• Boston & Mystic Valley Railroad?

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New England
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New England

Moderators: MEC407, NHN503

  by SPUI
If you go to http://www.earlpleasants.com/search_1.asp and type in 'Boston & Mystic Valley Railroad', the following comes up:
RAILROAD: Boston & Mystic Valley Railroad (1877)
LINE_OF_RD: Boston to Wilmington, Massachusetts.
ORIGIN: Mystic Valley Railroad
CURRENT: Abandoned
SUCCESSORS: (1882) Abandoned
TEXT: P1877-78 Boston to Wilmington, Massachusetts, 17.00 miles.
Was this ever built, or was the Poor's listing in error?

I think this line was built and still exists as part of the B&M. Check this link...

http://historical.maptech.com/getImage. ... g&state=MA

If there was another Mystic Valley line that ran from Boston to Wilmington I am not aware of it. I grew up in Woburn and Medford and have explored most of the lines and abandoned rows in that area.

  by TomNelligan
The current B&M/MBTA line between Boston and Wilmington was built by the Boston & Lowell Rail Road (two words in those days) and opened in 1835, making it one of the first railroads in the country. George Baker's definitive corporate history of New England railroading ("The Formation of the New England Railroad Systems", published in 1937 by Harvard University) makes no reference to the Boston & Mystic Valley. I'd guess it was a stillborn project, something not unknown in 19th century rail history.

  by dcm74
According to Names First-Rails Later by Cornwall & Smith the "Boston & Mystic Valley Railroad was briefly, in the early 1880s, in existence as a "paper" railroad, not heard from after 1882."
  by BostonUrbEx
Bumping this nearly 13-year-old thread with newly found information! The MVRR is quite a hard railroad to dig any info up on.

The railroad was incorporated on March 9, 1878. The railroad was proposed to operate between Reading Jct (where the Eastern Railroad and Boston & Maine met near Sullivan Sq) and North Wilmington. It would have forged its way through Eastern Somerville and South Medford, crossing the Boston & Lowell near the Mystic River and Boston Ave. It would have shimmied up between Mystic Lake and the Boston & Lowell through West Medford and Winchester, before taking a turn for Winter Pond. The railroad would have cut right through Winter Pond and around the west side of Horn Pond. It looks like at about Library Park, the proposed railroad would take a path which would later become the northern end of the Woburn Loop, all the way to North Woburn Jct. At North Woburn Jct, the proposal was to simply cross the Boston & Lowell and sort of follow where Parker St and Adams St are today. Coming into North Wilmington, the railroad would have paralleled Middlesex Ave 400ft to the east, from Federal St to the Boston & Maine. The rumor in Wilmington was that the railroad would ferry freight between the B&M and B&L, which doesn't seem to make much sense. One theory is that the railroad was trying to come off as a threat to illicit a buyout from either railroad. In 1882, however, with no railroad operating still, the Treasurer disappeared -- as well as all the cash the railroad had on hand. In 1885, the Boston & Lowell completed the northern end of the Woburn Loop, perhaps lifting the MVRR's plans to do so, as the routing appears the same.

Modern day traces seem to be limited to Wilmington, where Mystic Ave was built upon the Mystic Valley Railroad's right-of-way. A right-of-way is visible through a swamp near Lowell St.

Story: http://homenewshere.com/wilmington_town ... 35ecf.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Map: https://collections.leventhalmap.org/se ... :x059cc75x" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Mystic Ave: https://www.google.com/maps/@42.5644389 ... a=!3m1!1e3" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Suspect ROW: https://www.google.com/maps/@42.538832, ... a=!3m1!1e3" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

The map that tipped me off that such a thing ever was proposed and led me down this rabbit hole: http://www.wardmaps.com/viewasset.php?aid=4042" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Special thanks to Buttersrow for the collaboration.
  by B&M 1227
I believe this road was intended to be built as a narrow gauge line (3ft?). IIRC they built about a mile of demonstration track in Somerville.
  by BostonUrbEx
Whether the rails get laid or not, first step would be grading. As far as I can tell, there were at least a couple spots where there may have been earth work was done. It is possible that the BMVRR did earth work on the Woburn Loop's ROW before the B&L even built the Woburn Loop, but I have no way to know.
  by imcotek
I have been researching the B&MVRR for some time. What has been posted is essentially correct. Here are some adds:
1) The MVRR was graded over its whole 14.5 to 17mile length. It was only tracked for a mile or so in Sommerville where it connected to the B&M. Towards the end, an actual connection was made, switch, etc.
2) Yes, the Woburn Branch Extension RR, from Woburn Center to the B&L in Wilmington was laid on the MVRR grade, forming the "Woburn Loop." It was open in December of 1885. The grade was never used south of Woburn Center.
3) The prime mover of the MVRR was Stephen Dow of Woburn. He had a big tannery at the north end of Horn Pond. Stephen, his father-in-law and others formed the Worburn Branch RR, and after completion sold out to the B&L.
4) The B&MVRR had financial problems from the get go. They used straw-men on the application to the Board of RR Commissioners, and it was rejected. After a re-submission, and some political pressure, they were granted a charter for a narrow gauge RR. However, the ROW was graded as standard gauge. This required a change in charter which they never got from the legislature.
5) In 1879 the corp treasurer, a Sidney J. Pratt, absconded with the books and all the money. It was years before the RR could file financials with the RR Commission.
6) The MVRR never got a title(s) to the ROW, except for 3 parcels in Woburn. This, and other financial matters resulted in law suits that went both to the SJC, and the US Supreme Court a decade after the RR collapsed.
7) My interest is where the MVRR went through Winchester. In fact, it was the strange embankments in Winter Pond that got me going on the MVRR. They are still there and readily visible from Woodside Rd. There is also a remnant of a brook crossing, tucked in the woods, by the old Dow Tannery between Mystic Valley Parkway and Winter St. in Woburn. The old Woburn Parkway which ran (runs?) from Pleasant St. in Woburn to Pond St. in Winchester follows, almost, the MVRR route. The grade actually goes west of the Parkway for a while and it is used as a path that runs along the base of the old Horn Pond Mtn. ski area. It joins the old Parkway shortly there after.
8) The maps of the RR, as built/graded, were filed in December of 1881 just before the MVRR was sold to new investors. However, the Middlesex Registry does not have the maps. They seem to have been lost when the Middlesex County government was abolished a few decades ago.
Quite a few local notables as well as Charles Adams Jr., John Q. Adams grandson, were involved with the B&MVRR fiasco. Probably the major problem was that it was too soon after the Panic of 1873, and the economy was still suffering. A major factor in the 1873 Panic was over building of RR's. Thus, three years later during the beginning of the MVRR, finding legitimate investors/money was a problem. Compounding the problem for the MVRR was that the B&M, a "hidden hand", lost interest when the B&L and Nashua Lowell were divorced during this period. Thus the RR dynamics had changed. In fact in about a decade the B&M would be running the B&L.

My thanks to the recent posters for the information on the B&MVRR section in Wilmington. Before the postings it was difficult to determine the actual route.
  by B&M 1227
Hm, "strange embankments" indeed!
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