Vol 3 No 12
The Monthly Bulletin
of the New England Electric Railway Historical Society Libraries
Hello all - This is one of those “would you believe” issues. With this edition of The Main
Line there have been 36 consecutive monthly issues of this bulletin - not counting the little
September 20, 2010 Volume VII
extra that came out last month. Thanks for all the material, support and comment. Its hard to
believe that I could blather on for 36 months or that anyone would read it that long! Seriously -
thanks, everyoneʼs help is most appreciated.
In the last issue of The Main Line
Seashoreʼs Bay State Railway #4175 (1914
Laconia Car Company) was mentioned in
conjunction with the receipt of the 2012 H.
Albert Webb Railroad Preservation Award.
O.R. Cummings dropped an email to note
that another Bay State car resides in
Seashoreʼs collection. Eastern
Massachusetts Street Railway 4387 was
one of 200 semi-convertibles, Nos. 4201 -
4400, ordered from Laconia by the Bay
State in March 1916. Deliveries began in
July 1917 and all 200 cars were on hand by
Bay State Street Railway # 4175 (1914 Laconia Car Company)
the end of 1918, work having been delayed
from time to time by World War I scarcities. No. 4387 was at the Reading carhouse on Dec.
31, 1918. As the Bay State was succeeded by
the Eastern Mass. St. Ry. in 1919 # 4387 was
deﬁnitely a Bay State car -- if only brieﬂy. No.
4387, a somewhat improved version of Bay
State semi-convertible # 4175, has large
platforms and extremely large three sash
windows, of which the lowermost drop into
pockets in the sides. The frame is of composite
steel and wood construction and the car is
equipped with both transverse and longitudinal
seats, having been designed for operation on
both city and suburban lines. They were widely
Eastern Massachusetts Street Railway # 4387
(1918 Laconia Car Company)
used throughout the vast Bay State system.
Interestingly the 200 cars that included #4387, delivery began in 1917 with the last
delivered in early 1918, were the last trolleys manufactured by Laconia Car Company
until 1920. Orders for freight cars received in 1917 from the Bangor & Aroostook Railroad
(150 freight cars), a large order in 1918 for freight car parts received from the Boston &
Maine Railroad along with a 1918 order for 1000 box cars from the U.S. Government and
wartime shortages served to curtail trolley production.
Seashore Goings On –
Spring is rapidly approaching with March 20 being the 2012 date and as Iʼm writing this
that is about three weeks away. Of course if you were in New Zealand Spring arrives on
September 1 but that is another story. Opening day at Seashore is only slightly over two
months away. All involved are looking forward to the arrival of the written requaliﬁcation
exams from the Operating Department along with the subsequent road tests as a sure
sign of Spring.
The Collection –
The several levels of inventorying of the overall New England Electric Railway Historical
Society (NEERHS) collection are continuing. Speciﬁc materials such as albums and
individual photos continue to be transported to York County Community College (YCCC)
for individual identiﬁcation, inventory, scanning and packing in protective sleeves, etc. as
needed. The primary need at the moment continues to be the move the photographic
materials currently in temporary storage in the containers to our storage facility at Lowell.
This will both provide enhanced protection for the ﬁlm, etc., especially from temperature
swings, and provide space for the movement of further large items (ﬂat ﬁles and ﬁle
cabinets) from the old building.
Working Towards The Future-
The interview component of the library fund raising feasibility study by JNB & Associates
is complete. JNB is now writing the draft ﬁnal report to NEERHS.
As part of the Strategic Plan initiated in 2009 the NEERHS is developing a Capital
Fundraising Program to support the libraryʼs construction and operation. The ongoing
Feasibility Study is part of that process.The NEERHS Grants Committee is looking into
other near and longer term grant possibilities for the Library. Library Committee member
Herb Pence is a member of the Grants Committee which also includes Phil Morse and
NEERHS VP Development Steve MacIssac.
Please remember when sending donations for the library to note that it is for Library
Development – Fund 951.
Do You Recognize -
Januaryʼs Answer -
This street railway, initially organized in 1892, was the Bellows Falls & Saxtons River
Street Railway located in the State of Vermont and from 1900 to 1924 operated a little
over six miles of line between its namesake communities of Bellows Falls and Saxtons
River. In 1900 the railway built Barber Park which was located about half way between
Bellows falls and Saxtons River. In 1898 Mr.
Calvin L. Barber, a resident of Bellows Falls,
had donated land to the railway company with
the intent that this land be developed as a
BF&SRSR #5 at Barber Park
family park, where picnics, dances, and
other activities could be held. Mr.
Barber placed only two restrictions on
BF&SRSR #4 and a barrel car at Barber Park
this gift: no intoxicating beverage was ever to
be sold on the property; and if at any time the
railway abandoned the property, it should
revert to his heirs. The park included terraced
gardens, dance pavilion and theater, tennis
courts, play ground, ball ﬁeld, polo ﬁeld and
zoological park. The park was actually located
in the town of Rockingham, Vt. Bellows Falls
and Saxtons River are both incorporated
villages in the town of Rockingham.
BF&SRSR box motor at Bellows Falls
A somewhat sad note is that Mr. Barber, gravely ill, had expressed an intense desire to
see cars running on the line before he died, and on June 13 the Bellows Falls end of the
line was energized, and a newly arrived car was run from the depot to Mr. Barber's home
at the corner of Atkinson and Henry streets. Only days after having this wish fulﬁlled, he
died at the age of ﬁfty-seven. On June 20, a car carried his body from his home in
Bellows Falls to the Barber Farm. Due to an uncompleted trolley bridge a horse-drawn
conveyance provided transport the rest of the way to the Saxtons River cemetery. A few
days later, on July 1, 1900, the Bellows Falls & Saxtons River Street Railway ofﬁcially
opened for business.
Bellows Falls & Saxtons River Street Railwayʼs so called “barrel cars,” BF&SRR # 1 & 2
were Duplex Car Company 30ʼ convertible cars built under license by the Briggs Carriage
Company of Amesbury, MA in 1900.
BF&SRSR #1 in its Summer configuration at the Bellows Falls RR Station and in Winter dress somewhere on the line
A slight mystery in our collection rests with the following image - It is marked 7/28/00 First
Car. I believe the 7 should be a 6 as on the 20th of June the road was only open to the
Barber Farm and full service started on July 1. We know there was a special ﬁrst car with
dignitaries and honored citizens that ran from Bellows Falls to Saxtons River prior to the
start of regular service on July 1 because there are notations about the great celebration
in Saxtons River. My assumption is that this is that ﬁrst car to Saxtons River.
BF&SRSR Duplex car #2
In addition to the two Duplex Convertibles from Briggs the BF&SRSR had ﬁve single truck
ten-bench open cars (noʼs 4,5,6,7,8), manufacturer unknown; two double truck 15-bench
opens (noʼs and manufacturer unknown); a double-truck freight motor (#3) built by Wason
in 1900; another double truck freight motor built by Laconia in 1902 (originally Claremont
Railway freight motor “A”); plus a snow plow and a trailer ﬂat.
Important resources in assembling the above material were “Railroads of Vermont” by
Robert C. Jones and “The Village Connection” by John E. Cook.
This Monthʼs Do You Recognize -
For this month we will stay in New England but exit Vermont. This street railway bearing
the name of this riverside city it served operated trolleys until 1933 and continued to
provide bus transportation until 1952. In these images its car #52 is westbound on Main
Street in its namesake city and is the only wheeled vehicle in sight. It is interesting that
even with limited snow when the picture was taken only sleighs are in use. The second
image is car #29 and an unidentiﬁed open car on Main Street on a somewhat more
temperate day with wagons, horses and even one motorcar in sight.
In the realm of just interesting I noticed that we have a reasonable number images of the
Portland & Yarmouth Electric Railway before it was ingested (999 year lease) by the
Portland Railroad on April 2, 1901 to become PRRʼs Yarmouth Division. On March 9,
1893 the Maine Legislature awarded a charter to the Portland & Yarmouth Electric
Railway (P&Y) to construct a 12 3/4-mile trolley line from Portland through East Deering
and Falmouth and Cumberland Foreside to Yarmouth. The act of incorporation was
extended for two years on March 5, 1895. In the latter part of 1896 it was announced
that control of the company's charter had been acquired by a syndicate which included T.
Quincy Browne and W. G. Wheildon, both of Boston, and Frederick C. Boyd of New
Haven, CT. These three men became P&Y directors and on December 4 they awarded a
construction contract to Louis B. Wheildon of West Newton, MA. Another two-year
extension of the railway's corporate powers was approved by the state legislature on
March 25, 1897 and nearly three months later, on June 16, the Wheildon contract was
conﬁrmed by stockholders and construction was initiated. In early August 1898 the
Railroad Commissioners issued certiﬁcates of safety for the 12.78 mile line.
Between March 10, 1897 and May 29, 1900 there were eight orders for passenger
equipment placed with the J.G. Brill Co. by the P&Y. Nine 10-bench open cars numbered
4 -12, six single truck vestibuled closed cars with 20ʼ 8” bodies numbered 20-25,
Portland & Yarmouth #6 on the line Portland & Yarmouth #23 off the track
four 14-bench double truck opens
numbered 30-33 and two 28ʼ 11” double
truck vestibule closed cars numbered 40
Portland & Yarmouth #30 and an unknown on the line
In 1899 three 10 bench open cars were
Portland & Yarmouth #40 & 41 being delivered
ordered from the Laconia (NH) Car
Company Works numbered 17-19.
Additionally. in April 1899
the railway acquired, for
$700, a 28-foot closed
baggage car, No. 3, built by
the New Castle (Pa.) Car
about 1894 for the Indiana
Electric Railway of Elkhart,
IN but never delivered to
Portland & Yarmouth Closed Combine #3
Other P&Y equipment consisted of four
work cars, a four-wheel snow plow of the
nose type acquired from the Taunton
(Mass.) Locomotive Manufacturing
Portland & Yarmouth Taunton Plow at Carhouse
and a single truck rotary snow plow, No. 1,
delivered in February 1899, of the Ruggles
double end type that had been manufactured
by the Peckham Truck Company of
Kingston, N.Y. A second Taunton nose plow Portland & Yarmouth #1 (Peckham 1899)
was added prior to the winter of 1899-1900.
Each of the nose plows was powered in winter by two 50 hp motors, transferred from
open cars, the rotary plow having four motors - two for propulsion and two to operate the
The early success of Riverton Park in Deering and Cape Cottage Park in Cape Elizabeth
prompted the Portland & Yarmouth to establish its own pleasure resort and on May 9,
1899 the railway announced that one would be opened on the Underwood Spring
property in Falmouth Foreside about a quarter mile south of the Cumberland town line.
The 35-acre heavily wooded site, which sloped abruptly toward the Casco Bay shore, had
been acquired three days earlier and plans called for the principal attractions to be a
large casino, a so-called "electric fountain" and an open air summer theater. Situated at
the top of the slope, the attractive 2
1/2-story wood frame casino, which
was to be open the year round, had
a sizable kitchen, equipped with all
modern conveniences, a storeroom
and a heating plant in its basement.
On the ﬁrst ﬂoor were a dining
room, which had a comfortable
capacity of 100, a "sitting room," a
music room and a "reception room"
for women while on the second ﬂoor
were a card room, a men's smoking
room, a dance hall and ofﬁces.
The Casino at Underwood Spring Park
Above were sleeping rooms for
casino employees. There were broad verandas at both the ﬁrst and second ﬂoor levels
on at least three sides of the building and from those on the second ﬂoor patrons could
enjoy commanding views of Casco Bay and some of its many islands. An elevator
connected the kitchen with the dining room, in which shore dinners were featured.
Created during the spring of 1900, the open air theater was situated between the casino
and the fountain and had rustic seats and a stage with a ﬂaring sounding board facing
the audience. Entertainment programs included vaudeville and concerts and
performances were presented every afternoon and evening. At night the "electric
fountain" drew the admiration of audiences during intermissions in the show. As at
Riverton, the vaudeville was booked through the Gorman Agency, which provided a new
program every week during the theater season. Unfortunately UnderWood spring Park
never reached the popularity of Riverton or Cape Cottage and when the casino burned in
1907 the park closed, never to reopen. A primary resource for the P&Y material was
“Portland Railroad - Yarmouth Division” by O.R. Cummings.
Committee Meetings and Working Groups –
The next Library Committee meeting will be held on 24 March at York County Community
College (YCCC) from 10AM until Noon. A working group will be held from Noon until
The following list contains all current information as to committee meetings and working
Committee meetings currently scheduled in 2012:
March 24# # # 10AM-2PM # Meeting & Wrk Group # YCCC
April 14# # # # 10AM-2PM # Meeting & Wrk Group # YCCC
May 18 (FRIDAY)## 10AM-2PM # Meeting & Wrk Group # YCCC
June 22 (FRIDAY)# 10AM-2PM # Meeting & Wrk Group # YCCC
July 14# # # # 10AM-2PM # Meeting & Wrk Group # Location TBD
Please come and join us at the Library Committee meetings, we all look forward to seeing
you and hearing your thoughts and needs. Canʼt make the meeting – please drop an
email to the library SeashoreLibrary@ramsdell.com or use the contact link on the
Museumʼs Internet site.
Working Group Meetings-
There are working groups currently scheduled after each committee meeting and in
addition the following full-day working groups have currently been scheduled at YCCC in
March 10# # # # 10AM-2PM # Working Group #YCCC
April 20 (FRIDAY)# # 10AM-2PM # Working Group #YCCC
May 4 (FRIDAY)# # # 10AM-2PM # Working Group #YCCC
June 8 (FRIDAY)## # 10AM-2PM # Working Group #YCCC
Please come join us at any of of our working group sessions - a nice climate controlled
environment and interesting work.
Please let me know your thoughts, suggestions, criticisms, etc. The Main Line exists to
share and exchange information and ideas about your NEERHS Library.
# # # # # # # # # #
Ed Ramsdell, Librarian
New England Electric Railway Historical Society