• Marlboro, NH spur

  • Discussion relating to the pre-1983 B&M and MEC railroads. For current operations, please see the Pan Am Railways Forum.
Discussion relating to the pre-1983 B&M and MEC railroads. For current operations, please see the Pan Am Railways Forum.

Moderator: MEC407

  by IndianaMike
I was looking at the USGS maps tonight, particularly this one:


Does anyone know what that spur off the Ashuelot Branch was, near Marlboro Depot? Timber? Mining? Gravel?

I'm also amazed at the wandering route of the branch between Keene and Elmwood, particularly that hairpin turn just east of Keene.

Indiana Mike
  by ihdavis1
The line into Marlboro that you referenced was actually a spur off of the Cheshire railroad, not the Ashuelot. Lindsell's The Rail Lines of Northern New England does not reference such a spur but it lists the station shown on the map as "Webb [Marlborough]". Marlboro (Marlboro Village) was also reached by the Manchester & Keene RR until 1938 when the track just west of Coolidge Crossing was abandoned due to flood damage to a trestle over Moose Brook (Lindsell, 2000, pg. 114).
  by IndianaMike
Cheshire Branch, thanks. I saw that Marlboro had some granite businesses, so perhaps that spur led to them. The spur appears (with four prongs) in 1898, is still there (with two prongs) in 1936, and is gone by 1949.
  by IndianaMike
Did some more research and found the answer: it was a granite quarry, later the Webb Granite Quarry in Marlboro. According to the Bulletin of the Geologic Survey, it was opened in 1849 but the Webb Company HQ was in Worcester.

"Transportation is effected by 4 miles of siding from Webb station."

The Marlboro Historical Society has some audio history interviews about the quarry, which closed in the 1930s. Apparently the Marlboro granite was hauled out by railroad and used in Chicago's Marshall Field store, a church in Nashua, and a Civil War monument in Fitzwilliam. Wikipedia for Marlboro talks about how granite from town was used at Holy Cross College, so it likely came from the Webb Quarry too.

  by IndianaMike
Apparently the company had their own locomotive. Any idea what it was?

"The quarry is connected with the Boston & Maine Railroad by a railroad owned and operated by the Webb Granite and Construction Company, and a powerful locomotive handles the shipments up and down the hill to the Boston & Maine Railroad with great efficiency and eliminates any chance of delays in the prompt shipments of material." History of the Granite Industry in New England (V. 1, 1913)

  by ihdavis1
Webb Granite Company, that would definitely explain why the "Marlborough" station was named Webb lol
  by trainsinmaine
If you drive up the Webb Depot road off Route 12, near where the spur connected to the main, you'll find the ROW of the spur fully visible and intact as it winds up the hill toward the quarry. I haven't explored all that much up in there, but my suspicion is there is probably quite a bit to see.

The depot itself is gone, but the road goes through a beautiful stone arch underpass just before reaching the site where it was located.
  by IndianaMike
Interesting. I'll have to check that out when we're back in town this summer.

The oral history of the quarry at this website is really interesting, about the railroad and operations:

http://www.monadnockstories.org/marlbor ... uarry.html

When you click on the first link, a window opens and there's a slide show of the locomotive and tracks up to the quarry. An 0-6-0, by the looks. The interviewee says the locomotive was built for the quarry and that the whole operation was scrapped in WW2 for the metal. Really interesting.

  by musehobo2
Nice videos of the quarry. Good shot of the 0-6-0 engine with number 1 on the cab. Thanks for the views.
  by L Webb
Some info on the locomotive: Ordered 23 September 1891 from the Rhode Island Locomotive Works for the sum of $7,931 cash upon delivery. It had 6 drive wheels. I have scanned the contract should anyone be interested.