The Boston and Maine Railroad, The Route Of The Minute Man
The largest of the New England railroads, the Boston and Maine Railroad
is synonymous with the region and for over 170 years now has served it
well, albeit today the B&M survives as an affiliate of Pan Am
Railways (which was previously known as the Guilford Rail System).
Stretching throughout New England the B&M reached from Portland, Maine to Boston and Springfield, Massachusetts (and even Albany, New York). At one time the railroad reached almost 2,000 miles in length and connected to railroads such as the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad (NYNH&H), Maine Central Railroad (MEC) and New York Central (NYC). Today, over 1,000 miles of the B&M continues to carry on under the Pan Am Railways banner.
Two B&M GP9s and CP Rail RS10 #8570 have a clear signal as they power a northbound manifest freight through Deerfield, Massachusetts on June 24, 1978.
The B&M has its beginnings in the summer of 1835 and would connect its namesake city with Portland, Maine
(thus where its name comes from). The formation of the railroad came
about from the mergers of several smaller lines, which would assume the B&M banner. These included such names as the Maine, New Hampshire & Massachusetts Railroad; Boston & Lowell Railroad; Eastern Railroad; Worcester, Nashua & Portland Railroad, Northern Railroad; Connecticut Railroad; Concord & Montreal
Railroad; and Fitchburg Railroad. Through these mergers, by the early
years of the 20th century the B&M had grown to its largest length,
over 2,000 miles, which reached the markets of (aside from
Portland and Boston) northeastern Vermont and northern New Hampshire,
most of Massachusetts and western New York (basically most of New
The growth of the B&M was a result of a heavily industrialized
Northeast which existed for many years until following WWII when businesses
slowly began to move away (most notably from the 1960s through the
1980s). During this time the B&M was a very profitable railroad and
while never a large operator of passenger trains did run commuter
services with its more well known named trains including the Ambassador (Concord, New Hampshire to White River Junction, Vermont), Alouette (Boston and Wells River, Vermont), Green Mountain Flyer (Bellow Falls, VT to Montreal via Canadian National Railway and the Rutland Railroad), and the lightweight streamliner Flying Yankee a near identical sister to the famous Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad's Zephyr 9900.
Like most Northeastern carriers, following WWII (and especially the latter 1950s) the railroad began to see profits drying up and it did not help any that
during the late 1950s and early 1960s the railroad had a president
unable to effectively manage the railroad (one problem of which was
deferring maintenance and allowing the railroad to deteriorate to
critical conditions). It was almost inevitable then that the B&M
went bankrupt on February 1, 1970 (a time period when almost all of its
surrounding competitors were throwing in the towel as well).
B&M GP40-2 #310 eases into the yard at East Deerfield, Massachusetts and under the signal tower on September 28, 1980.
Miraculously, however, it was able to avoid inclusion into the
Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail), which began operations on
April 1, 1976. A new president kept this from happening whose name was
Alan G. Dustin. Dustin rescued the railroad from the brink and through
aggressive management, marketing,
and sound railroading the B&M began to once again see black (which,
considering the Northeast rail grid during these years its amazing the
railroad was able to accomplish such a feat).
Now a successful regional railroad operation it’s not surprising that
someone would be interested in purchasing the B&M.
A Boston & Maine SW8, #806, has yet to be repainted as it is still adorned in the road's original livery of maroon and gold on June 19, 1978 performing switching duties in the yard at East Deerfield.
emerging from its 1970 bankruptcy, the B&M was purchased by Timothy Mellon, founder of Guilford
Transportation Industries in 1983. Mellon’s new railroad system
included a black livery with a bright orange trim and white lettering
and sub-lettered his equipment to the owning railroad (such as the Maine Central, Boston & Maine,
and Delaware & Hudson). Today the D&H is no longer part of the
system and Guilford would later change its name to Guilford Rail System
and even it no longer exists as its name was dissolved in 2006 in favor
of parent Pan Am Systems’ Pan Am Railways. Today the Boston and Maine
Railroad is still officially on the books although it survives now
mostly in name only and it is unlikely the railroad will ever be spun
off from the Pan Am system.