ⓘ Concord and Claremont Railroad

                                     

ⓘ Concord and Claremont Railroad

The Concord and Claremont Railroad was an American railroad company during the mid-nineteenth century in New Hampshire spanning from Concord to Claremont.

                                     

1. History

Chartered on June 24, 1848, the Concord and Claremont Railroad was established and construction had begun on November 19, 1848. Approximately ten months later on September 21, the railroad was opened from Concord to Warner.

The very first train to travel the line left Warner and had approximately 500 passengers aboard the 9 passenger coaches. On the return trip from Concord, the train carried about 800 passengers on the 18 passenger coaches which required a second locomotive pushing from the rear. The original railroad line was only 18 miles 29 km long, but it was soon extended through Bradford, adding 9 miles 14 km to the line.

In 1852, the railroad filed for bankruptcy; it was merged in 1853 with the New Hampshire Central Railroad forming what was known as the Merrimac and Connecticut Rivers Railroad Company. In 1874, the Sugar River Railroad, which built and ran their rail line from Newport to Claremont, merged with the Contoocook Valley Railroad and again created the Concord and Claremont Railroad, under the control of the Northern Railroad.

In 1887, the Boston and Maine Railroad absorbed the Concord and Claremont, and the line was now known as the Claremont branch of the Boston & Maine.

                                     

2. Independent shortline

The Claremont and Concord Railroad was established in 1954 when shortline railroad operator Samuel Pinsly purchased 55 miles 89 km of track between Claremont Junction and Concord from the Boston and Maine Railroad. A succession of abandonments between 1961 and 1977 cut the line back to just four miles 6 km between Claremont and Claremont Junction.

In 1988, the line was sold to a local lumber dealer that renamed the operation Claremont-Concord Railroad. In 2015 the railroad was acquired by Genesee and Wyoming Industries and integrated into its New England Central Railroad.

                                     

3. Abandonments

Difficult economic times and the advancement of the automobile forced many railroads to close rail lines. The Boston & Maine Railroad was to sell off the rights to many of the lines and rights of way it held, freeing up the Claremont branch as an independent in 1954, this time as the Claremont and Concord Railroad. Once this had taken place, the Claremont and Concords abandonments took place from east to west:

  • 1977: 11 miles, Newport - west to Claremont
  • 1964: 16+ miles, Bradford - northwest to Newport
  • 1960: 9 miles, W. Concord - west to Contoocook
  • 1988: 3 mile section - Electric Claremont Railway opened in 1903
  • 1961: 17.6 miles, Contoocook - west to Bradford
  • 1988: 1.5 miles within Claremont
                                     

4. Present uses

The Claremont Concord Railroad now operates 2 miles 3 km between Claremont Junction on the main line to Claremont as a subsidiary of New England Central Railroad, itself a subsidiary of Genesee & Wyoming Industries.

9 miles 14 km of the line between Claremont and Newport is now the Sugar River Recreational Rail Trail, owned and managed by the New Hampshire Division of Parks and Recreation.

The Concord-Lake Sunapee Trail is currently under construction along portions of the rail line between Concord and Newbury.

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