Travel through almost any town in Northeastern, the Mid-Atlantic or the Mid-west and you are bound to come across an abandoned rail line and associated buildings.
In my home town we have one actual railroad (N.Y. & N.H.) and a second that was begun but never finished (Southern New England). Today we will begin by looking at the one that actually saw service on the now abandoned rails.
Orginially chartered as the Southbridge & Blackstone in 1849 but was not built until 1866 – 1867. By this time
it was owned by the Boston, Hartford and Erie (BH&E). This line was a spur track and never generated the traffic hoped for.
The line currently runs from Southbridge into Dudley, then continues into Webster. From Dudley to Southbridge the line has been or is about to be, converted into a multi-purpose trail.
Other than the rails that have yet to be removed, there are not many railroad artifacts to see. There are many railroad related buldings, mostly buildings that were served by the railroad.
The building below once had its own siding. According to old maps of Southbridge, this building was part of the Central Mills company and was used as a storehouse. The picture above shows the beginiing of the siding. I have not found any evidence of a switch and my assumption is that after the mill closed down (late 1930’s) the track and switch were removed.
I will need to get a clearer picture of this building but you can see the two doors on the right are railroad hieght. To the far left is evidence of a third door. To the right of the building you can see where the siding ran. At the far left of the picture, you can see a second building that was also part of the Central Mills complex and had its own siding. This is marked on the maps as being a freighthouse. This complex will be explored more in a future post.
The rails cross two main streets and the crossing signals are still in place. Interestingly the Providence and Worcester (P&W) railroad, the last operator of this line rebuilt the two crossings several years after the last train passed over these rails. The last train passed around 1977-1980.
To the left in the picture is the original passenger station now occupied by the RMV. I have recently come across some railroad valuation maps for the New Haven railroad and they show there was another passenger station as well.
These maps also depict a roundhouse and turntable. When the snow melts I will see what evidence I can find of the roundhouse and turntable.
The second passenger station is long gone if it was ever built. This will also involve some more research.
Please come back and visit again. I will be periodically updating this site with more pictures and information.