SLW class D steeplecab #1100 in pre-merger paint

The South Loren Railway is a terminal railroad that operates switching trackage in Boston (lines running south from the vicinity of South Station) and an (exx Bay Colony) branch from Needham SW to Woonsocket, RI.

It was formed in 1891 as a joint venture between the Boston and Maine, the New York, New Haven and Hartford, and the Parsons Vale and Termite. It was electrified at 600VDC in 1906, the PV&T bought out the other owners in 1950, and reenergized the overhead to 3000VDC in 1958.

It operated as a 100% electrified 3000VDC line for about 40 years, but then Amtrak extended the NE Corridor electrification from New Haven to Boston, cutting off the Quincy branch in the process. As a result, that line was de-electified and a class DL16 diesel was brought in to service the (few) remaining customers.

The P&W had been negotiating with Amtrak & the MBTA for overhead rights on the NE Corridor between Attleboro and Boston, so the SLR started planning to reenergize their overhead at 25kvac so they could reconnect the Quincy branch and make it possible for P&W traffic to get off the NE Corridor and over to SLR/B&ACSX’s Harvard Yard.

In 2019, the “reconnect the Quincy branch” part of this plan went by the wayside because the last online shippers either moved further out into the suburbs or stopped shipping by rail. But that hadn’t stopped the rest of the plan from continuing; the MBTA wanted to remove the complicated power-delivery interlocking at South Station for the one platform that could power the the K3 motors used on Amtrak’s Alouette. The SLR had already reelectrified their Old Colony branch from Needham Junction to Woonsocket, leaving only the Boston-Needham & Needham-Waltham sections of the line (the old line to from Boston to Mattapan had gone out of service several years earlier, leaving the line to Needham as the SLR’s only trackage leading into Boston proper) as 3000VDC.

At about the same time as traffic on the Quincy branch vanished Iowa Pacific Holdings failed, the SLR picked the Massachusetts Coastal Railroad out of receivership, renamed it to the Old Colony Railway, and started to slowly electrify it at 25kvac.

In 2022, the PV&T switched the Newton Corner to South Station segment of their Boston main to 25kvac, prompting the SLR to reenergize their remaining branches at 25kvac to match both the Old Colony & the PV&T’s Boston track (a chore that was made easier by the flight of industry, which had pretty much killed the SLR’s tangle of Boston industrial branches.)

All-time (pre-merger) SLR Roster

No. Type Builder Built Disposition
1 class B shay Lima 1895 retired 1950
2-3 class B shay Lima 1895 retired 1909
10-11 class B climax Climax 1899 retired 1937
101 box motor Brill 1899 retired 1948
100 box motor Brill 1899 To Seashore Trolley Museum 1958
102 box motor Brill 1899 retired 1948
103-109 box motor Brill 1904 Retired 1932
1000 B-B boxcab ALCO-GE 1915 to PV&T #309, rebuilt @ 3000VDC
1001-1005 B-B boxcab ALCO-GE 1915 retired 1958
1100-1103 B-B steeplecab B-W 1922 retired 1958
320-327 E10B GE 1956 in service Dec 31, 1957
  • Copyright © 2024 by Jessica L. Parsons ( unless otherwise noted
    Tue Nov 08 14:32:40 PST 2022