Boston, Revere Beach and Lynn Railroad
|Dates of operation||1875–1940|
|Track gauge||3 ft (914 mm)|
It was chartered May 5, 1874, opened July 29, 1875, and abandoned January 27, 1940. A ferry connection from the railroad's southern terminus at East Boston connected to Rowes Wharf in the city of Boston proper, with a connection to the Atlantic Avenue Elevated (from 1901 to 1938). The railroad followed the coastline north-eastward through the resort of Revere Beach to the far terminus at Lynn. A branch split to a loop through Winthrop.
It had 8.8-mile (14.2-kilometre) of track.
The rail laid was light, 30-pound per yard (15 kg/m) rail being installed at first, increased to 50 lb/yd (25 kg/m) in 1885 and 60 lb/yd (30 kg/m) in 1904. It was, however, laid from the beginning on standard gauge-sized ties. Given the lightweight rail, the locomotives were small and of 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge dimensions. The vast majority of them were Mason Bogies, 11 from the Mason Machine Works and a further 21 from other builders after Mason closed. Cars were of 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge dimensions, seating four across.
Between 1896 and 1900, the section from Revere Beach to Point of Pines, formerly running along the beach, was relocated inland to lie next to the Eastern Railroad's Chelsea Beach Branch. The stations were moved and a new one (Bath House) was built. Revere Beach Boulevard was built later along the former route.
The railroad was highly successful, carrying commuters into Boston and the Boston urban population to the seaside resorts. By 1914 over seven million passengers were carried annually, making it one of the most heavily traveled stretches of railroad in North America. With such a traffic density, the expense of electrification could be easily recouped. By 1928, all existing cars were fitted with electric motors, trolley poles, and control stands and the steam locomotives were disposed of. However, the Great Depression and increased use of the automobile ultimately caused ridership to decline.
After attempts to find a buyer fell through, the BRB&L filed for bankruptcy in 1937. Further losses of ridership followed, and in 1939 the management petitioned for abandonment. This was granted, and the railroad ceased operations on January 27, 1940.
The right-of-way from East Boston to Revere, a length of 4.3 miles, was used in 1952–1954 to build part of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's Blue Line rapid transit line. The remainder of the right-of-way is owned by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and may be used for further expansion of the Blue Line. South of the Blue Line's section, the line passed through where Logan Airport is now and a now-abandoned tunnel under a hill.
A number of the passenger cars were purchased by the East Broad Top Railroad in Pennsylvania, where two or three survive. The line's Orient Heights Car shop also survives, having been converted to a casket factory after the closure of the line.
On July 1, 1891, the BRB&L merged with the 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge Boston, Winthrop and Shore Railroad. The BW&S was itself a consolidation on December 11, 1883 of the Boston, Winthrop and Point Shirley Railroad and Eastern Junction, Broad Sound Pier and Point Shirley Railroad.
Boston, Winthrop and Point Shirley Railroad
The BW&PS was organized in 1874 and opened a 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge line on June 7, 1877. This line split from the BRB&L at Winthrop Junction and headed east and south for 2.55 miles (4.10 km) to Winthrop Center. In 1881, the part heading south was closed and a new line was built east to Ocean Spray and south to Point Shirley
Eastern Junction, Broad Sound Pier and Point Shirley Railroad
The EJBSP&PS was chartered 1880 and built a standard gauge railway line from the Eastern Railroad near Crescent Beach southeast via Beachmont and Winthrop Beach to Point Shirley. South of Ocean Spray, this was just east of the BW&PS. Much of this shared section of right-of-way used a three-rail, dual gauge track. A branch of the EJBSP&PS was also constructed in Revere, from the junction with the Eastern Railroad north to Point of Pines, parallel with the Eastern's Chelsea Beach line. The EJBSP&PS was not operated until 1884, by which time it had been absorbed into the Boston, Winthrop & Shore RR. It operated for only two summers before being abandoned due to damage from storms.
The BW&PS and the EJBSP&PS, along with the Boston & Winthrop (a "paper railroad" proposed but never built) were merged late in 1883 and operated thereafter as the Boston, Winthrop & Shore RR. In 1885, after a storm, sections of line were abandoned, and the management of the BRB&L stepped in. A circuit or loop line was constructed in 1888 and existed until the 1940 demise of the BRB&L. It used parts of the original alignment of the BW&PS. Most of the line, however, was built brand new, serving Winthrop Highlands, Winthrop Center and Winthrop Beach. The loop was double-tracked in 1903.
This is going clockwise around the loop. The loop tracks split from the main line just north of Orient Heights, turned east and then split with one direction heading east and the other south. Much of the rail's path was converted to roads when the line was removed, but you can still see some of the existing railbed that curved out into Crystal Cove at Winthrop Beach Station, and the remnants of the rail bridges as it crossed Belle Isle March to connect at Orient Heights. Today, one can drive along Veteran's Road (current path of the old line) to experience the course of the commuter train as it ran parallel to Shirley Street. The location of the various railway stations in Winthrop had a tremendous influence on the pattern of Winthrop's suburban growth; business and commerce grew up naturally around these stations and ultimately into what would become today's neighborhoods.
|Pleasant Street||This station was located at the very north end of Pleasant Street as it meets Belle Isle Terrace, on the site of what is now part of a boat storage yard.|
|Battery||Station, originally Cherry St. Station, was located at the intersection of Banks Street and Wilshire Street, on the site of what is now a gravel parking lot for a warehouse.|
|Winthrop Highlands||Station was located at the current location of Crest Avenue Playground; the depot was approximately where the jungle gym is today.|
|Ocean Spray||Was located on the corner of Shirley St. and what is today Veteran's Road, approximately on the site of the used car dealership.|
|Playstead||Station existed off of Shirley street across from its intersection with Pearl St.|
|Winthrop Beach||Station existed at the corner of Shirley and what is now Washington St., approximately where DiParma's restaurant currently is.|
|Thornton||Station existed at the very southern end of Winthrop Street on the beach side of Pleasant, all the way down the hill, just past and to the right of the road. If you walk down into the brush there, you can see remnants of the rail bed next to the waters edge, heading towards Crystal Cove.|
|Winthrop Center||Station was approximately where the Winthrop Center circle is today. A 12-foot portion of the old track was inexplicably left behind here, and can be seen preserved and embedded in the asphalt of Hagman Road (which follows the track line today). In addition, one of the steel electric power supports remains as well; it can be located protruding from the sidewalk at the corner near the track remnant. An historical marker mounted next to the steel support provides some information about Winthrop's train history.|
|Ingalls||This station was located on the south corner of Walden street at Short Street. The line at this point ran alongside Walden Street on the west side of the road.|
Steam Locomotive Roster
|1st # 1||Orion||Mason Machine Works||0-4-4T||1873||508||Built as North and South of Georgia - Sold to Nantucket Railroad #1 Sconset 1888|
|2nd # 1||Hinkley Locomotive Works||4-4-0||1879||Sold to Nantucket Railroad #1 1901|
|3rd # 1||ALCO Manchester||2-4-4T||1903||27801||Scrapped 1929|
|1st # 2||Pegasus||Mason Machine Works||0-4-6T||1875||549||Burned at Winthrop Junction (Orient Heights) and scrapped 1896|
|2nd # 2||Manchester Locomotive Works||2-4-4T||1899||1707||Scrapped 1929|
|1st # 3||Jupiter||Mason Machine Works||0-4-4T||18975||550||Leased to the Boston, Winthrop & Point Shirley Railroad in 1883, burned at Winthrop Junction (Orient Heights) and scrapped 1896|
|2nd # 3||Manchester Locomotive Works||2-4-4T||1899||1708||Scrapped 1929|
|1st # 4||Mercury||Porter Bell & Company||2-4-0||1876||Leased to the Boston, Winthrop & Shirley Railroad in 1878, burned at Winthrop Junction (Orient Heights) and scrapped 1896|
|2nd # 4||Mason Machine Works||2-4-6T||1882||683||Burned at Winthrop Junction (Orient Heights) 1896 and scrapped 1904|
|3rd # 4||ALCO Manchester||2-4-4T||1904||30125||Scrapped 1929|
|1st # 5||Leo||Hinkley Locomotive Works||4-4-0||1876||1240||Sold to Brown Company of Florida|
|2nd # 5||Mason Machine Works||2-4-4T||1885||720||Rebuilt 1917 - Scrapped 1929|
|1st # 6||Draco||Mason Machine Works||0-4-4T||1876||559||Scrapped 1885|
|2nd # 6||Mason Machine Works||2-4-4T||1886||727||Rebuilt in ALCO Manchester shops 1920 - scrapped 1929|
|7||Mason Machine Works||2-4-6T||1882||684||Rebuilt in ALCO Manchester shops 1920 - scrapped 1929|
|1st # 8||Mason Machine Works||2-4-4T||1883||692||Scrapped 1900|
|2nd # 8||Manchester Locomotive Works||2-4-4T||1900||1741||Scrapped 1929|
|9||Mason Machine Works||2-4-4T||1887||740||Scrapped 1929|
|10||Mason Machine Works||2-4-4T||1887||741||Scrapped 1929|
|11||Taunton Locomotive Manufacturing Company||2-4-4T||1890||981||Rebuilt 1917 - Scrapped 1929|
|12||Taunton Locomotive Manufacturing Company||2-4-4T||1890||982||Rebuilt in ALCO Manchester shops 1920 - scrapped 1929|
|13||Manchester Locomotive Works||2-4-4T||1900||1742||Scrapped 1929|
|14||ALCO Manchester||2-4-4T||1902||25872||Scrapped 1940|
|15||ALCO Manchester||2-4-4T||1903||27802||Scrapped 1929|
|16||ALCO Manchester||2-4-4T||1905||Scrapped 1929|
|17||ALCO Manchester||2-4-4T||1906||39054||Scrapped 1929|
|18||ALCO Manchester||2-4-4T||1907||42268||Ran through the East Boston bumper block into Boston Harbor and scrapped 1928|
|19||ALCO Manchester||2-4-4T||1907||42741||Rebuilt 1917 - Scrapped 1929|
|20||ALCO Manchester||2-4-4T||1907||42742||Scrapped 1929|
|21||ALCO Manchester||2-4-4T||1907||42743||Scrapped 1929|
|22||ALCO Manchester||2-4-4T||1912||50830||Scrapped 1929|
|23||ALCO Manchester||2-4-4T||1912||50831||Scrapped 1929|
|24||ALCO Schenectady||2-4-4T||1914||54590||Scrapped 1929|
|25||ALCO Schenectady||2-4-4T||1914||54591||Scrapped 1929|
|26||ALCO Schenectady||2-4-4T||1914||54592||Scrapped 1929|
|Union||1875||purchased from New Bedford-Taunton Railroad||Scrapped 1889|
|Oriole||1876||purchased from Providence, Warren & Fall River Railroad||Sold to Washington Railroad of Lunder, North Carolina 1878|
|City of Lynn||1878||Built by Bath Iron Works||Converted to a sand barge in 1918|
|Swampscott||1882||Built by D. D. Kelly & Son of Boston||Sold for Portland to Peaks Island ferry service in Casco Bay 1908|
|Dartmouth||1889||Built in East Boston||Retired 1939|
|Ashburnham||1905||Built in Boston||Sold 1940|
|Brewster||1906||Built in Boston||Sold 1940|
|Newtown||1908||Built in Boston||Towed to Portland, Maine in 1940|
- Walker Lithograph & Publishing Co. (1891). "Boston & Hull & Nahant & Revere & Swampscott & Winthrop 1891 Plate 05". WardMaps LLC. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
- Stanley, Robert C. Narrow Gauge - The Story of the Boston, Revere Beach & Lynn Railroad Boston Street Railway Association 1980 pp.111-112
- Stanley, Robert C. Narrow Gauge - The Story of the Boston, Revere Beach & Lynn Railroad Boston Street Railway Association 1980 p.113
- Hilton, George W. (1990). American Narrow Gauge Railroads. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-2369-9.
- Karr, Ronald Dale (1994). The Rail Lines of Southern New England: A Handbook of Railroad History. Branch Line Press. ISBN 0-942147-02-2.
- Stanley, Robert C. (1980). Narrow Gauge - The Story of the Boston, Revere Beach & Lynn Railroad. Cambridge, MA: Boston Street Railway Association.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Boston, Revere Beach and Lynn Railroad.|
- "The Coffee Roasters" of New England, about the BRB&L