Thursday, April 18, 2019

A Walk in the Weeds

Old B&B right-of-way in the center of picture with the also abandoned standard gauge railroad to the right. Note the rock retaining walls
Last weekend, I had the good fortune to travel to Massachusetts to participate in a walk through a portion of the city of Billerica. The reason for this trip was due to a book I published in 2012 entitled George Mansfield and the Billerica and Bedford Railroad. It chronicled a very short-lived narrow gauge railroad running between the two cities in its name and it was the first two-foot gauge railroad in the country. After the rails were removed in 1879, much of the railroad was relaid as a standard gauge road but there is a little over a mile of roadbed still visible between the housing developments and that is what we were searching for.
The intrepid explorers scramble around downed trees following the old B&B roadbed through one of the rougher patches on the line.
Ben Rockney and Marlies Henderson of Massachusetts did the on-the-ground searching and came up with a good half-day of roadbed hunting. We found pieces behind people's houses, in their front yards and a good series of cuts in a normally overgrown, inaccessible canyon. A lot of vegetation has grown up since the railroad's demise. It was truly a Walk in the Weeds.

The raised planter near the swing set is actually a portion of the
Billerica and Bedford grade
    It was a great time and a chance to see parts of the old railroad which I was not able to when I was researching the book. Thanks to all who participated and, especially, to those who arranged the Walk.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

A Pair of Warehouses

Waverly occupies a lonely place in the San Joaquin Valley with nothing there except for the P&D warehouse.
In taking a break from engine terminal project, I was looking for something which would improve the railroad but not take a lot of time. I found it in two grain warehouses, one at Waverly and the other at Charleston. The Waverly warehouse "vacant lot" had bothered me a bit since it's about the only unscenicked portion in that particular aisle. I decided to do Charleston at the same time since it would be about the same size and construction.
The doors on the left side of the building were used to unload wagons. Similar
doors trackside were used for car loading.
 Peterson and Dake owned the grain warehouse in Milton and also operated the Waverly warehouse. I had a bit of information from insurance maps and railroad records but no photos so I freelanced the building from what little I knew. I used board and batten siding (Evergreen) with a shingled roof. Loading doors adorned both sides of the building for the loading/unloading of wagons and freight cars. For the roof, I chose to use up some of my pile of Campbell shingles just to have a slightly different look from my usual Minuteman Models variety. The Campbell shingles are gummed but I knew they would not stick to styrene so I opted for an illustration board roof I bought from the local Hobby Lobby. I also opted to save my tongue in the moistening process and rigged up a damp sponge. The shingles went on nicely and, while they do not have the newly-applied look of the MM shingles, look like they've been on the building for a while. The structure was then painted to match the Milton structure and similar decals were printed and applied.
Grube's Warehouse is the only industry at Charleston and is butted up against the backdrop.
Over at Charleston, the only information I had was the dimensions of the building. The available space required a slight shrinkage of the building but it is in keeping with the siding length. Evergreen grooved siding was used with Grandt Line doors and the Campbell shingles-on-illustration-board roof. The lettering was freelanced.
 Both of the areas still require scenicking to finish the sites and that will be completed in the next week or so. Waverly also has to have a small oil loading facility to service the new Waverly tank car a friend of mine donated to the railroad.