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Amherst Railway Society
April 18, 2006
Meeting Announcement

The next meeting of the Amherst Railway Society is Tuesday, April 18, 2006, 8:00 p.m. at the Amherst Middle School.

A 1950’s to 1980’s Potpourri

by Mr. Donald Hills

The following is a short autobiography submitted by Donald Hills.

Train No. 5507 with engine 3711 taken at West Concord, MA
photo © Donald Hills

B&M E-8 3821 on train No.14, the “Pine Tree”, taken at Lowell Jct.
photo © Donald Hills
I was born in Everett, MA in 1922. In 1932 the family moved to Reading, where I graduated from high school in the class of 1940. Gilbert Camp was a classmate, and in the 1960’s his father, Harry U. Camp was President of the Amherst Railway Society and asked me put on a program about the Boston & Maine Railroad. I do not recall the exact date. I began my employment on the B&M on November 10, 1941 at Reading, MA as spare ticket agent and telegraph operator for two weeks. I worked off the Terminal Division spare board in the Operating Department’s Agents, Telegraph Operators and Towerman’s roster for a year and got my first “permanent” assignment at Mystic Jct. Tower on the 3rd trick in Yard 8 in Somerville, MA.

I worked several places as ticket agent, assistant freight agent and towerman at such places as Wakefield Jct., Salem Tower, Lynn Tower, Tower C, Tower A (as leverman and director), and the relief job at Winchester Tower. I got my seniority date as train dispatcher on July 17, 1960 in the Boston Office at 150 Causeway St. and worked there as needed while holding my regular job at Winchester Tower until I bid off a permanent train dispatcher position. The Boston Office covered the Terminal, New Hampshire and Portland Divisions until it was combined with the Greenfield Office into Billerica (except for the Boston Commuter Dispatcher, which remained at Boston in North Station). The Boston Commuter Office was moved to Billerica a couple of years later.

I retired at the end of January 1982, after just over 40 years of service. I have enjoyed my retirement and worked part-time at the Bedford Train Shop in Bedford, MA for 17 years, from 1983 to 2000. My program will be on the B&M Railroad from 1946 to 1978, and will be mostly photographic slides that are in the Morning Sun book “Trackside Along the Boston & Main 1945-1975 with Donald G. Hills”, by Carl R. Byron, published in 2005.

As usual, all are welcome to bring photos, models, etc. to display on a table at the back of the hall.

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