Economic development in northern New England peaked well before the depression, and the B&M’s highest volume of freight was 30 million tons in 1918.
The line also carried some 40 million passengers in 1901, but railroads were hit early by competition from highways, the popularity of the automobile and the rise of the trucking industry. By 1937, it was carrying only 20 million passengers, and was finally down to minimal commuter-only levels by 1967.
Well into the 1980s, however, the B&M still commanded over 1400 miles of track, hauling freight in six states. The main line went from South Portland, Maine, to Rotterdam Junction, New York. Secondary lines stretched from Boston throughout eastern Massachusetts and into New Hampshire.
The group’s 40 members meet on Wednesday evenings from 7 to 9 p.m., and new members or visitors are always welcome.
For more information about the SPRHS, call 978-884-1639, or check out their website at www.salisburypoint.tnsing.com.
IF YOU GO
What: Christmas train show by Salisbury Point Railroad Historical Society
When: Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Carriage Mills Building 2, 9 Water St., Amesbury
How: $5 for adults, $3 for children age 5 to 13, free for children under age 5.