a proposed project to pave the Reformatory Branch Rail-Trail between Railroad Avenue and the Concord town line. Click here to view a PDF in a new browser window.

April 10, 2017  Freight House Decking Project

The Town of Bedford has hired a contractor to install a new ramp, platform, steps and railings outside the Freight House. Work is to begin this week and be substantially concluded by early June. The Freight House welcome center and RDC 6211 are expected to reopen for the season after this construction is complete.

April 10, 2017  Volume 23, Issue 1

The latest newsletter is headed to the printer. The closure of Arlington Heights Station in 1951 is covered in this issue.

December 10, 2016  2016 Fundraising Drive

The directors much appreciate the continuing response from members to the organization's 2016 fundraising drive. These donations will help FBDP to hire part-time shopkeepers, usually high school students, to operate the Freight House welcome center on weekends during the 2017 bikeway season, April through October. If you care to contribute, you may do so conveniently and securely through the online store.

November 26, 2016  Freight House Late Season Schedule

We endeavor to have the Freight House welcome center open for holiday shopping on weekends in December, 11:00 to 5:00, through Saturday, December 24. These openings depend on the avilability of volunteer shopkeepers -- so if you are traveling a significant distance to visit, we encourage you to phone ahead (781-687-6180) to ensure that someone is on duty.

The Freight House will be closed during the winter. Merchandise is available year round from FBDP's online store:

November 5, 2016  2016 Annual Report

Click here to read FBDP's 2016 Annual Report, which was presented at the Annual Meeting on October 15. (PDF file format)

November 5, 2016  Holiday Sales Event

The Bedford Historical Society, Bedford Minuteman Company and FBDP are holding a holiday sales event at the Freight House, 120 South Road, on Saturday, December 3, between 10:00 and 4:00. A wide range of historical merchandise will be discounted then.

November 5, 2016  New Director At-Large

FBDP is happy to announce that Joseph Impellizeri has joined the organization's Board of Directors as a director at-large. Joe has a professional financial background and is enthisiastic about FBDP's activities and accomplishments. More about Joe is planned for the next newsletter issue.

November 5, 2016  New Treasurer

FBDP welcomes Walter Weinfurt as the organization's acting treasurer. The directors appointed Walter at their September 24 meeting to the post until officer elections are held at the 2017 Annual Meeting next October. More about Walter is planned for the next newsletter issue.

July 4, 2016  Annual Meeting on October 15

Please save the date for FBDP's 2016 Annual Meeting on Saturday, October 15, at noon, inside the Budd Car at Depot Park. A lunch will be provided. The entertainment will be announced in an upcoming newsletter issue. Guests are welcome.

May 15, 2016  Volume 22, Issue 1

The latest issue of Bedford Depot News was bulk-mailed to members on May 2.

May 15, 2016  A New Clerk for FBDP!

The FBDP directors welcome Michele Herron as the organization's new clerk. She takes over from David Shamlian who resigned in January due to increased demands at home. Michele is available to answer your membership-related questions:  e-mail Michele Herron

February 28, 2016  Documentary Recorded Inside RDC 6211

Local historian Richard Symmes and Beverly videographer/editor Matthew Pujo produced a documentary that marks the 60th anniversary of the Swampscott Train Wreck. A portion of the program was recorded inside RDC 6211 at Bedford Depot Park and covers the history of RDCs on the Boston & Maine Railroad. View the program on YouTube by clicking on this link.

February 21, 2016  An Important Message About FBDP's Continued Operation of the Freight House Welcome Center

The organization has been without a treasurer since mid-April. With David Shamlian stepping down last month due to family needs, it is now also without a clerk. It is improbable that FBDP can continue operating the Freight House welcome center with these two vacancies. The vice president and president cannot be expected to shoulder the workload that is normally accomplished by four officers.

If the two vacancies are not filled by the time of the next directors meeting on March 19, a decision is expected then whether to cease operating the welcome center and to scale back the organization's purpose to only local railroad history preservation and publication of the newsletter, which is how FBDP initially operated. Without a need to operate the Freight House, the organization might be able to adequately function with two officers:  a combined clerk/treasurer post and a president.

Some members may view FBDP leaving the Freight House as an unfortunate outcome -- but the membership has been informed of this possibility multiple times through the newsletter, direct mail, web site and Annual Meeting. Ample opportunities to avert the current direction have been given and will remain a while longer. Please read the post below.

January 18, 2016  Two Officers Are Needed

At their quarterly meeting in December, FBDP's directors discussed the organization's need of a clerk and treasurer. They hope these two posts can be filled over the winter. Continued operation of the Freight House welcome center otherwise falls into question. The directors are to meet again in March to make a decision whether to scale back the organization’s function to only publication of the newsletter and preservation of our local railroad history and to discontinue its involvement with the welcome center.

Please contact FBDP or any of the officers if you would consider serving as either clerk or treasurer. The clerk keeps the organization’s membership list current and reminds people when their membership is up for renewal. The treasurer maintains the organization’s financial records, pays its bills, and prepares occasional financial reports for the directors. It is possible to perform these duties at the Freight House or via remote access to the office computer.

January 18, 2016  Volume 21, Issue 4

The next issue of Bedford Depot News is at the printer. This issue includes news about the train order signals and masts that were recently returned to Bedford Depot and information about a shortline railway that was surveyed for Billerica.

November 22, 2015  Holiday Sale at the Freight House on November 28

Visit the Freight House on Saturday, November 28, between 10:00 and 5:00 for discounts on history-related merchandise from FBDP, the Minuteman Company and Historical Society: literature, DVDs, apparel, Bedford Flags, tree ornaments, ceramic mugs and much more. If you are unable to visit in person, you may order items through the online store on November 28 and enter the code "Holiday Sale 2015" at checkout to receive the savings.

November 22, 2015  Replacement Depot Signal Masts

The Bedford DPW has purchased and prepared two replacement signal masts for Bedford Depot. The building's original train order signals, which date to about 1910, will be attached atop the new masts. The DPW plans to install them using a crane on December 7. One of the old masts was deemed structurally unsound. Town officials made a decision to replace both masts at the same time.

November 8, 2015  "Boston's MTA: Through Riverside and Beyond"

New to the Freight House and our online store is this hefty hardcover book from the Boston Street Railway Association. Over 230 pages of sharp color photos, maps and narrative describe the years, 1950 to 1964, when the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) operated streetcar service in Boston and its suburban areas. Included is an interesting chapter about streetcar service to Arlington Heights. This is an excellent publication that you will refer to often.

October 26, 2015  Election Results and Annual Report

Members at the Annual Meeting on October 24 reelected Jim Shea as president, Bill Deen as vice president, and Dave Shamlian as clerk for two-year terms.

Mr. Shamlian previously informed the directors that he would be unable to serve another term, but offered to continue as clerk for a few more months to allow time for the organization to find someone to be the clerk. He plans to resign before his two-year term is up.

A member who previously expressed interest in being elected treasurer changed their mind soon before the Annual Meeting. The Annual Meeting did not elect a treasurer, so this position is currently vacant. The directors will be considering options for where we go from here.

Please click here to view a PDF of the 2015 Annual Report that was presented at the meeting.

October 26, 2015  Freight House Hours in November

Barring inclement weather, Bedford Freight House is scheduled to be open on weekends in November between 11:00 A.M. and 5:00 P.M.

FBDP will be joining with the Bedford Historical Society on a special holiday sale at the Freight House on Saturday, November 28, between 10:00 A.M. and 5:00 P.M. Merchandise from both organizations will be available at significant discounts. This is a good opportunity to pick up some unique local history gifts at a discount.

October 26, 2015  Volume 21, Issue 3

"Crime on the Local Railroad" is among the interesting articles in the current issue of Bedford Depot News that is in the mail.

October 11, 2015  FBDP Needs a Clerk

Due to demands in his personal life, David Shamlian has decided to not seek reelection to the office of clerk at the upcoming Annual Meeting on October 24. Please consider being a candidate for this important and rewarding post! The clerk's primary duties are to remind members when to send in their annual dues and to keep the organization's membership list current. The clerk may use the Freight House office or work from home.

October 11, 2015  A History of Lexington's Railroad Stations on October 24

Just a reminder to please join us at FBDP's Annual Meeting and Officer Elections on Saturday, October 24, at 2:00, at Lexington Depot. In additional to conducting the organization's business that includes elections of officers, Jeffrey Lucas will present an illustrated program about the history of Lexington's five railroad stations. Only the depot in Lexington Center, the location of our meeting, survives today. Guests are welcome!

August 24, 2015  Depot Park Is Highlighted in Regional Magazine

AAA ("Triple A") published an article about Depot Park and its three nearby rail-trails in the August issue of Horizons magazine.

July 12, 2015  Volume 21, Issue 2

The 60th birthday of ex-B&M RDC 6211, now displayed at Bedford Depot Park, is highlighted in the current newsletter issue that is in the mail. A special event is planned in the car for July 25.

June 30, 2015  Depot Painting Project

Bedford Depot is receiving a bit of touchup painting, a final step in the comprehensive facade restoration project. The gutters, downspouts and vinyl HVAC shrouds have been painted in the classic B&M "cream and maroon" color scheme. Next, the Freight House exterior will receive a fresh coating of paint.

  • June 21, 2015
    Bedford Depot painting project - June 2015
  • The Bedford DPW restored a second baggage cart for Depot Park.

June 14, 2015  20th Anniversary Event Planned for July 25

FBDP will hold a special event to mark this organization's 20th anniversary and the 60th birthday of RDC 6211. Please join us on Saturday, July 25, at 5:00 P.M. for a special evening that will include a BBQ dinner. Seating is limited and offered on a first come basis. Click here for more information and to reserve your spot.

May 3, 2015  Section House at Bedford Yard

This June 1971 photo shows a pair of Budd RDCs in Bedford Yard. It is interesting to see that the old B&M Section House (on the left side of the frame) was still standing in the early 1970s. The slide comes from a web page of transit photos, and it does not identify the photographer. Should you have any information about this photo, please e-mail us.

Bedford Railroad Yard - June 30, 1971
Click on the image to view a larger version.

April 30, 2015  Index of Newsletter Back Issues

We are working to create a searchable database of newsletter back issues. A preliminary version may be viewed by following the link on the Newsletter web page. Back issues are available for purchase through our online store.

April 24, 2015  Volume 21, Issue 1

The latest newsletter issue is back from the printer, and volunteers will be preparing it for mailing over the weekend. This issue includes a former B&M trainmaster's memories of the final years of the Lexington Branch, a comprehensive 1877 Massachusetts Railroad Commissioners report about the Billerica & Bedford Railroad, and a large centerspread photo of the BB Local freight train crossing Woburn Street in Lexington in 1949.

April 12, 2015  Interim Treasurer Needed

FBDP has an immediate need for an interim treasurer until the next election in October. Duties include maintaining account balances in Quicken, making bank deposits, paying the organization's bills, and preparing occasional financial reports. These tasks may be done at the Freight House office or at a person's home. Please contact us if you or someone you know may help:  e-mail us.

April 5, 2015  A New Bikeway Season

After a very harsh winter that has not quite yet loosened its grip, plans are afoot to reopen the Freight House welcome center for a new season beginning on Patriot's Day weekend. Scheduled hours are 11:00 to 5:00 for the last two weekends of April, then 10:00 to 6:00 on weekends beginning in May. As always, we recommend that visitors phone the Freight House (781-687-6180) if they are traveling a significant distance to ensure that a shopkeeper is on duty.

The railroad car will be closed to the public on Sunday, April 19, due to a rental.

February 11, 2015  Depot Park Is Covered by Snow

About six feet of snow have so far fallen on Depot Park this winter season. See photos in the slideshow below.

  • Photos taken on February 11, 2015
    Winter 2015 at Bedford Depot Park
  • Winter 2015 at Bedford Depot Park

January 31, 2015  Carl Silvestrone

We are saddened to learn of the death of Carl Silvestrone, a Bedford native and veteran DPW employee. Carl did a lot to benefit FBDP and Depot Park over 20+ years. He was a genius at making and repairing things. Long before Carl's most recent efforts to restore the old baggage cart that is now displayed in the Freight House plaza, he went on many volunteer "missions" to procure parts for RDC 6211's restoration. Carl also spent countless hours working on the Budd Car after it was brought to Bedford in 1998. He fabricated the replica "Bedford" signs that are attached to the Depot's facia, repaired the train order signals atop the station, and built the handsome structure that displays the Special Places sign that is adjacent to the building. These are only a few of Carl's many unselfish contributions that quickly come to mind.

  • Carl Silvestrone stands in front of the old railway baggage cart that he restored with DPW colleague Paul Quatrale.
    Carl Silvestrone
  • Carl built the "Special Places" sign display that is adjacent to Bedford Depot and the Minuteman Bikeway.
  • Carl repaired the historic train order signals atop Bedford Depot.
  • The four replica "Bedford" signs on the Depot were made and installed by Carl.
  • Carl played a large role in the cosmetic restoration of ex-Boston & Maine RDC 6211 that is at Depot Park.
  • Carl is seen attaching a restored pilot to one end of RDC 6211.
  • Many features of Depot Park are part of Carl Silvestrone's lasting legacy.

January 26, 2015  RDC 6211 in the Boston Sunday Globe

The cosmetically restored ex-Boston & Maine RDC 6211 at Bedford Depot Park was featured in a Boston Sunday Globe article on January 18. The article is about the MBTA's possible return to self-propelled Diesel cars in communter rail service.

January 1, 2015  William L. Patton

William Patton was a longtime supporter of FBDP and a contributor to its newsletter. He died on December 25 at the age of 87 years. More about Bill and his memories of working as an agent at Arlington and Lexington Stations will appear in the next newsletter issue.

Bill Patton in 2004
Boston & Maine Railroad historian William L. Patton

December 27, 2014  Freight House to Reopen in the Spring

Although the Freight House is closed for the winter, you may obtain many of the items there through our online store.

December 27, 2014  Robert M. Howe

Word reached us today that member and former Lexington Branch conductor Robert Howe died yesterday. Bob began his long Boston & Maine Railroad career in 1946. FBDP recorded his oral history in 2005, which you may view here.

Bob Howe at the Depot Park ribbon cutting ceremony on June 15, 2009
Conductor Robert M. Howe

December 24, 2014  Online Store Improvement

We have connected FBDP's online store with the United States Postal Service so that the most accurate postage is applied to orders based on the recipient's mailing address. Shipping costs are dynamically updated based on the recipient's ZIP Code, the type of service selected (First Class Mail, Priority Mail, Priority Express or Media Mail), and the current USPS rates.

December 22, 2014  Volume 20, Issue 4

The latest newsletter issue was dispatched in the mail today. Featured in this issue is a report about efforts in 1925 to save the late-night Theatre Train on the Lexington Branch.

November 15, 2014  Depot Project Is Nearing Completion

The project to restore the facade of Bedford Depot and improve handicap accessibility to the first floor is in its final stages. New window units and doors were installed, a platform and ramp were built, and the exterior was painted. In addition, the Town installed new cooling and heating systems so that window air conditioners would not be necessary. A new handicap-accessible restroom is now under construction on the first floor. The Facilities Department will soon create "punch list" for the contractor to identify any remaining tasks and clean-up. The DPW will paint and install new train order signal masts to replace the original masts that were determined to be structurally unsound.

  • The front (western) side of Bedford Depot
    Bedford Depot facade restoration project
  • Depot facade restoration project