Topics

Freight Car Surprise in Boston Harbor

S hed <shed999@...>
 

I was catching up on visiting my favorite train websites when I ran across this picture of Boston Harbor in 1906 (from Shorpys of course). http://www.shorpy.com/node/11916?size=_original I was very surprised to see car floats in Boston Harbor!!!! Wow!!! I had no idea about these car ferries and now I am wondering if anyone else has heard about this. Thanks.Steve Hedlund, Everett WA

Richard Glueck <richard.glueck@...>
 

What a terrific shot!  Look at the amount of traffic, including a small Cunard liner heading outbound. 

So who's going to model a 1/8th scale carry ferry operation?  This is amazing stuff.
Thanks for bringing it to our attention.



________________________________
From: S hed <shed999@...>
To: stmfc@...
Sent: Friday, December 16, 2011 10:01 AM
Subject: [STMFC] Freight Car Surprise in Boston Harbor


 


I was catching up on visiting my favorite train websites when I ran across this picture of Boston Harbor in 1906 (from Shorpys of course). http://www.shorpy.com/node/11916?size=_original I was very surprised to see car floats in Boston Harbor!!!! Wow!!! I had no idea about these car ferries and now I am wondering if anyone else has heard about this. Thanks.Steve Hedlund, Everett WA

Tom Madden
 

What a terrific shot!  Look at the amount of traffic, including a small Cunard liner heading outbound. 
The panorama combines two 8x10 glass negatives, so you've got the same outbound steamship appearing twice. Or there were two identical ships outbound at the same time. The various hull details are identical, and the pose of the crewman in the open door in the side of the hull amidships is the same. Great job by whoever combined the two images.

Tom Madden

Peter Ness
 

The New Haven Railroad had float docks and float operations in Boston Harbor in the early 1900's located at the South Boston Freight Terminal. Operations were suspended by about the 1930's. I'm not entirely familiar with photos from this period, but I hazard a guess (ready to be corrected) the view is looking out towards the harbor with the Customs House to the rear of the photographer. Boston had many photogenic and impressive rail operations to offer at one time; for those interested, there was a mighty coal elevator operated by the B&A/NYC in East Boston and of course the B&M and NH lift bridges from North and South Stations respectively.

Boston Public Library has a great (my opinion) on-line photostream (Flickr) for those interested in early operations and rail equipment of NYC/B&A, B&M and NH railroads.

I'd recommend these as some starting point points. Be sure to check out the aerials collection and use the available high resolution views where possible.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/boston_public_library/collections/72157625067421777/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/boston_public_library/collections/72157625067429763/

and some of my particular favorites to browse when I have the time...there are some wreck photos which show some decent underbody detail on ocassion...

http://www.flickr.com/search/?w=24029425@N06&q=fort%20point%20channel

http://www.flickr.com/search/?w=24029425@N06&q=south+boston+railroad&m=text

http://www.flickr.com/photos/boston_public_library/sets/72157625033396759/with/5078817563/

Regards,
Peter Ness

Donald B. Valentine
 

--- In STMFC@..., "Peter Ness" <prness@...> wrote:

The New Haven Railroad had float docks and float operations in Boston Harbor in the early 1900's located at the South Boston Freight Terminal. Operations were suspended by about the 1930's. I'm not entirely familiar with photos from this period, but I hazard a guess (ready to be corrected) the view is looking out towards the harbor with the Customs House to the rear of the photographer. Boston had many photogenic and impressive rail operations to offer at one time; for those interested, there was a mighty coal elevator operated by the B&A/NYC in East Boston and of course the B&M and NH lift bridges from North and South Stations respectively.

I don't disagree with any of this but expect the ferry under consideration is NOT a car ferry but, rather, one of the Boston, Revere Beach and Lynn passenger ferries. This 3 ft. commuter line ran from a ferry terminal in East Boston to Lynn until abandoned in 1941, IIRC. The MBTA line to Logan Airport runs on the old right-of-way from the time it leaves the harbor tunnel in East Boston until it reaches the end. Can't imagine why it was not long ago extended the full length of the BRB&L r-o-w.

Happy Holidays, Don Valentine

up4479
 

I agree with Peter. The New Haven used car floats to directly trans-load between freight cars and ships thus avoiding drayage. Here's more of the story.
<http://tinyurl.com/7pgsygb>
The link takes you to page 89. Scroll back for more info.
The BPL sight can be a source of interesting freight car photos but one must go deeper than a simple search.
Steve Solombrino

--- In STMFC@..., "Peter Ness" <prness@...> wrote:

The New Haven Railroad had float docks and float operations in Boston Harbor in the early 1900's located at the South Boston Freight Terminal. Operations were suspended by about the 1930's. I'm not entirely familiar with photos from this period, but I hazard a guess (ready to be corrected) the view is looking out towards the harbor with the Customs House to the rear of the photographer. Boston had many photogenic and impressive rail operations to offer at one time; for those interested, there was a mighty coal elevator operated by the B&A/NYC in East Boston and of course the B&M and NH lift bridges from North and South Stations respectively.

Rich Yoder
 

For the un-informed can you define what "drayage" is please.
Thank you Rich Yoder

-----Original Message-----
From: STMFC@... [mailto:STMFC@...] On Behalf Of
up4479
Sent: Saturday, December 17, 2011 8:37 AM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: [STMFC] Re: Freight Car Surprise in Boston Harbor

I agree with Peter. The New Haven used car floats to directly trans-load
between freight cars and ships thus avoiding drayage. Here's more of the
story.
<http://tinyurl.com/7pgsygb>
The link takes you to page 89. Scroll back for more info.
The BPL sight can be a source of interesting freight car photos but one must
go deeper than a simple search.
Steve Solombrino

--- In STMFC@..., "Peter Ness" <prness@...> wrote:

The New Haven Railroad had float docks and float operations in Boston
Harbor in the early 1900's located at the South Boston Freight Terminal.
Operations were suspended by about the 1930's. I'm not entirely familiar
with photos from this period, but I hazard a guess (ready to be corrected)
the view is looking out towards the harbor with the Customs House to the
rear of the photographer. Boston had many photogenic and impressive rail
operations to offer at one time; for those interested, there was a mighty
coal elevator operated by the B&A/NYC in East Boston and of course the B&M
and NH lift bridges from North and South Stations respectively.




------------------------------------

Yahoo! Groups Links

coronadoscalemodels
 

Just Google "drayage" and you will find everything you need to know.

Stan Schwedler
Coronado Scale Models

For the un-informed can you define what "drayage" is please.
Thank you Rich Yoder

Norman+Laraine Larkin
 

The following refers to B&M refrigerator cars, but the car float service is described.
(The following from B&M Employees Magazine, August 1929.) The United Fruit Company is handling three ships into Boston per week. On arrival, B&M reefers are sent alongside by the carfloat operated by the Mystic Terminal Co..Once loaded the cars return to the carfloat bridge at Mystic Wharf, and the cars are dispatched by fast freight (Minuteman Service) to many points in Northern New England, Canada, and as far west as Detroit. Banana service from Boston petered out in the late 30s. Sixteen cars were given passenger car trucks and were used in milk service. There were no ice bunkers, so the reefers could not be used in transcontinental refrigerator service. The fleet was used to ship ice during WWII. By 1951,some of the fleet was placed in stationary ice service (E.G., passenger car AC cooling.) and the last survivors lasted until 1958, when they too were placed in stationary ice service
While in banana service, the cars were painted a bright yellow. As they were placed into regular service, they were repainted a reddish mineral brown.
Norm Larkin

.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Don" <riverman_vt@...>
To: <STMFC@...>
Sent: Saturday, December 17, 2011 7:12 AM
Subject: [STMFC] Re: Freight Car Surprise in Boston Harbor




--- In STMFC@..., "Peter Ness" <prness@...> wrote:

The New Haven Railroad had float docks and float operations in Boston Harbor in the early 1900's located at the South Boston Freight Terminal. Operations were suspended by about the 1930's. I'm not entirely familiar with photos from this period, but I hazard a guess (ready to be corrected) the view is looking out towards the harbor with the Customs House to the rear of the photographer. Boston had many photogenic and impressive rail operations to offer at one time; for those interested, there was a mighty coal elevator operated by the B&A/NYC in East Boston and of course the B&M and NH lift bridges from North and South Stations respectively.

I don't disagree with any of this but expect the ferry under consideration is NOT a car ferry but, rather, one of the Boston, Revere Beach and Lynn passenger ferries. This 3 ft. commuter line ran from a ferry terminal in East Boston to Lynn until abandoned in 1941, IIRC. The MBTA line to Logan Airport runs on the old right-of-way from the time it leaves the harbor tunnel in East Boston until it reaches the end. Can't imagine why it was not long ago extended the full length of the BRB&L r-o-w.

Happy Holidays, Don Valentine




------------------------------------

Yahoo! Groups Links



wskeay
 

This wonderful shot was taken in the area behind India Wharf, (now the site of the Boston Harbor Towers), looking easterly, with East Boston in the rear, and what is now Logan Airport in the right background, (then open water).

The B&A RR Docks at the time were in the area of the Cunard and Leyland piers, shown above the wheelhouse of the left-hand steamer, (under weigh).

The BRB&L Ferry slip is to the right of these, just about between the masts of the Steamer "HM Whitney".

The wharfs, from right to left foreground, are India Wharf, (Metropolitan Steamship building), Central Wharf, (now the location of the New England Aquarium), and Long Wharf.

About the only recognizable landmark still in existence, (other than the vague outline of the wharfs on the waterfront), is the stone "Custom House Block" warehouse on Long Wharf.

Boston has a rich history of landmaking, which has graphically altered it's landscape, (indeed most of the waterfront areas in this photo were on made land), and much of the fill to do this came from the area's various railroads.

Thanks for finding and sharing this treasure.

Bill Keay

Frederick Freitas <prrinvt@...>
 

Bill,
 
The BRB&L was the Boston, Revere Beach & Lynn, a narrow ga. RR IIRC.
I can remember taking the ferry for 10 cents to cross the harbor in the early 1950's.
Wonder how many recall Federal Yard, running tangent to Commonwealth pier, and
the A street yards of the NH? Up to the 1970's there were about a dozen PRR M60b's
stored along the waterfront where the old car ferry slips were located. Thanks to whoever
posted this photo, some of it brought back some great memories !
 
Fred Freitas


________________________________
From: wskeay <wskeay@...>
To: STMFC@...
Sent: Saturday, December 17, 2011 12:31 PM
Subject: [STMFC] Re: Freight Car Surprise in Boston Harbor


 
This wonderful shot was taken in the area behind India Wharf, (now the site of the Boston Harbor Towers), looking easterly, with East Boston in the rear, and what is now Logan Airport in the right background, (then open water).

The B&A RR Docks at the time were in the area of the Cunard and Leyland piers, shown above the wheelhouse of the left-hand steamer, (under weigh).

The BRB&L Ferry slip is to the right of these, just about between the masts of the Steamer "HM Whitney".

The wharfs, from right to left foreground, are India Wharf, (Metropolitan Steamship building), Central Wharf, (now the location of the New England Aquarium), and Long Wharf.

About the only recognizable landmark still in existence, (other than the vague outline of the wharfs on the waterfront), is the stone "Custom House Block" warehouse on Long Wharf.

Boston has a rich history of landmaking, which has graphically altered it's landscape, (indeed most of the waterfront areas in this photo were on made land), and much of the fill to do this came from the area's various railroads.

Thanks for finding and sharing this treasure.

Bill Keay




[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

wskeay
 

The BRB&L was the Boston, Revere Beach & Lynn, a narrow ga. RR IIRC.
You recall correctly, Fred. This was fondly known by locals as the "Narrow Gauge". Pretty much a passenger only operation.

Bill Keay

mt19a <LarrynLynnHanlon@...>
 

Guys,

what a great photo!

Do my eyes deceive me or are the freight cars on those floats all leaning toward the center?

Thanks,

Larry Hanlon.
Bend, OR

--- In STMFC@..., "up4479" <up4479@...> wrote:

I agree with Peter. The New Haven used car floats to directly trans-load between freight cars and ships thus avoiding drayage. Here's more of the story.
<http://tinyurl.com/7pgsygb>
The link takes you to page 89. Scroll back for more info.
The BPL sight can be a source of interesting freight car photos but one must go deeper than a simple search.
Steve Solombrino

--- In STMFC@..., "Peter Ness" <prness@> wrote:

The New Haven Railroad had float docks and float operations in Boston Harbor in the early 1900's located at the South Boston Freight Terminal. Operations were suspended by about the 1930's. I'm not entirely familiar with photos from this period, but I hazard a guess (ready to be corrected) the view is looking out towards the harbor with the Customs House to the rear of the photographer. Boston had many photogenic and impressive rail operations to offer at one time; for those interested, there was a mighty coal elevator operated by the B&A/NYC in East Boston and of course the B&M and NH lift bridges from North and South Stations respectively.

Schuyler Larrabee
 

Steve's link took me, at least, to the cover of the book. There are photos
on the page facing 88, and a few pages later, in the appendix. Click
through a few pages from the front, and you get to the TofC, which has
hotlinks to get to later chapters in the book, so you don't have to page
through the entire thing.



I think this photo was taken FROM the Customs House, which was the tallest
building in Boston for years, until (I think) the Prudential building was
built in the back bay in the 60s.



Schuyler



I agree with Peter. The New Haven used car floats to directly trans-load
between freight cars and ships thus avoiding drayage. Here's more of the
story.
<http://tinyurl.com/7pgsygb>
The link takes you to page 89. Scroll back for more info.
The BPL sight can be a source of interesting freight car photos but one must
go deeper than a simple search.
Steve Solombrino

--- In STMFC@... <mailto:STMFC%40yahoogroups.com> , "Peter Ness"
<prness@...> wrote:

The New Haven Railroad had float docks and float operations in Boston
Harbor in the early 1900's located at the South Boston Freight Terminal.
Operations were suspended by about the 1930's. I'm not entirely familiar
with photos from this period, but I hazard a guess (ready to be corrected)
the view is looking out towards the harbor with the Customs House to the
rear of the photographer. Boston had many photogenic and impressive rail
operations to offer at one time; for those interested, there was a mighty
coal elevator operated by the B&A/NYC in East Boston and of course the B&M
and NH lift bridges from North and South Stations respectively.








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Brian <cornbeltroute@...>
 

Boston Public Library has a great (my opinion) on-line photostream (Flickr) for those interested in early operations and rail equipment of NYC/B&A, B&M and NH railroads. . . . Be sure to check out the aerials collection and use the available high resolution views where possible. -Peter Ness <
The Boston aerial photos are identified by area / neighborhood / township (what's the proper nomenclature?). For example:

Boston. Bellevue
Boston. Codman Square

I'd like to find the New Haven's early piggyback yard located across the harbor from a large B&A warehouse. Would someone know what area / neighborhood / township to look for?

-Brian Chapman
Evansdale, Iowa

Peter Ness
 

Hi Brian,

In the aerial collection are a couple of Fairchild Aerial Survey photos. The New Haven's freight yard in Boston was called the South Boston Freight Terminal and was appropriately located in South Boston. Searching within the BPL collection for "South Boston aerial" will pull up a small grroup of photos that includes a few of the NH yard. The TOFC yard was 5 Yard and can be located by identifying the long coal bunker near the harbors' edge. The road paralleling the harbor is Northern Avenue, where the Union Freight Railroad connected to the New Haven, and the tracks that run perpendicular to, and end at Northern Avenue are 5 Yard. The large pier visible in the photos is Commonwealth Pier, the next pier to the left is Pier 4 (later home to Anthony's famous restaurant). 5 Yard is almost across Northern Ave from Pier 4 and extends to the left. Freight Houses 1, 2 and 3 (variously inbound and outbound LCL) were beyond 5 Yard and again paralleled Northern Avenue. The 6-8 tracks in 5 Yard closest to the coal bunker were the TOFC yard with ramps at the Northern Ave end and concrete aprons surrounding the tracks. I don't think TOFC activity is visible in the BPL photos; I believe the coal bunker was torn down about 1930 and TOFC service began at the end of 1937.

Here are links to two good photos in the collection. More detail can be pulled out if you have a photo software package on your computer - you can magnify the high resolution image to show greater detail.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/boston_public_library/5334162492/sizes/o/in/photostream/

This photo includes the Customs House Tower that was discussed by Schyler Larrabee and shows some locations identified by Bill Keay

http://www.flickr.com/photos/boston_public_library/5334162326/sizes/o/in/photostream/

In case we are getting too far "off track" from freight cars with this thread - although all freight cars had to go to yard facilities somewhere at some point) I will offer you can contact me off list so the Moderator doesn't put us in jail <BG>

Thanks to others pointing out B&M and NYC operations as well. Boston Harbor never had the complexity of New York, but there were indeed many interesting operations.

Regards,
Peter Ness

----- Original Message -----
From: Brian
To: STMFC@...
Sent: Saturday, December 17, 2011 3:06 PM
Subject: [STMFC] Re: Freight Car Surprise in Boston Harbor



> Boston Public Library has a great (my opinion) on-line photostream (Flickr) for those interested in early operations and rail equipment of NYC/B&A, B&M and NH railroads. . . . Be sure to check out the aerials collection and use the available high resolution views where possible. -Peter Ness <

The Boston aerial photos are identified by area / neighborhood / township (what's the proper nomenclature?). For example:

Boston. Bellevue
Boston. Codman Square

I'd like to find the New Haven's early piggyback yard located across the harbor from a large B&A warehouse. Would someone know what area / neighborhood / township to look for?

-Brian Chapman
Evansdale, Iowa

Donald B. Valentine
 

--- In STMFC@..., "Schuyler Larrabee" <schuyler.larrabee@...> wrote:

Steve's link took me, at least, to the cover of the book. There are photos
on the page facing 88, and a few pages later, in the appendix. Click
through a few pages from the front, and you get to the TofC, which has
hotlinks to get to later chapters in the book, so you don't have to page
through the entire thing.



I think this photo was taken FROM the Customs House, which was the tallest
building in Boston for years, until (I think) the Prudential building was
built in the back bay in the 60s.

I, too, wondered if the photo was taken from the Custom House tower but believe the angle is wrong and that it was taken for a rooftop along Atlntic Ave. But the first building taller than the Custom House tower in Boston was not the Prudential. It was either the old New England Telephone & Telegraph Building or the original John Hancock Buillding with the light in its tower to tell what the weather forecast was by changing its color. I was told as a youngster that airline pilots approaching Boston form NYC could see the beacon on the John Hancock Building by teh time they reached Hartford, CT.

Cordially, Don Valentine

Joel Holmes <lehighvalley@...>
 

Hi All,

I do believe that the old narrow guage RB&L was incororated into the
Boston Rapid Transit system. I do not recall the date. A tunnel was
built from the end or near the end of the RB&L into Boston ending at
Bowdoin. I have ridden this line when going to Logan Airport which is not
the end of the line.

Joel Holmes

Bill,
 
The BRB&L was the Boston, Revere Beach & Lynn, a narrow ga. RR IIRC.
I can remember taking the ferry for 10 cents to cross the harbor in the
early 1950's.
Wonder how many recall Federal Yard, running tangent to Commonwealth pier,
and
the A street yards of the NH? Up to the 1970's there were about a dozen
PRR M60b's
stored along the waterfront where the old car ferry slips were located.
Thanks to whoever
posted this photo, some of it brought back some great memories !
 
Fred Freitas


________________________________
From: wskeay <wskeay@...>
To: STMFC@...
Sent: Saturday, December 17, 2011 12:31 PM
Subject: [STMFC] Re: Freight Car Surprise in Boston Harbor


 
This wonderful shot was taken in the area behind India Wharf, (now the
site of the Boston Harbor Towers), looking easterly, with East Boston in
the rear, and what is now Logan Airport in the right background, (then
open water).

The B&A RR Docks at the time were in the area of the Cunard and Leyland
piers, shown above the wheelhouse of the left-hand steamer, (under weigh).

The BRB&L Ferry slip is to the right of these, just about between the
masts of the Steamer "HM Whitney".

The wharfs, from right to left foreground, are India Wharf, (Metropolitan
Steamship building), Central Wharf, (now the location of the New England
Aquarium), and Long Wharf.

About the only recognizable landmark still in existence, (other than the
vague outline of the wharfs on the waterfront), is the stone "Custom House
Block" warehouse on Long Wharf.

Boston has a rich history of landmaking, which has graphically altered
it's landscape, (indeed most of the waterfront areas in this photo were on
made land), and much of the fill to do this came from the area's various
railroads.

Thanks for finding and sharing this treasure.

Bill Keay






Schuyler Larrabee
 

You are correct, Don. The tools we have today to investigate this are
astounding. I used Google Earth, and while the "lens" used by GE is
different than the lens used in taking the Shorpy photo, I was able to
establish that the "eye level" of the photograph is about 70' above sea
level, and that it is just north of the present-day New England Aquarium, at
the shoreward end of the Aquarium building, so it must have been from a
rooftop. Or perhaps a ladder set up on the rooftop of the "Metropolitan S.
S. Co." in the foreground.



And yes, the Customs House tower was likely beat for height by the Hancock
building, but not by New England T&T. Take a look at GE in three-d view and
you'll see that the Hancock is taller, by maybe 100', but the NET&T is
definitely shorter.



Years ago you could just walk into the Customs House Tower and take the
elevator to the outdoor walkway around the top, above the clock and just
below the sloping roof. I don't think you can do that now, since it's been
turned into expensive residential condos. It was a great break at
lunchtime, and you could still see some steam-era passenger and freight cars
over in the Fort Point area, the fan pier. (Whew, gotta get list-relevant
somehow!)



Schuyler



--- In STMFC@... <mailto:STMFC%40yahoogroups.com> , "Schuyler
Larrabee" <schuyler.larrabee@...> wrote:

Steve's link took me, at least, to the cover of the book. There are photos
on the page facing 88, and a few pages later, in the appendix. Click
through a few pages from the front, and you get to the TofC, which has
hotlinks to get to later chapters in the book, so you don't have to page
through the entire thing.



I think this photo was taken FROM the Customs House, which was the tallest
building in Boston for years, until (I think) the Prudential building was
built in the back bay in the 60s.
I, too, wondered if the photo was taken from the Custom House tower but
believe the angle is wrong and that it was taken for a rooftop along Atlntic
Ave. But the first building taller than the Custom House tower in Boston was
not the Prudential. It was either the old New England Telephone & Telegraph
Building or the original John Hancock Buillding with the light in its tower
to tell what the weather forecast was by changing its color. I was told as a
youngster that airline pilots approaching Boston form NYC could see the
beacon on the John Hancock Building by teh time they reached Hartford, CT.

Cordially, Don Valentine








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llamsus <llamsus@...>
 

The small liner leaving the harbour is almost certainly the Dominion Atlantic Railway steamer Prince George (or possibly the Prince Arthur) commencing it's return trip to Yarmouth Nova Scotia.

Brian Small