The Unbuilt Southern New England Railway

The Southern New England Railway was an incomplete railroad proposal to connect Palmer, MA with Providence, RI, first chartered in 1910.

The line would've been owned by the Grand Trunk Railway to compete with the New York New Haven & Hartford Railroad in the area. To be competitive, the line would have much smoother grades, and more bridges over valleys, to create the shortest route feasible through the area.

Right of way of the unbuilt railway in red. Wikipedia Commons.

Construction began in 1912, but stopped shortly thereafter due to worldwide economic conditions. By 1916, grading in Massachusetts was complete, but expansion of the line into Rhode Island had been postponed. Although World War I occurred during this time, it was not the ultimate cause for the line's failure.

The Grand Trunk Pacific (a GT subsidiary) was bankrupt during this time, and the GT itself was to be amalgamated into the Canadian National Railway system, who wished to focus more on Canadian railways.

Right of way and grading evidence of the Southern New England Railway right of way between Webster and Douglas, MA.

Ultimately, construction would never resume, although proposals to finish construction would pop up until at least the 1930's. Despite never having been completed, there are numerous places, like the one shown above, where the right of way is quite visible even today.

Further reading on the Southern New England Railroad - Titanic Railroad: The Southern New England by Larry Lowenthal. (Amazon) (eBay)

Thanks as always for reading!


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