The Fall River Railroad was a railroad that ran between Fall River and Braintree, Massachusetts, United States. It was formed in 1845 as a merger between three railroads, which opened in phases in 1845 and 1846. The railroad merged into the Old Colony and Fall River Railroad in 1854.
The United Corporation of the Middleborough Railroad Corporation with the Fall River Branch Railroad Company and the Randolph and Bridgewater Railroad Corporation was formed in March 1845 by the merger of three unopened railroads:
- The Fall River Branch Railroad was incorporated in March 1844 to run north from the emerging textile town of Fall River to the New Bedford and Taunton Railroad either at Myricks Junction or Taunton (thus providing connections to Boston, New Bedford, and Providence).
- The Middleborough Railroad was incorporated in March 1845 to run south from Bridgewater through Middleborough to meet the Fall River Branch Railroad near Myricks.
- The Randolph and Bridgewater Railroad was incorporated in March 1845 to run north from Bridgewater through Randolph to meet the Old Colony Railroad in Braintree or Quincy.
The first segment opened between Myricks and downtown Fall River on June 9, 1845. In April 1846, the name was simplified to "Fall River Railroad". An extension from Myricks to Middleborough opened in mid-1846. A separate section of the line opened south from South Braintree to Randolph on August 26, 1846. That section was extended to North Bridgewater by October. The remaining portion between North Bridgewater and Middleborough opened on December 21, 1846, completing the line.
In 1847, the line was extended south a short distance to Fall River Wharf. That year, under the leadership of Richard Borden, the Fall River Railroad began regular steamship service to New York City. The service became known as the Fall River Line, which for many years was the preferred means of travel between Boston and New York City.
In 1854, the railroad merged with the Old Colony Railroad to become the Old Colony and Fall River Railroad. The combined company was renamed Old Colony and Newport Railway in 1863 and Old Colony Railway in 1872. It was acquired by the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad in 1893. Passenger service between Myricks and Middleborough ended in 1931, followed by freight service the next year, and the section was abandoned in 1937. Passenger service south of Myricks ended in 1958, and north of Middleborough the next year; freight service continued on both remaining sections.
The Cape Cod and Hyannis Railroad operated passenger service on the portion of the line between South Braintree and Middleborough from 1984 to 1988. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority opened the Middleborough/Lakeville Line in 1997, restoring passenger service to that section. South Coast Rail passenger service, planned to begin in late 2023, will use the line between Myricks and Fall River.
- Karr, Ronald Dale (2017). The Rail Lines of Southern New England (2 ed.). Branch Line Press. pp. 401–405. ISBN 9780942147124.
- "Chapter 100: An Act to incorporate the Fall River Branch Rail-road Company.". Acts and Resolves Passed by the General Court of Massachusetts in the year 1844. Massachusetts General Court. 1844. pp. 204–205.
- "Chapter 234: An Act to establish the Middleborough Rail-road Corporation.". Acts and Resolves Passed by the General Court of Massachusetts in the year 1845. Massachusetts General Court. 1845. pp. 564–566.
- "Chapter 226: An Act to establish the Randolph and Bridgewater Rail-road Corporation.". Acts and Resolves Passed by the General Court of Massachusetts in the year 1845. Massachusetts General Court. 1845. pp. 559–561.
- Report of the Board of Railroad Commissioners, the Tax Commissioner and the Bank Commissioner, sitting as a commission, relative to the assets and liabilities of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad Company. Massachusetts Joint Commission on the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad Company. February 15, 1911. pp. 408–409.
- "Fall River Railroad". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. June 5, 1845. p. 2 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Chapter 259: An Act to change the Name of the United Corporation of the Middleborough Rail-road Corporation with the Fall River Branch Rail-road Company, and the Randolph and Bridgewater Rail-road Corporation, and for other purposes.". Acts and Resolves Passed by the General Court of Massachusetts, 1846, 1847, 1848. Massachusetts General Court. 1848. pp. 190–191.
- "Fall River Rail Road". Fall River Monitor. August 29, 1846. p. 2 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Commercial and Money Matters". New-York Tribune. August 27, 1846. p. 3 – via Newspapers.com.
- Fall River Railroad (November 14, 1846). "Winter Arrangement". Fall River Monitor. p. 4 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Rail Road". Fall River Monitor. December 26, 1846. p. 2 – via Newspapers.com.
- Fall River Railroad (December 24, 1846). "New Notice". Herald of the Times. p. 3 – via Newspapers.com.
- Hurd, D. Hamilton, ed. (1883). "Richard Borden". History of Bristol County, Massachusetts. Philadelphia: J.W. Lewis & Co. p. 374 – via Internet Archive.