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.
In Volumes I and II of Iron Roads of the Monadnock Region, we presented in considerable detail, the histories of all the railroads—including street railways and quarry railroads—that operated in the Monadnock Region of southwestern New Hampshire and north-central Massachusetts from the 1840s. Mount Monadnock—the Grand Monadnock—in Jaffrey and Dublin, New Hampshire, dominates much of this area for miles around. Here, in Volume III, we present a pictorial of railroad operations in the Monadnock Region that is intended to complement and supplement Volumes I and II.
Although Volume III can be enjoyed as a standalone, all three volumes are written as an integrated whole. This third volume is divided into three parts. Part One includes our selections of images, arranged mostly in the chapter order we followed in Volumes I and II. Where appropriate, we stream images in station order outward from Boston, Worcester, or Springfield. At stations where we have multiple images, we’ve tried to keep them in roughly chronological order. We include thumbnail recaps and route maps of our subject roads to assist readers unfamiliar with the territory and who might not have had the benefit of reading the first two volumes. Part Two contains errata and addenda for the first two volumes. Part Three is an updated and consolidated index for all three volumes—providing the convenience of cross-referencing subject material appearing throughout the work.
Newfound photographic material has allowed us to augment the images we presented in the first two volumes—in some cases quite substantially. We would like to emphasize that the images we present in this pictorial are mostly newly discovered, not images that did not make the cut for Volumes I and II. We are living in a time when large collections of images taken in the 1930–1960 period are being dispersed by their owners or estates. The digitization of additional material, locked away for decades in known collections, is another tributary source of vintage images. The sheer volume of “new” images appearing is remarkable. That said, however, railroad images from the Monadnock Region per se are not particularly common. Trains were always scarcer there and the number of railfans and railroad enthusiast trips into the Region, far fewer.
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.