The Western Railroad to Albany started as the Boston to Greenbush to the Hudson River. The first railroad in this country was at Quincy, Mass.,three miles long built to move blocks of granite from stone quarries in the Blue Hills completed in 1827. In 1831 the Boston to Worcester was formed 44 miles long, shortly after to Springfield. In 1843 the Western Railroad was formed going from Springfield to West Stockbridge. At Chester Factories, manufacturing was flourishing. Imagine having a railroad being built through your town in those days! Here, the railroad starts its heavy uphill grade journey, at mile marker 127 1/2 it crosses its first stone arch bridge also known as the Keystone Arch Bridges with rises as much as 78 feet per mile. Between marker 128 and 129 it cost over $219,000 and this entire 13 mile section to Washington over one million dollars! We hiked by several of the bridges in Becket and Middlefield in this wilderness from the old Becket Depot to find the original stone bridge remains, many have been destroyed by the floods but if you look closely you find evidence of it’s early days. We also found one of the many quarries along the rail used to build the 20 bridges to Washington. This is just a 2 mile section from Becket to Chester as we hiked on the Pontoosuc Turnpike. Mapping images from Boston and Worcester Railroad by William Guild

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