Railway Artifacts in New England (circa 2000)

Photos by MJ Klein (from 2000)

For many years I worked as a field engineer in the radio broadcast discipline.  When I think back on those times, it seems as if I practically lived in the field (hence the nickname “bushman”).  One really great thing about field work that I enjoyed is that often I would find myself in a region of the country that I otherwise would have no reason to visit.  I traveled throughout New England and a dozen states doing field engineering studies of AM broadcast stations, and coming across some very interesting places and things.  I would like to share some of these with you, and also set up some following stories over the coming week.

One of my favorite artifact types is railway.  I’m not a “train freak” by any means, nor do I posses any special knowledge of trains.  I just find train stuff interesting.

Please bear with these photographs, taken in the year 2000 with my Kodak DC120 digital camera.

This train station in North Brookfield Massachusetts was still standing just as you see it in March 2000.  There is even a carriage on the platform.  The tracks are long gone but if you look hard enough you can see where they used to run (plus, it’s pretty obvious that they used to run beside the platform).

These remnants of wood are all that is left of the rail cross ties.

This is the real thing, and not a reproduction building.

This is an automobile bridge that runs across a river.  At the right end of the bridge is an abandoned rail line that runs parallel to the river.

The build year of the bridge.

At the end of the bridge we can see broken bridge abutments, and also some wooden remains of someone’s attempt at a footbridge.  Old ties are visible underneath.

Directly 180 degrees opposite from the above photo we can see the tips of 2 pieces of iron rail protruding from the Earth.  Given enough time, the Earth eventually recycles all things.

I have forgotten the exact location of this place but it is near Gilbertville, Massachusetts, and may be a part of that town.  This building complex sits on a piece of abandoned but still existent rail.

There is some sort of hatch or cover in front of (what I presume to be) the General Store.  It looks to be part of a scale, used to weigh cargo going by rail.  I am probably completely wrong in this postulation however.

I would be interested to see some shots of this place taken recently.

This shot was taken from the cross road and shows the end of the building opposite the General Store.  There are several abandoned rail cars, including a caboose.  I do have shots of the cars but I chose not to include them in this post.

This “oxcart” is parked on abandoned rail in Gilbertville behind what clearly used to be the station:

This modern restaurant is named “The Whistle Stop” and proudly preserves it’s rail heritage.

Many abandoned lines have had the rails removed, but in some cases such as this, one can still see the ties.  These have since become hiking and bicycle trails in the US.

People go down this road everyday and through these pillars never thinking that at one time they supported a railroad track on a bridge above.  Astute observers will take note of the power and telephone lines and conclude that this bridge dates to a time before those services were available in the area.

The date on the abutment of this abandoned line reads “1920.”

The abandoned line runs past old burned out homes and into a abandoned factory complex by the river.  The original factory used the water to power turbines.  I have no idea what they use to make however.

There isn’t much left of the factory.

There is a tall smoke stack next to the remains of the wall.  You can just see the sluice where once upon a time, the water flowed through and past the turbines.

I went back to the factory complex a few months later and I saw this:

The town had demolished the smoke stack because it had been deemed unsafe.  I’m glad that I got a few photos of it standing while I could.

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  1. MJ. As always oustanding pictures and what a beautiful part of the world it looked like.

    One thing I do miss is real countryside. I know this sounds strange as I live in the countryside in Isaan Thailand but it’s nothing like the countryside backhome.

    Thanks for the great pics and information.

  2. thanks Brunty. yes, it’s quite different in Thailand. each place has it’s own charm and appeal.

    recently Hui-chen and I found some Japanese era rail artifacts and I will be blogging on that stuff shortly. so i thought that i might introduce something about rail historical artifact finding to our readers with this post. glad you enjoyed it Brunty. take care.

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