Wachusett Dam & Reservoir

Oakdale Station: Anatomy of a Rail Yard

Oakdale Station   1897


I decided to write this article when I came across this remarkable collection of images of the Oakdale Station situated on the junction of the Worcester, Nashua & Portland Railroad (WN&PRR) and the Central Massachusetts Railroad (CMRR).

The photos all date to a single cold day in January, 1897s with a rather large box camera on a tripod. Considering set up, composition and exposure time it must have taken the photographer the entire day to complete the series. Brrr!

The Wachusett Dam & Reservoir is very much a railroad story. Practically everything that moved operated on power from horses or steam. There were no cars or trucks and the roads were poor in any case. Electricity was only just gaining in popularity and usage.

For long distance hauling nothing would suffice but rail, and that America had an abundance.

Part I     Oakdale Station

The buildings shown in these photos all belonged to the Boston & Maine Railroad (B&M) and they provide us an absorbing introspective into the operations of a functioning railroad transfer station for passengers, freight and mail.

Part II    Anatomy of a Rail Yard

How exactly did they manage to collect and move all those heavy cars around and get them to the right destinations?

Note: There is not much information of the terminology in use at that time so I had to create some logical ones, easily recognizable as they are in all caps.



Oakdale Station & Quinapoxet Valley   c.1897

Part I   Oakdale Station Layout

Part II,  Anatomy of a Rail Yard

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