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It’s Christmas!

December 16, 2013
santatrainChristmas!!! The Silver Hill Boys favorite time of year!  Just ahead of those hot, humid, hazy, sun filled summer  days…and…playing pick-up hockey on North Avenue Pond in the winter.  Once again I’m delighted to hear some of you SRRC fans are planning to spend some time at Silver Hill this Christmas season…2013. 
A  growing number of you are making it a tradition having  visited during past Christmas seasons….with a copy of The Book in  hand.  Great fun seeing where the depot was located and, of  course, enjoying trains from one of The Boys favorite observation areas, overlooking the tracks from beside the fence, just to the west of Silver Hill Bridge. Enjoy every moment!!! 
MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!   2013  !!!
Happy Rails,
      -Joe  Karas-

I’ll Bet You Were Wondering…

November 24, 2013

Here it is, November 2013, and here I am… a full time resident of southwest New Mexico!  My interest in the southwest American desert began as I watched my first TV western in the 1950s.  Majestic mountains, canyons, desert cactus, wide open spaces filled with endless mystery and excitement.  Western comic books played a role as well.

The Butterfield Trail, Lincoln County War, our own Concord, NH coaches transporting people across the desert.  Almost living in the shadow of Cooke’s Canyon, one of the three most dangerous places to travel through during the years between 1850 – 1888.  Massacre Valley, the remains of Fort Cummings, so much to explore and study and photograph.

I’ll always have special roots in New England, but at last I’m here full time in the desert and I love it.  As most all of you know, Silver Hill is always somewhere in my mind.  New England memories are deep and more than plentiful.  Seventy years in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.  Honestly good, precious years!

NMpostcardBlueI sold my Derry, NH properties last May 2013 and rode into town out here in July 2013.

Southern Pacific trains run beside long portions of Interstate Rt. 10 hauling freight loaded in Los Angeles heading east, returning to Los Angeles along the same basic route.  Two long, one short one long crossing into and out of the outskirts of town.  I’m living where the Second Transcontinental RR was completed.  A ceremonial Silver Spike joined the Southern Pacific and Santa Fe Railroads in 1881.  My postcard celebrating this historical event is selling well out here and at RR shows “back east”.

Please send an email for your card courtesy of “the Silver Hill Boys and the Secret Railroad Club”.  Remember to include your name and address.  I am still

Happy rails to you from New Mexico, U.S.A.

A Look at Lincoln Tower!

June 11, 2013
LincolnTOWER1As many of you know a B&W photo postcard of the elevated gateman’s tower at the top of the Silver Hill grade in South Lincoln, MA is part of the SRRC Classic Postcard Collection. I’m delighted to present the latest HO scale drawings of this historic tower. Those of you modeling the Silver Hill area, the home of the Silver Hill Boys and the Secret Railroad Club, will find these drawings most valuable indeed as you have great fun working to capture the area. What a find, thanks to Honorary SRRC Member Bruce Bowden who recently sent  to The Club these excellent drawings. Happy Modeling! Make it Happen !
A fabulous summer 2013 for all you fabulous SRRC Fans including your families and friends.  Sincerely, Joe Karas.
Lincoln Crossing Tower_HO Model (1)

I bet you knew…BUT, did you know?

October 29, 2012
The center piece of The Silver Hill Boys and the Secret Railroad Club is, of course, railroading. BUT…In addition the book touches on some very interesting history regarding Baseball and Christmas. Touches of ornithology and dendrology.
In memory of the healthy way the boys enjoyed Halloween in the 1950’s (In the book)
…all of us here in the Secret Railroad Club wish you a Happy Halloween 2012.

Breaking News…October 2012…

October 21, 2012
Each purchase of The Silver Hill Boys and the Secret Railroad Club now includes The SRRC Classic Postcard Collection. Nine postcards highlighting major locations featured in the book. Rare B&W and Color photography from the 1940’s and 1960’s with detailed notes on the back of each card. Silver Hill Depot at various times…Steam and Diesel power on those Silver Hill tracks…a haunting shot of Silver Hill Bridge in winter…some trains passing by the location of the Silver Hill Boys’ “Place”. A peak into the town where the tracks bend to the right after the Green Signal Light highlighted in the book.  We suggest not opening your classic postcards before reading the book.
For even more pleasure…let your imagination picture Silver Hill for you…then…see it for real… open your postcards… and enjoy!
As always,
                                  Happy Rails!!

A Gem in Windham!

September 28, 2012


This C16 former B&M caboose moved from Lawrence, MA and was set up at the Windham, NH Depot. The Windham rail trail, part of the Salem, NH to Concord, NH rail trail presently features 8 miles of beautiful paved trail. More than any other deserted rail bed in New Hampshire. Onward to Concord!

Windham depot was built in 1849. You’ll see the depot in the background. First passenger train: Nov. 12, 1849. Last passenger train: July 10, 1953.

Happy Rails To You!

Students Become Train Enthusiasts

July 9, 2012

Hobo Railroad’s General Motors GP9 #1921 Former MBTA 1921, Burlington Northern 1921, (Great Northern 1921) Built in 1957.

In November of 2011, Shaun Hagan, Social Studies Teacher at Lin-Wood School in Lincoln, NH, brought his 8th Grade Class to the Hobo Railroad in New Hampshire to see and experience trains first hand.  They heard from Mike Goodin of the Hobo Railroad regarding trains, their operation, how they are used, etc.  At the same time, the class visited the Flying Yankee and were given a seminar on this particular unit.  Mr. Hagan highlighted trains and their development in the construction of the United States.

Mr. Hagan then asked his students to submit essays on what they had learned and their conception of trains.  The following excerpts are from four of his students.


“When Lincoln was settled it was split into two.  Henryville (which is now present day Lincoln), and Lincoln which is up by the Notch.  All the hotels like the Profile House would be up by the Notch.  The logging and timber industry would be in present day Lincoln town square.  Oxen or other animals would take awhile, but at the time it would get the job done.”

“Passenger trains like the Yankee would make travel faster.  The Yankee could go to Boston in about 1-2 hours, just like today.  Wagons would take much longer.  Other passenger trains would take longer than the Yankee but would still cut down the time compared to the wagons.  At a regular speed the Yankee could go about 75mph!”

“In Lincoln, other trains were used.  They were the logging trains.  The logging trains would take the wood that got cut and bring the wood to the mill.  Then at the mill they would be processed into different things.  Timber definitely grew in the north because of the trains.”

THE HISTORY OF TRAINS    By:  Kamryn Danley

“I know the title makes this report look really boring but please read on.  It may not be what it looks like.  Trains really helped the development of Lincoln.  I mean, I  owe a lot to trains.  If it weren’t for them, we would still be walking around or riding horses and in carriages.  I would go as far to say we wouldn’t have cars.  Furthermore, Lincoln would still be a small village with 12 families living in it.   And most of all I wouldn’t be living here.  Think about it.  You should be thankful too.”

“Trains were essential to the people of Lincoln.  First they brought in food.  Even if it wasn’t high quality, it was food.  Second they brought in supplies.  Toys, clothes, and tools were all shipped in by train.  This had complications.  If there was a flood or a white out, they had to wait until it cleared up to let the train through.  This was solved as the years went by.  The trains got better and better.  Not to mention snow houses, these helped both here and out west.”


“All throughout American History, trains have played a major role.  During the early Civil War reconstruction era all the way into the 1900’s trains transformed America.  They helped to expand into western territories, make day to day travel quicker and easier, and even help certain industries like timber, cattle, and mining grow.  Many cities were formed and changed for the better.  They were finally allowed to grow and create big business like mining and textile mills.  While most of the impact was positive for the United States, like anything there were some negatives.  The movement west interrupted Native Americans that had been living there for many generations.  This caused distress between natives and white settlers.  In this essay I will explain and prove to you how trains, like the Flying Yankee, changed America forever.”


“On May 10, 1869, Central Pacific and Union Pacific met at Promontory, Utah with their rail lines coming from different directions.  When their rail lines met, they formed the nation’s first Transcontinental Railroad.  The TCRR (Transcontinental Railroad) connected the East and the West. With the TCRR newly built, the West was settled and developed quickly.  Americans from the North and South all moved west because they wanted to build single-family farms and the American Government was giving pieces of western land to American people for free as long as they settled it for five years.  This law (the Homestead Act) was passed in 1862 and promised 160 acres.  The purpose was to settle the west and have poor easterners have a farm to work on.  Within 40 years, half a million people had set up farms in the West.  However the Homestead Act had its problems, too.”

“The trains improved quickly in the West with the TCRR being built.  The West was settled really fast with the TCRR cutting the West in half.  The new rail lines really affected the businesses along with companies in the whole nation.  The South during the Civil War and after the war (during reconstruction of the South) was affected greatly by the new trains that covered the now connected country.  Our region here in New Hampshire and New England was affected by the trains developing throughout the nation.  The Flying Yankee was a popular train in the early to mid 1900’s.  The trains in Lincoln, NH were the product of the West getting their rail lines.  The average person who lived in New Hampshire was affected by the trains greatly.  Trains are a huge part of our nation’s history and should never be forgotten.  “


New Hampshire currently owns 420 railroads
Train-cars would be named after hotels in order to keep our history alive
There are many different types of train-cars, including passenger and freight cars
The TCRR cost $50,000,000.00 to build which is equal to about $874,968,866.15 today”

For more information about the Hobo Railroad, visit 

For more information about the Flying Yankee Restoration, visit

It is a joy to share the history of trains and railroading with a youngsters.   The same spark that ignited in the Silver Hill Boys is now being lit in a new generation!

High Green!  Clear Tracks Ahead!



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