Billerica and Bedford Railroad
|Dates of operation||1877–1878|
|Track gauge||2 ft (610 mm)|
George E. Mansfield, of Hazelhurst, Massachusetts, became an early promoter of the two foot gauge after seeing the Ffestiniog Railway in operation in Wales. He persuaded the citizens of Billerica of the economies of a two-foot line, and became general manager of the Billerica and Bedford when it was chartered in 1876. Construction began in May 1877, and the line was completed between North Billerica and Bedford in August 1877, a distance of 8.63 miles (13.89 km).
The line was built very cheaply in accordance with narrow gauge doctrine, but rapidly found itself financially embarrassed. Turntables were built at each end of the railroad, and a wye and engine-house were built at Bedford, but no stations were ever constructed along the line. The company went bankrupt and was liquidated in June 1878.
Mansfield, undeterred, went on to promote the two foot gauge in Maine, where the largest New World network of these lines was ultimately built. The Boston and Lowell Railroad used most of the B&B roadbed to extend its Lexington Branch in May 1885. The Boston and Maine Railroad took over the line in 1887.
Station stops on the line along were Bedford, Springs Road, Bedford Springs, South Billerica, Turnpike (Nuttings Lake), Billerica, Bennett Hall and North Billerica (Only the Bedford & North Billerica stations still stand). Passenger service stopped on the last day of 1931 and the line was used as a freight line until it was abandoned from Bedford Depot to Billerica Depot in 1962. The line was further abandoned from Billerica Depot to Bennett Hall about 1980.
|Ariel||Hinkley Locomotive Works||0-4-4 Forney locomotive||1877||1251||Became Sandy River Railroad #1|
|Puck||Hinkley Locomotive Works||0-4-4 Forney locomotive||1877||1261||Became Sandy River Railroad #2|
|Fawn||Ranlet Manufacturing Company||combine car||1877||Became Sandy River Railroad #4|
|Sylvan||Ranlet Manufacturing Company||coach||1877||Became Sandy River Railroad #3|
|A||Ranlet Manufacturing Company||boxcar||1877||Became Sandy River Railroad #2|
|B & C||Ranlet Manufacturing Company||excursion cars||1877||Rebuilt as Sandy River Railroad baggage cars #1 & #3|
|D thru I||Ranlet Manufacturing Company||flatcars||1877||Sold to Sandy River Railroad several later rebuilt as boxcars|
- Map of Billerica and Bedford Railroad (standard gauge)
- Google Earth/Maps file for the Billerica and Bedford Railroad (standard gauge)[permanent dead link]
- Google Earth/Maps file for route of the Billerica and Bedford Narrow Gauge Railroad (where it differs)[permanent dead link]
- Lexington and West Cambridge Railroad for later history of the right-of-way
- Sandy River Railroad for later history of the rolling stock
- Moody 1959 p.50
- Jones 1980 p.350
- Crittenden 1976 pp.19
- Moody 1959 p.52
- Jones 1980 p.355
- Moody 1959 p.51
- Crittenden 1976 pp.11
- Moody 1959 p.53
- Crittenden 1976 pp.24
- Adams, Robert. "Born and Buried in Six Months". TRAINS Magazine. Kalmbach (September 1959): 34.
- Crittenden, H. Temple (1976). The Maine Scenic Route. McClain Printing.
- Jones, Robert C. (1980). Two Feet Between the Rails (Volume II - The Mature Years). Sundance Books.
- Karr, Ronald D. (1994). Lost Railroads New England. Branch Line Press. ISBN 0-942147-04-9.
- Karr, Ronald D. (1995). The Rail Lines of Southern New England - A Handbook of Railroad History. Branch Line Press. ISBN 0-942147-02-2.
- Moody, Linwood W. (1959). The Maine Two-Footers. Howell-North.