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History of the Railways of Massachusetts

By Hon. Edward Appleton, Railway Commissioner—1871

Bulletin No. 1--The Railroad Enthusiasts, Inc.

 

F O R E W O R D

The following history was written by the grandfather of NEDiv member E. A. Brown. Mr. Appleton was a member of the Massachusetts Railway Commission during the pioneer years of railroading and this account was written by him for publication in Walling's Atlas of Massachusetts for 1871.

The maps as shown in this booklet were added by the editor and are not true to scale, but were drawn only to show where the various roads mentioned can be located on a true map.

Your editor hopes the information contained in this booklet will be of interest and value to you, as a railfan. There are many books on railroad history available to you, but none can give firsthand information such as will be found in Mr. Appleton's account,

Comments on this booklet are solicited, and if enough favorable comment is received, the Director's plans are to bring you another along similar lines, Your comments may be directed to any of the officers or directors of The Railroad Enthusiasts, Inc., or to the officers of your division.

Lewis Walter,
Editor,
January 1952

The first railway charter granted in Massachusetts, was that of the Granite Railway Company, March 4th, 1826. This company was chartered for the purposes of transporting granite from the quarries in Quincy to tidewater in Neponset River. The road was built and put in operation the next year, and its first business was transporting the stone for Bunker Hill Monument. This company has combined the ownership and management of the quarries with that of the railroad, and has been in successful operation since its establishment.

In 1827 and 1828, sundry surveys for canals and railroads were authorized by the Legislature, and reports concerning them were made in 1828 and 1829. The Commissioners having charge of these surveys proposed to have the tracks supported by stone walls, capped with granite stringers, with iron bars belted to them, and to have the roads operated by horse power. On the road to Providence they estimated that a single horse could draw a load of eight tons, including weight of carriage, at the rate of three miles per hour, working seven hours per day, or working three hours per day, could draw a carriage with twenty-five passengers nine miles per hour. They estimated the cost of this road at $8,000 per mile, besides the land, and that the freight would be about 27,000 tons per years and the passengers about 24,000, and the net income $60,000. For the road between Boston and Albany, they reported a grade of eighty feet per mile each way for four or five miles over the Washington summit, and that on this grade it would require two horses to draw a load of eight tons, while a single horse could draw the same load over any other part of the road. They estimated the freight at 38,500 tons through; 95,000 tons way; and passengers equal to 47,000 through. Passenger fare from Boston to Albany they estimated at $3.05. Other reports were of similar tenor, but the experiments in England in 1829 and 1830 effectually did away with the idea of operating railroads by horse power in this country. These Commissioners also advised the construction of the railroads by the States but this idea was not received with favor by the Legislature or the people. Subsequently, however, the State liberally assisted several of the corporations chartered to build the roads, by loans of credits, and in the case of the Western road, by a subscription to stock also. So far as the roads thus aided have been completed, the State has suffered no loss, while the completion of the enterprises and the consequent generally benefit to the public was materially hastened by the aid so generously afforded.

Several railroad charters were granted in 1829 and 1830, but the only one of these under which an organization was formed was that of the Boston and Lowell, passed June 5th, 1830. The charter of the Boston and Providence was granted June 22nd, 1831, and that of the Boston and Worcester, June 23rd, 1831, with several others about the same time, which were never used. These three, the Lowell, the Providence, and the Worcester, were the pioneer railroads of the State. The construction of all of them was commenced about the same time in 1832, and they were all completed in 1835. The Worcester road was opened to Newton, April 18th, 1834, starting from a temporary station at Washington Streets in Boston, and was opened to Worcester in July, 1835. The Lowell road was opened to Lowell, June 25th, 1835. The Providence road was opened to Readville, June 4th, 1834, and to Providence in August, 1835, the stone viaduct in Canton being the last piece of work to be finished. The Andover & Wilmington, (then a branch of the Lowell, afterwards a part of the Boston & Maine,) was chartered in 1833, and opened to Andover, August 8th, 1836, to Bradford in 1837, and to Exeter, N. H., in 1840. The Taunton Branch was chartered in 1835, and opened in August 1836; the extension of this line to New Bedford was chartered in 1838, and opened to New Bedford, July 2nd, 1840. The Norwich and Worcester was chartered in 1833, and opened April 1st, 1840. The Nashua & Lowell was chartered in 1836, and opened to Nashua, October 8th, 1838. The Western Railroad was chartered March 15th, 1833, not organized until June 4th, 1836; it was opened to Springfield, October 1st, 1839, and to Albany, December 21st, 1841, The Eastern was chartered in 1836; opened to Salem, August 28th, 1838; to Ipswich in 1839 and to Portsmouth, N. H., November 9th, 1840. At the end of 1840, there were two hundred and eighty-five miles of railroad built and in operation in the State of Massachusetts and the same corporations owned and operated eighty miles mores being extensions of their lines into New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Connecticut.

The early charters for railroads were framed on the supposition that they would be used like turnpikes; and provided that any one might enter upon them with his own engines and cars, by paying tolls. Availing themselves of this provision, certain parties, in 1837, organized themselves under a charter for the Seekonk branch proposing to build about a quarter of a mile of road at the Providence end, and a separate station in Boston., and to use the whole intermediate part of the Boston & Providence road with their own engines and cars. For about three years, the operations of these parties were a serious annoyance to The Boston and Providence Railroad Company; but the matter was then settled by the purchase of the property of the intruding corporation, and the passage of a law by the Legislature forbidding one railroad corporation to enter with its engines upon the road of another company, unless by their consent.

Of course, at this early date, both the construction and management of railroads were experiments, and everything was to be learned from actual practice. The first locomotives weighed only eight or ten tons each, and the earliest cars resembled two or three stagebodies set together on a platform. At the present day, such engines and cars would not be supposed to be intended for use on a railroad. It was also supposed that nothing would answer for fuel but pitch and pine, and some of our railroad companies purchased extensive tracts of woodland in Virginia and other Southern States, to keep themselves supplied with fuel. It did not take many years, however, to explode this idea, and to show that the wood along our own railroads would make steam just as well as that brought from a distance. Some of the early reports, in the light of later days, afford amusing reading. Thus, the directors of the Worcester road, in their report for 1838, state very complacently that their trains have run regularly during the whole year, and only eight trips have occupied more than four hours. On many of the roads the rails first laid were too light, and heavier ones were soon substituted. Still, the business as it was developed upon the roads considerably exceeded the original estimates, and though the expenses of doing the business overran the original estimates in still greater ratio, yet the net result of the first few years was so encouraging that the construction of railroads was rapidly extended.

During the next ten years, from 1840 to 1850, the Boston & Maine Railroad was extended from Exeter, N. H., to a connection with the Portsmouth, Saco & Portland Railroad in Maine, in 1842; and was also at the other end diverted from its parent stem, the Lowell Railroad, and extended into Boston by a line of its own, opened July 1st, 1845. The Hartford & Springfield Railroad, chartered in 1839, was organized in 1841, and united with the Hartford & New Haven Railroad, of Connecticut, then in operation, and the road was opened through to Springfield in December, 1844. The Fitchburg Railroad, chartered in 1843, was opened to Fitchburg, March 5th, 1845, taking the Charlestown branch as its Boston terminus. The Old Colony, chartered in 1844, was opened to Plymouth, November 10th, 1845. The Vermont and Massachusetts, chartered in 1844, was opened to Athol, January lst, 1848; to Brattleboro, February 20th, 1849, and to Greenfield in 1850. The Connecticut River Railroad, formed by the union of the Northampton & Springfield, and the Greenfield & Northampton Railroad companies, in 1845, was opened December 13th, 1845; to Northampton, November 22nd, 1846 to Greenfield; and in 1849, to a connection with the Vermont & Massachusetts Railroads at the State line. The Fall River, chartered first as a branch to the New Bedford and Taunton, in 1844, was opened to that connection in 1845; extended to Bridgewater, and then to Braintree, in 1847, to a connection with the Old Colony Railroad. The Providence & Worcester, organized November 25th, 1845, was opened October 20th, 1847, The Worcester & Nashua, organized June 25th, 1845, was opened December 18th, 1848. The Cheshire, chartered in 1845, was opened to Bellows Falls in 1849. The Cape Cod, chartered in 1846 was opened to Sandwich, May 29th, 1848. The Norfolk County, chartered in 1847, was opened from Dedham to Blackstone in May, 1849.

Besides the above, which were the most important lines built during this period, several branch roads were constructed, viz., the Dorchester & Milton, and South Shore, branches to the Old Colony; the Stoughton, branch to the Providence; the Harvard, Lexington & West Cambridge, and Peterboro & Shirley, branches to the Fitchburg; the Essex, branch to the Eastern; the South Reading, branch to the Maine Railroad; the Fitchburg and Worcester, branch to the Worcester & Nashua; The Stony Brook, branch to the Lowell & Nashua; the Pittsfield & North Adams, branch to the Western; each built by separate corporations, while some other branches were built and owned by the main lines. The Lowell & Lawrence, and Salem & Lowell Railroads were also built during this period. The New London, Willimantic & Palmer Railroads, lying mostly in Connecticut, was completed to Palmer in September 1850. The Berkshire and the Stockbridge & Pittsfield Railroads were also built as extensions of the Housatonic Railroad of Connecticut. The Providence road also built a new line at its southern terminus, to a union station for all railroads coming to Providence, in the central part of the city. At the close of the year 1850, the total length of all railroads in operation in Massachusetts was 1,037 miles; and 421 miles more in adjoining States were owned and operated by the same corporations.

During this decade, the railway interest was subject to great vicissitudes. At the beginning of it, the railroads were regarded as public benefits, but quite uncertain as paying investments. However, the Lowell road soon reached 8 per cent, and continued steadily at that rate, while the Nashua & Lowell went still higher. The Providence road rose from 6 to 8 per cent; the Worcester reached 10 per cent in 1847; while the Western, which had been looked upon as the most doubtful in regard to returns, began to pay 6 per cent in 1845, and increased to 8 per cent; while the Old Colony and Fitchburg began to pay well, very soon after their completion. At this time, also, it was supposed that the rails, if of good pattern and sufficient weight originally, would last for an indefinite period. In their report of February, 1845, the Directors of the Providence Railroad say: "The renewal of rails will never be a serious item of expense, only 2¼ per cent of the whole number having been renewed in ten years." It was no wonder, then, that men of sanguine temperament rushed to the construction of railroads everywhere, and that some went so far as to say it was no matter how much the road cost, it would be sure to pay. At one time, nothing so readily commanded money as railroad obligations; and in some cases more stock was subscribed for new enterprises than was asked for. Before 1850 had expired, however, this condition of things had entirely changed. The accumulated capital of the community could not supply the frequent calls for payment on railroad shares, and railroad obligations were sold at continually increasing rates of discount. In May, 1849, the Norfolk County road, the day after it was opened, made an assignment of all of its property for the benefit of its creditors; the first instance in New England of the failure of a railroad.

During this period, also, the railroads terminating in Boston learned the value of short travel, and began to provide specially for its accomodation. The Eastern Railroad, from its commencement, ran more trains to Salem than for any further distance. The Worcester road, in 1843, began to run special trains to Newton. The Providence road ran extra trains to Dedham, and the Fitchburg and Old Colony had their short trains as soon as they were opened. The Maine road commenced its special trains as soon as its extension into the city was completed; and at last the Lowell road, which at first had avoided intentionally all intermediate villages upon its line, found it expedient to build a branch to Woburn, and operate it with frequent trains. When the first railroads were built, however, it was not unusual for the inhabitants of the intermediate country to object to the roads passing through the villages; a safe and respectful distance was deemed preferable. A few years experience, however, sufficed to change this feeling entirely, and the villagers then became more anxious to have the railroads come to them than they formerly had been to keep them away.

During the next decade, from 1850 to 1860, the additional length of railroads constructed in Massachusetts was not one quarter of the amount built in the previous ten years. Indeed, it was no easy matter to procure the means for building a new railroad, especially as the legislature had jealously provided that no stock should be sold for less than par. During this period an important change was made in the Eastern Railroad. When that road was first located, in 1836, its Boston terminus was fixed at East Boston, connecting with the ferry; a selection judicious at that time, as it gave the least length of road to build, and no one considered a ferry particularly objectionable. But after the Maine Railroad had opened for public use its much more convenient station in Haymarket Square, the People on the line of the Eastern Railroad became dissatisfied with its terminus, and the result was that, after serious and repeated contests, one charter was obtained from Salem, and another from Lynn, to the Maine Railroad. The first, the South Reading Branch, was built by an independent corporations and opened September 1st, 1850. It was soon found to be a serious competitor for the business with the Eastern Railroad, and after it had been running about a year, the majority of the stock was bought by that company. The other stockholders and people on the line of the road were much excited, and, on complaint to the Legislature, the Eastern Railroad Company, having made the purchase without previous authority, were required to buy the rest of the stock and to run a certain number of trains daily, which they have since continued to do, at a loss. The purchase of this branch from Lynn also carried with it the other branch from Lynn, called the Saugus Branch, with an obligation to build it also, which was honorably fulfilled by the Eastern Railroad. To put a stop to the complaints of the people about the ferry at their Boston terminus, the Eastern Railroad also obtained leave to build a new line from North Chelsea into Boston, which was completed (by making use of part of the Grand Junction Road) in 1854, and in 1855 the Saugus Branch western end was changed from the Maine to the Eastern, near the Mystic River, making it a loop line of the Eastern Road.

In 1851, a road was opened for use from Newburyport through Georgetown to Bradford. Soon after, a charter was obtained from Georgetown to Danvers, and another from Danvers to South Reading, connecting with the Maine Railroad. It was thus in the power of the projectors of these lines to draw business from Newburyport on the Eastern Road, and from Haverhill on the Maine Railroad, and deliver it either to the Eastern, at Danvers, or to the Maine, at South Reading. After a good deal of strategy on the part of the projectors of these lines, the Maine Railroad was finally induced to aid in the construction of the Danvers road, and to take a lease of it. This, and the road to Georgetown were opened in 1854; in 1855, the Danvers and Georgetown was united with the Newburyport, and after struggling along with insufficient business for several years, this whole line was leased to the Maine Railroad for 100 years.

In the years 1846 and 1847 there were active contests before the Legislature for a charter from Boston to the Blackstone Valley. These contests resulted in the charter of the Norfolk County road in 1847, which, as has already been mentioned, was opened in 1849, and failed immediately afterwards. In 1852, this road was taken by new parties, and extended in 1853, under the Southbridge and Blackstone charter, to a connection with the Norwich and Worcester Railroad at Mechanicsville, and in 1854, under the Midland Charter, to Boston, at the foot of Summer Street. The three roads were united, under the name of the Boston and New York Central, and the road was opened through from Boston to Mechanicsville, 59 miles, (notwithstanding many severe trials,) June 1st, 1855. After running a few months, part of it was stopped by injunction; the rest was run a few years longer, but at last only the original Norfolk County, from Dedham to Blackstone, was kept in operation by the trustees of the bond holders. The parties in interest were trying various plans to resuscitate the enterprise, but up to 1860 has not acted with sufficient unanimity to be successful. It remained at that date a broken, disjointed enterprise, with the discredit of two failures hanging about it.

In the meantime, the parties opposed to this line obtained charters, by degrees, from the Brookline branch of the Worcester road, to Woonsocket, in Rhode Island, under the name of Charles River Railroad, and in 1855 united with corporations in Rhode Island and Connecticut, under the general name of New York and Boston Railroads to build one line of road from Boston to New Haven. This company, however, appeared to be weaker than its antagonist, and, up to 1860, had built only 8½ miles beyond Brookline.

In 1854, the Old Colony and Fall River Railroads were united, as one corporation. The same year the Cape Cod road was extended to Hyannis, connecting with steamboat to Nantucket, and the Fairhaven Branch was built, connecting New Bedford with the Cape. In 1855 the Providence, Warren & Bristol, branch of the Providence, was opened; also the Canton branch of the same road was extended to Easton. The same year the Agricultural branch of the Worcester, was opened to Marlboro and Northboro, and a branch also extended from the Fitchburg road to Marlboro. In 1856, the Middleboro & Taunton was opened, also the Hampshire and Hampden, an extension of the Canal road, in Connecticut, to Northampton in this state.

In 1857, the Boston & Lowell and the Nashua & Lowell roads made a contract for the joint operation of the two roads, the latter having already leases of the Stony Brook road in Massachusetts, and the Wilton road in New Hampshire, and the next year the united companies took leases of the Lowell & Lawrence and Salem & Lowell roads for twenty years. Under this consolidation, the roads have been operated since with greater convenience to the public, and much more profit to the Stockholders. But had the original projector of the Lowell & Lawrence, and the Salem & Lowell roads been alive, it is not probable that these roads could have been leased by the Lowell road. They were commenced by Mr. Livingston under a feeling of opposition to the Lowell road, and he intended, by using them in connection with the Maine railroad, to make another line from Boston to Lowell. They were actually operated in this way for a time, but this was stopped by the Supreme Court, according to the provision in the Lowell charter, that no competing route should be built between Boston and Lowell for thirty years. Mr. Livingston died before the thirty years were out, and his associates, somewhat disheartened by the small amount of business on their lines as they were then operated, were glad to make a lease to the Lowell road.

It has already been mentioned that the New London, Willimantic & Palmer road was opened in 1850, and in 1853, an extension of it, under the name of Amherst & Belchertown, was opened. This did not prove profitable, and was reorganized by its bondholders, in 1860. The main line from New London was also not very successful, and was reorganized by its bondholders, under the name of New London Northern, in 1860. Sundry other branch roads succumbed to want of sufficient business. The Harvard branch was discontinued and taken up, its place being suppled by a horse railroad. The Peterborough & Shirley was sold at a discount to the Fitchburg, in 1860, and the Marlboro branch reorganized. The Grand Junction road, intended to connect all the northern roads with deep water in East Boston, was built in 1850, and extended to a connection with the Worcester road in 1855. This project was got up a generation in advance of the time it was needed; of itself it could command no business, and passed into the hands of its bondholders in 1859, doing scarce any business except on that part occupied by the Eastern Railroad.

During this decade, also, the Hoosac Tunnel was commenced. The Troy & Greenfield charter was granted in 1848, and the company organized in 1849. In 1851, the western and of the road from the Tunnel to the State line, was put under contract, and an application made for State aid in excavating the Tunnel, but this was not successful. In 1853, the application for State aid was renewed, but was again unsuccessful; the following year, however, a loan of two millions of dollars was promised to this company by the State on certain conditions. The company found it difficult to meet these conditions, and the loan act was modified in 1859 and again in 1860. Still some progress had been made in the meantime, and the part of the road from North Adams to the State Line, about six miles in length, was opened in 1859, making, with the Southern Vermont and Troy & Boston road in New York, a connection with the railroads of New York, and the west.

At the close of the year 1860, the miles of road in operation in Massachusetts amounted to 1,221; and the extensions into adjoining States, with their branches, operated by the same companies, were 527 miles in addition. In only two instances were the companies operating without charters from Massachusetts.

RAILROADS BUILT 1850 - 1860

Also showing roads built prior to 1850 in Western and Central Massachusetts, not shown on previous maps.

KEY --

W Norwich and Worcester
A Western
B Boston and Maine, (in New Hampshire)
H Hartford and New Haven (Conn)
V Vermont and Massachusetts
C Connecticut River
K Cheshire
P Peterboro and Shirley
D Pittsfield and North Adams
N New London, Willimantic and Palmer (Conn)
N Amherst and Belchertown
H Housatonic (Conn) Berkshire (Mass)
P Pittsfield and Stockbridge
S Saugus Branch
G Newburyport, Georgetown and Bradford
R Gergetown, Danvers and So. Reading
M Midland
B Southbridge and Blackstone
CR Charles River
F Fall River
L Providence, Warren and Bristol (Rhode Island)
T Taunton to Middleboro
D Agricultural Branch
Y Troy and Greenfield

Since 1860, a greater length of additional railroad has been built in this State than in the previous ten years, the total length of railroads in operation In this State on the 1st of August, 18709 being 1,439 miles, and the extensions into adjoining States with their branches operated by the same companies, being 688 miles. The changes and additions during this period may be noted as follows:
The old Norfolk County Line was revived in 1862, under the name of Midland Land Damage Company. In 1863, this name was changed to Southern Midland, and in September of the same year the road was transferred to the Boston, Hartford & Erie Railroad Company, a corporation chartered by the State of Connecticut, for the purpose of making a consolidated line from Boston and Providence to Fishkill, in New York, there to connect with the Erie Railroad branch to Newburgh. In 1865, the Hartford & Erie contested the application of the opposition line, the New York & Boston, in Connecticut for a renewal of their charter. The latter company were successful in their applications but soon afterwards the two corporations were united in one, The Hartford & Erie completed their branch to Southbridge early in 1867, and opened their main line again to a connection with the Norwich & Worcester, the same year. They also obtained a loan from the State in that year of $3,000,000, which was increased in 1869 to $5,000,000. Further aid was asked the present year, but refused on account of improvidence and wastefulness on the part of the managers, and at present the enterprise appears to be passing through another period of bankruptcy. It is a line of too much value to be left long lying dormant, and when completed will unquestionably be of great value to the people of this and adjoining States.

The Old Colony has absorbed its Dorchester and Milton and South Shore branches. In 1864 its main line extended from Fall River to Newport, and in 1865 and 1866, it built a new line from Randolph through Taunton to Fall River, absorbing on the way, the Easton branch, formerly running in connection with the Providence Railroad. The Old Colony now holds charters from Taunton to Providence, from Middleborough to New Bedford, and from the end of the South Shore to Duxbury, all of which, it is understood, are to be built. A branch to Hanover has also been built by an independent company. The Cape Cod road was extended to Orleans in 1865, and is now making progress further down the Cape, with the prospect of reaching Provincetown before many years. The Fairhaven branch of the Cape Cod was sold to the New Bedford road in 1861, but still runs in its old connection. The Eastern road absorbed the Essex branch in 1865, (now called its Lawrence branch,) and the Rockport extension of the Gloucester branch in 1868; it is also operating the Great Falls & Conway road, in New Hampshire, while its rival, the Maine, is operating the Dover & Winnipiseogee branch, in the same state. The interest of the stockholders would be much advanced, and the public quite as well served, by a consolidation of these two lines, with the right of regulation reserved to the State. The Agricultural branch of the Worcester was extended to a connection with the Fitchburg & Worcester, in 1866; changed its name to Boston, Clinton & Fitchburg, in 1867, and absorbed the Fitchburg & Worcester in 1869. The same parties in interest also built the Mansfield & Framingham, in 1869, and have formed a connected line, under an able management, from Fitchburg to New Bedford and Providence, The same parties obtained a charter and propose at once to build a road from Framingham to Lowell.

The Arlington branch of the Fitchburg road has been bought by the Lowell road, and is to be connected therewith. The Taunton road is building a branch to Attleboro, to connect with the Providence, and the Providence road is building one to North Attleboro. A branch has also been built from Milford, connecting, over a part of the Hartford & Erie, with the Providence & Worcester, at Woonsocket. By a change in the State boundaries, the Providence, Warren & Bristol road, lying partly in this State, became entirely a Rhode Island road; a branch to this road, extending to Fall River, was built in 1864. The New London Northern bought the Amherst & Palmer road in 1864, and extended its line to a connection with the Vermont & Massachusetts, at Grout's corner in 1866. The Hampshire & Hampden was united with the New Haven & Northampton in 1862, and the line extended to Williamsburg in 1868.

In 1861, Governor Andrew became dissatisfied (whether with good reason or not it is not now necessary to discuss,) with the management of the Troy & Greenfield road, and in accordance with his wishes, the corporation surrendered the road in 1862 to the State, which then undertook to complete it. The work was carried on under State Commissioners until the last of 1868, when a contract was made for the completion of the tunnel. The contractors are making good progress with their works and in all probability will have it completed within the time specified. The road from Greenfield to the tunnel was opened on the 17th of August, 1868. The extraordinary freshet of October, 1869, injured the road very materially, so as to stop its running, which was not resumed until the 4th of July of the present year. The Vermont & Massachusetts road built a branch to Turner's Falls the past year, and roads are now under construction from Worcester to Gardner, from Palmer to Winchendon, and from Palmer to Athol. Last but not least worthy of mention among the occurrences of the past decade, is the union of the Worcester, and Western Railroads, which took effect December 1st, 1867, the name of the consolidated company being the Boston & Albany Railroad. Ever since the completion of the Western roads there had been a continual jarring between the two companies as to the division of income from the joint business, temporarily settled by arbitration at various times. As early as 1845, the Western road proposed to consolidate, but the Worcester refused. Meantime the complaints of the community in regard to the unsatisfactory transaction of their business by the disagreeing corporations increased, and public opinion insisted upon the unions which was at last consented to by the Worcester, when they found they must do that or fare worse. The consolidation has certainly been an advantage to the community. The new company has repaired and put in operation the Grand Junction; has built wharves and an elevator at East Boston, to satisfy the calls of the merchants; is improving its stations all along the line; is diminishing rates of freight; removing causes of delay whenever discovered; and evidently appears desirous of doing all it can to accomodate the community. Consolidation has worked so well in this instance, that it would seem best to try it in other cases.

Massachusetts is certainly well supplied with railroads, having one mile of railroad to every five and a half square miles of territory, and to every 954 inhabitants. But railroads have now become necessities to an active and industrious population. There are still many villages in the State, at an inconvenient distance from any railroad, and, for many years to come, branches will be called for and built probably in great measure by town subscriptions. At the last session of the Legislature, about 100 miles of new roads were chartered, and many old charters which have been lying dormant for years, will probably soon be brought into use.

Street railroads were introduced in this State in 1855, the Cambridge road being the one first built, followed in the next year by the Metropolitan, and Middlesex. As with the steam railroads, they were regarded at first with doubt and distrust, but they soon proved to be profitable investments, and then there was a general rush for them, with exorbitant nominal capitals, followed of course by revulsion and failure, and then by a more prudent extension of the system. At present, there are street railroads in Salem, Lawrence, Worcester, Springfield and Northampton, as well as in Boston; and several other places are preparing to avail themselves of the same convenience. On several of these roads, what are called dummy engines (small steam engines in the car as means of motion,) have been tried, but none thus far have given satisfactory results. A wide field for the inventive genius of the country still remains open, in the supply of some motor better than horse power for street cars, and, what is still more desirable and necessary, the improvement of combustion in the locomotives on the steam roads, so that they shall not annoy the passengers in the cars and the neighborhoods they pass through with clouds of stifling smoke and storms of cinders, as at present.


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