Providence and Worcester RailroadProvidence and Worcester Railroad Reporting marksPW Locale Connecticut, Massachusettsand Rhode Island; New York Cityand Long Islandvia trackage rightsDates of operation 1847 – 1892
1973–present Track gauge4 ft8½ in(1435 mm) (standard gauge) Headquarters Worcester, Massachusetts
The Providence and Worcester Railroad (AAR reporting marks PW) is a Class II railroad in the United States. The railroad connects from Gardner in central Massachusetts, south through its namesake cities of Worcester and Providence, Rhode Island, and west from Rhode Island through Connecticut and into New York City. The railroad's connection between New Haven, Connecticut and New York City and onto Long Island is via trackage rights over the Hell Gate Bridge.
In addition to the original main line between Providence and Worcester. and the East Providence Branch, the P&W owns or provides freight service on the following lines, identified by their original companies:
- Boston, Barre and Gardner Railroad, Worcester to Gardner
- Woonsocket and Pascoag Railroad, Woonsocket to Slatersville
- Old Colony Railroad Newport line, Massachusetts/Rhode Island state line to Newport (bridge out at the Sakonnet River)
- trackage rights over Amtrak's Northeast Corridor, Central Falls to New Haven
- East Junction Branch - branch of Boston and Providence Railroad, East Providence to Rhode Island/Massachusetts state line
- Norwich and Worcester Railroad, Worcester to Groton
- Southbridge Running Track - Southbridge and Blackstone Railroad, Webster to Southbridge
- Hartford, Providence and Fishkill Railroad, Plainfield to Willimantic
- New York and Boston Air Line Railroad, Middletown to New Haven
- Connecticut Valley Railroad, Hartford to Middletown
- Naugatuck Railroad, Devon to Derby (trackage rights over Metro-North Railroad)
- Danbury and Norwalk Railroad, Norwalk to Danbury
P&W operates over the following lines with overhead trackage rights, meaning it cannot serve on-line customers:
- Metro-North's New Haven Line, New Haven (CT) to New Rochelle (NY), Amtrak's Northeast Corridor, New Rochelle (NY) to Pelham Bay (NY), and CSX running tracks, Pelham Bay to Fresh Pond Jct., NY (CSX has trackage rights to serve customers on Metro-North and Amtrak, if any)
- Housatonic Railroad and branches, Danbury to Derby
- MBTA and CSX - Boston and Providence Railroad (East Providence Branch and main line), Boston, Clinton, Fitchburg and New Bedford Railroad and Old Colony Railroad Newport line, Rhode Island/Massachusetts state line to Massachusetts/Rhode Island state line
The P&W was incorporated in Massachusetts on March 12, 1844, and in Rhode Island in May 1844, the two companies being merged November 25, 1845. The company bought the Blackstone Canal, also running between Providence and Worcester, and began construction, partly on its banks, in 1845. The line opened in two sections, the part south of Millville on September 27, 1847, and the rest on October 20. The line from Providence to Central Falls was shared with the Boston and Providence Railroad, which at the same time built a connection from its old line (ending in East Providence) over to the P&W.
On July 1, 1892, the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad leased the P&W for 99 years. The New Haven merged into Penn Central on January 1, 1969. On April 6, 1970 the P&W announced its intention to separate from the merger. After a legal battle, the Interstate Commerce Commission approved the request on August 25, 1972, and on November 2, Penn Central signed the agreement effective December 30. The P&W cancelled the lease on February 3, 1973. Since then, the P&W has taken over many other lines from the former Penn Central and Boston and Maine Railroad.
The East Providence Branch Railroad was the only branch built by the P&W. Chartered in 1874 and opened in 1875, it split from the main line at Valley Falls and ran southeast and south, clipping the corner of Attleboro, Massachusetts and running through Pawtucket, ending in East Providence at the Boston and Providence Railroad and the Providence, Warren and Bristol Railroad.
The East Providence Branch was also the P&W's only branch when it was leased to the NYNH&H, but previously it had leased several other railroads.
The Milford and Woonsocket Railroad was incorporated in 1855 and opened in 1868 from Milford to Bellingham. Soon after, the P&W leased it, despite it not being connected directly to the P&W. The Hopkinton Railway was leased in 1870 and opened in 1872, continuing the M&W north from Milford to Ashland. It too was leased to the P&W, on completion. Both leases expired in 1883 and were not renewed. The M&W bought the Hopkinton in 1884, and in 1897 the New England Railroad leased them, with a direct connection at Milford.
- Providence & Worcester official website
- Providence & Worcester photos
- Providence & Worcester Railfan Club
- Providence & Worcester railfan and discussion group on YahooGroups
- Providence & Worcester Railroad Repair Shop Account Book, 1851-54; 1880-1899 Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.
Referencesv • d • eNew York, New Haven and Hartford Railroadsubsidiaries New York and New Haven/ Hartford and New Haven/ Shore Line(1872) Harlem River(1873) · Air Line (1879) · Connecticut Valley (1882) · New Canaan(1884) · Naugatuck(1887) · New Haven and Northampton(1887) · New York, Providence and Boston(1892) · Housatonic(1892) · Providence and Worcester (1892) · Old Colony(1893) · New York and New England(1898) · Shepaug, Litchfield and Northern(1898) · Meriden, Waterbury and Connecticut River (1898) · Central New England(1904) · Newburg, Dutchess and Connecticut(1905) · Poughkeepsie and Eastern(1907) · New York Connecting(1917) · Union Freight
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