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New England Railroads PDF Print E-mail
Written by Paul Marston   
Tuesday, 18 March 2008 09:59

NEW ENGLAND RAILROAD TRACK CONSTRUCTION FROM 1826 TO 1850

Click on the name of the state to see details

STATE

1826-30

1831-35

1835-40

1841-45

1845-50

TOTALS

CENSUS

CHANGES

Connecticut

119.56

50.26

230.94

400.76

413.26

-12.50

Massachusetts

2.79

72.20

215.32

212.40

528.81

1,031.52

1,035.74

-4.22

Maine

2.00

11.00

60.35

175.50

248.85

245.59

3.26

New Hampshire

34.77

61.44

379.17

475.38

465.32

10.06

Rhode Island

8.20

48.85

18.00

75.05

68.00

7.05

Vermont

290.07

290.07

279.57

10.50

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TOTALS FOR INTERVALS

2.79

82.40

429.50

384.45

1,622.49

2,521.63

2,507.48

14.15

The Census data shown is for the year 1850 as reported in the 1860 Census.

See www2.census.gov/prod2/decennial/documents/1860e-06.pdf (pages 230-231).

Why are there differences between the Census and our own figures?

Here is an explanation state by state:

  • Connecticut:
  1. Hartford & New Haven Railroad - 5.87 miles of this railroad was in Massachusetts so of the 72.38 miles assigned to Connecticut by the 1860 census, we must reduce it by 5.87 miles and add it to the mileage in Massachusetts. The proof is that the 1880 Census gives this figure on page 508 for the miles in Massachusetts. By 1880, this railroad was the New York, New Haven & Hartford.
  2. New London, Willimantic & Palmer Railroad - 10 miles of this railroad were also in Massachusetts according to the 1880 Census. Page 508 shows the mileage in Connecticut as only 56 miles so the extra 10 miles has to be in Massachusetts. By 1880 this railroad was called the New London Northern.
  3. Stonington & Providence Railroad - This was the name of the New York, Providence & Boston Railroad in Connecticut. The 1860 Census gave all 50 miles of it to Rhode Island but 3.37 miles were in Connecticut. Page 508 of the 1880 Census gives only 46.63 miles to Rhode Island so the balance has to be in Connecticut.
  • Massachusetts:
  1. Boston and Maine Railroad - While the 1860 Census assigned 83.05 miles to this railroad, it deducted 40.17 miles as being in New Hampshire. The remaining 42.88 miles were in Massachusetts but this railroad did not build all of that. The Andover and Wilmington built 7, the Andover and Haverill built 10 and the Boston and Portland built 3.18 miles before being merged into the Boston and Maine Railroad. The remaining 22.7 was divided between the Boston & Maine Railroad and its extension. The figures come out the same as given in the 1860 Census.
  2. Boston and Providence Railroad - The 1860 Census gives 47.47 miles for this railroad but failed to mention 10.42 miles were in Rhode Island. The 1880 Census on page 507 confirms this figure.
  3. Charlestown Branch Railroad - The 1860 Census omitted this railroad as a separate entity because this railroad was acquired by the Fitchburg Railroad in 1845. This is one of those cases where part of a later railroad had been built by a predecessor railroad. We know from Poor's book on page 107 that the mileage built by this railroad was 7.80 miles.
  4. Fitchburg Railroad - The missing 7.80 miles of the Charlestown Branch Railroad was reported under this railroad so we have to reduce the mileage for this railroad by 7.80 miles to 57.98 miles from 65.78 miles.
  5. Granite Railroad - As we mentioned earlier, the Census Bureau did not count this railroad in either 1860 or 1880 because it was constructed before 1830. Estimates of its length range from 2 to 4 miles when it was first built. After reconstructing the railroad in Mapinfo® from the description at http://thomascranelibrary.org/legacy/chap2.htm, it reported a length of 2.79 miles which is very close to Professor Gamst's figure of 2.75 miles so we adopted that figure.
  6. Hartford and Springfield Railroad - This was the name of the Hartford and New Haven of Connecticut in Massachusetts. As mentioned above, this 5.87 miles needs to be added to the mileage for Massachusetts.
  7. Nashua and Lowell Railroad - As the name implies, part of this railroad is in Massachusetts and part is in New Hampshire. Poor's book tells us on page 60 that the New hampshire portion is 6.22 of the 14.58 miles leaving 8.36 for Massachusetts so we must show that as the figure for Massachusetts.
  8. New London, Willimantic & Palmer Railroad (MA) - The 1880 Census on page 508 shows the mileage in Connecticut as only 56 miles so the extra 10 miles has to be in Massachusetts. By 1880 this railroad was called the New London Northern.
  9. Vermont and Massachusetts Railroad - Once again the name suggests that part of this railroad is in Vermont, in this case, 10.25 miles according to page 158 of Poor's book. That leaves 58.75 miles of the 69 reported in Massachusetts.
  10. Winchendon Railroad - This railroad merged with the Cheshire Railroad of New Hampshire and adopted that name in 1845. That caused the 1860 Census to count all of the mileage for New Hampshire. The Winchendon portion of the railroad in Massachusetts had 10.81 miles according to page 507 of the 1880 Census that needs to be added to the mileage in Massachusetts.
  11. Worcester and Nashua Railroad - This is another case where the name tells you that part of this railroad was in New Hampshire. Page 164 of Poor's book gives the New Hampshire portion as 6.55 miles which leaves only 39.12 in Massachusetts out of the total of 45.67 miles.
  • Maine:
  1. Bangor and Piscataquis Railroad and Canal Company - A name change to Bangor, Oldtown and Milford Railroad caused the Census Bureau to list the 11 miles under the new name.
  2. Bangor, Oldtown and Milford Railroad - A name change to this from Bangor, Piscataquis Railroad and Canal Company caused the Census Bureau to list the 11 miles under the new name.
  3. Boston and Maine Railroad (ME) - Most of this railroad was in Massachusetts and New Hampshire but there was a short piece of 1.26 miles in Maine to connect to the Portland, Saco and Portsmouth Railroad. This information was provided by Poor's book on page 100.
  4. Calais Railroad - The 1860 Census assigns 6 miles to the Calais and Baring Railroad and all of it built after 1850. By 1880 this railroad was called the St. Croix and Penobscot Railroad, but the 1880 Census shows that 2 miles of this railroad were built in 1835. Since the Calais and Baring was not chartered until 1837, that leaves only the predecessor Calais Railroad, chartered in 1832, as the builder of these two miles and only 4 of the miles to built after 1850.
  5. Machiasport Railroad - This railroad is listed in the 1860 Census as having 7.75 miles but the 1880 Census tells us that the successor railroad, the Whitneyville and Machiasport Railroad, had 7.87 miles built in 1842. Since the Machiasport Railroad was not chartered until 1845, the preceeding railroad, the Palmer and Machiasport, actually built the railroad.
  6. Palmer and Machiasport Railroad - The original railroad that built this 7.75 miles before changing its name to the Machiasport Railroad in 1845.
  • New Hampshire:

    1. Boston and Maine Railroad (NH) - The difference is the 1.26 miles of this railroad that are in Maine as per above.
    2. Cheshire Railroad - The difference is the 10.81 miles that are in the Winchendon portion of this railroad that is in Massachusetts as explained above.
    3. Concord and Claremont Railway - This was one of the predecessor railroads to the Merrimac and Connecticut Rivers Railroad that actually built this 17.78 miles but this mileage was counted under the new name.
    4. Concord and Portsmouth Railroad - This 18.23 miles was the name of the railroad that the Census Bureau used for this mileage, but the railroad was actually built by the Portsmouth and Concord Railroad. The original railroad went into bankruptcy so the mortgage holders foreclosed on their note and changed the name.
    5. Contoocook River Railroad - The predecessor railroad, Contoocook Valley Railroad defaulted on payments and was sold to new owners who changed the name to this one. This caused the Census Bureau to report the mileage under this railroad.
    6. Contoocook Valley Railroad - This is the railroad who actually built the 14.64 miles before defaulting on payments so we carry the mileage under the builder.
    7. Franklin and Bristol Railroad - This was the original builder of this 13.41 miles of road but was bought out by the Northern Railroad (NH). Hence this mileage was reported as part of the mileage for the new owner.
    8. Merrimac and Connecticut Rivers Railroad - This railroad was formed by a merger of the Concord and Claremont Railway and the New Hampshire Central Railway. Hence the mileage of both of the predecessor railroads who actually built the two portions of the railroad were reported under the new name.
    9. Nashua and Groton Railroad - This was the name of the Worcester and Nashua Railroad in New Hampshire. This 6.55 miles was reported as being in Massachusetts under the Worcester and Nashua Railroad.
    10. Nashua and Lowell Railroad - This was the name of the Lowell and Nashua Railroad in New Hampshire. This 6.22 miles was reported as being in Massachusetts under the Lowell and Nashua Railroad.
    11. New Hampshire Central Railway - This was one of the predecessor railroads to the Merrimac and Connecticut Rivers Railroad that actually built this 25.52 miles but this mileage was counted under the new name.
    12. Northern Railroad (NH) - This railroad had 69.16 miles that it built, but when it acquired the Franklin and Bristol Railroad, that extra 13.41 miles was reported under this name.
    13. Peterboro and Shirley Railroad - The 1860 Census says that this railroad was built after 1850, but Poor's Book on page 61 says that it was built in 1849 and 1850.
    14. Portsmouth and Concord Railroad - This was the original builder of this 18.23 miles, but bankruptcy and a change of name caused this mileage to be reported under the Concord and Portsmouth Railroad.

  • Rhode Island:

    1. New York, Providence and Boston Railroad - This Railroad is credited with 50 miles in Rhode Island but 3.37 miles of it were in Connecticut under the Stonington and Providence Railroad portion of it.
    2. Providence and Boston Railroad - The Massachusetts version of this railroad, the Boston and Providence Railroad, is credited with all 47.47 miles of this railroad but the 1880 Census tells us that 10.42 miles were in Rhode Island under this name.
  • Vermont:

    1. Brattleboro and Fitchburg Railroad - This is the Vermont portion of the Fitchburg Railroad of Massachusetts which was given all 65.78 miles when 10.42 were in Vermont under this name.

Where did the extra 14.15 miles in New England come from?

    1. Calais Railroad - This railroad constructed 2 miles before 1850 and the 1860 Census put them after 1850 so they were not counted for the 1850 figures. This was corrected in the 1880 Census.
    2. Granite Railroad - This 2.79 mile railroad was not counted because it was built before 1830 and because it originally hauled nothing but granite.
    3. Peterboro and Shirley Railroad - This 9.36 mile railroad was built in 1849-1850, but the 1860 Census said it was built after 1850 and did not count it for 1850.
Last Updated on Monday, 18 August 2008 21:29
 
 
   
       
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