Back when I was a little kid, I had the fortune of catching the Freedom Train pass by Bradford Station westbound. It was the only time that I ever saw steam on the Western Route.
My parents took me to Boston I think it was to actually go through the train. It was pretty neat. The train had a conveyor belt you stood on which would carry you past the exhibits that were encased in glass. They handed you an electronic thing that you would hold up to your ear to hear the narration of what you were looking at. It was a pretty neat setup. That's all I remember of it.
I would like to thank Mr. John Clemons of Sandown NH for emailing me some local pictures of the Freedom Train as it ran westbound through Plaistow and he caught it again in Lawrence.
This was the second of two American Freedom Trains. The first one toured the country in 1947 to 1949. Because AK and HI didn't become states until 1959, this train visited every state in the union.
The second Freedom Train visited the continental 48 states in 1975 and 1976. It was a 26 car train pulled by one of three steam engines. The train started on April fools day of 1975 in Wilmington Delaware and then traveled up to New England.
It stopped in
Manchester on 4/14/75
Portland on 4/17/75
Boston on 4/20/75
Lowell on 4/29/75
Worcester on 5/3/75
From there it was on to Rochester NY.
this link for more details
Therefore, since it is not a long trip to Boston from Portland I am
going to assume that the train went through Plaistow, Haverhill, and Lawrence
on 4/19 or 4/20 of 1975.
All photos on this page are courtesy of John Clemons
Nice picture of the Freedom Train heading west in Plaistow NH. This location is just east of the Plaistow train station. Note that even back in 75 this line was single tracked. The west bound iron having been removed.
Here is the train in S. Lawrence adjacent to Merrimack St. The view is looking east, the bridge in the background is the route 495 bridge.
The track the photographer is standing on went down, veered left and crossed Merrimack St where it served some mill buildings. The mainline is double tracked here, the track on the far side and barely visible is 17 east. The new Lawrence station would be behind the photographer to his left, not very far.
Another nice picture of the freedom train. This appears to have been
taken from inside S. Lawrence yard and the view is looking east. Photo
courtesy of John Clemons. Very nice scan John.
Nice closeup of the locomotive running gear.
Good sized driver. That's John's son Mike who was 7 at the time this photo was taken. Mike lives in MI now, in a nice railroad town, just down the street from a busy grade crossing. Talk about a nice convenient place to railfan, don't even have to leave the house, the view of the tracks from the front crossing is great. John says the kids like trains too. In the pictures I saw, looked like everyone was enjoying the sight of a train going by while sitting in the comfort of the front porch. We all should have it so good.
Nice view of the engine smoking nicely. This view is looking east. The crowd appears to be in the yard. The engine looks like it just cleared Andover St. That building on the right is still there and is on the opposite side of Andover St. Is it my imagination or do I see a station or station platform canopy to the left of the enjine?
Another view of the large running gear and the drivers. Note the large
counterweights to offset the weight of the driving gear.
These engines must have seemed HUGE to these little kids. This is John's daughter Julie who was only 5 at the time. She now lives up in Canaan NH and is a teacher at Dartmouth.
Nice set of pictures John, excellent job of scanning them in. Top notch. Thank you very much.