Forty Years of Granite & Steel

The C. A. Bailey Quarry and Railway
Allenstown, NH, 1891-1934


Charles A. Bailey was an Allenstown farmer, brick maker, and quarryman, having opened his quarry off River Rd. in 1874.  At that time, stone was brought down the hillside via wagon and loaded onto Concord RR freight cars at what would later be the site of the Bailey Lumber Co.

Early Survey map, NH State Archives (Click for full size.)

In 1891, Bailey chose to make a substantial new investment in his operation, building track easterly (on land acquired as early as 1887,) from the Suncook Valley branch to the base of the hill upon which his quarry was situated.  With a sharp curve to the north, his new line began its steep ascent of the hill with a grade of about 4%, reaching the quarry about 7000 feet from its connection.  He acquired a second hand Fitchburg RR switching locomotive to shove empty flat cars and gondolas up the hill and back the loaded freight cars back down to interchange them with the Concord & Montreal.  An engine house was constructed in the middle of a field, next to the only water encountered, a small stream about 1000' from the railroad, in order to provide for the locomotive's consumption.  By agreement with the railroad, Bailey's operations on the hill were restricted to 12-6, while the railroad would switch the track only between 6 AM and noon.  Presumably, this arrangement was due to the risk that a runaway quarry train coming downgrade could pose to the common carrier.

1921 USGS Topographic Map

Bailey No. 1, Cy Hosmer collection

Business was successful for Mr. Bailey, and in 1899, he put in a rock crusher having a capacity of 125 tons per day.1  Thus, crushed stone was added to the paving blocks, curbing, and other such mundane items produced at the quarry.  Also that year, his operation acquired a second locomotive from the Boston & Maine RR, who now held the lease on his connection.  This engine was numbered, inexplicably, #3.

Bailey Overview, ca. 1905, author’s collection

However, just four years later, a disaster of small proportions occurred- the quarry railroad had an engine house fire, and engine #3 was inside.2  The precise disposition of the damaged #3 is unknown, but Bailey would go on to acquire a third locomotive in 1915.  Numbered 82 on the B&M, this rather more modern engine, a B&M class F-9 0-4-0, was never renumbered at the quarry, but just lettered C. A. Bailey across its cab sides.  Another significant infrastructure improvement was the installation in 1910 of a large steel overhead traveling crane, 54’ x 100’, just beyond the crusher to better facilitate the moving and loading of stone.3

Bailey No. 82, crusher, & overhead crane, author’s collection

By the early 1930’s, business had slowed for Bailey’s as it had for so many other businesses, but the quarry and its little locomotive caught the eye of some New England rail fans.  On November 4, 1934, the National Association of Railway Enthusiasts hosted their second excursion, traveling from Boston to ride on the Suncook Valley Railroad.  With a quick run up the quarry track, the Suncook Valley locomotive hooked onto #82’s tender, drawing it out of the engine house.  It is not known whether the Bailey locomotive was ever used in service again, and it was reported scrapped in 1943.

Bailey No. 82, 11/4/34, author’s collection

Extant Photos

The two best published sources of Bailey’s Quarry photographs are: “The Blueberry Express, a History of the Suncook Valley Railroad”, edited by John Hutchins, 1985 (and referred to by this author below as ‘BEX’); and “Suncook Village,” by Carol Martel, 2008.  Other photos included on this page or listed below are in private collections as stated.

Subject Direction Location Notes Date Published/Collection
“Granite Works” NW on lumber yard siding Concord RR flat cars pre-1891 Suncook Village, p. 58, Brent Michiels collection
B&M Ballardvale 1875-1891 author's collection
Line opening NE in quarry C&M flat, shed 1891 Suncook Village, p. 54
“Bailey’s Ledges” SE Crusher switch (no crusher yet) ebay scan (from chuck-n-nan) 1890’s BEX, cropped version, p. 25
Overview SE 1890’s Ekstrom collection
#1 E waste track overpass shoving gondola 1890’s BEX, p. 25, Suncook Village, p. 55
#1 NE in quarry C&M flat, boiler shed, tent 1890’s Cy Hosmer collection (above)
Finishing shed SE unknown flatcar with link & pin 1890’s BEX, p. 26, Suncook Village, p. 57
#3 unknown unknown in front of shed 1899-1903 BEX, p. 100, Suncook Village, p. 56, author’s collection
Overview NW from top of face first crusher?, donkey, tent, office after ~1900 BEX, p. 26
#1, #3 SE across Granite St. backing down loads 1899-1903 Suncook To-day, Frank Levi Aldrich, “The Granite Monthly”, July 1900
#3 N unknown engine house fire, note link & pin summer 1903 Brent Michiels collection
Crusher SE from leftmost switch office, no overhead crane, advertising post card ~1905-10 Suncook Village, p. 54, author's collection
Crusher SE from waste track Gondolas, no overhead crane, advertising post card ~1905-10 Around Hooksett, p. 38
#82 unknown unknown brick mills has headlight after 1915 Brent Michiels collection
#82 SW unknown three tracks, has headlight after 1915 Cy Hosmer collection
#82 NE on driveway new crusher, overhead crane, no headlight unknown author’s collection (above)
#82 W from driveway, at office no headlight 1929 Laurence Breed Walker, author's collection, Suncook Village, p. 55
#82 NE from driveway on east track at overhead crane loading summer 1934 L. Peter Cornwall, Suncook Village, p. 56, George Melvin collection
#82 NE from driveway on east track at overhead crane loading summer 1934 L. Peter Cornwall (same girls & gon as above,) Edward Ozog collection ( digital)
Loading pavers E unknown (note dimensional data style and reweigh date) summer 1934 L. Peter Cornwall, Suncook Village, p. 59, author’s collection
#82 W towards gantry on east track, sheds 9/14/34 Suncook Village, p. 57, R. A. Hoisington, author’s collection
#82 W on enginehouse track pulled by SV #1 11/4/34 Cy Hosmer collection #108
#82 W on enginehouse track different view 11/4/34 William Monypenny, author’s collection #110
Harp switchstand W unknown SV #1 w/NARE 11/4/34 Brent Michiels collection #109
Harp switchstand unknown unknown 11/4/34 Cy Hosmer collection
Engine house SE 11/4/34 Cy Hosmer collection
#82 W on engine house track vandalized & derelict after 1934 Phil Bonnet, author's collection
Engine house E from turnout harp switchstand TBD Brent Michiels collection #107
Storefront unknown Elm St., Manchester unknown Suncook Village, p. 59
Derricks SE along waste track? shed, “Dangerous” sign unknown Suncook Village, p. 58
Overview SE from crusher switch TBD C. A. Bailey advertisement (get citation.)

Plans and Data

The NH State Archives includes some collections of early surveys, including much work from a man named Orrin James.  In addition to the early map of where the quarry line joined the Suncook Valley shown (at the top,) there is a survey of a parcel transferred to Bailey by the Hazeltines, lying at the foot of the hill between where the engine house would be situated and Granite St.

1887 Survey Hazeltine to Bailey (Click for full size.)

While conducting the ICC’s Valuation Survey of the B&M in 1914, survey crews perhaps mistakenly recorded track materials used on the quarry tracks and drew up a convenient track diagram.  While a snap shot in time, this information is quite useful when determining where photos were taken from.

Valuation Map (Click for full size.)

Rail & Other Track Material (Click for full size.)

Frogs & Switches (Click for full size.)

During the years of independent operation of the SVRR, that line submitted Annual Reports to the I.C.C., which included revenue freight statistics by commodity class categories (but not, unfortunately, by specific commodity classification.) For central NH, 'Products of Mines' generally meant stone, sand, and gravel, and all of Bailey's outbound traffic would have been categorized as such by the railroad. Prior to the shortline's lease of the Suncook Loop in 1936, there are no other concerns that have been identified that shipped such products from Valley locations. It is, therefor, reasonable to offer that the full amount of originated 'Products of Mines' be taken to be the quarry's total shipments for the year.

Year SV Originated
Revenue Tons
Products of Mines
Percentage of Total
SV Originated
Revenue Tons
(58 tons per carload)
1924 (3 mos) 1618 24% 28
1925 6747 21% 116
1926 9303 33% 160
1927 9134 37% 157
1928 3836 22% 66
1929 4678 28% 81
1930 4437 31% 77
1931 3512 32% 61
1932 186 7% 3
1933 676 23% 12
1934 4360 74% 75

From the beginning of independent shortline operation, this data suggests that the C. A. Bailey quarry was a leading shipper along the railroad, until the deepening Depression slashed business. While yet unconfirmed, the bump in tonnage in 1934 does coincide with the Route 28 construction in the Valley, and very well may represent aggregate supplied for the road's construction.

After 1934, the only year the SV reported originating 'Products of Mines' , was in 1938, with only 201 tons, but that could very well be from another customer located on the Suncook Loop served by the SV after the lease began.

Locomotives and Rolling Stock

This data taken directly from BEX, and corroborated from photographic source notes above.

Number Builder Builder# Built Date Notes
1 Rhode Island 284 6/6/1878 Built for Gay, Mason & Co. as their Suffolk, no number, contractors for the BHT&W, who purchased it in 1878, numbered #1.  Reno #51 in 1883.  Reno “A” ‘83-‘87.   Fitchburg #174, 6/1/87.  Purchased by Bailey 8/1891.
3 Manchester 707 5/7/1875 Ex-B&M #15, Ballardvale.  Cylinders 15” x 22”.  Purchased by Bailey 8/17/99.
82 Manchester 1467 10/1890 Ex-B&M #82.  Cylinders 16” x 24”.  Purchased by Bailey 9/1915 and never renumbered.

Operations in the quarry required rough cut stone to be moved to other areas for further processing, whether it was to size pavers and curbing, run it through the crusher, or send it to the finishing shed.  Little information exists on what equipment Bailey may have used to accomplish this, but B&M records did record two wood underframe gondolas, numbered 23013 and 24553, being sold to Bailey on 10/2/1928 and 11/20/1928.  Both were shipped to Bailey on 12/14/1928 and presumably immediately entered captive service transporting stone within the quarry, as Bailey never listed cars as available for interchange in Official Railway Equipment Registers.  No photographs are known to exist that document these cars.  Whether Bailey may have acquired similar equipment prior to this purchase, we can only speculate.

The two gondolas purchased in 1928 were from a series of over 4500 34' 30 ton capacity WUF gondolas built by the B&M in 1899-00 and acquired from Laconia Car Company from 1906 to 1908, numbered 21400-24987 and 39000-39999.  By the time Bailey's purchased the two examples, these WUF gondolas were obsolete, having been effectively replaced by three generations of improved designs, and the B&M was rapidly retiring their remaining examples.  By Dec 1930, only 480 remained.

B&M 34' Gondola #22486, same design as the two Baileys gondolas

B&M 34' Gondola Class Diagram (Click for full size.)

Prototype railroads were able to use published methods to calculate locomotive capabilities based on a route's grades and curves and a proposed engine's tractive effort.  In an effort to better understand the Bailey operation, these calculations were made using estimates of the relevant numbers and published statistics on B&M 0-4-0's:

Pounds tractive effort required:
2-3#/ton due to rolling resistance
.8#/ton/deg of curvature
20#/ton/% slope
10#/ton to accelerate to 6mph in 1 minute

Bailey's maximum curvature: ~20 deg
Bailey's maximum grade: ~4%

Estimated Tractive effort required: 110#/ton

B&M F-6:
66,000# engine weight
12,400# tractive effort
34,000# loaded tender weight (21,520 empty, 1550 gal water, 3 1/2 tons coal)
44 tons minimum locomotive weight, 50 tons maximum

B&M F-6 rating, including locomotive, on Bailey's hill: 113 tons

B&M gondolas:
80000 series- 19 tons MT
81000 series- 20
90000 series- 22
21400, 39000 series- 13
Average gondola weight- 19 tons

Therefore, Bailey's #82 could only be reasonably be expected to push a maximum of three typical, empty B&M gondolas or one fully loaded 40 ton capacity freight car (135,000# gross rail load,) up to the quarry!


1894: Bailey was selling granite pavers for $42.50 per 1000 (online at Google Books.)
1896: Bailey contemplates a crusher (online at Google Books.)
1899: Bailey installed the stonework for the new steel bridge over the Contoocook River in Hillsboro on the road to Henniker (online at Google Books.)
1901: Bailey supplied 56,000 pavers for Hanson Street, Rochester, filling 24 cars, with 3 additional cars for crossings (online at Google Books.)
1920: Bailey was a non-union shop (online at Google Books.)
1922: Bailey employed 12 men at the quarry (online at Google Books.)


1. Bulletin 430, Contributions to Economic Geology, USGS 1910 (online at Google Books.)
2. Stone, Volume 26, Number 4, August 1903 (online at Google Books.)
3. Granite, Marble, & Bronze, Volume 20, Number 5, May 1910 (online at Google Books.)

Bailey 1908 advertisement



Posted 12/11/15.  Updated 3/12/23.  Copyright by Earl Tuson.