Transit history/trivia quiz

The EGE

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And the remaining answers:

1: Lynn station is signed as "Central Square - Lynn".
2: Bellingham Square station on the Silver Line is still signed as Chelsea on the Newburyport/Rockport Line. That will soon be obsolete when the commuter rail platforms at Chelsea (signed the same on both modes) open later this year.
3: Brandon Hall station is named for a hotel that burned in 1946. Beaconsfield station was named for (and opened in 1906 to serve) the Beaconsfield hotel. Blandford Street station is located at the intersection of Commonwealth Avenue with Sherborn Street (renamed a while back) and Blandford Mall (renamed around 2015).
4: Just a block away, BU East station. (I believe East Braintree/Weymouth Landing is the easternmost that starts with "East")
5: Montello is also of Italian heritage. JFK/UMass is of course short for Massachusetts, taken from the Massachusett tribe.
 

The EGE

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I've been doing a lot of research on streetcar systems lately, so here's another quiz. All the answers can be found online.
  1. Almost all the streetcar systems in the state connected. However, four systems were completely isolated - which ones?
  2. Outside of the Boston Elevated Railway (BERy) system, where were the last streetcars operated in the state?
  3. Most systems outside Boston replaced streetcars with gasoline or diesel buses. However, one operator replaced part of its system with trolleybuses, which were used for over a decade. Which one?
  4. Trolley parks were a popular way for streetcar companies to make extra money by encouraging weekend travel. A number of famous parks - Whalom, Lincoln, Norumbega - started as trolley parks. What trolley park opened by a Massachusetts-serving street railway is still operational?
  5. Massachusetts towns are very picky about their borders, and streetcars were no exception. In many cases, passengers were forced to transfer at town lines. When and why did the BERy get special permission to build a new line into a town they otherwise didn't serve? (Hint.)
  6. Which of these stations was never served by "foreign" suburban streetcars (i.e, from non-BERy systems): Park Street, Scollay Square, Sullivan Square, Dudley, Forest Hills, Fields Corner, Ashmont
  7. What system that primarily served Massachusetts reached into three other states?
  8. Several railroad lines were converted for streetcar use (like the Mattapan Line), or electrified for use by streetcars alongside trains. Only one of those lines is still in railroad use - which one?
 

jass

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  • Outside of the Boston Elevated Railway (BERy) system, where were the last streetcars operated in the state?
Well, Lowell is still running sort of....
 

ceo

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4. Canobie Lake Park, built by the Massachusetts Street Railway Company in 1902. The loop where the steam train used to turn around, before they shortened it to expand the water park, was the original turnaround loop for the trolley line.
 

The EGE

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Oops, this one might have been too hard. (Figuring out the answers could be fun, though, I hope.) Some good state maps are available here. Those maps have the answers to questions 1, 6, 7, and 8. Wikipedia will be helpful for questions 2, 3, and 6.

ceo got question 4. Interestingly, Six Flags New England was served by a streetcar line long ago, but it was owned separately from the street railway and thus isn't considered a trolley park.
 

Tallguy

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And you probably arent counting it, but the old "ping-pong" to Needham Lower Falls only connected with the Highland Branch and was a single car under a trolley pole......
 

The EGE

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Yep, the Shelburne Falls & Colrain was one of the isolated lines. The Lower Falls Branch was not - connections could be made with the Middlesex & Boston at Lower Falls.

The Fitchburg and Leominster did indeed operate trackless trolleys from 1936 to 1947. It wasn't an isolated system in the streetcar era, though; it connected with the Northern Massachusetts at West Fitchburg, the Worcester Consolidated at Fitchburg and at Leominster, and the Lowell and Fitchburg at Ayer.


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The EGE

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Lacking any further interest, the answers (and additional trivia):
  1. Almost all the streetcar systems in the state connected. However, four systems were completely isolated - which ones?
    The Shelburne Falls & Colrain, the nearby Conway Electric, the Oak Bluffs (on Martha's Vineyard), and the Point Shirley. The latter connected with the BRB&L at Winthrop Beach. It was the only electric streetcar line ever to operate in Winthrop; there was a short-lived horsecar line in the 1870s.
  2. Outside of the Boston Elevated Railway (BERy) system, where were the last streetcars operated in the state?
    The Union Street Railway in New Bedford operated some lines until 1947. Very few systems still had streetcars after the mid 1930s. Worcester ran streetcars until the end of 1945, and Springfield until 1940. Only two Eastern Massachusetts lines survived cuts in the 1930s: the Fellsway Line to Stoneham ran until 1946, and the Quincy-Fields Corner line until 1948.
  3. Most systems outside Boston replaced streetcars with gasoline or diesel buses. However, one operator replaced part of its system with trolleybuses, which were used for over a decade. Which one?
    The Fitchburg and Leominster, as gotten above.
  4. Trolley parks were a popular way for streetcar companies to make extra money by encouraging weekend travel. A number of famous parks - Whalom, Lincoln, Norumbega - started as trolley parks. What trolley park opened by a Massachusetts-serving street railway is still operational?
    Canobie Lake, as gotten above.
  5. Massachusetts towns are very picky about their borders, and streetcars were no exception. In many cases, passengers were forced to transfer at town lines. When and why did the BERy get special permission to build a new line into a town they otherwise didn't serve? (Hint.)
    In early 1918, the BERy opened a line on South Street (soon renamed Victory Road) that crossed a new wooden bridge to reach the Victory Destroyer Plant in Squantum. It only operated until 1924. The wooden bridge was destroyed by fire in 1925; the Street View link shows a small preserved section.
  6. Which of these stations was never served by "foreign" suburban streetcars (i.e, from non-BERy systems): Park Street, Scollay Square, Sullivan Square, Dudley, Forest Hills, Fields Corner, Ashmont
    Park Street was served by Middlesex & Boston cars to Norumbega Park, Scollay Square by Eastern Massachusetts cars from the North Shore, Sullivan by several Eastern Mass (and predecessor Bay State) lines from as far as Lowell, Dudley by Eastern Mass service from Quincy, Forest Hills by Eastern Mass cars from Walpole and Needham, and Fields Corner by Quincy service. Only Ashmont never served foreign cars, though Eastern Mass bus service began just a year after it opened.
  7. What system that primarily served Massachusetts reached into three other states?
    The Berkshire Street Railway included a line to North Canaan, Connecticut, as well as one to Hoosick Falls, New York, via Bennington, Vermont.
  8. Several railroad lines were converted for streetcar use (like the Mattapan Line), or electrified for use by streetcars alongside trains. Only one of those lines is still in railroad use - which one?
    The Grafton and Upton was electrified in 1902, with Milford and Uxbridge Street Railway cars taking over passenger service. Freight service was electrified in 1919, and remained electric for almost two decades after streetcar service ended in 1928. It remains in use as a diesel-powered shortline.

    The short-lived electrification between Braintree and Cohasset on the Greenbush Line arguably qualifies; however, it used third rail power, and the passenger cars were larger than streetcars despite a close resemblance. The Providence, Warren and Bristol also used electrified mainline cars rather than trolleys for its electric services.

    Streetcars ran over steam railway lines in several locations. The Nantasket Beach Railroad and the Newton Lower Falls Branch (mentioned upthread) are both abandoned, as is the Linwood Street Railway - an industrial spur in Whitinsville that ran both electric freight and streetcars to the Linwood station of the Providence and Worcester. The BRB&L used streetcars for overnight service after electrification.

    Several lines have been taken off the mainline network for use by streetcars: the North Attleboro Branch in 1903, the Milton Branch in 1929, and the Highland Branch in 1959.

    Other electrifications in the state were freight-only: the Hoosac Tunnel, the Northeast Corridor, and several industrial shortlines (Salem Terminal, Amesbury Industrial, Springfield Armory, Joe Cushing).
 
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Riverside

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Which of these stations was never served by "foreign" suburban streetcars (i.e, from non-BERy systems): Park Street, Scollay Square, Sullivan Square, Dudley, Forest Hills, Fields Corner, Ashmont
Park Street was served by Middlesex & Boston cars to Norumbega Park
Out of curiosity, do you know what dates this service ran? And any place I can go read more about it? (I'm working on a piece about streetcars which ran into the subway, and this would be very helpful!)

EDIT: Aha, per Wikipedia per BSRA's Tremont Street Subway: A Century of Public Service:
Through service between Norumbega Park and Park Street was run from January 17, 1903 to November 1, 1914.
 

The EGE

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Of note: the Norumbega Park route never entered the Boylston Street Subway, apparently due to the older two-motor M&B streetcars being unable to keep up with the newer four-motor BERy cars. This article has some details. It also suggests that it may have been routed via Beacon Street rather than Comm Ave during its last few weeks, but the wording is ambiguous.

Several other routes also entered the subway. These are the Park Street routes that source lists:
  • Park Street–Waltham via Comm Ave, Brighton Ave, North Beacon Street, and Main Street: February 23, 1903 to April 1912. Replaced by Waltham–Central service (today's 70) serving the new Cambridge Subway, which ran until November 1, 1915.
  • Park Street–South Framingham "Suburban Limited" via Auburndale and Natick: ran in March and April 1910. Cancelled due to low ridership. A similar service operated briefly in 1903.
  • Park Street–Newton Highlands via Comm Ave and Walnut Street: May 1, 1912 to October 3, 1914.
If you don't have a copy of the book, PM me and I can send scans of the relevant pages.
 

Riverside

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If you don't have a copy of the book, PM me and I can send scans of the relevant pages.
As a matter of fact, I actually went ahead and ordered it from BSRA, along with Bradley Clarke's Streetcar Lines of the Hub: 1940s. A valuable resource that I really should have a copy of in general.

That's interesting that the Suburban Limited ran so briefly. The Waltham route is an interesting one too -- surprisingly long lived. I've never really thought about it before, but I guess a lot of routes would've been curtailed once the Cambridge Subway opened up.

It does look, from the article, like the M&B did run all the way from Auburndale (but I guess not Norumbega?) into the subway:

The Auburndale-Lake-st-Subway line, now running via Commonwealth av, will now run on 20-minute time to the Park-st Subway via Beacon st, Massachusetts av and Boylston st, entering the Subway at the Public Garden.
 

The EGE

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Hmm, that's a good question. The original Comm Ave Street Railway opened to Auburndale station in 1896, and was extended to Norumbega in 1897. A short extension to Riverside on private ROW opened in 1906 under the Newton and Boston. There's a good map here.

I would assume that "Auburndale" service via Comm Ave post-1896 was always to either the loop at Norumbega or to Riverside. (I don't think there were separate services using the tail tracks on Comm Ave west of Norumbega, but I could be wrong.) There doesn't look to be any crossover at Auburndale, and I've found a few images of cars to Norumbega and/or Riverside just signed "Auburndale". The one thing that's not clear - and someone at the BSRA may know - is the service patterns that served Norumbega. It may have been that some cars used the loop at Norumbega and didn't serve Riverside, particularly during the summer when there would be extra service, but I can't say for certain.
 

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