Author Topic: Track plans for the Billerica and Bedford Railroad  (Read 3962 times)

Ed Lecuyer

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Track plans for the Billerica and Bedford Railroad
« on: June 16, 2009, 08:59:48 PM »
Track plans for the Billerica and Bedford Railroad has been converted from the pre-July 2008 WW&F Discussion Forum.
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bperch wrote:
Does anyone out there have the actual track plans for the Billerica and Bedford Railroad?  I have the booklet that shows everything else, but not the location of sidings, etc.

Dave Buczkowski replied:
Try this link and the links it takes you on. I don't know how much siding trackage there was at the time as it only operated for 9 months and then was converted to standard gauge.

bperch replied:
Thank you for your response, and I have visited that site.  It covers many things concerning the railroad, but does not have a track plan with sidings, etc.  I can detect some things like a three way turnout under the locomotive in one of the original photos, and compare locations to backgrounds in other photos, but it is not near enough to put together a complete plan.

Bernie Perch

James Patten replied:
I think Maine Narrow Gauge put out a book a few years ago which is a copy of the promotional tract that the B&B put out.  We might still have a copy of it, if we don't MNG might still have it.  Sorry, but I can't recall the name of it right now.

My father-in-law grew up in Billerica, and remembers the B&M line which ran through.  The standard guage deviated from the narrow gauge line through Billerica by quite a bit (the opposite side of town).  The present day Rt 3 divided highway was built with a railroad crossing for the branch, but by then there was little traffic and I think the crossing was removed a few years later.

bperch replied:
The book you are referring to is probably the booklet I mentioned in my original post.  I can't find my copy right now, but it has everything one would like to know about the railroad except a fully documented track plan.

Glenn Christensen replied:
Hi Bernie,

I have never seen any track plans of the B&B yards, but we do know several things:

1) there was a wye at Bedford with 127' radius curves
2) the two track engine house (later the used by the B&M freight shed and currently owned by Friends of Bedford Depot Park) was probably located between the north leg of the wye and the west leg (which paralleled the standard gauge at that point) (see the two locomotive photos)
2A) this would mean that the south leg of the wye ran approximately under or near the current location of the former B&M depot.
3) the two track car shed paralleled the B&B mainline past the east switch of the wye just beyond the crossing of what is today Lincoln Street
4) turntables were located at Billerica Centre (Center) and North Billerica - this would mean that there was most likely at least one track switch in both of those locations
5) depending upon your preferences, you could possibly infer that there were also passing sidings at these locations, but these are not necessary if the crews used either gravity or momentum switching to get the cars behind the locomotive.

If you're modelling, don't forget that the B&B used Bryant patent switches not split or stub switches.

Best Regards,

bperch replied:

Thanx for the lengthy answer.

I  am not that much of a modeler but more of an information junkie looking for the little tidbits of unknown history.  I enjoy studying olde photographs like The B & B RR promotional photos.  You should take all the information you gave above and try to interpert it into a map.  I am not familiar with the area, so it would be difficult for me.

I believe that the Bryant switches were used on the mainline, but the other switches that show up under the locomotives and coal car appear to be regular stub switches.  The switch in the background of the Bryant switch also is a stub switch.

Have any other B & B photos shown up?

Ed Lecuyer
Moderator, WW&F Forum