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Specific Item Information: B&M airslide hopper number 5835 is one of a series of this type of car used by the Boston and Maine to transport milled semolina grain, used in the production of pasta products, from the new England Milling Company's plant in Ayer, Massachusetts to the Prince Spaghetti Company's main production facility in Spaghettiville, Lowell, Massachusetts. It is unique in that it is the only car in the series to have received the decorative and colorful markings and slogan which have become the trademark of the Prince Company.
There is an interesting story behind how the car came to be in its present livery. The car was painted at the Maine Central Railroad's Waterville, Maine shops. In order to obtain the proper colors for the stripes, a box of Prince spaghetti was purchased at a local store by the gentleman supervising the project. This was taken to the local paint dealer who matched the paint (Sherwin-Williams) to the colors on the box.
The stripes on the car are 9 inches wide respectively. The lettering of the car was developed by the Boston and Maine Mechanical Dept. at Billerica, Mass. in an almost identical manner. A box of Prince products was purchased and the lettering photocopied and enlarged to the proper size, essentially by hand. (The manual process involved in custom-drawing the letters to proper size required approximately two weeks.) Following this, the letters were cut out and brought to Waterville, where they were pasted on the car and stenciled. Next, masking took place and the car was painted. When the car was painted the first time, the letters were placed incorrectly and the car was subsequently repainted.
Text by Amro Elsabaugh, founder of Delaware Valley Freight Car Corporation.
The Boston and Maine Railroad was chartered in New Hampshire on June 27, 1835, and the Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts Railroad was incorporated March 12, 1839, in Maine, both companies continuing the proposed line to South Berwick, Maine. The railroad opened in 1840 to Exeter, New Hampshire, and on January 1, 1842, the two companies merged with the Boston and Portland to form a new Boston and Maine Railroad.
The B&M flourished with the growth of New England's mill towns in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but still faced financial struggles. It came under the control of J. P. Morgan and his New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad around 1910, but anti-trust forces wrested control back. Later it faced heavy debt problems from track construction and from the cost of acquiring the Fitchburg Railroad, causing a reorganization in 1919.
By 1980, though still a sick company, the B&M started turning around thanks to aggressive marketing and its purchase of a cluster of branch lines in Connecticut. The addition of coal traffic and piggyback service also helped. In 1983 the B&M emerged from bankruptcy when it was purchased by Timothy Mellon's Guilford Transportation Industries for $24 million. This was the beginning of the end of the Boston & Maine corporate image, and the start of major changes, such as the labor issues which caused the strikes of 1986 and 1987, and drastic cost cutting such as the 1990 closure of B&M's Mechanicville, New York, site, the largest rail yard and shop facilities on the B&M system.
Guilford Rail System changed its name to Pan Am Railways in 2006. Technically, Boston & Maine Corporation still exists today but only as a non-operating ward of PAR. Boston & Maine owns the property (and also employs its own railroad police), while Springfield Terminal Railway, a B&M subsidiary, operates the trains and performs maintenance. This complicated operation is mainly due to more favorable labor agreements under Springfield Terminal's rules.
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Item created by: gdm on 2016-11-18 19:11:28. Last edited by gdm on 2017-03-10 10:39:01
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