Narragansett Pier Railroad
The Narragansett Pier Railroad (reporting mark NAP) is a former railroad in southern Rhode Island, running from West Kingston to Narragansett Pier. It was built by the Hazard Family of Rhode Island to connect their textile mills in Peace Dale and Wakefield to the New York, Providence and Boston Railroad at Kingston Station as well as to ocean-going steamboats at Narragansett Pier. Passenger service ran on the line from 1876 to 1952; the line continued freight operation as a Class III railroad until 1981.
During the Gilded Age of Newport, Rhode Island, in the 1880s and '90s, privately owned railroad coaches belonging to famous families from Philadelphia, New York and other places would arrive at Kingston Station to be transferred to the NPRR to continue on to Narragansett Pier, where their passengers would then transfer to an NPRR-owned steamboat for the short trip across Narragansett Bay to their "summer cottages" at Newport. That service ended with the sale of the steamer MANISES at the end of the 1900 season.
A famous anecdote concerning the Narragansett Pier Railroad is related in "A Short Haul to the Bay" by James N. J. Henwood (Stephen Greene Press; Brattleboro, VT, 1969). Henwood relates a supposed exchange of telegrams between the President of the Pennsylvania Railroad and John N. Hazard, president of the [Naragansett Pier Rail Road]. Supposedly the PRR tried to buy the NPRR. A telegram was supposedly sent to Hazard inquiring about his asking price for the NPRR. It is often claimed that his reply was some variation of : "Mine not for sale. How much for yours ?"
The railroad ended regular passenger service on December 31, 1952, although limited excursion service continued into the 1970s. The railroad was headquartered in Peace Dale, with a two-stall roundhouse that still stands.
The line's southern terminus was later cut back from Narragansett Pier, Rhode Island to Wakefield, Rhode Island, shortening the line to 6.2 miles. By 1981, the line was pared back to being just a 2-mile line between Kingston and Peace Dale, Rhode Island. During the 1970s, freight traffic consisted of fertilizer, lumber and building products. Operations were suspended by 1981, and the line was never reopened.
Approximately 5.6 miles of the railroad's right of way was converted into the William C. O'Neill Bike Path (formerly known as the South County Bike Path), with first phase completed in 2000 and second phase in 2003. Phase three of the project is intended to reach the South County Museum in Narrangansett in summer of 2011.