Quite a sight on rails as armored vehicles rumble through Worcester, Mass.

Passers-by check out military equipment on a train stopped on railroad tracks in Worcester, Msss. on Saturday.


By CYRUS MOULTON | Telegram & Gazette, Worcester, Mass. | Published: October 24, 2020

WORCESTER, Mass. (Tribune News Service) — A stopped train carrying military equipment piqued curiosity and a bit of a mystery in Greendale on Saturday afternoon, as families posed for pictures, veterans reminisced, and passing motorists snapped cellphone pics out the window of their vehicles.

"I don't know a blessed thing (about them)," said Anne Torchia of West Boylston.

The weaponry appeared to be M109 howitzers, but bore no military markings.

She pointed to the cars parked in the lot around her and a passing motorist with her cellphone shooting out the window. "But it must be shocking if people are doing that. And I'm just a regular person," she said.

Indeed, it was not clear Saturday afternoon what prompted the spectacle, which stretched from New Bond Street to Papa Gino's.

Worcester Police said they did not know anything about it, and a message left by a reporter for the railroad was not immediately returned.

Torchia said it was "kind of scary when you see it," noting the civil unrest in different parts of the country.

Others were less concerned.

John Gjergo, a veteran originally from Albania, said he had seen a similar sight in 2010 and that military equipment was periodically moved around the country.

Gjergo identified the equipment as mobile artillery rather than as tanks (which most people assumed the equipment were), pointing to the large barrel of the top-mounted gun and noting that certain tank elements were missing.

"It's not an Abrams tank," Gjergo said. "It looks like it, but it's not."

He guessed the equipment dated to the mid 1990s.

But perhaps most thrilled with the sight were Ruth Njoroge, and her 6-year-old son, Alex.

"I was just passing by and then drove them to see it," Njoroge explained as Alex inspected the vehicles with glee. "One of his uncles is in the Army, so he wanted to see it."

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Equipment that appears to be M109 howitzers sits top flatbed railroad cars in Worcester, Mass. on Saturday.