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Select Books About New England Railroad History
9780615593715.jpg George Mansfield and the Billerica & Bedford Railroad
George Mansfield and the Billerica & Bedford Railroad

George Mansfield and the Billerica & Bedford Railroad
By Donald L. Ball -- Published in 2012

Hardcover:  Text, Maps, Illustrations and Photographs

This is the definitive reference book for anyone who is interested in the history of the first two-foot-gauge railway in the United States.

When the Massachusetts towns of Bedford and Billerica clamored for a railroad, George E. Mansfield appeared on the scene and sold them on a new, inexpensive way to build one. He finished the line and it was acclaimed around the world as a brilliant new departure in railroad building. The Billerica & Bedford Railroad delivered everything its promoter said it would but, yet, it failed financially in less than a year. What happened to cause this failure?

Using original railroad documents and letters along with newspaper and trade journal articles, the author delves into the behind-the-scenes machinations that plagued this 8½ mile line. The backgrounds of the people involved are explored to determine their goals and motivations. Numerous drawings of the railroad rolling stock and structures are included along with examinations of the technical aspects of line which made it so revolutionary. George Mansfield went on to build the Sandy River Railroad as well as the Bridgton & Saco River Railroad, both of which survived into the 1930s and beyond. After only six years of railroad building, though, Mansfield seemingly vanished from the railroad scene without building another railroad. George did continue in railroading and rare documents and family photos show his later life along with his earlier lives and activities.

The technical features of this remarkable new gauge and railroad are covered in detail including the changes made by the Sandy River Railroad and subsequent owners. Original B&B brochures, corporate records and preliminary information drawn by George E. Mansfield are featured. This is the story of the pioneer two-footer which paved the way for the more successful narrow-gauge lines built in Maine and other locations around the country. It is also the story of the promoter of the Mansfield System of two-foot gauge railroads, who he was, where he came from and what happened to him and his dreams.

Today, the Billerica & Bedford Railroad’s Engine House survives as the ex-Boston & Maine Railroad Freight House in Bedford, Massachusetts, at the terminus of the Minuteman Bikeway.

This book is printed on heavyweight, glossy paper. It weighs over 2½ pounds.

FBDP083.jpg RDC: The Budd Rail Diesel Car
RDC: The Budd Rail Diesel Car

RDC: The Budd Rail Diesel Car
by Donald Duke and Edmund Keilty

Hardcover:  375 Photographs and Illustrations, 295 pages

This book chronicles, in word and picture, the history and development of the Budd Company's Rail Diesel Car, also known as the "RDC." The story evolves around a search for a self-contained, self-propelled railcar to reduce costs on suburban and branch rail lines. This book describes Budd's experiment with a stainless steel rubber-tired railcar, the first RDC prototype in the 1940s, the company's entry into the stainless steel railroad car business, and the birth and growth of the RDC. A vast appendix features every carrier that operated RDCs, a description of how the cars were used, route maps, and rosters of each railroad.

Anyone who is interested in the Boston & Maine RDC that is on display at Bedford Depot Park will appreciate this hefty book. The B&M once operated the largest fleet of RDCs in the world.

9780578116891.jpg The Railroad Was Our Life!
$44.95 $39.95 On Sale!
The Railroad Was Our Life!

The Railroad Was Our Life!
By Michael Enos

Softcover:  89 pages, color photos

This book about life on the Boston & Maine Railroad was written by five employees who collectively have 150 years on the railroad. They wrote in the book's introduction:

"We would like to take you back in time to when the B&M was at its best. ...From the time we began working on the B&M, it was obvious this was no ordinary job. Our elders and teachers taught us to trust, respect and depend on each other. It was as if we had become part of this huge family and in time, it became a reality. An unbelievable bond was created along with a tremendous sense of respect and pride. For the five of us, the bond has never been broken and the sense of pride and respect has never diminished.

"We will be shaing our memories and pictures along with comments about the different types of equipment and services. We will discuss the very dramatic and painful changes that took place on the Boston & Maine during our careers that affected us and our families. The Boston & Maine Railroad should never be forgotten. We will carry its legacy with us forever."

Michael A. Enos, locomotive engineer, 1968-2009

Russell F. Munroe, conductor, 1968-1998

Lee Atkins, conductor, 1979-2007

David S. Hutchinson, conductor, 1974 to present

Al Autino, freight agent, 1970-2008


FBDP486.jpg I Am the Train!
$54.95 $49.95 On Sale!
I Am the Train!

I Am the Train!
By Michael Enos

Softcover:  Text, Color Photographs -- 133 pages

After 41 years as a locomotive engineer on the Boston & Maine Railroad, Michael Enos tells his intimate and revealing story. I Am the Train! is a poignat, inside look of the life of an engineer on the B&M. He discusses everything from train handling, the generation gap among railroad workers, the many stresses of the job, and the difficult adjustment he had transitioning from an enjoyable career in railroading to retirement. Along the way, Mike shares many of his favorite memories.

This 133-page book has over 185 color photographs from B&M historians Carl Byron, David S. Hutchinson, Lee Atkins, Russell Munroe and others. Included is a heartfelt message from former Boston & Maine president Alan Dustin. I Am the Train! is a terrific followup to Mike's first book, The Railroad Was My Life!

Published in December 2013

9780982368411.jpg Boston and Maine Memories
Boston and Maine Memories book

Boston and Maine Memories
Featuring the Photography and Career of Preston Johnson
By George and Katherine Melvin

Hardcover, Black & White and Color Photographs, 112 pages

Take a trip down memory lane as we guide you through the 45-year career of former Boston & Maine Railroad dispatcher Preston Johnson and present many of the memories and photographs of this lifelong railroad aficionado. Learn about the various B&M main and branch lines that Preston came to know so well, including the Lexington Branch to Bedford, Massachusetts.

This high quality book contains 230 photos of steam locomotoves, brand new Diesels, stations, towers and yards that are richly captioned with details about the railroad's operation and history. Preston's love for the old Boston & Maine emanates from each page.

9780942147117.jpg Lost Railroad of New England, Third Edition
Lost Railroads of New England, Third Edition

The Lost Railroads of New England
Third Edition
by Ronald Dale Karr

Paperback, Text, Maps and Photographs, 240 Pages

This guide is another essential book for the New England "railfan." With an informative summary of the rise and fall of New England's railroads, Lost Railroads of New England is a comprehensive guide to all abandoned rail lines in the six New England states. The core of the new edition is an expanded, updated, fully annotated directory of abandonments from 1848 through 2009. It also includes new photographs and new maps.

This new edition features:

* All new maps showing abandoned rail lines in the six New England states

* Many more photographs of rail-trails and railroad artifacts on abandoned lines

* Many directory entries rewritten for better clarity and expanded with new information.

This is a book you will turn to again and again!

9780942147087.jpg A Field Guide to Southern New England Railroad Depots and Freight Houses
A Field Guide to Southern New England Railroad Depots and Freight Houses

A Field Guide to Southern New England Railroad Depots and Freight Houses
By John H. Roy, Jr.

Softcover, 346 pages with photos

The author spent the last 15 years tracking down every station and freight house still in existence in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. This handbook provides a comprehensive guide to all 467 such structures that survive as of2007.

Each entry includes a photograph of the building, the date when it was built, its current use, and brief historical and architectural notes. "Railfans," modelers, architecture enthusiasts, local history buffs, and historical preservationists will find a wealth of information to help them explore New England's architectural and railroad heritage. Bedford Depot and Freight House are included in this book.

FBDP445.jpg The Central Mass.
The Central Mass.

The Central Mass. - Expanded Second Edition
By Marker Press

Hardcover, Text and B&W Photographs, 177 pages

The Central Mass., first published by the Boston & Maine Railroad Historical Society in 1975, set forth the colorful history of the line from its beginnings as the Central Massachusetts Railroad until the publication date. This expanded second edition includes a reprint of the original plus 39 new pages about the subsequent fate of the branch line, its final days under B&M operation, and ongoing rebirth as a rail-trail. The supplement features 30 new illustrations and maps.

This book is a must-have for anyone who is interested in the history of the fabled B&M Central Massachusetts Branch!

FBDP414.jpg Boston & Maine Trackside with Arthur E. Mitchell
Untitled Document

Boston & Maine Trackside with Arthur E. Mitchell
by Carl R. Byron

Hardcover, Text and Color Photographs, 128 pages

The “trackside” series of books continues on this trip to the Boston & Maine Railroad during the 1950s. As Arthur Mitchell sets out to record the end of steam on New England's pioneering railroad, he also encounters the emergence of new Diesel equipment.

FBDP423.jpg Trackside Along the Boston & Maine 1945-78 with Donald G. Hills
Untitled Document

Trackside Along the Boston & Maine 1948-75 with Donald G. Hills
by Carl R. Byron

Hardcover, Text and Color Photographs, 128 pages

Firsthand testimony and spectacular color photography tell the story of a career B&M agent-operator and his railroad from World War II through the 1970s. The production quality of this book is first rate.

9780738505466.jpg Boston & Maine in the 19th Century
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Boston & Maine in the 19th Century
by Bruce D. Heald, Ph.D.

Paperback, Text and Photographs, 128 Pages

All the romance of early railroading in northern New England pervades Boston & Maine in the 19th Century. This fascinating journey begins in the 1830s with an eight-mile line that just kept growing. By the end of the century, the Boston & Maine was traveling over 2,324 miles of track.

This first pictorial history of the Boston & Maine explores the heyday of an enterprising railroad. Using spectacular images, most of which have never before been published, the book takes us along scenic stretches of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine.

Through the generosity of the Boston & Maine Railroad Historical Society, the author was able to assemble this tribute to a transportation dynasty. Working with rare photographs and original documents from the Society's extensive archives, he has produced a work that is destined to please not only railroad enthusiasts but also residents of northeastern regions crossed by rail.

9780738505473.jpg Boston & Maine in the 20th Century
Untitled Document

Boston & Maine in the 20th Century
by Bruce D. Heald, Ph.D.

Paperback, Text and Photographs, 128 Pages

As the 20th century dawned, the Boston & Maine Railroad Company controlled virtually all of the rail lines in New Hampshire, as well as much of the service in Maine and Massachusetts. Ultimately, the company operated more than 2,000 stations in northern New England. The train was the most important mode of travel, and the stations were the center of the community.

Boston & Maine in the 20th Century continues the first pictorial history of the company, Boston & Maine in the 19th Century. With more than 200 rare images and historical narrative, the book details the trains and their destinations:  the terminals, stations, depots, and whistle stops to which they sped. Times changed, and the railroad was passed by; however, its legacy lives on.

To preserve and document the history of the region's transportation giant, the author worked extensively with the Boston & Maine Railroad Historical Society.

9780738510606.jpg Boston & Maine Locomotives
Untitled Document

Boston & Maine Locomotives
by Bruce D. Heald, Ph.D.

Paperback, Text and Photographs, 128 Pages

The Boston & Maine Railroad has long captured the hearts of rail enthusiasts, and its locomotives are models of the majesty, power, and romance of American rail. The Boston & Maine was a railroad dynasty running through Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine, and many still remember hearing the whistle blow as a Boston & Maine locomotive spewing smoke and steam pulled into the station.

Boston & Maine Locomotives, the third volume in a series of books that document the B&M, is a history of the locomotives that powered New England's most dominant line. The Ten Wheelers, the Mastodons, the Pacifics, and the other classes of locomotive are seen here as they pull passengers and freight throughout the Northeast. The Boston & Maine was one of the last railroads in the area to continue naming its locomotives, and those engines, from nineteenth-century steam to twentieth-century diesel, are recorded here. The Portland, the Newburyport, the General Sherman, and more ride New England's rails once again in Boston & Maine Locomotives.

The author, with the assistance of the Boston & Maine Railroad Historical Society, has assembled more than 200 rare photographs of the B&M's locomotives that date from the 1830s to the present. This book bears witness to the charm and beauty that powered the legendary Boston & Maine Railroad.

9780738538754.jpg Boston & Maine Trains and Services
Untitled Document

Boston & Maine Trains and Services
by Bruce D. Heald, Ph.D.

Paperback, Text and Photographs, 128 Pages

The Boston & Maine Railroad serviced most of New England as a primary mode of transportation during the 19th and 20th centuries. The birth of this railroad spurred the growth and development of industry in New England. This heritage is captured in Boston & Maine Trains and Services, the fourth volume in a series to focus on the history of this enterprising railroad.

The trains and services included in this book are the Pullman passenger cars, work trains with flatcars, boxcars, circus trains, plows, stock, cabooses, as well as the Boston & Maine bus service, trucks, and air service.

For this documentation of the American railroad, the author has assembled 200 rare images that celebrate the romance of the Boston & Maine's legacy. Special thanks are given to the Boston & Maine Railroad Historical Society for its generous assistance and support in preserving the history of New England railroading.

9780938315063.jpg Boston Transit Equipment, 1979-2009
$19.95 $18.95 On Sale!
Boston Transit Equipment, 1979-2009

Boston Transit Equipment, 1979-2009
By Michael R. Prescott, Boston Street Railway Society

Softcover, Color Photos and Text, 64 Pages

In the 1970s, Boston's MBTA transit system was on the verge of a complete overhaul. In the decades to follow, the historic subway, bus and streetcar fleets were transformed from outdated to fully modern, just as the system itself changed and expanded. This full-color transit album showcases each form of equipment that operated on the MBTA system during a transformative three decades:  light rail, heavy rail, bus, trackless trolley and even commuter boat. Each mode of transit was photographed across the MBTA's service area. Summaries are given of private carriers, inter-city services, the Tremont Street Subway's centennial, and overall operational events and changes at the MBTA between 1979 and 2009. Over 85 color photographs tell the story of the coming of age of the MBTA.

This publication was authored by a native of Bedford, Massachusetts.

9780938315070.jpg Boston's MTA: Through Riverside and Beyond
Boston's MTA: Through Riverside and Beyond

Boston's MTA: Through Riverside and Beyond
By Bradley H. Clarke, Boston Street Railway Association

234 pages, color photos and maps, hardcover

This second volume in the BSRA's "Streetcar Lines of the Hub" series continues the story of Boston street railways from 1950 to the end of the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) in 1964. When the MTA succeeded the Boston Elevated Railway in 1947, high hopes were riding on its success. By the end of its last full year, however, the MTA's annual deficit had skyrocketed, and service had only expanded in two places: the Riverside Line to Newton and the East Boston Tunnel Extension to Revere. Where the MTA really succeeded—in terms of its goals—was the dismantling of most of Boston's remaining surface streetcar network. In 1940, there were 52 active streetcar lines, and by 1960, only 8.

In this new book, we take a nostalgic journey along the varied routes that the MTA's streetcar traversed. Witness changing equipment, memorable streetscapes and, for many lines, the final days of operaion with over 425 photos—most of which are in color—36 color maps and diagrams, and more color memorabilia! This is the only comprehensive book ever written about the streetcar lines of Boston's MTA. Included is an interesting chapter about streetcar service to Arlington Heights, Massachusetts.

9780938315056.jpg Streetcar Lines of the Hub
Streetcar Lines of the Hub

Streetcar Lines of the Hub
By Bradley H. Clarke

Hardcover, 216 pages

"The Heyday of Electric Transit in Boston"

Enjoy what may be the most detailed book ever written about Boston's streetcar lines! This definitive book contains nearly 500 photographs -- many in color -- plus maps and track diagrams.

During World War II, the Boston area's streetcar ridership hit record levels. The trolley's viability was reaffirmed one last time. This book covers all 52 routes, every car house and station, plus Eastern Massachusetts lines to Stoneham and Quincy. It's a must-have for anyone interested in the golden years of Boston's network of trolley lines.

9780738588278.jpg Trolleys Under The Hub

Trolleys Under the Hub
By Frank Cheney and Anthony Sammarco

Paperback, Text and Photographs, 128 Pages

Recently republished, this book is chock-full of vintage photographs of streetcars in Boston and Cambridge from the early 1900s through the 1960s.

9780738500874.jpg Boston in Motion
Boston in Motion

Boston in Motion
By Frank Cheney and Anthony M. Sammarco

Paperback, Text and Photographs, 128 Pages

Boston in Motion, the sequel to Trolleys Under the Hub, is an intriguing collection of photographs that captures the history of transportation in and around Boston. The authors trace the stories from the earliest days of public transport with the Winnissimmet Ferry to the MBTA of today. A city known for its comprehensive public transportation, Boston has hosted every type of transit known to urban America. From the ferry, the horse railway, and the omnibus to the steam railroad and, eventually, the subway and bus systems, Boston has always been at the forefront of transportation advancements. The former “El” (the Boston Elevated Railway), the Old Colony Railroad, the Red Line, and the East Boston Line dramatically changed the face of Boston in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In Boston in Motion, these advancements are presented and explored in a riveting collection of original photographs.

9780738504629.jpg When Boston Rode the EL
The Boston Elevated Railway broke ground in 1899 for a new transit service that opened in 1901, providing a seven-mile elevated railway that connected Dudley Street Station in Roxbury and Sullivan Square Station in Charlestown, two huge multilevel terminals. When the EL, as it was popularly known, opened for service, it provided an unencumbered route high above the surging traffic of Boston, until it went underground through the city. The new trains of the EL were elegant coaches of African mahogany, bronze hardware, plush upholstered seats, plate glass windows, and exteriors of aurora red with silver gilt striping and slate grey roofs. They stopped at ten equally distinguished train stations, designed by the noted architect Alexander Wadsworth Longfellow. All of this elegance, let alone convenience, could be had for the price of a five-cent ticket. The popularity of the EL was instantaneous. The railway continued to provide transportation service high above Bostonís streets until 1987, when it was unfortunately ended after 86 years of elevated operation. Today, the squealing wheels of the Elevated trains, the rocking coaches, the fascinating views, and the fanciful copper-roofed stations of the line are a missing part of the character of Boston, when one could ride high above the city for a nickel.
9780738510477.jpg Boston's Red Line
Untitled Document

Boston's Red Line:
Bridging the Charles from Alewife to Braintree

by Frank Cheney

Paperback, Text and Photographs, 128 Pages

When the Boston Elevated Railway Company broke ground for the Cambridge Subway in May 1909, its intention was to provide the cities of Boston and Cambridge with the finest and most efficient rapid-transit system of the time. Other cities, such as New York and Philadelphia, paid close attention, adopting many of the Cambridge Subway's revolutionary design features. The subway became known as the Red Line and eventually extended from Cambridge across the Charles River through Boston, serving Dorchester, Braintree, and Mattapan.

Boston's Red Line: Bridging the Charles from Alewife to Braintree details one of Boston's oldest and busiest subway lines. This nostalgic collection of vintage photographs documents the line's construction and its engineers and leaders, such as Major/General William A. Bancroft, mayor of Cambridge and president of the Boston Elevated Railway Company. In these pages, watch as crews break ground in Harvard and Andrew Squares and see the 1929 trolleys that replaced Mattapan's commuter train service.

Through exciting, historic photographs, Boston's Red Line: Bridging the Charles from Alewife to Braintree tells the fascinating story of how the Crimson City's subway became the modern Red Line, taking passengers beneath the streets of Boston to landmarks such as Harvard Square, Massachusetts General Hospital, Park Street, and the Longfellew Bridge.

9780738535760.jpg Boston's Blue Line

Boston's Blue Line
By Frank Cheney

Paperback, Text and Photographs, 128 Pages

Boston's rapid-transit Blue Line covers a distance of 5.94 miles. It is a 23-minute commute that begins at Bowdoin Station in downtown Boston, travels beneath the harbor, passes alongside Revere Beach, and ends at Wonderland. Today's commuters might be surprised to learn that the line they are riding was once operated by trolley cars and narrow-gauge steam-powered commuter trains, for it was not until 1904 that the East Boston Tunnel under the harbor was completed.

By 1917, the number of people riding the Blue Line had climbed to 25,000 a day. Although significant advances had been made to accommodate high-volume commuter traffic, rush-hour congestion at downtown stations remained a problem. In the 1920s, with ridership exceeding 42,000 people a day, the Boston Elevated Railway and the Boston Transit Commission agreed to convert the tunnel to a rapid-transit operation with a transfer station at Maverick Square. Further expansion occurred in the 1950s when the Blue Line was extended to Orient Heights, Suffolk Downs, and Revere Beach.

719609974499.jpg Rail-Trails New England
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Rail-Trails New England, First Edition
By Wilderness Press

Paperback, Photos and Maps, 219 Pages

This book covers 60 rural, suburban, and urban trails threading through 622 miles in Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. This two-color book includes succinct descriptions of each trail from its start to finish. At-a-glance summary information indicates permitted uses, surface type, length, and directions to the head of each trail. Included are chapters about the Minuteman Bikeway, Reformatory Branch Trail and Narrow-Gauge Rail-Trail that originate in Bedford, Massachusetts.

Every individual chapter presents a detailed map that includes start and end points, trailheads, parking and restroom facilities, plus other amenities. This book is interesting for the railroad historian, too!

9780738511795.jpg Maine Narrow-Gauge Railroads
The narrow gauge railroad arrived in the United States in the late nineteenth century. Based on the Welsh two-foot gauge, the American narrow gauge was expanded by railroad engineers to a three-foot gauge that became the standard track width for narrow gauge railroads in the United States. Maine, however, adopted the two-foot gauge that was developed by George E. Mansfield in Massachusetts. The narrow track width was ideally suited to the mountainous terrain, and the maneuverability of the trains proved highly beneficial to companies and passengers traveling to remote locations. The narrow gauge railroad served Maine for over fifty years until the early 1940s. Maine Narrow Gauge Railroads is a comprehensive pictorial record of the history of the narrow gauge railroad in Maine. From the one-hundred-twelve-mile Sandy River and Rangeley Lakes Railroad to the five-mile Kennebec Central, Maine Narrow Gauge Railroads features the toylike miniature trains of Maine as they appeared at different stages in their history. The Bridgton and Harrison Railroad, the Monson Railroad, and the Wiscasset, Waterville and Farmington Railway lines are documented within, as well as the current restoration projects that are under way.
FBDP497.jpg "Bedford Depot News" Back Issue
"Bedford Depot News" back issues

Bedford Depot News
By Friends of Bedford Depot Park

Newsletter Back Issues

FBDP's informative newsletter about our local railroad history, the Lexington and Reformatory Branches, the Billerica & Bedford Railroad, and the Depot Park project was first published in March 1995. Is your collection missing any issues? A limited supply of most issues is available for purchase at only $2.00 each plus postage. A list of newsletter articles may be viewed and searched at the below web page.

When ordering one or more back issues through the online store, you will be asked to identify them by month/year or volume/issue numbers.

The Rail Lines of Southern New England, 2nd Edition The Rail Lines of Southern New England, 2nd Edition
The Rail Lines of Southern New England, 2nd Edition

The Rail Lines of Southern New England:
Second Edition

by Ronald Dale Karr

Paperback, Text, Maps and Photographs, 452 Pages

Have you ever come across an active rail line or abandoned right-of-way and wondered where it goes, how it came to be, what kind if traffic it saw, or who owns or operates it today? Historian Ronald Dale Karr answers these questions for railfans and history buffs alike in this unique handbook. Each chapter comprises a lively, detailed chronicle of a rail line and its branches, a map showing the line's relationship to other lines, an all-time station list, and information about when the line was built, its operators, the number of passenger trains, and dates of abandonment.

With abundant photos and illustrations and a comprehensive index, this is a must for any New England "railfan."


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