Mid 19th century the shops were turning out 10,000 dozen scythes per year and the facility also required large amounts of iron and coal.32 Danbury’s industries included a tannery and extensive lumber operations. Later the town also exported garnet. Grafton had large deposits of mica and other minerals. The Shaker Colony in Enfield was also an important railroad patron due to its diverse industries and businesses. H.P. Hood and Sons of Boston had a creamery adjacent to the tracks in Enfield (photo 344), built on land owned by the Railroad. Milk trains were a common sight. The extensive farming community near Mascoma Lake utilized the East Lebanon (Mascoma) station to ship wool, produce and dairy products. An ice house on the north side of Mascoma Lake at one time furnished all the ice for the railroad and was sent to Boston.33 The ice was cut from the lake. Another ice house near Halcyon station in East Andover also shipped loaded cars of ice. At one time pulpwood was shipped by rail from Enfield and Canaan to the Brown Company paper mill in Berlin.34 The Northern was also a critical component in transporting summer residents and tourists to destinations such as East Andover, Potter Place, New Canada Road in Danbury and Pleasant Lake in New London. The amount of freight handled at each station determined the relative size of its siding. At West Lebanon there were also livestock pens.
The Boston and Lowell leased the Northern from 1884 until 1887 when the New Hampshire Supreme Court invalidated the lease. An Appraisal of the Northern Railroad was completed in 1890 and offers detailed information concerning all buildings and bridges on the line at that time. There were 99 bridges on the corridor including underpasses and sixteen overpasses. The inventory also includes notations concerning the maintenance of the bridges. Many of the bridges – which included about 25 covered bridges, over sixty stringers, five decks and seven pile bridges – were repaired or rebuilt between 1886 and 1889 with either Northern Pine or spruce.35 By 1889 traffic on the line was at its peak, with twenty four trains a day running on the single track. Of the twenty-four trains, fourteen were through freights.36 In 1890 the Boston and Maine Railroad acquired a ninety nine year lease of the Northern Railroad. The wood-burning locomotives were replaced with more efficient coal burning engines. The 57 pound rails were also replaced with heavier steel rails to accommodate larger, more powerful locomotives capable of hauling longer, heavier freight trains.37 A new building for baggage and express was constructed at West Andover in 1889, just prior to the B & M lease.38
The B & M made a number of improvements to stations along the line which became known as the Main Line. In 1895 a new freight house was built at West Canaan and a water tank and stand point was installed at East Lebanon. A new station was built at Franklin in 1897 (figures 15 & 16). In 1899 a new passenger station, freight house and yard house were constructed at Westboro (figure 57).39 A new station was built in Enfield in 1906 (figure 42), a short distance from the older station (figure 41).In 1909 a new station was constructed at Andover (figure 20). The old Northern Shops in Concord (figure 3) were demolished in 1897 when the B & M rebuilt the Concord facility.40
32. A scythe is a farming tool with a curved blade and long handle used for cutting grass, grain, etc.
33. Carroll, 71.
34. Merton J. Stearns, “The Main Line North: 1945-1950”, B & M Bulletin, Vol. XX, no. 4, 1996, 22.
35. Kenneth R. Cushing, Isinglass, Timber, and Wool: A History of the Town of Grafton, NH 1761-1992 (Lebanon, NH: Hanover Press, 1992), 127.
36. Ibid, 131.
37. RR Commissioners Report, 1889
39 Frye 1982, 16.
40 Frye 1982, 16