In 1978, the Montachusett Regional Transit Authority (MART) succeeded the Fitchburg & Leominster Street Railway in transit operations in the two cities. Routes were scaled back over the years, ultimately leading to today's ten-route bus operation, along with several special services offered to local residents and students. MART's buses make stops in Fitchburg, Leominster, Lunenburg and Gardner, and loosely mimic the routes in the heyday of transit in the region. The original trackless trolley routes survive today as modern bus routes, with extensions to malls, retail and business parks, schools, and other attractions.
Montachusett Regional Transit Authority (MART)
Railroad operations in Fitchburg have rebounded, and currently the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's Commuter Rail provides frequent, reliable train service to and from Boston, along the original routing of the Fitchburg Railroad. Freight service is also regularly routed through Fitchburg, with additional hubs in Ayer and Leominster. The Hoosac Tunnel continues to serve freight railroad needs, with trains passing through the historic tunnel on a daily basis, bound for points west.
For Whalom Park, the 1990's would lead to a sharp decline in visitors and revenue. Youngsters had been enticed by the likes of Agawam's Riverside Park, and even Whalom's fellow trolley park at Canobie Lake in Salem, New Hampshire. Whalom's old-world charm carried it through most of the 20th century, but by this time modern technologies had gone too far out of reach of the aging park. In the summer of 2000, it became apparent that the season would be the park's last. Local supporters made attempts to save the park, but it was sold in August. As the fall approached, adults from around the region made one last trip to the place they visited in their youth, with hopes that it would somehow make it through another winter. A reprieve would never come, however, and Whalom Park would sit vacant for six years before succumbing to the bulldozer.
NEXT: The Future and the Legacy
Coasting to a Stop at Whalom Park, Russell (Boston Globe)
Montachusett Regional Transit Authority
Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
Rail Lines of Southern New ENgland, Humphrey and Karr (Branch Line Bress).