Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Comet at Canton Junction

The Comet at Canton Junction

The railroad has always been a major connecting point for the Town of Canton. It all began in 1834 when Joseph Warren Revere, the son of Paul Revere was a director on the fledgling Boston & Providence Railroad. Several routes were laid out for the connection between Boston and Providence, Rhode Island, but the one that won out was a line that would run directly through the property owned by Paul Revere & Sons Copper Rolling Mill.

Building the railroad meant building over a 70 foot span of the Neponset River. To do this would require building a bridge, and so the Canton Viaduct was created. The engineering firm of Dodd & Baldwin was enlisted to design a granite structure that would stand the weight of engines and the test of time. Indeed, this had been done at a time with no heavy equipment and with the labor of Irish immigrants.  What stands today, still in use, is the Canton Viaduct. The structure is on the National Register of Historic Places and is an engineering landmark.  

The film clip features a rare view of The Comet as it arrives at Canton Junction.  The Comet was built in 1935 for the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad by the Goodyear Zeppelin Company. It was initially placed into service between Boston, Massachusetts and Providence, Rhode Island on a 44-minute schedule; later, intermediate stops were added at Back Bay, Boston and Pawtucket/Central Falls, RI on an advertised "44 miles in 44 minutes" schedule. It ran 5 daily round trips on weekdays, and was often used for weekend excursion trips. This service lasted until the beginning of World War II.  The train was scrapped in 1951. 

While this is a black & white film, the Comet was brightly whorled with a blue and gray enamel paint job. The front end had a futuristic bullet shape and this was a formidable looking train.

Also, as a bonus are a few shots of the Canton Viaduct which made the rail lines through Canton possible.  Rail fans will undoubtedly have much to say on this subject, so please feel free to post your comments on the history of this rail line. In 2010 the Viaduct will celebrate 175 years of service, I am sure we will find many people that will be willing to support the demisemiseptcentennial. 

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