The Boston and Maine historical society presented a talk and slide show in Plymouth NH yesterday. I drove down to see it, the sun was out, the leaves were bright. Pleasant drive. The presentation was in the former B&M passenger station in Plymouth, now a senior center. Presenter was Dwight Smith, serious railfan and long time B&M employee, with slides going back to the late 1930's. Subject was rail operations in northern New England. Lots of slides, diesels, steam, stations. Long freight trains, mostly boxcars, going to all sorts of places that no longer have rail service at all. Berlin, Lancaster, Colebrook. At each vanished rail line Dwight would mention the names of the industries and the traffic they used to produce. For instance Berlin used to generate 11000 carloads of freight a year.
Thinking about those long trains of boxcars, made me think of all the jobs needed to create the product to fill them. For some reason, our northlands has de industrialized since the 1950's. The paper mills are closed, the bobbin mills are gone, the furniture factories are gone and nothing has replaced them. Some of the business has gone to trucks, milk for example, but most of it has just gone up in smoke. Teenagers growing up today look to leaving the state to find work when they graduate high school.
New Hampshire needs to work on getting more industry. Right to work would help a lot. So would reducing the business tax.