Shirley Karr Biography & Facts
The Boston, Revere Beach and Lynn Railroad was a 3 ft (914 mm) narrow-gauge passenger-carrying shortline railroad between East Boston and Lynn, Massachusetts, from 1875 to 1940. Part of the railroad's right of way now forms the outer section of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's Blue Line rapid transit service.
The railroad was chartered May 23, 1874, and opened July 29, 1875.: 114 A ferry connection from its 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 at Orient Heights to a loop through Winthrop.
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 abandoned 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.
Revere Beach became a very popular resort, and the entire line was double-tracked by 1903. The Narrow Gauge Hotel burned in 1902. The 1904 Independence Day celebration included a staged collision between two obsolete Boston and Maine locomotives, and the rowdy crowds caused the town to cancel the Pines Hotel liquor license. 1906 festivities included a large papier-mâché structure which would spew a cloud of souvenir post cards with smoke and flashing lights as the Eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Commodore Perry's flagship USS Saratoga was burned offshore as a tourist attraction in 1908. Theodore Roosevelt spoke from the Pines Hotel during his 1912 presidential campaign as a Bull Moose candidate. The Pines Hotel closed in 1913 after a police raid discovered unlicensed liquor sales. The Boston American flying exhibition of July 1914 attracted large crowds.: 116 Six passenger cars were purchased by the East Broad Top Railroad in 1916; three were sold again in 1942, while three remain in use.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 number of riders decreased during the Great Depression and completion of the Sumner Tunnel between East Boston and downtown Boston in 1934 allowed automobiles to compete with the ferries.: 117 After attempts to find a buyer fell through, the BRB&L filed for bankruptcy in 1937. A September 1938 hurricane destroyed 500 ft (150 m) of overhead wire and damaged the East Boston terminal. Further losses of ridership followed, and in 1939 the management petitioned for abandonment. After a railfan excursion train on 15 October the abandonment petition was granted, and the railroad ceased operations on January 27, 1940.: 117
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 12, 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 on July 3, 1876 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 1.8 miles (2.9 km) to Winthrop Center and extended in stages during the following years. In 1881, the part heading south was closed and a new line was built east to Ocean Spray and south to Short Beach.: 32–39
Eastern Junction, Broad Sound Pier and Point Shirley Railroad
The EJBSP&PS was chartered in 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.: 102 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.
Point Shirley Street Railway
The Point Shirley Street Railway was built from Winthrop Beach station to Point Shirley beginning in August 1910 and opened later that year. The 1.2-mile (1.9 km) single-track line ran along Shirley Street and Tafts Avenue. The BRB&L acquired the entire line with legislative approval in October 1912. By 1914, the line operated 30,594 car miles (an average of 35 daily round trips), carried 165,037 passengers (an average of 452 daily), and employed seven people.Unusually, the Point Shirley Street Railway did not operate with electric power from overhead lines. It first used a gasoline-powered electric streetcar, then a battery-powered streetcar owned by the BRB&L, but these did not prove adequate for reliable service and by early 1919 buses were used instead. This prompted a public outcry with demands for conventional overhead-powered cars; instead, the BRB&L introduced two lighter battery-powered streetcars with better performance to the line in May 191.... Discover the Shirley Karr popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Shirley Karr books.