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Hunting for Boch U-928s!

By Steve Jones

It was a blustery March day, mostly cloudy and threatening of rain. I drove out towards Albany on the Thruway from Massachusetts. Target: the BOCH line!

I can't remember precisely how this line was discovered, except that Bob Berry and Jeff Kaminski did a few exploratory hikes along the route a few years earlier, and one random account of a Boch U-928 being discovered along it by a non-porcelain collector was made at a YPCIC show.

Anyway, I had taken a number of hikes along the line. It was strange how each section differed from the other. One section contained pieces galore, another was bone dry.

The first time I drove along this line I stopped and walked where a RR track crossed over on a bridge and the towers were pretty high up. Right along the road ran the old right of way of the former rail line that the power line followed. I got out, ignored the barking dog across the street, and walked under the towers for about 1/4 mile. Of course that section bordered a large swamp that the insulators could have easily been thrown into. I checked under each tower and down the bank along the swamp - nothing! Not even a crumb! Defeated, I walked back to the car when I saw a piece of white in the churned up sand. It was a Boch piece! The older looking white glaze confirmed it! I decided to check along the other side of the rail bed and to my surprise there were more, larger pieces. Finally I spotted this large cement "pipe" sticking vertically out of the ground. There were large iron rods bent down across the top of the pipe hole. "Could this be a pole hole?" I asked. My question was quickly answered when I found pieces of a Brookfield signal, and more white Boch pieces! Into the thorns I dove, searching around frantically.

Under a large mountain laurel shrub (those are NOT fun to walk through!) I found an upside down Boch. There's no mistaking those white rings in the soil. I grabbed the inner skirt and it came off in my hand. I knew it wasn't mint, but was it a complete kitsulator? I dug around with a large stick, and pulled out most of a Boch U-928A (the big one). Skirt pieces remained in the soil, meaning it broke when it hit the ground. I scavenged all the pieces and partially assembled them to see if I had them all - YES! I set it aside and kept looking through the woods and brush and thorns.

Finally I spotted more white rings in the ground, about 15 feet into the woods. I found the spot, and saw the middle skirt missing completely. I pulled out the insulator and turned it over - it was a U-944! I sat in shock for a minute or two, and then continued looking for pieces everywhere. No more of the U-944 could be found.

Further searching revealed not much but pieces, so I headed back to the car, treasures in hand. I watched a Conrail freight ride over the bridge ahead as I reached the car. Again the dog barked, so I placed everything in the back seat and sped home to CT. The U-928A cleaned up nicely and assembled so the cracks were barely noticeable. My first live specimen of U-928A!

Tomorrow - PART II - The FIND!

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Last updated Tuesday, November 14, 1995