Hamilton/Wenham (MBTA station)

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HAMILTON/WENHAM
Hamilton Wenham platform.JPG
The high-level platform at Hamilton/Wenham
Location Bay Road at Walnut Road
Hamilton, Massachusetts
Coordinates 42°36′36.36″N 70°52′28.16″W / 42.6101000°N 70.8744889°W / 42.6101000; -70.8744889Coordinates: 42°36′36.36″N 70°52′28.16″W / 42.6101000°N 70.8744889°W / 42.6101000; -70.8744889
Owned by MBTA
Line(s)
Platforms 1 side platform
Tracks 1
Construction
Parking 194 spaces
Disabled access Yes
Other information
Fare zone 5
History
Opened December 18, 1839[2][3]
Rebuilt July 10, 2002[4]
Previous names Hamilton & Wenham[1]
Traffic
Passengers (2013) 436 (weekday inbound average)[5]
Services
Preceding station   MBTA.svg MBTA   Following station
Newburyport/Rockport Line
toward Newburyport

Hamilton/Wenham is a commuter rail station on the Newburyport Branch of the MBTA Commuter Rail's Newburyport/Rockport Line, located just south of the intersection of Bay Road (MA Route 1A) and Walnut Road in South Hamilton, Massachusetts. The station straddles the town line between Hamilton and Wenham, with the southern end of the platform geographically in Wenham.

History[edit]

An Essex Branch train at Wenham station in January 1892

Service to the Hamilton/Wenham area began on December 18, 1839 when the Eastern Railroad was extended through the station on its way to Portsmouth, New Hampshire.[2][3] The station has seen continuous service ever since. By the early 20th century, the station was used as a turnback point for some trains, and it remained so for decades.[3]

When the newly formed MBTA began subsidizing commuter rail service in 1965, Hamilton was the outer limit of the MBTA funding district.[6] On January 18, 1965, most Boston and Maine Railroad] commuter services outside the MBTA district - except for a handful of locally subsidized trips - were discontinued. Hamilton-Wenham became the outer terminus for 21 round trips to Boston; the only service beyond was a single Newburyport round trip, subsidized by Newburyport and Rowley.[3] After a subsidy agreement was reached - and a lawsuit from the Eastern Massachusetts Street Railway resolved - full service was extended from Hamilton-Wenham to Ipswich on June 28, 1965.[6][7]

The 1862-built freight house burned down in late 2000.[8] The former depot building (which had been removed long before) and platform were located on the west side of the single track. The accessible mini-high platform was adjacent to the Route 1A crossing, causing the road to be blocked whenever a train was in the station. In 2002, a new platform was constructed on the east side of the tracks some 350 feet (110 m) to the south, allowing the road to remain open while trains are stopped. The new platform opened on July 10, 2002.[4] The former platform was removed soon afterwards.

Branches[edit]

A trolley at Asbury Grove. The 1894 introduction of this trolley line caused the decline and abandonment of the B&M's parallel branch line.

Two branches were built from the station in the 1870s. The Asbury Grove Branch ran 1.1 miles (1.8 km) northwest to Asbury Grove Camp Meeting Ground, a Methodist church meeting area, starting in August 1871.[9] It never saw regularly scheduled passenger service, but instead was used for special summer-only trains to the camp.[10] A parallel trolley line was constructed in 1894, vastly reducing demand for the branch line. In 1896, Willow Street (which crossed the branch near the station, and was used by the trolley line) became a public street. The state legislature refused to approve a grade crossing, which were very controversial at the time. The B&M, hardly interested in the non-longer-profitable branch, abandoned it in 1901.[7]


The Essex Branch ran 6 miles (9.7 km) northeast from Hamilton-Wenham to Essex and Conomo starting in 1872. The line originally had four stations: Miles River (at Bridge Street), Woodbury (at Essex Street), Essex Falls (at Apple Street), Essex (at Shepard Drive).[2]<[10] In 1887, the branch was extended 0.5 miles (0.80 km) east to Conomo station at Southern Avenue.[10] The Interstate Commerce Commission denied the B&M's 1926 request to abandon the branch, but allowed closure of the Essex - Conomo section in 1927. The remainder had limited commuter service; most traffic was wood for shipbuilding and ice from Chebacco Lake. The Great Depression destroyed the shipbuilding demand, and the advent of electric refrigerators eliminated the need for natural ice. The B&M applied for abandonment in August 1942; the request was approved that November, and the rails were removed in December 1942 as scrap steel for the war effort.[9] Only the Conomo depot, now a private residence, remains extant.[8]

Bus service[edit]

The station is not served by any MBTA Bus routes. Until 1971, some rush hour trips of the route 451 North Beverly - Salem Depot route were extended to Hamilton/Wenham.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ T Commuter Rail System, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, 1975 – via Wikimedia Commons 
  2. ^ a b c "Transportation" (PDF). Town of Hamilton. July 2002. pp. 122–123. Retrieved 24 May 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d Humphrey, Thomas J.; Clark, Norton D. (1985). Boston's Commuter Rail: The First 150 Years. Boston Street Railway Association. pp. 75–77. ISBN 9780685412947. 
  4. ^ a b "New MBTA Commuter Rail Stations Open; Train Service Expanded" (PDF). TRANSreport. Boston Metropolitan Planning Organization. August 2002. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 January 2011. Retrieved 28 December 2012. 
  5. ^ "Ridership and Service Statistics" (PDF) (14th ed.). Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. 2014. 
  6. ^ a b c Belcher, Jonathan (January 7, 2017). "Changes to Transit Service in the MBTA district 1964-2016" (PDF). NETransit. 
  7. ^ a b Humphrey, Thomas J.; Clark, Norton D. (1986). Boston's Commuter Rail: Second Section. Boston Street Railway Association. p. 10. ISBN 9780938315025. 
  8. ^ a b Roy, John H. Jr. (2007). A Field Guide to Southern New England Railroad Depots and Freight Houses. Branch Line Press. pp. 144, 311. ISBN 9780942147087. 
  9. ^ a b Karr, Ronald Dale (2010). Lost Railroads of New England (Third ed.). Branch Line Press. pp. 92, 106, 137. ISBN 9780942147117. 
  10. ^ a b c Karr, Ronald Dale (1995). The Rail Lines of Southern New England. Branch Line Press. pp. 255–263. ISBN 0942147022. 

External links[edit]