Potter Place Railroad Station Signal Gets Restoration Assistance

NHTI Maker's Club fabricates steel tie-rod

Press release
The semaphore signal (officially known as a Train Order Signal) at Potter Place has been restored.  It is essentially new and will be operated from the ticket office at a later date when a few remaining control parts are restored or replaced.
Generous support was provided by Concord’s NHTI in support of the signal restoration project.  Assistant Professor Dennis Tappin, with students Gavin and Rosanna, are shown at the school’s robotics machine shop on October 11, 2022.  Rosanna is shown holding the new replacement signal part that was manufactured at the Robotics School machine shop by the students under supervision by AHS’s Fred Nystrom and professor Tappin.  Many thanks to the professor and his students who enthusiastically stepped up to contribute to the restoration! Caption and photo: Fred Nystrom

The intersection of the future and the past was on full display at NHTI – Concord’s Community College recently as NHTI’s Maker’s Club, a student-run group highlighting industrial design and fabrication, assisted in the restoration of the signal board at Potter Place Railroad Station in Andover, New Hampshire, which was built in 1874.

Fred Nystrom, a retired mechanical engineer, volunteered his time for the restoration but found that his home shop wasn’t quite equipped to handle a project this large. He contacted NHTI professor Dennis Tappin, who advises the Maker’s Club and serves within the college’s extensive Department of Mechanical, Manufacturing, and Robotics and Automation Engineering Technologies.

“We were excited to help Fred with this opportunity to help restore the Potter Place Railroad Station’s historical footprint,” said Tappin.

As part of the restoration work, NHTI students assisted Nystrom in fabrication of a steel tie-rod (see inset picture) while Nystrom shared his experience as a mechanical engineer and machinist. He also took the time to explain the workings of a small railway station in the late 1800s.

According to the Andover Historical Society’s website, Potter Place Railroad Station has been identified by the New Hampshire Division of Historic Resources as “the best preserved and the most architecturally important railroad station still standing in Merrimack County, New Hampshire, and perhaps the best 19th century wooden railroad station surviving in New Hampshire.” The site features striking architectural details from the time period and today serves as a functioning museum showcasing historic authenticity and artifacts.

Looking to join the Maker’s Club or submit a project for assistance? Email NHTI professor and club advisor Dennis Tappin at dtappin@nullccsnh.edu.

– – –

NHTI – Concord’s Community College

NHTI is a dynamic public institution of higher learning that provides accessible, rigorous education for students, businesses, and the community. We create pathways for lifelong learning, career advancement, and civic engagement, offering 80+ academic programs to 4,600+ students annually. NHTI is a member of the Community College System of New Hampshire and since 1969 has been accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education, a nongovernmental, nationally recognized accrediting agency.