Friday, November 9, 2007

The Raising of the Railroad Tracks - Part I

By 1890, people had been complaining about the Roxbury grade crossings of the Boston and Providence railroad for years. Ruggles, Prentis, Station, Tremont, New Heath, and Heath streets were all heavily used by pedestrians and horse teams, and accidents were inevitable. Similar situations existed throughout the state. After years of agitation, the governor appointed a board of engineers to examine the possibility of eliminating add grade crossings in the state. With the engineers report providing the impetus, the Roxbury Local Improvement Society petitioned the Boston Board of Aldermen requesting that the grade crossings be eliminated and the railroad tracks elevated above street level.

There were eleven grade crossings between Ruggles street and Forest Hills. The presence of Stony brook prevented the railroad from being depressed through much of the length. Therefore, it was proposed to elevate the line, starting from West Chester Park and rising to 13 feet above existing grade at Tremont street. South of Forest Hills, the tracks would slope down until returning to grade some 3500 feet to the south. The estimate for the entire project was $1,350,000, and resistance was expected from the railroad company.

(Source: Boston Daily Globe, March 10, 1890)

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