George Mansfield and the Billerica and Bedford Railroad, Donald Ball author, Aubrey Press publisher
When the Massachusetts towns of Bedford and Billerica clamored for a railroad in the 1870s, George E. Mansfield appeared on the scene and sold them the first two-foot gauge railroad in the country. It was economical, practical and was acclaimed around the world as a brilliant new departure in railroad building. Although it failed financially in the less than a year, it was the model for the great Maine two-foot gauge railroads. Using rare original railroad documents, letters and family histories along with newspaper and trade journal articles, the author delves into the behind-the-scenes machinations that plagued this 8½ mile line. The backgrounds of the people involved are explored to determine their goals and motivations. The story is complete with the technical details of locomotives, cars and track work of the line which made it so revolutionary.
Reproduced railroad appliance advertisements of the 1870s era are also included. George Mansfield, the "father of two-foot gauge," seemed to magically appear on the scene, build the Billerica & Bedford along with the Sandy River Railroad in Maine as well as the Bridgton and Saco River Railroad. Then, he disappeared from railroading. George Mansfield and the Billerica and Bedford Railroad tells Mansfield's story from early childhood through his railroad building phase and afterward. This is the first thorough history of one of railroading's most enigmatic figures. While the Maine two-footers are well-known to many, this is the story of the pioneer two-footer which paved the way for those more successful lines. It is also the story of the promoter of the Mansfield System of two-foot gauge railroads, who he was, where he came from and what became of him and his dreams.
Over 220 images, 24 drawings and 9 maps in 212 pages tell of the line's inception, construction and eventual demise.
Size: 212 pages, 8.5" x 11"; photos and graphics, index
ISBN: 978-0615593715 Publication date: 2012