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.

1 comment:

  1. Don, I enjoyed your book and your walk in the weeds story. Sounds like it was great day! Thanks for sharing!