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A very big plow

1902 plow railcar on display at Union Railroad Station

July 30, 2009
WAKEFIELD — The Wakefield Heritage Commission restored Union Railroad Station has acquired a very large piece of history an antique plow railcar built in Canada in 1902 that will become a permanent display at the Main Street site.

The railcar, made out of wood with an enormous steel plow welded to the front of it, was donated by Terry and Patty Gammon of Acton, Maine, who stored the car in Franklin, N.H. Heritage Commission Chair Pam Judge describes the serendipitous events that led up to the commission's acquition of this huge antique.

"Two years ago rail road hobbyist Bob Heyworth from Connecticut was on his way to Ossipee when he stopped at the Union Railroad Station for a look," said Judge. "He said, 'you know what, I have a friend with a railcar in Franklin,'" she added. One thing led to another and two years later, with much thanks from the community and especially the owners of Crowell's Towing in Wakefield, the railcar was hauled to this heritage site where it will be eventually restored as part of a static display, said Judge.

"John Crowell has been a real asset in this effort," said Judge at the scene last Thursday, July 23, as passersby and their children came out to watch the railcar being hauled in and situated near the adjacent railroad tracks outside the renovated train station.

The delivery was postponed a day or so when state officials said the train car could not be transported on specially made dollies. Judge called around and Mark Kimball offered up the use of a low bed trailer on which to place the railcar. Crowell's equipment did the hauling.

"We couldn't have done it without these two wreckers," added Judge.

The rail car arrived just in time to be the special guest at the third annual Wakefield Heritage Day, to be held Saturday, Aug. 8, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. with events in Wakefield and in Brookfield. The Wakefield-Brookfield Historical Society will kick off the day with a pancake breakfast between 8 and 10 a.m. at the Brookfield Town House on Route 109 in Brookfield. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. the Union Railroad Station will host an open house, with railroad exhibits, demonstrations and talks. A tour of the newly acquired plow railcar and 1912 railroad station will be offered. Box lunches will be available for sale at 10 a.m.

The Brookfield Town House will also offer an open house from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

At 11 a.m. to noon, there will be a performance of traditional New England Music featuring Lance MacLean, Seth Austen, and Susie Goodwin at the Spinney Meeting House on Route 109 in South Wakefield. From 12:30 to 2:30, Gerry Hastings will present an extensive old postcard exhibit focused on Wakefield at the Union Train Station. From 1 to 3 p.m., meet Elizabeth MacRury, author of "Footsteps of Pride to the Past," and "Four Wheels, and Twenty-Four Legs, the story of the Concord Coach," at the Union Train Station. The Little Red Schoolhouse on Wakefield Road will also host an open house from 1 to 3 p.m. The building is home to the Wakefield-Brookfield Historical Society. At 6 p.m., there will be an Old Fashioned Family Style Ham and Bean Supper, with entertainment following, at the Brookfield Town House.

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