Boston & Albany Railroad


April 16, 1834 The first section of the Boston & Worcester Railroad (later B&A, NYC) opens between Boston and West Newton MA. It is the first rail passenger service and first run of a steam locomotive in New England.

 April 16, 1951 Last steam locomotive in passenger service on the Boston & Albany





The Boston and Albany Railroad was formed between 1867 and 1870 from the merger of three existing lines, the Boston and Worcester (chartered 1831), the Western (1833), and the Castleton and West Stockbridge (1834). The corporation was a primary east-west transit through the Commonwealth, with branches connecting towns including Athol, Ware, North Adams, and Hudson, N.Y.

The Boston and Albany Railroad was formed by a series of mergers beginning in 1867 that subsumed both the first commercial line in New England, the Boston and Worcester Railroad (chartered 1831) and the Western Railroad (1833), the most important line in Western Massachusetts. The expansionist Boston and Albany began extending lines eastward and westward at the same time, absorbing the Castleton and West Stockbridge Railroad (incorporated in 1834 and renamed the Albany and West Stockbridge two years later) and the Hudson and Berkshire Railroad, creating a powerful corporation that established the first continuous rail line across the Commonwealth.

Throughout the nineteenth century, the Boston and Albany prospered, absorbing a number of branch lines and extending its reach both northward and southward. By the 1880s, it claimed the distinction of operating one of the most efficient commuter operations, connecting Boston through Brookline and Newton Highlands to Riverside, eventually extending commuter service to Worcester. The line was noted, too, for Director Charles Sprague Sargent’s initiative to beautify rail travel, hiring the architect Henry Hobson Richardson to design aesthetically pleasing stations.



The Boston and Albany Railroad was a railroad connecting Boston, Massachusetts to Albany, New York, later becoming part of the New York Central Railroad System. Passenger service is still operated on the line by Amtrak (as part of their Lake Shore Limited), and the MBTA Commuter Rail system uses the section east of Worcester as their Framingham/Worcester Line.

During the 30’s and 40’s the New York Central System ran several trains over the Boston and Albany with through Pullman sleepers between Chicago and Boston. These included the New England States, the Lake Shore Limited, and the Chicago Special on the New York Central main line through Toledo and Buffalo, as well as the Wolverine, the North Shore Limited and the Western Express on the Michigan Central line through Detroit and Southern Ontario. It’s shorter and direct route through Albany to Boston shut out all but minimal competition from the Pennsylvania which offered a sleeper to Boston on its fast General and the New Haven’s Pilgrim.


Short History of the Boston and Albany Railroad
1831 – The Boston and Worcester Railroad was chartered
1832 – Construction began in August 1832.
1833 – Line open to Wellesley and Ashland.
Boston & Albany
Boston and Albany
Sept. 26, 1937

1834 – Line open to Westborough.
1835 – Line completed Boston to Worcester.
1833 – Western RR chartered to connect B&W to Hudson and Berkshire RR at New York state line.
1837 – Construction starts on WRR.
1839 – WRR east end completed to Connecticut River.
1841 – Full route through Berkshires completed.
1834 – Castleton and West Stockbridge Railroad incorporated as New York part of WRR.
1836 – C&WS chartered as Albany and West Stockbridge.
1840 – Construction of A&WS starts.
1841 – WRR leases A&WS.
1842 – A&WS completed to the state line.
1842 – A&WS/WRR replace Hudson & Berkshire east of Chatham.
1860 – H&B abandoned.
1867-70 – B&W, A&WS, and WRR merged with Hudson and Boston Railroad into a company known as Boston and Albany Railroad.
1883-1886 – B&A acquires tracks of the New York and New England Railroad, and builds added lines in metropolitan Boston to provide improved service and excellent commuter service.
1899 – New South Station opens in Boston.
1900 – New York Central and Hudson River Railroad leased the B&A for 99 years.
1914 – B&A lease passes to NYC, but B&A keeps its identity.
1968 – B&A merged into new Penn Central (PRR and NYC).
1971 – Amtrak takes over intercity passenger traffic.
1973 – MBTA acquires lines east of Framingham.
1975 – Service beyond Framingham discontinued.
1976 – Conrail takes over Penn Central.
1999 – Conrail trackage becomes CSX.



Boston & Albany rolls through Natick, Mass.

Thank you to Wayne Koch



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