Waltham and Watertown Branch Railroad Company

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Waltham and Watertown Branch Railroad Company

Postby butts260 » Sun Apr 26, 2015 4:26 pm

Might someone lead me to further information about the above mentioned railroad (if it ever actually existed). Chapter 223, page 107, dated 1849, has an Act to establish a company (of which one of the corporators was my great-grandfather) "hereby empowered to locate, construct, and maintain, with one or more tracks, a branch railroad, commencing at a point on the main railroad of the Fitchburg Railroad Company, in Waltham, at or near the Upper Factory depot, and thence running easterly along the north side of Charles River, to enter upon and unite with the Waltham and Newton Branch Railroad, at a convenient point near the Waltham Lower Factory."
Last edited by butts260 on Mon Apr 27, 2015 7:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Waltham and Watertown Branch Railroad Company

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Sun Apr 26, 2015 5:36 pm

butts260 wrote:Might someone lead me to further information about the above mentioned railroad (if it ever actually existed). Chapter 223, page 107, dated 1849, has an Act to establish a company (of which one of the corporators was my great-grandfather) "hereby empowered to locate, construct, and maintain, with one or more tracks, a branch railroad, commencing at a point on the main railroad of the Fitchburg Railroad Company, in Waltham, at or near the Upper Factory depot, and thence running easterly along the north side of Charles River, to enter upon and unite with the Waltham and Newton Branch Railroad, at a convenient point near the Waltyham Lower Factory."


Oh, it existed. Intact to 1960, in severed halves until maybe 10 years ago...last move on the east half in 2008, final abandonment proceeding executed about 3 years ago. Tracks still 100% intact from the junction in Cambridge to the last customer in Watertown. Tracks on the Waltham end ripped out 2 years ago with the first crossing of the Charles River demolished last year. Some tracks on the 1960-abandonment section near Watertown Square still showing on the dirt driveways of some of the industrial backlots on the ROW.

Was at its busiest during WWII and Korea when the munitions factory at Watertown Arsenal was still active. Passenger service to 1938. Formerly double-tracked. In its last years infamous as the most horrid-looking and derailment-prone rails on the entire Pan Am system.

Check the Pan Am sub-forum, "What's with Watertown?" thread.
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Re: Waltham and Watertown Branch Railroad Company

Postby butts260 » Mon Apr 27, 2015 7:47 am

Thank you, F-line. In my innocence, not knowing where the "Upper Factory" and the "Lower Factory were (or are), I thought it might be something located just east of Waltham station on the Fitchburg line. . . a few thousand feet long maybe.
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Re: Waltham and Watertown Branch Railroad Company

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:09 pm

butts260 wrote:Thank you, F-line. In my innocence, not knowing where the "Upper Factory" and the "Lower Factory were (or are), I thought it might be something located just east of Waltham station on the Fitchburg line. . . a few thousand feet long maybe.


The branch split immediately at the Waltham Center station platforms. Can very easily see it and the since-demolished Charles River bridge on Google: http://goo.gl/maps/3CN5e. You can very easily trace it including the second Charles crossing which still has an intact trestle next to the footbridge. This was the west portion of the line that lasted to the early-2000's. About where it gets to Seyon St. it gets a little harder to trace because it paralleled Pleasant St. so closely. It's still intact through all the parking lots, however. The 1960-abandoned midsection starts about where the ROW crosses Route 20, but it's likewise completely intact as Watertown Linear Park through Watertown Square. Then goes through some more backlots, under a filled-in overpass at Patten St., and parallel to Arsenal St. Remnants still visible: http://goo.gl/maps/vsW6j.

The Lexus dealership at School St. is the only encroacher. East of School St. was start of the east half, on a section state-owned and abandoned 1996. Last customer was a defunct cold storage warehouse. The new Watertown Greenway path is built on this and the track spur crossing Arsenal St. into the old Armory (which is now a mall). They preserved the switch stand (date-stamped 1910) for this spur in the park. The last (and only) customer on the 2008-active stretch was Newlyweds Bakery on Grove St. (see the big tanks behind their facility). From this point east tracks are 100% untouched and still connected to the Fitchburg Line behind Danehy Park in Cambridge. State has bought the ROW, but there isn't funding for the trail extension yet so it's just rusting in place. There used to be a 19th/early-20th century spur around Fresh Pond Reservoir in Cambridge to an ice house on the reservoir, but no trace of that remains.

Back when passenger service ran on the line it was double-tracked and carried heavier passenger traffic to/from Waltham than the Fitchburg main, since it went through denser areas. The only station remnants that exist are in front of the Cambridge Waterworks on the Huron Ave. side. There's a little bit of concrete abutment left for the sloped path down to trackside.



Downtown Waltham was the factory district, but I'm not sure what "Upper Factory" and "Lower Factory" are. The first station on the branch was "Chemistry Station" which is now a park of the same name. But this was a pretty early-built branchline so I doubt Waltham in 1849 had much resemblance to Waltham in 1899. It probably changed thrice over before 19th century was even over.
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Re: Waltham and Watertown Branch Railroad Company

Postby johnmcboston » Tue Oct 25, 2016 8:21 pm

Happened to find this (and found this thread) - if it's useful.


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