Boston and Worcester Street Railway

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Boston and Worcester Electric Companies (B&W) was a holding company for several streetcar companies between Boston and Worcester, Massachusetts. The main line, built by the Boston and Worcester Street Railway, was an interurban streetcar line partly on the old Boston and Worcester Turnpike (now Route 9) and partly on private right-of-way. Long after the line was converted to buses, Boston and Worcester Lines took over operations, and sold the franchises to various other bus companies.

In Newton, the B&W was granted a franchise in exchange for constructing a 90-foot (27 m) wide boulevard, of which it ran down the median. The B&W also carried freight.

History[edit]

The B&W's Framingham Junction waiting room on an early postcard

The B&W Street Railway was chartered November 16, 1901, and the first section, from the Newton/Brookline line at Chestnut Hill to Framingham Junction, opened May 12, 1903. The remainder to Worcester opened June 30, 1903. The Framingham Union Street Railway, providing service within Framingham and intersecting the B&W at Framingham Junction and Framingham Center, was bought December 21, 1903. On February 1, 1904, the B&W bought the Framingham, Southboro and Marlborough Street Railway, which the B&W used between Framingham Center and Fayville.

Boston and Worcester Electric Companies was incorporated December 29, 1902 to serve as a holding company for these railroads.

Streetcars last operated on June 10, 1932, after which buses ran, due to reconstruction of Route 9 as a major route, a predecessor to today's freeways.

Lines[edit]

Map

The main line ran along the old Boston and Worcester Turnpike (Route 9) except in the following places:

  • In Worcester, the tracks used Shrewsbury Street to get downtown.
  • Just east of the bridge over Lake Quinsigamond, the tracks split. One pair followed the south-east shore of the lake along a private right-of-way to a dead end. The main tracks ran slightly south of Route 9 until they crossed the turnpike at South Shrewsbury and then continued on the north side until they merged with the turnpike at the Northborough/Westborough border.
  • North of Westborough center, at the crossing with current Route 135, the tracks split to the south, rejoining the turnpike at Breakneck Hill Road (just east of Route 85) in Southborough. Breakneck Hill Road is where the older tracks of the Framingham, Southboro and Marlborough Street Railway split to head north to Marlborough and Hudson.
  • At the Boston end, the line ran to the end of Huntington Avenue, the old turnpike, and continued on to Park Square.

The section in Worcester was on trackage rights from the Worcester Consolidated Street Railway (on their "City Hall and Lake" line), and in Boston it used the tracks of the Boston Elevated Railway.

At Framingham Junction, the crossing with current Route 126 in Framingham, many cars from Boston turned south to end at downtown Framingham ("South Framingham"). This junction was at the crossing of the older Framingham Union Street Railway line to Saxonville.

Former right-of-way of the branch to Natick, photographed in 2016

The other lines were as follows:

  • Splitting from the main line at Fayville (Breakneck Hill Road) and heading north via Southborough and Marlborough to Hudson, originally owned by the Framingham, Southboro and Marlborough Street Railway (along with the main line east to Framingham Center).
  • Downtown Framingham northeast to Saxonville, roughly if not fully via current Route 126. This was originally owned by the Framingham Union Street Railway, and crossed the main line at Framingham Junction.
  • Downtown Framingham northwest to Framingham Center via Union Avenue, originally part of the Framingham Union Street Railway. Before the consolidation into the B&W, an interchange with the Framingham, Southboro and Marlborough Street Railway existed at Framingham Center.

Other local routes may have existed.

The following interchange points with other companies were provided:

References[edit]

KML is from Wikidata