A group of Newton North students from the Auto Shop unveiled their historical handiwork this morning in front of the high school – a beautifully restored railroad switch from what is now the Upper Falls Greenway.
Back when the Upper Falls Greenway project began, a quick thinking citizen (we call him the Mystery Man) contacted the Friends of the Greenway. He had spotted five railroad switches in various stages of rust and disrepair along the right-of-way. At that point, the railroad tracks were in the midst of being torn up. He said “round up a crew. I’ll bring the trailer, the tools and the torch. Let’s save them and figure out what to do with them.” A crew of neighbors met on a Saturday morning and hauled these VERY heavy switches up on the Mystery Man’s trailer.
Since then the Mystery Man came up with a plan. He coordinated with Paul Wagner, the Auto Shop Teacher at NNHS, the Friends of the Greenway, and the DPW. The students at North painstakingly salvaged and restored these pieces of our railroad history. The DPW has already installed the first one beside The Depot Coffee Shop, where the Greenway crosses Oak St. Today the NNHS students handed off the second completed switch and there will be at least one more by the time they’re done.
Each one’s been rebuilt, sandblasted and repainted so they look brand new.
It was a wonderful idea to keep these way cool artifacts of Newton’s railroad history and make them part of the new Greenway.
Many thanks to all the Newton North students that worked on them, to Paul Wagner for overseeing them, to the DPW for installing them, and most of all to the Mystery Man for dreaming up and pulling this wonderful community wide project together.