Union Station (Walpole, Massachusetts)

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Walpole Union Station, Walpole MA.jpg
Walpole Union Station in April 2010
Location 275 West Street
Walpole, Massachusetts
Coordinates 42°08′43″N 71°15′29″W / 42.1453°N 71.2581°W / 42.1453; -71.2581Coordinates: 42°08′43″N 71°15′29″W / 42.1453°N 71.2581°W / 42.1453; -71.2581
Platforms 1 side platform
Tracks 1
Parking 343 spaces ($4.00 fee)
4 accessible spaces
Bicycle facilities 5 spaces
Other information
Fare zone 4
Opened April 23, 1849[1]
Rebuilt 1883
Passengers (2013) 945 (weekday inbound average)[2]
Preceding station   MBTA.svg MBTA   Following station
Franklin Line
Union Station
Union Station (Walpole, Massachusetts) is located in Massachusetts
Union Station (Walpole, Massachusetts)
Union Station (Walpole, Massachusetts) is located in the US
Union Station (Walpole, Massachusetts)
Built 1883
Architectural style Victorian eclectic
NRHP Reference # 16000139[3]
Added to NRHP April 5, 2016

Walpole (Union Station) is a commuter rail station on the MBTA Commuter Rail Franklin Line, located near Elm Street (MA-27) and Main Street (MA-1A) in downtown Walpole, Massachusetts. The Victorian eclectic station was built in 1883 for the Old Colony Railroad and the New York and New England Railroad. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2016.


Norfolk County Railroad[edit]

The Walpole Railroad was chartered on April 16, 1846 to run from Walpole to Dedham, where it would meet the Boston and Providence Railroad's Dedham Branch. The Norfolk County Railroad was chartered on April 24, 1847 to run from Walpole to Blackstone; it absorbed the unbuilt Walpole Railroad that July. The Norfolk County Railroad opened from Dedham to Walpole on April 23, 1849, and to Blackstone on May 16.[1] The station was located on East Street at Glenwood Avenue, just north of the town common.[4]

In 1855 and after 1867, the line had more direct service to Boston via the Midland Branch. In 1875, after passing through several companies, it was taken over by the New York and New England Railroad (NY&NE).[1]

Union Station[edit]

Union Station in 1900

The Mansfield and Framingham Railroad opened between its namesake cities through Walpole on May 1, 1870.[5] The station was located south of the crossing with the Norfolk County line, near West Street.[4] The line was acquired by the Old Colony Railroad in 1879.[6]

After debate in 1881-82, a union station was built in 1883 to serve both lines.[7] Located in the southeast corner of the junction, it has two wings to provide frontage on both routes, with an operator's tower in the center.[8] The original 3-story tower burned in 1890; the station was rebuilt with the current two-story tower.[7][9] A freight house, express house, express office, and second tower were also present around the junction.[8] The station was constructed in the Victorian eclectic style with Richardsonian Romanesque influences, making it one of the few such stations in Massachusetts to be constructed of wood rather than the heavy stone of H.H. Richardson's designs.[10]

The Old Colony Railroad was acquired by the New Haven Railroad in 1893, and the NYY&NE was acquired two years later. Passenger service ended on the marginal Mansfield-Framingham route in 1933, but the line was retained as a freight route.[6]

MBTA era and NRHP[edit]

The Franklin Line platform at Walpole in 2010

The newly formed Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority began subsidizing suburban commuter rail service on the Franklin Line on April 24, 1966.[11] The station building was renovated in the 1980s; in the 1990s, centralized traffic control replaced use of the interlocking tower in the station.[8] On June 3, 2004, the MBTA board approved a $1.4 plan for adding 200 parking spaces to the station.[12] However, the additional parking was not built.

The former Old Colony line became Conrail's and later CSX's Framingham Subdivision, then the Framingham Secondary after it was sold to the state in 2015.[13] In August 1971, the Boston Patriots moved to Foxborough Stadium and special limited-stop game day service to Foxboro station was initiated.[11] The service switches from the Franklin Line to the Framingham Secondary at Walpole but does not serve the station. The MBTA completed a study in 2010 to determine the feasibility of extending full-time commuter rail service to Foxboro. Foxboro service would have been a shuttle from Walpole, an extension of existing Fairmount Line trains to Walpole and Foxboro, or a mix of the two service patterns.[14]

Most of the station interior retains its original appearance.[10] A coffee shop operated inside the north wing of the station building until 2009; it was replaced by a similar business several years later. Ticket sales, a waiting room, and restrooms are also available. MBTA offices and storage occupy the south wing.[10]

In the 1990s, the station was considered for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places, but this was deferred because town officials feared inclusion would make future modifications, relocation, or demolition more difficult.[9][15] After a local bank paid for a preservation consultant, documentation was completed in 2015. In December 2015, the Massachusetts Historical Commission voted to nominate the station to the National Register.[9][10] The station was added to the National Register on April 5, 2016.[3]


  1. ^ a b c Humphrey, Thomas J.; Clark, Norton D. (1985). Boston's Commuter Rail: The First 150 Years. Boston Street Railway Association. pp. 43–44. ISBN 9780685412947. 
  2. ^ "Ridership and Service Statistics" (PDF) (14 ed.). Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. 2014. Retrieved 25 January 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "Weekly List of Actions Taken on Properties: 3/28/16 through 4/8/16". National Park Service. Retrieved 2016-04-15. 
  4. ^ a b "Walpole". Atlas of Norfolk County. Comstock and Cline. 1876 – via WardMaps. 
  5. ^ Smith, Carl L. (May 1969). "The Chronology of Railroading in Walpole, Massachusetts". Walpole Library. 
  6. ^ a b Karr, Ronald Dale (1995). The Rail Lines of Southern New England. Branch Line Press. pp. 307–309. ISBN 0942147022. 
  7. ^ a b Hurst, Rick (27 June 1968). "Walpole RR Station Landmark Will Be 85 Years Old Next Week". Walpole Times. 
  8. ^ a b c Roy, John H. Jr. (2007). A Field Guide to Southern New England Railroad Depots and Freight Houses. Branch Line Press. p. 254. ISBN 9780942147087. 
  9. ^ a b c Stuhlman, Adam (28 December 2015). "Union Station added to National Register". Wicked Local Walpole. Retrieved 25 January 2016. 
  10. ^ a b c d "UNION STATION, WALPOLE, APPROVED FOR NOMINATION TO THE NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES" (PDF) (Press release). Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth. 12 January 2016. 
  11. ^ a b Belcher, Jonathan (26 December 2015). "Changes to Transit Service in the MBTA district 1964-2015" (PDF). NETransit. Retrieved 25 January 2016. 
  12. ^ "MBTA Board Approves Improvements for Gloucester and Walpole Stations" (PDF). TRANSreport. Boston Metropolitan Planning Organization. July 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 November 2010. 
  13. ^ Jessen, Klark (16 June 2015). "MassDOT Completes Framingham Secondary Rail Line Acquisition" (Press release). Massachusetts Department of Transportation. Retrieved 25 June 2015. 
  14. ^ Jacobs Engineering Group (1 September 2010). "Foxborough Commuter Rail Feasibility Analysis". Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. Retrieved 26 January 2016. 
  15. ^ McNamara, Brittney (7 April 2014). "Officials: Walpole Union Station historical status would not hinder development". Wicked Local Walpole. Retrieved 26 January 2016. 

External links[edit]