Iron Roads of the Monadnock Region brings to life the story of the now largely-forgotten railroads that once operated in the rugged mountains and valleys of the Monadnock Region of southern New Hampshire, shining new light on the roads’ stories from their beginnings to the present. Seven years in the making, and enriched by over 700 images, maps, and tables, the two volumes of Iron Roads are an essential reference for the serious railfan.
Volume I covers the formation and operational history of the railroad network in the Region, encapsulating the beginnings, glory years, and end of the Region’s railroad era, as well as detailing the histories of four roads built before the Civil War: the Vermont & Massachusetts, Cheshire, Sullivan, and Ashuelot.
Volume II continues with the construction and operational histories of railroads built after the Civil War, when railroad-building euphoria swept the Region. It covers the Worcester & Contoocook, Manchester & Keene, Ashburnham, and Ware River roads, as well as street railways and little-known quarry roads.
Growing up in Worcester, Massachusetts, Brad Blodget could often be found trackside along the Boston & Maine Railroad watching trains. After graduating from the Worcester public schools, he received a BA in biology from Clark University and an MS in wildlife biology from the University of Massachusetts/Amherst. He moved on to a career with the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife, most of it as State Ornithologist, before retiring in 2002. Soon after that, his long-suppressed passion for railroad history exploded. He acquired the train symbol nickname “WX-1” for his frequent research trips between Worcester, Keene, New Hampshire, and Bellows Falls, Vermont. An active member of the Boston & Maine Railroad Historical Society and the Railroad Locomotive and Historical Society, he resides in Holden, Massachusetts. His first book, Marium Foster’s Boston & Maine Railroad, appeared in 2011.
Richard “Dick” Richards grew up in a railroad family in Greenfield, Massachusetts—his father was a freight and passenger conductor for the Boston & Maine Railroad. After high school, he enlisted in the US Air Force and served as a security policeman in Southeast Asia, the continental United States, and the Republic of Korea. Upon leaving the service, he worked briefly as a trainman and conductor for the Boston & Maine before moving to Keene, New Hampshire, and embarking on a 30-year career with the Keene Police Department. He earned a BS in management from Franklin Pierce College and retired as a lieutenant before rekindling his interest in railroads and their history, which he pursued as a volunteer at the Historical Society of Cheshire County. A member of the Boston & Maine Railroad Historical Society and the Railway and Locomotive Historical Society, he resides with his wife in Swanzey, New Hampshire.