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Something About the Billerica and Bedford Narrow Gauge Railroad Recently Opened to the Public –
A Two-foot Gauge and Rolling Stock Suited Thereto.


These who have had the opportunity of riding through the picturesque valleys and over the beautiful plateaus through which the new Billerica and Bedford Narrow Gauge Railroad passes must have been greatly placated with the admirable woodland scenes and the exquisite bits of perspective scenery which confront the eye aim at every direction.

It is necessary to say that Mr. George E. Mansfield is the profiteer of this novel mode of travel, and when it is mentioned that the rolling stock of the road, from the little putting locomotive to the diminutive "push" car, is almost perfection itself, it seems to be precisely what any candid observer would admit after viewing for the first time the novel little cars and the power which propels them so gracefully over the tortuous railroad to their destination.

From Bedford the starting point to North Billerica the terminus of the road, the distance is just nine miles and a half. The width of the gauge is presently two feet, and the weight of the rails is twenty-five pounds to the yard. The cost of the road was about $6000 a mile, and the total cost will not exceed $60,000.

The two engines, "Puck" and "Ariel," as well as the two cars, "Sylvan" and "Pawn" are "little beauties," and must be seen to be fully appreciated. The two engines weigh twelve tons each, exclusive of fuel. Their capacity is between three and four hundred tons on a level. They were built at the Hinckley Locomotive Works in this city. Their rate of speed is between thirty and forty miles an hour, their drivers being thirty inches in diameter and their cylinders twelve by eighteen inches. The two passenger cars weigh each four and one-half tons and the excursion cars weigh 5300 pounds. The box freight car weighs 5600 pounds and its carrying capacity is between six and eight tons. The interior of the two passenger cars is very elegant, such woods as mahogany, "burl," black walnut and a peculiar Colorado Wood harmonizing splendidly with the nicety-upholstered, nickel-plated single seats at each side of the cars. Each car is furnished with lamps, toilet apartments, Miller platforms and airbrakes. As the cars hang very low to the ground the centre of gravity is brought as much as possible between the rails, so that if the cars themselves, by some peculiar apparatus arranged beneath, cannot be overturned or leave the roadbed.

At Billerica the highest grade of the road is reached, the grade at this point being 155 feet to the mile and in descending the declivity beautiful views of Lowell, Chelmsford and the Concord Valley are offered. The new road will be entirely completed in about a week from the present time and regular trains will be run between Bedford and Billerica three times a day. The road affords a short cut between Concord, Mass, and Lowell, connecting the Middlesex Central [Railroad]with the Boston and Lowell.

[The Billerica and Bedford Railroad went bankrupt less than a year later in June, 1878, and the roadbed was taken over by the Boston and Lowell Railroad.]


Source: Boston Globe, October 17, 1877

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