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The Boston and Maine Railroad was chartered in New Hampshire on June 27, 1835, and the Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts Railroad was incorporated March 12, 1839, in Maine, both companies continuing the proposed line to South Berwick, Maine. The railroad opened in 1840 to Exeter, New Hampshire, and on January 1, 1842, the two companies merged with the Boston and Portland to form a new Boston and Maine Railroad.
The B&M flourished with the growth of New England's mill towns in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but still faced financial struggles. It came under the control of J. P. Morgan and his New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad around 1910, but anti-trust forces wrested control back. Later it faced heavy debt problems from track construction and from the cost of acquiring the Fitchburg Railroad, causing a reorganization in 1919.
By 1980, though still a sick company, the B&M started turning around thanks to aggressive marketing and its purchase of a cluster of branch lines in Connecticut. The addition of coal traffic and piggyback service also helped. In 1983 the B&M emerged from bankruptcy when it was purchased by Timothy Mellon's Guilford Transportation Industries for $24 million. This was the beginning of the end of the Boston & Maine corporate image, and the start of major changes, such as the labor issues which caused the strikes of 1986 and 1987, and drastic cost cutting such as the 1990 closure of B&M's Mechanicville, New York, site, the largest rail yard and shop facilities on the B&M system.
Guilford Rail System changed its name to Pan Am Railways in 2006. Technically, Boston & Maine Corporation still exists today but only as a non-operating ward of PAR. Boston & Maine owns the property (and also employs its own railroad police), while Springfield Terminal Railway, a B&M subsidiary, operates the trains and performs maintenance. This complicated operation is mainly due to more favorable labor agreements under Springfield Terminal's rules.
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The town of Bluford in southern Illinois featured a small yard on Illinois Central's Edgewood Cutoff (currently part of CN.) The yard included a roundhouse, concrete coaling tower (which still stands) and large ice house. Reefer trains running between the Gulf Coast and Chicago were re-iced in Bluford. Things are more quiet now in Bluford with the remaining tracks in the yard used to stage hoppers for mines to the south and store covered hoppers. Intersecting the IC line in Bluford is Southern Railway's (currently NS) line between Louisville and St. Louis. Traffic on this single track line remains relatively heavy.
Item created by: gdm on 2016-05-08 17:42:00. Last edited by gdm on 2017-05-04 13:24:07
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