Train EDRJ (East Deerfield-Rotterdam Junction) crosses the Hoosic River outside of North Adams, Massachusetts, on January 25, 2009. The locomotives may be decorated for Guilford, but the railroad had just renamed itself Pan Am Railways. B&M 327, MEC 518, and B&M 340 lead this westbound train over the former Boston & Maine "West End."
Pan Am and Guilford on the West End
by Otto M. Vondrak/photos by the author
Welcome to Photo Line!There was a period of time when railfans were certain the old "West End" of the Boston & Maine was doomed. Freight traffic west of the main classification yards at East Deerfield had dwindled to nearly nothing. Once Guilford had combined the old Delaware & Hudson, Maine Central, and Boston & Maine into one system, traffic patterns shifted away from the old western terminus at Rotterdam Junction. Perpetual slow orders the length of the line made for easy chases, but there was not much to chase. Into the 1990s, the old West End began to take on a new importance as a competitive route for New England traffic in partnership with Norfolk Southern. Suddenly, the old Guilford image was shed as the company rebranded itself Pan Am Railways in 2006. Guilford gray and orange slowly gave way to deep blue with white accents and a new partnership with NS. Join associate editor Otto Vondrak and we sample the action from the last ten years along the old B&M West End.
Light Engines at XO
Guilford was known for its roster of exotic second-hand diesels such as Springfield Terminal 207, a former Norfolk & Western high-hood EMD GP35; and Springfield Terminal 621, a former Santa Fe EMD SD26! This light engine move was crossing over to shared trackage on the Delaware & Hudson at Mechanicville, New York, on October 24, 2008. These locomotives have since been retired.
MOED at North Adams
A former Canadian National GP40-2W leads train MOED (Mohawk Yard-East Deerfield) into North Adams, Massachusetts on April 2, 2002. Lingering winter weather means no signs of spring on Hoosac Mountain looming in the background.
Pan Am Rides Again
This ex-CN GP40-2W was one of the first locomotives to be painted for the "new" Pan Am Railways, seen here leading train SEED (Selkirk-East Deerfield) through the curve at North Pownal, Vermont, on December 3, 2008.
What's Old is New Again
Looking to promote its new image, Pan Am Railways acquired two ex-CN FP9's from Conway Scenic Railway and refurbished them for use on its business train. The vest-pocket OCS paused at North Adams, Massachusetts, on April 5, 2012, to allow dignitaries to stretch their legs while the locomotives performed a runaround move to prepare for the eastbound return.
Mixed Bag for EDFI
Power for train EDFI (East Deerfield-Fitchburg) consisted of BM SD35 690 (since retired), MEC GP40 321, ST high-hood SD45 681 (since retired) preparing to depart East Deerfield on February 8, 2004.
Railfans converge on a parked AD-1 (Adams Local) at Greenfield, Massachusetts, on October 9, 2010. Lead unit MEC 381 was one of the first to receive the new "dip blue" Pan Am Railways paint scheme.
An Electrifying Experience
If three matching Guilford units wasn't enough, train EDRJ picked up a fourth to help speed its westbound run on January 25, 2009. The bridge over Electric Lake at Fisherman's Lane in Schagticoke, New York, is a well-known location on the former B&M West End.
Comin' Right Atcha
Highlighted by fading evening sunlight, Maine Central 332 leads Train EDRJ into XO interlocking at Mechanicville, New York, on July 20, 2002.
Train EDRJ flies through Johnsonville, New York, on January 25, 2009, passing the shell of the old interlocking tower that once protected the junction with the B&M's passenger main to Troy. Passenger service on the B&M West End was discontinued in 1958.