An FM P-12-42, Boston and Maine Railroad No. 1, at Boston Engine Terminal, between 1958 and 1962.

(Can't Undo at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons)


Boston & Maine herald.


The Speed Merchant or Talgo Train was a bi-directional five-car train used by the Boston and Maine Railroad in commuter service between 1958 and 1964 on the road's Eastern and Western routes. Power for the train was from two Fairbanks-Morse P-12-42 diesel-electric locomotives, one at each end of the train, connected by multiple-unit control. Fairbanks-Morse referred to the locomotives as "Speed Merchants" in its promotional literature, but the Boston and Maine never used this moniker. B&M timetables simply called it the "Talgo Train" in advance announcements but, once the train entered service, no names were attached in the printed schedules.

The Talgo Train was purchased by the Patrick B. McGinnis administration of the B&M, and was virtually identical to the John Quincy Adams, one of three experimental passenger trains purchased by the New Haven Railroad (under McGinnis) in an attempt to modernize rail travel and lure people out of their cars. The cars were built by American Car and Foundry to a lightweight Talgo design.

The train consisted of five articulated cars, each made up of three short segments. The center car of each section had two axles (one at each end), with the remaining cars having a single axle each, being supported by adjacent cars at the end opposite the axle. The ride was rough, as with most of the other lightweight trains of the period, and the train was not a success.

Service lasted until 1964.


Boston and Maine Railroad Talgo Train

The Boston and Maine Railroad Talgo Train consisted of five, three-segment articulated passenger cars and was powered by two Fairbanks-Morse P-12-42 engines at either end. It was called the "Talgo Train" by B&M employees. The builder called the locomotives "Speed Merchants", but the B&M never used this moniker in its advertising. After making a single round-trip to Portland, Maine, during which it ignited a trackside fire, the train served in commuter service on the railroad's Eastern and Western routes until 1965. Two separate fires in 1963 and 1965 caused two of the three articulated cars to be removed from service, after which it sat idle in the yard adjacent to the Boston Engine Terminal (aka the Engine House) in Charlestown, Massachusetts. In its last year of service, the trainset was renowned for constant breakdowns, consequently spending an inordinate amount of time in the shops. Thus, the decision was made to remove it from active service. Eventually, eight segments of the passenger cars were sold to a private restaurateur in Chelsea, Massachusetts, who incorporated three segments into his restaurant and stored the remaining five on the property. The two locomotives were sold to National Metal Converters of Leeds, Maine, for use as power sources. They were eventually scrapped.