New Boston Historical Society
New Boston, New Hampshire
New Boston RR depot in 1896

The Railroad Comes To New Boston

The New Boston Railroad was completed in January of 1893 and formally opened in June of that year. It ran five miles from Parker Station in Goffstown and cost $84,000 to build -- $14,000 over budget.

70 Italian stone masons blasted granite and built stone culverts. The railroad depot cost $10,000 to build. Its architect was Bradford Lee Gilbert, who later designed Grand Central Station in New York City. The New Boston depot caught fire in February of 1895 but was rebuilt.

The New Boston Railroad was built so that J.R. Whipple could supply his Boston hotels from his New Boston farms. There were two daily runs each way, with a flag stop at Lang's Station. A 1894 news article stated that 12,000 barrels of apples were shipped from New Boston for export to Europe. Mr. Butterfield shipped boxes from his box factory.

Train approaching New Boston
Postcard of a train approaching New Boston along the river. Note the hills before they were reclaimed by the forest.

Reception Card
Dedication of NBRR 6-22-1893
Dedication of the N.B.R.R. - June 22, 1893
Note the horses, wagon and stagecoach - the only transportation options before the train.

"The train conveying the officials of the road and other distinguished guests arrived in New Boston at 11.30 A. M., when a procession was formed, headed by the New Boston Brass Band, which marched to the church on the meeting-house hill... Dinner was served in a large tent upon the Common, in which 1,000 people were banqueted." -- from George Hadley's 1922 History of the Town of Goffstown

The Manchester Union reported that the dinner was held under a large tent opposite the Church on the Hill: "The supply of viands was over and above that necessary, nobody being slighted. They comprised baked beans, sandwiches, meats, chicken croquettes, hard-shell crabs, pies, cake, coffee and lemonade. The beverages were satisfactorily dispensed by the comely New Boston maidens."

New Boston Depot New Boston Depot
The Depot included a Western Union telegraph office and an American Express office.

NH railroad map - 1894
This 1894 map shows the New Boston Railroad (green arrow).

NB Depot fire 1895
1895 - the Depot burns
"On the morning of February 2, 1895 the village people were awakened by the creamery fire whistle to find the depot afire. It started from a heater in the baggage department and nothing remained except the stone walls and part of the roof." - from a NBHS article in The Goffstown News. The railroad used a combination car as a temporary depot until the building could be rebuilt.

train at depot train at depot
B&M station
The N.B.R.R. was eventually acquired by the Boston & Maine Railroad.
We believe that the carriage in front of the depot in this photo is the Tavern Carriage that is now in the Historical Society museum.

B&M schedule
Boston & Maine Railroad schedule from 1913

Lang Station Lang Station in 2011
Summer boarders could get off at Lang Station which still stands by Gregg Mill bridge.

Rail Trail Bike Rail Trail Skier
The last passenger train departed New Boston on June 13, 1931.
Freight service continued a little while longer, but the tracks were removed in June 1935.
Later, the railroad depot was used as a pre-school called "Little People's Depot" and as a police station. It is now a private home.
In the mid-1970s the Boston & Maine Railroad right of way was abandoned, and the land was acquired by the Town of New Boston.
Today, hikers and cross-country skiers enjoy the right of way where the New Boston R.R. once ran.

Eva Watson
Eva Watson and her family lived in the Section House that still stands at the north side of the 4-H Fairgrounds bridge.

In his July 14, 2011 presentation "New Boston & the Railroad" at the Historical Society, David Woodbury suggested that building a short, expensive railroad line to New Boston just to provision Boston hotels with New Boston farm produce was never a valid economic proposition. He theorized that the Concord & Montreal Railroad must have had plans to continue the line south from New Boston to Milford to better compete with routes owned by the Boston and Maine Railroad. However, the B&M Railroad acquired its smaller competitor before this could happen.

David pointed out that the train shown in the "Whistling In" postcard at the top of this page is a "mixed train" hauling both passenger and freight cars. This was seen only on the smaller branch lines like the New Boston Railroad.

In discussion after David's presentation, Howard Towne remembers that after the steam locomotive train service to New Boston was discontinued there was a motorized train car that ran between New Boston and Manchester for a few years. David supposed that this would have been a gas electric railcar, in which a gasoline engine attached to a generator powered electric motors, since diesel locomotives did not appear until the 1930s.

Railroad Yard Map
The first train had to run backwards all the way to Goffstown; later a turntable was added near the New Boston depot.

New Boston train and crew 1897

Click here for a printable PDF of the "History of the New Boston Railroad".