Carl Weber's ConRail on the Boston & Maine

Throughout ConRail's tenure in the Northeast, they had a "working relationship" with the Boston & Maine and, later, Guilford Transportation Industries. Coal trains for the Public Service of New Hampshire coal-fired electrical generating plant at Bow, New Hampshire routinely alternated between a partial CR or all B&M routing, with CR power regularly "running through" onto the B&M. In the early 90's Guilford arranged to run several symbol freights (LASE, NASE, and NESE) over a partial CR routing with the trains interchanged in Worcester, MA. ConRail power regularly ran-through on these trains and Guilford provided several MEC SD40's to CR to balance horsepower hours.

In 1984, when CR was disposing of a large number of their older power, mostly GP40's, Guilford acquired 23 of these units, all but 2 units in the 3200 group. GTI also acquired 9 ex CR U33B's through Lessor ITEL and 6 U33C's. The U33B's were split 1 for 2 between the B&M (CR 2916, 2919, 2925) and D&H (2917, 2918, 2920, 2922-2924), with all the U33C's (CR 6845, 6856, 6860, 6862, 6864-66) becoming D&H 650-656. Evidently, the U-Boats were already "well-worn", since the U33B's went to Naparano by March, 1986.

1
B&M 337, ex CR 3258, leads westbound POPY (Portland, ME.-Potomac Yard), aka "Popeye", at West Deerfield, MA. on June 15, 1985.
2
BM 191, former CR U33B 2919, and GP40 3244 wait near Montague interlocking in Montague, MA. for an MERU on June 23, 1984. The two ex Cons will hitch on to the MERU's headend as helpers.
3
Once the 191 and 3244 have coupled on, MERU boils out of Montague interlocking in Montague, MA. on June 23, 1984.
4
B&M 191, ex CR 2919, in the trail position in MERU at the big curve in Montague, MA. on June 2, 1985.
5
U33B 192, ex CR 2925, leads a Mt. Tom coal train, symboled as SP-1, southward on the Conn River line at Deerfield interlocking on Aug. 3, 1984.
6
B&M 192, ex CR 2925, in BASE at Montague station on April 28, 1984. The 192 later went to the Lackawanna Valley as their #903, then to the RBM&N as their 3303. Sold to A. A. Merrilees/Canada, it was leased to a Quebec short line and finally scrapped in 2003.
7
B&M 320, ex CR 3227, in POPY at East Deerfield on March 3, 1984.
8
Ex Con 3229/BM321 in MERU at East Deerfield yard on April 7, 1984.
9
Ex CR 3229, BM 321, in SAED at East Deerfield, MA. on May 26, 1984.
10
A light engine move at East Deerfield yard on March 31, 1984 contains two consecutively numbered ex ConRail GP40's, the 3234/BM324 and 3235/BM325.
11
Ex CR GP40 3244 in MELA near Miller's Falls on March 3, 1984. The 3244 would become BM 335.
12
CR GP40 3235 still wears it's "white-line" after going to B&M/Guilford. It is in train MERU at Greenfield, MA. on Feb. 18, 1984. It will be renumbered BM 325.
13
"White-lined" ex CR 3235 in B&M train MERU at Greenfield, MA. on Feb. 18, 1984. The 3235 would become BM 325.
14
B&M 327, ex CR GP40 3139, second out in MERU rounding the big curve in Montague, MA. on Feb. 25, 1984.
15
BM 330, ex CR 3247, in SEPO at East Deerfield East on March 17, 1984.
16
B&M 332, ex CR 3253, in SEPO at Montague, MA. on March 3, 1984.
17
Ex ConRail GP40 3254/BM 333 leads a mixed bag of power for B&M train BASE at East Deerfield, MA. on Aug. 3, 1984.
18
Ex CR GP40 3249/BM 336 is second out on SEPO at Montague station in Montague, MA. on Sept. 1, 1984. Trailing is MEC 290, a former D&H U23-B which recieved a one-of-a-kind paint job of solid gray, earning it the nickname of "the gray ghost".
19
Ex CR GP40 3258 gets "shoved around" at East Deerfield West on Feb. 18, 1984 by the west end switcher, "class unit" SW-9 1220, still wearing it's "classic" maroon and gold B&M livery. The 3258 would be renumbered to B&M 337.
20
ConRail TV13 heads north on the B&M Conn River line at Deerfield interlocking on Aug. 3, 1984. CR detoured several hot TOFC trains over the B&M due to a ballast train that wrecked at North Adams Jct. on the B&A.
21
ConRail TV13 northbound on the B&M Conn River line at Deerfield interlocking on Aug. 3, 1984.
22
ConRail TV9 "hangs a left turn" at Greenfield East Interlocking in Greenfield, MA., turning off the Conn River line and onto the Fitchburg/Hoosac tunnel route on Aug. 3, 1984.
23
ConRail TV9 turning off the B&M Conn River Line onto the Fitchburg route at Greenfield East in Greenfield, MA. on Aug. 3, 1984. The Conn River line heads straight, at right, for "the arch" beneath Main St. in Greenfield, while the Fitchburg curves away to the left. Greenfield station used to sit in the triangle where the two lines separate.
24
The 1994 brought an SPPO (SPringfield, MA.-POrtland, ME.) up the Conn River line from Springfield on Oct. 16, 1982. He left the train on the Deerfield loop and is on his way to the "pit" to get another locomotive before continuing the trip.
25
Returning from the "pit", the 1994 has been turned and added B&M GP38 204, as they head back to the train on the loop.
26
A few days later, on Oct. 19, 1982, the 204 and CR 1994 are back at East Deerfield yard with a POSP. B&M GP18 1755 is the west end switcher this day.
27
This makes three trips to East Deerfield within a week for your "intrepid" (?) photographer. A POSP is seen here crossing the Connecticut River at East Deerfield East on Oct. 22, 1982, and....there's our "buddy", the 1994 again.
28
POSP got to the west end of East Deerfield yard faster than I did, so he's already past the "railfan's bridge" or "dry bridge" as the B&M boys refer to it, and is shoving his drop back into the yard.
29
POSP continues his shove back into the yard at East Deerfield West on Oct. 22, 1982.
30
Once they've finished with the drop, POSP's power heads for the "pit" to drop off two of the locomotives.
31
After dropping the two units, MEC 259 and CR 1994 return to their train for the remainder of the trip to Springfield. MAYBE...CR will have their "wanderer" returned, at last. As a bid for ecumenicalism, we have MEC and CR engines powering a B&M train on B&M tracks with.......wait for it..........a D&H caboose bringing up the markers.
32
CR N5B cabin 20040 on B&M train MERU at Greenfield, MA. on June 23, 1984. CR 20040 ex CR 22929/PC 22929/PRR 477638.
33
N21 bay window caboose 21255 on the rear of a UBO coaltrain at Greenfield, MA. on Jan. 21, 1984.
34
U23-B 2786 leads another westbound empty UBO coal train at Russell St. in Greenfield, MA. on Jan. 14, 1984. B&M train SPCP sits on the Conn River Line at right, while the UBO is on the Fitchburg Route, as the two lines parallel each other between Cheapside and Greenfield station.
35
Westbound UBO coal train "dashing through the snow" at Greenfield East in Greenfield, MA. on Jan. 14, 1984.
36
CR 3171 in SEPO's power set at East Deerfield West on March 31,1984.
37
Ex CR 3244 at Montague, MA. on June 23, 1984.
38
Another "white-lined" ex CR GP40, the 3258 sits in East Deerfield yard on Feb. 18, 1984.
39
A set of ConRail power departs East Deerfield yard to pick up an empty coal train sitting on the "105" track between Greenfield and West Deerfield on Jan. 26, 1985. The GP40 and two GP38's had just brought in an MEED from Mechanicville and the GP30 was added, as it had come in earlier on an COED. The train will be symboled as an EDME-X.
40
Closer look at GP30 2231 on the EDME-X power set departing East Deerfield yard on Jan. 26, 1985.
41
The EDME-X has his train together and departs West Deerfield on Jan. 26, 1985.
42
Head end of the EDME-X proceeds westward through West Deerfield interlocking on Jan. 26, 1985.
43
Bay window N7A 21649 on the rear of the EDME-X at West Deerfield, MA. on Jan. 26, 1985.
44
CR GP38 7747 leads a ConRail lash-up on a westbound empty UBO coal train at East Deerfield, MA. on April 2, 1983.
45
Westbound empty UBO coal train approaching Wisdom Way overhead bridge in Greenfield, MA. behind a solid set of CR power on April 2, 1983.
46
UBO coal train passing beneath Wisdom Way overhead bridge on April 2, 1983. Headend of the train is just about to enter Deerfield and is approaching "the middle" signal bridge, so-called because it was about halfway between Greenfield East and West Deerfield interlockings and carried approach signals for both tracks in both directions. The track occupied by the train was removed several years ago.
47
A loaded UBO grinds upgrade at Lake Pleasant in Montague, MA. on Oct. 2, 1982 with a mixed set of CR/B&M power. This location is about 3-4 miles east of East Deerfield yard.
48
This was one of those "you had to be there" moments as the photos don't do justice to the actual trackside experience. When that lash-up passed, you could literally feel the ground tremble from all those 600+/- cubic inch cylinders pounding up and down.
49
Moving up the line about a mile, we see the UBO passing beneath the Central Vermont overhead bridge about a mile west of Miller's Falls.
50
The five units weren't enough as the 11,700 ton train stalled soon after this photo was taken. The power cut off the train and returned to East Deerfield "for back-up". If they couldn't make it here, they sure weren't going to make Ashburnham hill between Athol and Fitchburg.

If you find this site worthwhile:
Please Consider Making a Donation To The CRHS

Amount: 

Like this site?

If you're a fan of Conrail, and you find this site useful, please consider supporting The CRHS with a donation or membership.

Want more CRHS content? Join our mailing list to keep up with what's going on with the society.