Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Boston & Albany railroad

The Boston and Worcester Railroad started in 1831. The main goal was to connect Worcester to Boston with a railroad track (only one for starters). The Worcester Turnpike (stagecoach road that already connected Worcester to Boston) proprietors didn't really like the idea of a railroad track going through Framingham Centre even though it was the straightest way through Framingham, in other words, the railroad tracks would have to bypass the Centre.

Beside the Worcester Turnpike, there was the Central Turnpike from Boston to Hartford, completed in 1830, that went through Framingham via what is now Route 135 about 2 miles south of Framingham Centre. The Central Turnpike didn't do so well because it lasted only until 1836 as a commercial venture, and was already failing in 1831. The Boston and Worcester Railroad obtained a right-of-way along the North side of the Central Turnpike as it went through Framingham. The Worcester to Boston railroad track would bypass Framingham Centre, veer South and continue along the Central Turnpike toward Natick and Boston. In 1835, the first train trip from Boston to Worcester was recorded.

After the Civil War, new lines connected South Framingham to Fitchburg, Mansfield and Lowell. They were operated by the Old Colony Railroad. South Framingham had become a railroad hub with railroad lines going off in 6 directions (the six-spoked wheel of the Town of Framingham seal). In 1867, the Boston and Worcester Railroad changed its name to Boston and Albany Railroad as service was extended all the way to Albany, NY. After 1900, the Old Colony Railroad lines came under the control of the New York, New Haven and Hartford system.


The railroad system in and around Framingham ca 1910. Thanks to Stephen Herring and his book on the history of Framingham.



Six railroad lines converged to Framingham, the hub of a regional network. Thanks to Images of America, Framingham.



The old wooden railroad station, built in 1848, replaced an ealier station. Thanks to Images of america, Framingham.



The pride of South Framingham: the new station (still standing) designed by famed architect H.H. Richardson, built in 1885. Thanks to Images of America, Framingham.

4 comments:

  1. I would like to contact the person whose blog this is. I have some important info concerning the Boston and Worcester RR line.
    john.hutchinson@comcast.net

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    1. thanks for the offer. Feel free to email me direct at historicframingham@gmail.com

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  2. Great info I'm currently a signal maintainer based out of Framingham. I am very interested in the history of the B&A and was wondering if you could recommend some resources for pictures and info on the area through the years...

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    1. thanks. I am sorry I don't have more info but I know the B&A is well researched and a google search should yield a lot of good sources of info (I hope).

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