MBTA Land in West Roxbury

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MBTA Land in West Roxbury

Postby theseaandalifesaver » Mon Jul 16, 2018 9:39 am

At the intersection of Northdale Road and Belle Ave in West Roxbury is the very little remains of the ROW that used to connect the present day Needham line to Dedham and eventually Readville. Most of the ROW has been redeveloped (see Belle Ave) and there's very little trace that a train once ran through this area. Although this small patch of undeveloped ROW still exists and still has lots of MBTA No Trespassing signs. I'm curious as to whether the MBTA still owns this land or if these signs are just dated and nobody ever removed them.

Also if anyone knows when trains stopped running and when rails were torn up, I'm very curious about that as well!
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Re: MBTA Land in West Roxbury

Postby theseaandalifesaver » Mon Jul 16, 2018 9:42 am

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Re: MBTA Land in West Roxbury

Postby jaymac » Mon Jul 16, 2018 1:38 pm

P. 150 of 1995 edition of The Rail Lines of Southern New England: A Handbook of Railroad History by Ronald Dale Karr shows that freight and passenger service between West Roxbury and Dedham ended in 1940, part of the track being used to store locomotives before scrapping, with "altogether" abandonment happening in 1965.
NHRHTA may be able to provide more information. Dunno if The Shoreliner ever covered that line.
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Re: MBTA Land in West Roxbury

Postby NeedhamLine » Mon Jul 16, 2018 1:58 pm

Somewhat off-topic, but the former junction where that line met the present-day Needham Line has turned into a bit of a hobo jungle (I see it every day). It is usually strewn with beer cans and other debris, and quite often (especially in warmer months) inhabited by older, shirtless guys who seem to use it as a drinking spot.
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Re: MBTA Land in West Roxbury

Postby theseaandalifesaver » Mon Jul 16, 2018 2:35 pm

Are you referring to the area right behind Shaws/Star Market? Or on the old bridge abutment off of Centre St? I'm a little confused because the area where it branched off is currently a grocery store parking lot.
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Re: MBTA Land in West Roxbury

Postby NeedhamLine » Tue Jul 17, 2018 1:51 pm

It's the area behind Star Market - right where the two ROWs used to intersect. The "jungle" is the triangular area between the two elevated grades.
Last edited by CRail on Thu Jul 19, 2018 12:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Unnecessary quote removed.
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Re: MBTA Land in West Roxbury

Postby bgl » Tue Jul 17, 2018 10:38 pm

I always wondered how the ROW was lost since the State generally seems pretty good at land banking them. Was it basically just residents encroaching on it over time without enforcement, or was the land actually sold? Does the State (or other entity) still technically own it? The ROW at this point seems completely lost, but, I was noticing that a lot of the houses that have went up on it (and not just people expanding their backyards) seem to be relatively new construction from 2007 until now.
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Re: MBTA Land in West Roxbury

Postby BandA » Tue Jul 17, 2018 11:53 pm

If it was abandoned in 1965, it would have reverted to the landowners if it was an easement. If it was owned by the bankrupt NH, would they have sold it before the PC merger? Or the PC sold it before their bankruptcy. I would assume if it was still owned by the bankrupt PC estate that the state would have bought it when they bought a bunch of other stuff for pennies on the dollar?
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Re: MBTA Land in West Roxbury

Postby edbear » Wed Jul 18, 2018 3:49 pm

Most railroad real estate was not easements, Most of the easements were across public lands, usually roadways. Virtually all railroad real estate was owned outright and upon abandonment of a rail line remained as railroad property. West Roxbury-Dedham was abandoned long before rail banking was established. The line was gone in the early 1940s. I think there was a temporary respite when some construction on the other Dedham Branch had trains using W. Rox-Dedham for a short time early 1940s. W. Roxbury-Dedham was shown in New Haven employee timetables into as there, but it was not. Other lines shown as "there" but were missing pieces were Boston-Hyannis for years after Neponset River Bridge fire 1959 and Lowell-New Bedford after the line was broken by the Mansfield grade separation about 1955. I managed property records on Boston & Maine 1973-85.
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Re: MBTA Land in West Roxbury

Postby SOCO11 » Mon Jul 23, 2018 8:38 am

I grew up in that area. I remember the tracks being occasionally used as far as the wye that is now the athletic field next to Staples in Dedham. There was a dock there that would have flats next to it. The tracks ran to what is now the recycling center behind the Dedham Mall and were overgrown past that point even in the early 70’s. At the Star Market end in WR there were several paved over tracks in the parking lot that caused issues for my father when he plowed their lot. I wonder if they were ever pulled up or just buried under many layers of pavement?
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Re: MBTA Land in West Roxbury

Postby OCC Retiree » Fri Jul 27, 2018 5:21 am

I grew up in that neighborhood back in the 60's. We used to ride our bikes along that right of way and I remember it being covered in what I thought was coal cinders, which I think some railroads used to either supplement, or as a substitute, for ballast long ago. I'm almost positive the bridge which crossed Baker Street was still there in 1965.
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Re: MBTA Land in West Roxbury

Postby theseaandalifesaver » Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:06 am

Anyone have any pictures of the bridge? I'd love to see what it looked like.
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Re: MBTA Land in West Roxbury

Postby Teamdriver » Thu Aug 02, 2018 4:35 pm

Spring Street at railroad crossing, January 1904.jpg

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File ... y_1904.jpg
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Re: MBTA Land in West Roxbury

Postby BandA » Fri Aug 03, 2018 10:23 pm

So pretty! Is that an electric street light? It looks very fancy! Wish we had street running trolley lines.
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Re: MBTA Land in West Roxbury

Postby theseaandalifesaver » Sat Aug 04, 2018 6:08 pm

Up until about 10-ish years ago (the last time i was there, they could still be there now I'm just not sure) in the parking lot where the present day Spring Street Cafe is, there used to be old rails from where trollys turned around.
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