Suncook Valley Railroad
Interchange Report, November & December 1952
It is late in 1952. Sam Pinsly has purchased the Suncook Valley from Ed Stapleton and the other owners, with a promise to continue operations. Unbeknownst to the stockholders, employees,and customers, Pinsly is simply interested in the new GE locomotive and the line’s scrap value. Shortly after purchasing the line, he informs management that operations will be ended soon.
Earlier that year, a young B&M freight clerk transferred to the Concord Sales Office, located in the impressive Concord train station. He settled in nearby Pembroke, within view of the Suncook Valley Railroad’s Allenstown depot. Occasionally, if his wife wanted to use the car that day, the man would make his way over to the depot, flag down Train #2, and get a cab ride to work. The freight clerk’s name was Dwight Smith.
When Dwight discovered that the Suncook Valley was to be abandoned, he had the foresight to begin to collect the Interchange Reports as filled out by B&M yard clerks; reports from November 1 to December 20 were saved. These reports detailed traffic to and from the shortline, and included information on 82 terminated car loadings and 27 originated car loadings. Below you will find his letter dated February 12, 2001, in which he comments on that traffic:
Freight Car Movements on the Suncook Valley on its Final 50 Days of Existence , by Dwight A. Smith.
Much additional analysis has also been done on this group of freight cars, and the results of that will eventually be made available here.>
We are fortunate that so many photographers spent some time taking pictures of the Suncook Valley, and special attention was given to the road in the days and weeks prior to abandonment. This photo of a SV train at Suncook came to me from George Melvin. The back had no caption, only the photographer’s name: N. D. Clark.
From the interchange reports Dwight saved, and despite not being able to read any car numbers, we can actually determine that this photo was taken on December 13, 1952. Furthermore, we can identify each car and where it had been and was going when the photo was taken. First off, this is Train #4, the second trip the railroad made to Concord, NH each day. The car’s information is as follows:
CNJ 21454, an ARA design steel box car built in 1926, now empty, it had previously hauled lumber from Ste. Rose, Quebec,arriving in Suncook on 12/1/52.
DL&W 11387, a steel sided double door box car rebuilt from a USRA double sheathed car built 1919, now empty, it too had hauled lumber from Ste. Rose, Quebec, to Suncook. It is not known whether these two cars were unloaded at the Emerson furniture factory in downtown Suncook or at Bailey’s Lumber, a box shop and retail lumber dealer.
SOU 12499, a 1937 AAR steel box car built 1938, is carrying LCL freight from Pittsfield to Bangor, ME. It had hauled grain from Merrimack Farmers Exchange at Bow Junction to Pittsfield two days earlier.
FW&D 7554, the car was a CB&Q class XM-26 single sheathed box car built in 1926. Inside were box shooks from New Hampshire Box & Lumber Company of Pittsfield destined for New York, NY. On 12/10/52, the car had carried a load of Blue Seal feed from H. K. Webster’s mill in Richford, VT, to their dealer in Pittsfield.
DM 3090, a nearly new 10’ IH postwar AAR box car built in March of that year, it is returning empty to the B&M after having hauled another car of feed from Merrimack Farmers Exchange’s Bow mill, this time to the branch located in the former Epsom freighthouse on December 10.
The yard was empty on this day, as the last car serving the Fowler Brothers feed mill, located out of sight behind the train, had been hauled away empty two days prior. You can see the snow has been sitting on the rails in the foreground for at least a couple days, while the tracks east of the train have been run on since the storm.
Posted 1/31/08. Updated 12/19/17. Maintained by Earl Tuson.