Joined Oct 25 2009
I'm John Smythe. I graduated " Cum Laude " 94.5 avg. " Auto Repair " from Blue Hill Regional Tech High School in 1975. My ( late ) grandfather Wm A Coggon was employed as a Steam Locomotive fireman by The New Haven Railroad over a hundred years ago. He fired steam powered passenger and freight trains along the " Providence Division " line out of South Station / South Boston Yard. One line ran between Boston, Mass to Newport, RI via Braintree Highlands West through the town of Randolph, Mass to Stoughton Junction then South on through N. Easton, Taunton, Dighton, Sommerset and on into Newport, RI. He was paid a basic rate of $2.10 per day which back in 1907 was considered a lot of money.
The Town of Randolph, Mass granted me permission to legally remove and relocate 100 feet of abandoned " Town Owned " 70 & 80 lb/yd rail, switches, signals, etc to my backyard. It's complete and works exactly like it did when this segment was closed in 1938. The 70 lb track ends at the turnout and compromise bars bring it up to 80 lb track which end at the edge of my property. In exchange I laid out and constructed a 30 foot section of 70 lb/yd rail, spiked directly on hand hewn crossties of chestnut and oak timbers, also including a completely refurbished switch stand. The official dedication was attended by many Randolph residents and town officials and made the local newspapers. It was a great pleasure to have so many in attendance come shake my hand and tell me what a wonderful job I had done in performing all of this work.
The project was approved by the Randolph Board of Selectmen and Historical Society. It's important that we do our part to preserve the past for future generations to enjoy. My grandad was a good man and he inspired the railroad spirit in me that burns to this day.
Recently it has been nescessary to help provide more care for my elderly Mom who recently turned 95. I contacted The FVRR in Essex, Conn and donated atremendous amount of my entire railroad collection to them. The FVRR hired out a heavy duty rigging truck which came to my home in Holbrook and loaded the truck to the gills. It's all bona-fide New Haven RR Equipment and after the Valley RR track and signal man examined my equipment he stated they will restore it and have much use for all of it.
I have enjoyed it for the past 20 or so years and now it will be put back into a more useful life to keep history alive for future generations to enjoy. The FVRR got a great deal and I the personal satisfaction it would go to a good home. I do miss seeing the railroad track, switch, signals, etc out in my backyard but I hope to travel down to Essex this coming Summer and see what they are doing with some of the items I donated to them. Thanks Mr. Paul Scarbourough for working out out all the details. Perhaps some of the volunteers that put in time at The Valley RR won't be so critical of me any more.