The Latest News

UPDATED:  November 22, 2015

In Chronological Order

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 Depoot 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