The Railroad in Marblehead...

John Barnhill Apr 17, 2008

  1. John Barnhill

    John Barnhill TrainBoard Member

    Memories from the Museum: The railroad in Marblehead

    Sat Apr 12, 2008, 08:04 PM EDT

    The Marblehead railroad depot, 1889

    Marblehead - The railroad came early, in 1839. Five trains a day steamed into Marblehead from Salem and returned.

    Before that, a web of stage lines had linked New England towns, including a daily stage between Marblehead and Boston through Swampscott. Prior to the arrival of train service, freight shipments and passenger travel were far easier by water than over land, even from Boston.

    Train service between Boston and Marblehead began in 1873, on the Eastern Railroad line, which ran parallel to Atlantic Avenue, then merged with the Salem line near Village Street. The new steam trains pulled into a renovated station on Pleasant Street, where the National Grand Bank stands today. That depot, whose Victorian roof had gaily decorated eaves characteristically overhanging the platform, sadly burned with more than 72 other structures in the great fire of 1877. Its successor burned in the Christmas fire of 1888, and was rebuilt in brick. The replacement station no longer stands; the National Grand Bank now occupies its site. The Devereux Station, en route to the Neck, was a popular crossing point for summer visitors to Marblehead Neck and resorts.

    The first Marblehead train wreck was in 1848, and a commuter train from Boston derailed in the 1950s, with several injuries.

    Commuter service expanded after the post-war housing booms that followed both world wars. Train service to and from Marblehead ceased in 1959 — 120 years after it began.

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