Copyright 2005-2009 by James B. Van Bokkelen . This document may be duplicated and distributed for non-commercial purposes only, all other rights reserved.
This didn't get started until 2005 because I was more interested in passenger equipment and engines, and also because I hoped one of the people who knew B&M freight equipment better than me would publish, either in print or on the web. Particular thanks to Tim Gilbert and Charles Harmantas for their research, to Bruce Bowden and Bob Warren for their efforts in getting issue after issue of the B&MRRHS Modeler's Notes out, and to Don Valentine of NERS and Bill Dulmaine of Yankee Clipper Models for their efforts in producing commercial models of B&M freight cars.
Corrections and criticisms to jbvbRemove_This@ttlc.net .
This document contains five sections:
NOTE: For most of this period, milk refrigerators usually ran in passenger service, and are covered in my Boston and Maine Passenger Equipment after 1940 page.
Contributed by Tim Gilbert
The Boston and Maine always terminated more traffic than they originated. Generally, the incoming traffic was dense raw materials received from other sections of the country which were either consumed by the populace, or used to produce lighter manufactured products and merchandise which were delivered throughout the country. Because the number of inbound cars was still greater than those outbound, many inbound cars when unloaded were, in turn, reloaded with outbound traffic, thus reducing non-revenue empty car miles in compliance with the First Rule of Interchange. Because so many empty foreign cars were used for traffic originated on the B&M, the B&M did not have to own as many freight cars to support originated traffic as a road with a better ratio of originated to terminated traffic than B&M's would have.
The B&M's largest interchange was at Mechanicville, NY with the Delaware and Hudson, which handled about twice as many loaded cars as were interchanged with the New York Central at Rotterdam Jct., NY. Because the B&M was the most efficient outlet for Maine using all-American routing, Portland's Rigby Yard was a large interchange point, primarily Maine Central; although Portland Terminal did connect to the Grand Trunk, most interchange was done farther north on the MEC. Much of the traffic, although certainly not all, via Rigby used the B&M as a "bridge line" to Mechanicville, Rotterdam and Worcester, MA for points south on or via the New Haven. Worcester was also the gateway for traffic between New Haven points and B&M stations east of the Connecticut River. The Springfield, MA interchange with the New Haven handled about a third to a half the number of loaded cars interchanged at Worcester. The Boston & Albany (NYC) was an insignificant interchange partner with the B&M except during WW II when the B&M delivered loads, many of them oil tank cars, to the B&A at Grand Junction in Boston; the switch was necessary because of the wartime gridlock on the B&A. Traffic from Canada funneled through White River Jct. (CV) and Wells River (CP). Outbound traffic through those two junctions consisted not only of loads for Canada, but also to the American Mid-West. Parsimonious shippers took advantage of a differential tariff (lower rate) for westbound shipments to and via Michigan through Canada.
Because it was possible to use a high proportion of foreign cars for loads originated, the B&M did not need to own as many freight cars as the average RR - B&M's cars owned as a percent of the daily average of cars on line ranged between 1940 and 1970 from 40% to 61% (vs. the National average of 90% - privately owned cars made up the remainder nationally). Because of the vast number of commodities with which they could be loaded, B&M's boxcars and general service flat cars were, in effect, B&M's contributions to a national pool. It was not rare for a B&M boxcar to stay away from home for four years. In good times, about 5% of the boxcars on the B&M were B&M-owned. In bad times, that percentage increased because, as fewer loads were available, more B&M boxcars returned home empty, and were placed in storage tracks until the economy turned.
Hoppers, however, could only carry a few commodities so reloading possibilities were from slim to none. The B&M, however, did need to own some hoppers in order to supply cars in the ports of Boston, Portsmouth and Portland for the transfer of tide coal from colliers & barges to rail for customers inland. B&M hoppers were not seen off-road much except during WW II when B&M hoppers could be used to reduce the nation- wide hopper shortage. Come the first coal miners' strike after the War, those hoppers came home empty fast. In terms of going off-line, B&M's gons were somewhere between boxcars and hoppers.
Through 1960, the B&M owned about 5,000 freight cars, but a 1966 Official Railway Equipment Register only lists 3,500. Much of the reduction was the retirement of most of the B&M's hoppers and gondolas as "tide coal" shipments ended.
I intend to eventually cover all the groups of cars either purchased or undergoing substantial rebuilding between 1920 and the Guilford merger. I am not going to get into details of service lives, as that's available by year and month in the ORER, either original or reprinted.
NOTE: So far, I've got most of the cars in service 1940 - 1966. I'll extend this as I have time, but the fleet was more complex both before and after this time period.
In the 1920s, the B&M standard was that wood sided cars (which apparently included the 1929 steel boxcars) were boxcar red. Hoppers, gondolas and flatcars were black, although it is not clear how this was applied to the USRA composite gondolas. Either way, lettering was white. The reporting marks were B&M.
Several variations on heralds were applied at different times. The earliest was a white rectangle with the road name in white on a black background and a red upwards-facing arrow through the "B" and "AND". This was used on the USRA double-sheathed cars delivered in 1919. Later a multi-color "map" herald with "Minute Man Service" lettered underneath was tried on a few cars. The 1929/30 boxes and hoppers had a simpler rectangular herald with the same "Minute Man Service" slogan.
After the 1938 change to "BM" reporting marks, the B&M only used two heralds on hoppers, gons and house cars: The earlier was the simple rectangle containing the road name, without the slogan:
In 1946, the Minuteman herald came into use, and was applied to cars as they were shopped. When the railroad acquired covered hoppers in the late 1940s, they were painted gray with black lettering and a black Minuteman.
When Patrick McGinnis took over the B&M in 1955, he put a lot of effort into showy graphics. After several experiments, his designer produced a couple of boxcar schemes: The 50 foot PS-1s (77000 series) were delivered with a blue body and black door, with an interlaced BM herald in white (B) and black (M, with white trim) to the right of the door. A little later, the third order of 40 foot PS-1s (76000 series) was delivered with a blue body and door, with an interlaced BM herald in white (B) and blue (M, with a white border) on a black panel to the right of the door. Lettering remained white. Later boxcars used a simplified all-white herald.
During the McGinnis era, flatcars, hoppers and gons remained black, receiving only the white/blue interlaced BM herald. Covered hoppers remained gray, but the 1956 PS-2s received a white/blue interlaced BM herald.
After McGinnis went to prison, subsequent purchases and rebuilds economized by omitting the black doors and using an all-white herald. Covered hoppers reverted to black lettering.
My modeling standards lie somewhere in the middle of the range; I've never built anything I'd expect to win a well-attended contest, but I do notice cars that aren't up to the Renssalaer club's Green Dot standards, with separate grab irons, realistic door hardware and near-scale roofwalks.
As I wasn't out taking pictures until the last few years of the B&M, in many cases I use photos of my own models to illustrate prototypes.
These were termed "grain" cars in the Official Railway Equipment Register, which was probably a strategy to avoid loads which would contaminate the car (hides, ground glass etc.). As the PS-1s arrived, some were converted for MoW service and survived into the 1980s. In HO scale, these cars are available as a "shake the box" kit from Accurail with "BM" reporting marks and post-WWII Minuteman herald, and as a resin kit from Westerfield.
At or after delivery, 20 of these cars were lettered Mystic Terminal Corporation - At home on the Boston & Maine. As traffic declined in the late 1950s, many were sold to the Wellsville, Addison & Galeton and the Fort Dodge, Des Moines & Southern, who operated them into the late 1960s. A drawing was publshed in the July 1986 Mainline Modeler and reproduced in the Yankee Clipper Models instruction sheet.
In HO, a resin kit originally marketed by Yankee Clipper is now available from Funaro & Camerlengo. Three versions are offered: Murphy roof with Youngstown door for the 72000 series as-built, flat roof with "reverse CRECO" door for the 71000 series as-built, and the stock car rebuilds from 1945. In later years, the "reverse CRECO" doors on the 71000s and K brake equipment on all of them were replaced with Youngstown and AB respectively. The included decals letter both the as-delivered paint, pre-1955 repaints with the Minuteman herald, and rebuilt/renumbered and leased back cars (also with the Minuteman herald) post-1955. I built B&M 72480 from the Yankee Clipper kit, with Kadee PRR 2DF8 trucks (a good approximation of the prototype"s ARA Type Y and Double-Truss trucks)
These 25 cars were bought as an experiment at the same time as the first order of XM-1s. At delivery, 5 of these cars were lettered Mystic Terminal Corporation - At home on the Boston & Maine. The Northern New England Color Guide
In HO, they are best modeled starting with a Red Caboose X-29 model, but if you can find one, Bethlehem Car Works produced a custom painted kit with the as-delivered "reverse CRECO" doors. An alternative to the Red Caboose kit is the old Trains-Miniature HO RTR X-29 now offered by Walthers. AFAIK this car has never been offered in accurate B&M paint, and probably isn't worth the effort if you want a Green Dot car.
In HO, the Athearn 40 foot boxcar is close to the right body type, but for the extra effort, the Intermountain kit looks much better. New England Rail Service had a custom Intermountain car done with several different B&M numbers, which I used for B&M 73096.
All of the 1947 cars (74000 series) that had not been modified with roof hatches for grain service and renumbered were sold to USLX in 1962. Only 175 (1000 - 1174) were leased back by the B&M.
The different production runs of B&M cars had a number of detail variations. A good PS-1 reference can be found in the March, October, November 1993, December 1994 Railmodel Journal. Also see Charles Harmantas' article in Modeler's Notes No. 50. He modifies an Intermountain HO PS-1 into a B&M 75000 series car by removing the end dimples, flattening the raised end panels, altering the side sill tabs and applying 7-foot doors with extended door tracks.
Several good quality HO scale PS-1s have been offered in B&M paint:
|Kadee||4816 (RTR)||75000 as delivered, black roof, Minuteman herald|
|5249 (RTR)||76000 as delivered: blue, black R of door, BM herald, Superior door|
|5260 (RTR)||76000 blue, black R of door, BM herald but with Youngstown door???|
|6015 (RTR)||77000 as delivered: blue, black Youngstown door, BM herald|
|Intermountain||Kit for |
Brooklyn Loc. Wks.
|76000 as delivered: blue, black R of door, BM herald, Superior door|
In HO, these cars are best represented by the Athearn quad hopper. The factory "pseudo-McGinnis" scheme of blue body with large interlaced BM herald never existed. The Salisbury Point RRHS once offered a late 1930s version, with rectangular herald and "B&M" reporting marks, but without the "Minute Man Service" slogan. A Charles Harmantas article in Modeler's Notes No. 32 outlines a Green Dot rebuild of the Athearn car, but you should also refer to the photos in Railway Prototype Cyclopedia Vol. 5; the ladders had six rungs instead of five. I built B&M 8900 using an Athearn kit and Charles's article.
A 1947 photo in the Railway Prototype Cyclopedia Vol. 2 shows a rectangular herald. In 1955, 64 cars were leased to the Norfolk Southern. Later they were sold to the NS.
In HO, this type of car can be based on the Athearn or Atlas offset twin. The B&M's cars had angle-section side gussets and channel end supports that only came to the bottom of the end sheet. Some time ago, New England Rail Service did a custom painted run of Athearn offset twins as B&M cars. To achieve a Green Dot car you'd need to change the end supports along with adding brake gear and replacing the steps and grabirons.
The Intermountain USRA gondola is correct for these cars. The Steam Shack had a custom paint job done on the HO car in black with B&M reporting marks and a 1933 repaint date. It has been speculated that these cars might have been delivered in boxcar red due to the wood sides, but I haven't seen a color photo.
At delivery, 25 of the first lot of these cars were lettered Mystic Terminal Corporation - At home on the Boston & Maine.
The Yankee Clipper HO resin kit (presently available from Funaro & Camerlengo) is by far the most accurate way of modeling the 1942 order of 50 ton steel gondolas, either as originally delivered with drop-bottom doors, or as rebuilt with solid bottoms in the late 1950s. This kit was also offered in a Maine Central version. The modeler does face a couple of potentially tough choices - the interior side molding provides detail usually missing from gondola kits, but makes the sides twice as thick as they ought to be. And adding weight under the inner floor so the car can operate empty makes the inside depth less than it should be.
In HO, Eastern Car Works has made an injection-molded kit of a standard cast-steel depressed center flatcar which is right for the B&M 5100 series. I built mine with 28-inch wheels and lead shot held in the underbody openings with white glue, so I can operate it empty.
In HO, Funaro & Camerlengo makes a resin kit of a well-hole car with the superstructure used to ship gears and rotors from General Electric's Lynn, MA works. This is right for the B&M 5000 series cars. I haven't built mine yet.
In 1938, fifty cars were sold to the Barre & Chelsea, numbers 700 - 749. In 1954, ten were rebuilt with 6 foot 6 inch high bulkheads for gypsum board loading, but these cars were replaced by the 1957 bulkhead flats.
Red Caboose offered an as-delivered paint scheme on their HO 42-foot flatcar model with 12 stake pockets. This appears to match the photo in the Northern New England color guide, but needs relettering to suit use after about 1938.
NOTE: A general Boston & Maine bibliography may be found in my Unofficial Boston and Maine Railroad Page.
Maintained byJames B. VanBokkelen (jbvbRemove_This@ttlc.net) .