Author Topic: Monson’s Last Timetable  (Read 6821 times)

Roger Whitney

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Monson’s Last Timetable
« on: April 05, 2012, 12:09:48 PM »

   Few things in the history of any railroad is sadder than the announcement of the end of passenger service.  On the Monson, riding to the Junction meant getting there in Combine No. 3 AND sitting next to your friends and neighbors you knew most of your life.  Kind of a dual purpose social-and-business event. You could catch up on the local gossip (news) and I’m sure that sometimes business was transacted too.  These were the golden days of the Monson when the combine always had passengers and the horseless buggy was a “fad”.
   But all things change.  The automobile slowly made it possible for the people of Monson to go anywhere they wished at any time and in the solitude of their private car. But the price, for that private transportation, was losing the social aspect of riding to the Junction and visiting on the way.  A slower way of life was passing, but few realized it.
   The last timetable was issued on September 26, 1938.  The Monson met the B&A train to Greenville at 9:28 am (train No.9 westbound) and train No. 12 at 3:33pm (eastbound).  By this time there were very few passengers and probably the mail contract was about the only paying “customer”.  Soon after this last timetable was published, it was announced that passenger service would end on November 1, 1938. 
   Bob Jones, in his Monson book, relates that on the last passenger run, the engineer of “No. 12 (B&A) whistled extra long as it headed eastward”, and Engineer French on No. 3 “replied in kind”.  “Then the locomotive (No. 3) with the combination car in tow chuffed slowly northward with the last revenue passenger train to run on the Monson Railroad”.  I wonder how many passengers were on that train to observe the passing of an era. Maybe no one noticed.
   Jones states some interesting figures concerning Monson’s passenger service:  the little combine traveled approximately 625,000 miles and made over 100,000 trips over the six mile road in it’s 55-year history.  A lot of miles, a lot of memories!
   Even now when I stand by the Junction station in the beauty of a crisp fall day, I imagine that I can hear No. 3’s 3-chime whistle off in the distance lamenting its passage into history. Try it sometime…I know you’ll hear it too!