The Old Colony Railroad's terminal in Boston
Providence, Rhode Island
|Dates of operation||1845–1893|
|Successor||New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
|Length||617 mi (993 km) (1893)|
The Old Colony Railroad (OC) was a major railroad system, mainly covering southeastern Massachusetts and parts of Rhode Island, which operated from 1845 to 1893. Old Colony trains ran from Boston to points such as Plymouth, Fall River, New Bedford, Newport, Providence, Fitchburg, Lowell and Cape Cod. For many years the Old Colony Railroad Company also operated steamboat and ferry lines, including those of the Fall River Line with express train service from Boston to its wharf in Fall River where passengers boarded luxury liners to New York City. The company also briefly operated a railroad line on Martha's Vineyard, as well as the freight-only Union Freight Railroad in Boston. The OC was named after the "Old Colony", the nickname for the Plymouth Colony.
From 1845 to 1893, the OC network grew extensively largely through a series of mergers and acquisitions with other established railroads, until it was itself acquired by the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad under lease agreement on March 1, 1893 for its entire 617-mile (993 km) network. After this date, all trains, lines, and stations became known as the "Old Colony Division" of the huge "New Haven" system. During this period, the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad enjoyed a virtual monopoly on all passenger and freight rail service in southern New England.
Passenger service on the New Haven's Old Colony Division ended in 1959, except for the main line between Boston and Providence, which continues to be used for passenger service by Amtrak and the MBTA. Since 1997, other former OC lines have been reopened to passenger service, including the MBTA's Old Colony Lines with service from Boston to Plymouth and Middleborough/Lakeville. In 2007, MBTA passenger service was restored on the Greenbush Line between Braintree and Greenbush Station in Scituate. The MBTA currently has plans to also restore passenger service to Fall River and New Bedford as part of the South Coast Rail project.
Other parts of the former OC system continue to be used for freight service by CSX Transportation and other short line railroads, including the Massachusetts Coastal Railroad which operates on Cape Cod and in southeastern Massachusetts. Parts of the former OC on Cape Cod are also still used to operate the Cape Cod Central Railroad tourist train from Hyannis to Buzzards Bay during the summer and fall months. Another tourist railroad, the Old Colony and Newport Scenic Railway operates on part of the former OC from Newport on Aquidneck Island.
Several abandoned portions of the OC have been converted into multi-use rail trails. These include the East Bay Bike Path in Rhode Island, as well as others in Lowell, Mansfield, Fairhaven, and the Cape Cod Rail Trail on Cape Cod.
Old Colony Railroad (1844–1854)
By the early 1840s, the city of Boston had six major rail lines connecting it with other places including Lowell, Maine, Fitchburg, and Salem to the north, Worcester to the west and Providence, Rhode Island to the southwest. The southeastern part of Massachusetts had yet to be served by a rail link to Boston.
On March 16, 1844 the Old Colony Railroad Corporation was formed to provide a rail connection between Boston and Plymouth. Construction of the line began in South Boston in June 1844 and the 36.8-mile (59.2 km) line opened to Plymouth on November 10, 1845. The extension from South Boston to the newly completed Kneeland Street Station in Boston opened on June 19, 1847. Kneeland Street also served as the headquarters for the OC until the 1893 consolidation.
There had previously been an Old Colony Railroad formed in 1838 for a line between Taunton and New Bedford, but the name was changed to the New Bedford and Taunton Railroad in 1839 before service began in 1840. This line would later become part of OC in 1879.
John Sever of Kingston, Massachusetts served as the first president of the Old Colony Railroad Corporation from 1844-1845. Nathan Carruth served as the second president of the corporation from 1845 to 1848. Carruth was a successful businessman and enthusiastic supporter of the expansion of railroads in Massachusetts and elsewhere in New England. With the opening of the Old Colony line through Dorchester in 1845, Carruth became actively involved in the development of the area. He built an estate on the east side of Dorchester Avenue called Beechmont/Beaumont which would become one of the first railroad suburbs in America.
All OC locomotives were named until 1884, after which they were simply numbered. Among the early engines were the Mayflower, Governor Carver, Governor Bradford, and Miles Standish. The new railroad company also built the Samoset Hotel near the end of its line in Plymouth.
In 1847, the OC completed a short 6.2-mile (10.0 km) connector line from its main line at Whitman to the Fall River Railroad line at Bridgewater Junction. On April 1, 1849, OC signed a lease of the South Shore Railroad for a period of five years. By 1851, traffic on the line had increased enough to warrant the opening of a second track running between Boston and South Braintree.
Old Colony and Fall River Railroad (1854–1863)
The OC and Fall River Railroad merged with a joint stock vote on June 20, 1854, forming the Old Colony and Fall River Railroad Company, which provided a two-pronged line from Boston to Plymouth and Boston to Fall River, splitting at South Braintree. Alexander Holmes from Kingston served as company president during this period, from 1854 to 1866.
The Fall River Railroad had been formed on August 8, 1845, with the consolidation of three companies; the Fall River Branch Railroad, the Randolph and Bridgewater Railroad and the Middleborough Railroad. The Fall River Railroad was led by Richard Borden, a prominent Fall River mill owner who wanted a direct route to Boston that did not require the use of the Boston and Providence Railroad lines. The line from South Braintree to Myricks in the town of Berkley opened on December 16, 1846, as an extension of the Fall River Branch Railroad – which had been completed in 1845.
On May 19, 1847, the first "boat train" left the OC's Kneeland Street Station in Boston bound for Fall River, where passengers would board a steamship for New York City. Over the years, the Old Colony Steamboat Express train would become the most famous line of the Old Colony Railroad, with the finest and most up-to-date engines, cars and attention to detail.
In 1863 the Old Colony and Fall River Railroad acquired the Dorchester and Milton Branch Railroad Company, which it had been leasing since 1848.
Old Colony and Newport Railroad (1863–1872)
The Old Colony and Newport Railway was formed in July 1863 when the Old Colony and Fall River Railroad merged with the Newport and Fall River Railroad, which had been incorporated in 1846 to build a road from Newport, Rhode Island to the Massachusetts state line at Fall River. However, the road from Fall River to the Rhode Island state line was not authorized by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts until 1860. The newly formed and renamed Old Colony and Newport Railway Company completed the final section of the line from Fall River to Newport which finally opened for service on February 5, 1864.
In 1865, the Old Colony and Newport Railway Company acquired the Dighton and Somerset Railroad. It completed a new, more direct route between Fall River and Boston via South Braintree on September 24, 1866. Part of the new route was over the Easton Branch Railroad between Stoughton and North Easton. In 1871 the Old Colony purchased the Easton Branch.
A portion of the old Granite Railway line was acquired in 1870 and later extended to form a loop through West Quincy off the original Plymouth line. In 1872, the Old Colony & Newport Railway Corporation built the Shawmut Railroad as a connection between the Dorchester and Milton Branch and the main line to Boston.
Old Colony Railroad (1872–1893)
The Old Colony and Newport Railroad merged with the Cape Cod Railroad on May 1, 1872, and the two companies were consolidated on October 1, forming a new Old Colony Railroad Company under the leadership of Onslow Stearns, who served as president of the company from 1866 to 1877.
The 1872 merger formed a system with three main branches; Boston to Plymouth, South Braintree to Fall River and Newport, and a third splitting from the Newport branch at Middleborough to Hyannis. At this point, the newly acquired lines became known as the Cape Cod Division, with a new superintendent's office located at Hyannis.
The Cape Cod Railroad Company had been established in 1846 as the Cape Cod Branch Railroad with a line off the Fall River Railroad from Middleborough to Sandwich opening in 1848. Among the proponents of the Cape Cod Branch Railroad was Richard Borden of Fall River, who saw the new line as an opportunity to bring more traffic and business through his hometown. In 1853, the extension of the line to Hyannis was started, reaching West Barnstable on December 22, 1853. On February 22, 1854, the Cape Cod Branch Railroad was renamed the Cape Cod Railroad Company. In the spring of 1854, construction continued, with the railroad reaching Barnstable village on May 8, Yarmouth Port on May 19, and finally Hyannis on July 8, 1854. Connecting steamboat service to Nantucket commenced from Hyannis in late September and would continue until 1872, when the railroad branch to Woods Hole was opened.
The Cape Cod Central Railroad was incorporated in 1861 as a branch from the Cape Cod Railroad, running from Yarmouth east and northeast to Orleans, and opening in 1865. The Cape Cod Central was purchased by the Cape Cod Railroad April 21, 1868, and the two railroads were consolidated on July 28, 1868.
The newly formed Old Colony Railroad extended the line to Provincetown, at the very tip of Cape Cod, opening on July 23, 1873.
In 1874, Old Colony founded the Martha's Vineyard Railroad, built across nine miles (14.5 km) on sand of the island of Martha's Vineyard, running from the Oak Bluffs steamer wharf to Mattakeeset Lodge in Katama, Edgartown. The locomotive Active (later renamed the South Beach) was the sole operating train. This branch existed until 1896.
The Old Colony Railroad acquired the Middleborough and Taunton Railroad in 1874 and the South Shore Railroad in 1877, which it had once leased until 1854. A year later in 1878 it acquired the Duxbury and Cohasset Railroad which gave the Old Colony a connection with its original 1845 main line at Kingston. Beginning in 1874, the Old Colony operated the "South Shore, Duxbury and Cohasset and Plymouth Express" between Boston and Plymouth on this line.
In 1875, the Old Colony Railroad began operating the Fall River, Warren and Providence Railroad, which had been formed in 1863 as a merger between the Warren and Fall River and Fall River and Warren Railroad Companies. The Old Colony would later acquire this line outright in 1892.
In 1879, the Old Colony Railroad greatly expanded its network into Central Massachusetts by leasing the Boston, Clinton, Fitchburg and New Bedford Railroad for 999 years, then purchasing it outright in 1883. The acquisition of this line provided important connections for the Old Colony, such as with the Boston and Providence Railroad at Mansfield, the Boston and Albany Railroad at South Framingham and the Fitchburg Railroad at Fitchburg, among others. This deal also gave the Old Colony Railroad direct access to the important industrial port of New Bedford. Upon this acquisition, the lines of the former Boston, Clinton and Fitchburg Railroad became known as the Old Colony's "Northern Division", with headquarters in Fitchburg, while the older OCRR lines became known as the "Central Division" with headquarters in Boston.
In 1882 the Old Colony Railroad signed a 99-year lease on a line between Fall River and New Bedford through the towns of Dartmouth and Westport owned by the Fall River Railroad (1874) – not to be confused with its 1846 namesake.
Several days later, on April 7, 1888 the OCRR signed a 99-year lease on the Boston and Providence Railroad, one of New England's earliest railroads, which had been chartered in Massachusetts in 1831 and began service between Providence and Boston in 1835. This major agreement gave the Old Colony Railroad operating rights on the busy double-tracked main line between the two capital cities, along with other branches to Dedham and Stoughton. The deal also included use of the Boston and Providence Railroad's Park Square Station in Boston.
In 1896 the OCRR acquired the Fall River Railroad (1874), which it had been leasing since 1882.
New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad control (1893–1969)
On March 1, 1893 the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad (NYNH&H) – commonly known as the New Haven Railroad – leased the entire Old Colony system for 99 years, which by then included the leased Boston and Providence Railroad and everything substantially east of it, as well as long branches northwest to Fitchburg and Lowell. Along with the lease of the New England Railroad in 1898, the 1893 lease arrangement gave the NYNH&H a virtual monopoly on rail transport in southern New England. On September 22, 1895, the New Haven converted all former Old Colony lines from left-hand running to right-hand running.
On April 6, 1902, a new alignment was opened from Broadway to Crescent Avenue station, eliminating a grade crossing of Dorchester Avenue. The former right-of-way was later paved as Old Colony Avenue. With the opening of Boston's South Station in 1899, the Kneeland Street Station was taken over by the Boston and Albany Railroad as a local freight office. It was demolished in 1918 after being deemed unsafe.
Despite high ridership, the Old Colony line had been a source of problems for the New Haven Railroad. In 1935, the then-bankrupt New Haven attempted to default on its lease and return ownership of the line to the Old Colony stockholders. However, this drove the Old Colony, which had not run trains in over thirty years, to bankruptcy in one day and the New Haven was forced to run the trains by court order, with a provision that if losses exceeded a certain amount they could abandon the line. The Old Colony Division enjoyed a brief renaissance in the early 1950s under the pro-commuter term of President Frederick C. Dumaine, Jr., however this was not to last. The New Haven's accountants used [according to whom?] to shift a greater amount of debt to the Old Colony Division, and the railroad announced that all passenger service would end in 1958. An emergency subsidy was approved by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for another year, and service finally ended in 1959 with the opening of the Southeast Expressway, which along with Route 24 runs alongside or parallel to the former Old Colony right-of-ways in many sections.
History since 1969
Since the early 1970s, Amtrak has provided passenger service from South Station in Boston over the former Boston and Providence lines of the Old Colony Railroad. Since December, 2000, Amtrak has also used this line for the Acela Express high-speed passenger rail service to Washington, D.C. Between 1986 and 1996 Amtrak also operated regular passenger service between New York City and Hyannis on Cape Cod during the summer months.
With the establishment of Conrail, freight service continued over various portions of the former Old Colony network after 1976. Beginning in 1982, the Bay Colony Railroad provided freight service on various lines which the Commonwealth of Massachusetts had purchased from Conrail, including lines on Cape Cod and in Middlesex County. Since 1999, CSX has provided freight service over several portions of the former Old Colony Railroad network, including lines in Taunton, Fall River, New Bedford and Leominster. Since 2008, the Massachusetts Coastal Railroad has taken over operation of the state-owned freight lines on Cape Cod from the Bay Colony Railroad.
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) currently operates passenger service on portions of the network, including the Red Line rapid transit service to Quincy and Braintree, and the Ashmont–Mattapan High Speed Line. The MBTA also currently operates commuter rail service over portions of the former Old Colony Railroad network, including its Providence/Stoughton Line and portions of the Needham Line. The MBTA also restored service on the Plymouth/Kingston Line and Middleborough/Lakeville Line in the 1990s, and the Greenbush Line (part of the South Shore Branch) opened in 2007.
Presidents of the Old Colony Railroad
- John Sever (June 1844 to December 1845)
- Nathan Carruth (December 1845 to January 1848)
- Elias Hasket Derby (January 1848 to April 1850)
- Francis B. Crowninshield (April 1850 to June 1854)
- Alexander Holmes (June 1854 to July 1866)
- Onslow Stearns (July 1866 to November 1877)
- Charles F. Choate (November 1877 to April 1907)
Lines and branches
The following is a description of the Old Colony Railroad lines and branches at about the time of the 1893 lease to the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad, and shortly thereafter.
|Line||Segment / Branch||Opened||Length
(miles or km)
|Built By||Acquired by
|Boston to Plymouth||November 10, 1845||36.8 mi or 59.2 km||Old Colony Railroad Corporation||1845||Line completed 0.5-mile (0.8 km) from South Boston to Boston on June 19, 1847 with the opening of Kneeland Street Station; line between Boston and South Braintree doubled in 1848; line now part of MBTA Red Line to Braintree, MBTA Plymouth commuter rail Line, ending in North Plymouth|
|Whitman to Bridgwater Junction||June 21, 1847||6.2 mi or 10.0 km||Old Colony Railroad Corporation||1847||Connection with Fall River Railroad; this line has been abandoned|
|Neponset to Mattapan||December 1, 1847||3.3 mi or 5.3 km||Dorchester and Milton Branch Railroad Company||1848||leased/operated by Old Colony Railroad from 1848 to 1863; merged in 1863|
|Granite Branch||October 7, 1826||1.8 mi or 2.9 km||Granite Railway Company||1871||lines extended in 1873 and 1876 by Old Colony Railroad to connect with Plymouth line, forming a loop to West Quincy and East Milton This line has been abandoned|
|Shawmut Branch||December 2, 1872||2.2 mi or 3.5 km||Old Colony and Newport Railroad Company||1872||The MBTA bought the whole Shawmut Branch and part of the Dorchester and Milton Branch in 1926, using the rights-of-way for their Dorchester Extension and Ashmont-Mattapan High Speed Line, now two parts of the MBTA Red Line.|
|Braintree to Cohasset||January 1, 1849||11.5 mi or 18.5 km||South Shore Railroad Company||1877||leased by Old Colony Railroad from 1849 to 1854; now part of MBTA Greenbush commuter rail line|
|Westdale to Elmwood||April 1, 1885||0.75 mi or 1.21 km||Old Colony Railroad||1885||short connector between Fall River-Middleborough line and Bridgewater-Whitman line|
|Hanover Branch||July 18, 1868||7.8 mi or 12.6 km||Hanover Branch Railroad Company||1887||continued to carry freight to a wood box factory in West Hanover into the 1960s this line has been abandoned|
|Matfield Junction to Easton||January 1, 1888||7.6 mi or 12.2 km||Old Colony Railroad Company||1888||also known as the Easton Branch|
|Nantasket Beach Branch||July 10, 1880||7.0 mi or 11.3 km||Nantasket Beach Railroad Company||1888||leased to Old Colony Railroad from April 1, 1888; deeded outright to OCRR February 24, 1906; The Nantasket Beach Branch of the New York, New Haven and Hartford railway had the first electric train in the U.S. It had its first run on Sunday, June 30, 1895. This line has been abandoned|
|Union Freight Railroad||2.2 mi or 3.5 km|
|Plymouth to Middleborough||November 30, 1892||15.0 mi or 24.1 km||Plymouth and Middleborough Railroad||1892||this line has been abandoned|
|Cohasset to South Duxbury||1871||17.5 mi or 28.2 km||Duxbury and Cohasset Railroad Company||1904||line now part of MBTA Greenbush commuter rail line; other parts have been abandoned|
|South Duxbury to Kingston||1874||3.2 mi or 5.1 km||Duxbury and Cohasset Railroad Company||1904||this line has been abandoned|
|Fall River &
|South Braintree to Myricks||December 31, 1846||30.5 mi or 49.1 km||Fall River Railroad (1846)||1854||consolidation of Randolph and Bridgewater Railroad with Middleborough Railroad and Fall River Branch Railroad; this line now used by MBTA Middleborough/Lakeville commuter rail line; portion between Middleborough and Myricks has been abandoned|
|Myricks to Fall River||June 9, 1845||10.8 mi or 17.4 km||Fall River Branch Railroad||1854||still used by Mass Coastal Railroad for freight; sold to Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 2010 for planned South Coast Rail project, restoring passenger rail to Fall River for the first time since 1958.|
|Fall River to Newport||February 5, 1864||19.0 mi or 30.6 km||Old Colony and Newport Railroad Company||1864||segment completed after 1863 merger of Newport and Fall River Railroad Company with Old Colony and Fall River Railroad Company this line has been abandoned|
|Mayflower Park (Braintree Highlands) to Somerset Junction (Fall River)||September 24, 1866||32.8 mi or 52.8 km||Old Colony and Newport Railroad Company||1866||utilized part of Easton Branch Railroad between Stoughton and North Easton|
|Stoughton to North Easton||May 16, 1855||3.8 mi or 6.1 km||Easton Branch Railroad Company||1869||operated by Boston and Providence Railroad from 1855 to 1856; operated by Old Colony and Newport Railroad from 1866 to 1871|
|Middleborough to Taunton||July 4, 1856||8.0 mi or 12.9 km||Middleborough and Taunton Railroad Corporation||1874||originally Taunton and Middleborough Railroad Corporation, name changed in 1853 before line built; still used by CSX for freight; part of the planned South Coast Rail Project Phase 1|
|Warren to Fall River||1875||8.0 mi or 12.9 km||Fall River, Warren and Providence Railroad Company||1875||completed from Warren to Somerset by April, 1875; extended to Fall River with opening of Slade's Ferry Bridge; operated by Old Colony Railroad from December 1, 1865; deeded to Old Colony Railroad in 1892 This line has been abandoned|
|Whittenton Branch||September 10, 1882||2.5 mi or 4.0 km||Old Colony and Newport Railroad Company||1882||first 0.8-mile (1.3 km) segment from Taunton Branch Railroad line to Whittenton Mills opened in 1881; connected to Mayflower Park-Somerset line at Raynham in 1882; allowed Somerset line trains to stop at Taunton Central Station, instead of Dean Street Station, east of downtown Taunton This branch has been abandoned|
|Cape Cod Division||Middleborough to Wareham||January 26, 1848||14.7 mi or 23.7 km||Cape Cod Branch Railroad Company||1872||name change to Cape Cod Railroad in 1854|
|Wareham to Sandwich||May 29, 1848||12.9 mi or 20.8 km||Cape Cod Branch Railroad Company||1872||name change to Cape Cod Railroad in 1854|
|Sandwich to Hyannis||July 8, 1854||16.7 mi or 26.9 km||Cape Cod Railroad Company||1872||name changed from Cape Cod Branch Railroad on February 22, 1854|
|Yarmouth to Orleans||December 1, 1865||18.7 mi or 30.1 km||Cape Cod Central Railroad Company||1872|
|Buzzards Bay to Woods Hole||July 20, 1872||17.5 mi or 28.2 km||Old Colony Railroad||1872||section from North Falmouth to Woods Hole is now the Shining Sea Bikeway|
|Orleans to Wellfleet||December 29, 1870||11.6 mi or 18.7 km||Cape Cod Railroad Company||1872||now part of Cape Cod Rail Trail|
|Wellfleet to Provincetown||July 23, 1873||14.3 mi or 23.0 km||Old Colony Railroad Company||1873||this segment of line has been abandoned|
|Harwich to Chatham||November 21, 1887||7.1 mi or 11.4 km||Chatham Railroad Company||1905||Acquired by New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad in 1905|
|West Wareham to Fairhaven||October 2, 1854||15.9 mi or 25.6 km||Fairhaven Branch Railroad||1879||deeded to New Bedford and Taunton Railroad in 1861; leased in 1879 by OCRR and merged in 1883 with the Boston, Clinton, Fitchburg and New Bedford Railroad; also included ferry from New Bedford to Fairhaven This branch is part of the Phoenix Bike Trail and Mattapoisett Rail Trail|
|Martha's Vineyard Railroad||August 7, 1874||9.0 mi or 14.5 km||Martha's Vineyard Railroad||1892||sold to Old Colony Steamboat Company in 1892, closed in 1896|
New Bedford Lines
|Mansfield to Taunton||August 1836||10.9 mi or 17.5 km||Taunton Branch Railroad||1883||operated by Old Colony Railroad from 1879 to 1883 by lease from Boston, Clinton, Fitchburg and New Bedford Railroad; also Weir Branch, opened in 1840 with New Bedford and Taunton Railroad This line has been abandoned|
|Taunton to New Bedford||July 2, 1840||20.0 mi or 32.2 km||New Bedford and Taunton Railroad||1883||operated by Old Colony Railroad from 1879 to 1883 by lease from Boston, Clinton, Fitchburg and New Bedford Railroad; passenger service ended in 1958|
|Taunton to Attleborough||August 1, 1871||5.6 mi or 9.0 km||Taunton Branch Railroad||1883||operated by Old Colony Railroad from 1879 to 1883 by lease from Boston, Clinton, Fitchburg and New Bedford Railroad|
|New Bedford to Fall River||December 16, 1875||12.4 mi or 20.0 km||Fall River Railroad (1874)||1896||leased by Old Colony Railroad from 1882 to 1893|
|Northern Division||Mansfield to Framingham||May 1, 1870||22.1 mi or 35.6 km||Mansfield and Framingham Railroad||1883||operated by Old Colony Railroad from 1879 to 1883 by lease from Boston, Clinton, Fitchburg and New Bedford Railroad|
|Framingham to Northborough||December 1, 1855||13.2 mi or 21.2 km||Agricultural Branch Railroad||1883||operated by Old Colony Railroad from 1879 to 1883 by lease from Boston, Clinton, Fitchburg and New Bedford Railroad|
|Northborough to Pratts Junction||July 1866||14.0 mi or 22.5 km||Agricultural Branch Railroad||1883|
|Fitchburg to Sterling Junction||February 11, 1850||18.7 mi or 30.1 km||Fitchburg and Worcester Railroad||1883|
|Marlborough Branch||June 1855||1.5 mi or 2.4 km||Agricultural Branch Railroad||1883|
|Framingham to Lowell||October 1, 1871||26.1 mi or 42.0 km||Framingham and Lowell Railroad||1886||later operated by Conrail and Bay Colony Railroad into the 1990s; now being converted into the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail|
|Boston & Providence
|Boston to Readville||June 4, 1834||8.1 mi or 13.0 km||1888|
|Readville to Providence
|August 1835||33.4 mi or 53.8 km|
|Seekonk Branch||1838||0.25 mi or 0.40 km||Seekonk Branch Railroad Company||1888|
|Readville to Dedham||June 1842||2.1 mi or 3.4 km||1888|
|Stoughton Branch||April 7, 1845||3.4 mi or 5.5 km||Stoughton Branch Railroad Company||1888|
|East Junction to Blackstone River||October 1847||4.0 mi or 6.4 km||Boston and Providence Railroad||1888|
|Blackstone River to Providence||October 1847||5.4 mi or 8.7 km||Boston and Providence Railroad and Transportation Company||1888||one-half of right of way deeded to Providence and Worcester Railroad in 1853|
|Forest Hills to Dedham||June 1850||5.3 mi or 8.5 km||Boston and Providence Railroad||1888|
& Wrentham lines
|Providence to Bristol||July 12, 1855||14.1 mi or 22.7 km||Providence, Warren and Bristol Railroad Company||1891||leased to the Old Colony Railroad from July 1, 1891; now used for East Bay Bike Path|
|Attleborough Branch||1871||4.6 mi or 7.4 km||Attleborough to North Attleborough; became a streetcar line ("Gee Whiz" line) after 1903 when Adamsdale Branch opened and NY, NH&H ended its lease of this line. This line has been abandoned.|
|Wrentham Branch (Walpole Junction to North Attleborough)||December 1, 1890||12.8 mi or 20.6 km||Old Colony Railroad||1890||passenger service ended 1939; occasional freight until 1959. This line has been abandoned.|
|East Walpole Branch (Walpole Junction to Norwood)||February 15, 1892||5.7 mi or 9.2 km||1896||also known as East Walpole Branch Railroad; connected with the New York and New England Railroad at Norwood|
|Adamsdale Branch||June 27, 1903||9.6 mi or 15.4 km||1903||extension of Wrentham Branch from North Attleborough to Adamsdale; connected with Rhode Island and Massachusetts Railroad near state line. This line has been abandoned.|
- Report of the Board of Railroad Commissioners, Feb 15, 1911, page 418
- Report of the Board of Railroad Commissioners, Feb 15, 1911, page 417
- East Bay Bike Path Archived 2008-05-17 at the Wayback Machine
- Cape Cod Rail Trail
- Dorchester Gas and Light History - Nathan Carruth
- Dorchester History Archived 2012-02-04 at the Wayback Machine.
- The Story of the Old Colony Railroad, 1919
- Report of the Board of Railroad Commissioners, Feb 15, 1911, page 410
- Hough, Henry Beetle. Martha's Vineyard, Summer Resort, 1835-1935 (Tuttle Publishing Co., 1936.)
- Jacobs, Warren (October 1928). "Dates of Some of the Principal Events in the History of 100 Years of the Railroad in New England. 1826-1926". Railway and Locomotive Historical Society Bulletin. Railway and Locomotive Historical Society. 17: 15–28. JSTOR 43504499.
- "Old Route Abandoned". Boston Globe. April 7, 1902. p. 14 – via Newspapers.com.
- Cape Cod Rails
- Holtzman, Michael (4 September 2016). "LAST CALL: Fall River railroad museum closes after 30 years". Wicked Local Fall River. Retrieved 1 April 2017.
- Massachusetts Atlas of 1891
- Nantasket Beach Branch: Transportation Bulletin No. 90, Jan.-Dec. 1981 by Bob McGarigle, Warehouse Pt. CT, Connecticut Valley Chapter, National Railway Historical Society, 1981 (ISBN 0-910506-21-3) Hardcover, 76 pages with historic photographs and foldout map.
- "Norfolk's Railroads". Archived from the original on 2011-05-04. Retrieved 2011-04-17.
- Images of America, North Attleborough
- The Story of the Old Colony Railroad, 1919 by Charles Eben Fisher (Google books)
- Report of the Board of Railroad Commissioners, Feb 15, 1911 (Google books)
- Fall River Line Journal, 1893 (Google books)
- Railway Age Gazette, Simmons-Boardman Pub. Co., 1911 edition, v.51, 1911 July���December. Cf. p. 741, Harrison Square, and Neponset stations in Boston.
- Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, Supreme Judicial Court, Henry Walton Swift, Reporter, "Massachusetts Reports: Cases Argued and Determined in the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts: September 1905 - December 1905" - Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, Supreme Judicial Court, Massachusetts, Published by H.O. Houghton and Co., 1906. Cf. p. 116-124: Old Colony Railroad v. City of Boston, January 13, 1905 - September 11, 1905.
- Hough, Henry Beetle. Martha's Vineyard, Summer Resort, 1835-1935 (Tuttle Publishing Co., 1936.)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Old Colony Railroad.|
- Edward Appleton, Massachusetts Railway Commissioner, History of the Railways of Massachusetts (1871)
- "Railroad Transportation in Dorchester" - History by the Dorchester Atheneum
- New Haven Railroad Historical and Technical Association—non-profit history group focused on the history of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad Company and its predecessor and subsidiary companies, including the Old Colony Railroad.
- 1899 Map of Dorchester, Massachusetts with the N.Y. N.H. & H. R.R. running on the Old Colony line
- Photo of Braintree Highlands, Mass. railroad station, undated
- New Haven RR Timetable, 1955
Archives and records
- Old Colony Railroad Company records at Baker Library Special Collections, Harvard Business School.