Manchester, NH to Lawrence, MA

The Manchester and Lawrence Railroad

Point of Interest

GOOGLE MAPS no longer available: With apologies, I am unable to continue showing Google Maps. Google has forced my hand by increasing their map usage fee from nothing/free to OVER $300 A MONTH for the Abandoned Rails website! This is an expense that I simply cannot afford. Rest assured I am looking at available open source alternatives, so maps should be back online soon!

Greg Harrison

The Manchester and Lawrence Railroad was conceived in the mid-1880s as a means to connect the town of Manchester, in New Hampshire, with Boston, a growing hub of industry and commerce. The Boston and Maine Railroad had just completed the Methuen Branch from their mainline at Lawrence to Methuen (both in Massachusetts). The M&L wanted to capitalize on this and build their line south from Manchester to the MA state line; it did so, completing the line in 1849. The two lines joined at the NH-MA state line.

Ultimately, the B&M gained control of the line in 1887. Passenger service ended in 1953, but local freight service continued along the line.

The railway was abandoned in stages, as seen in this rough timeline:

                                       NH-MA State Line
      Manchester     Londonderry     Salem     |      Methuen      Lawrence
1849      |-- Manchester & Lawrence Railroad --|---- Boston & Maine ---|
1887      |-------- Leased to B&M -------------|
1984                      |-abandoned-|
1987      |---abandoned---|
1993                                  |--- abandoned ---|
1999                                                    |---abandoned--|

Today, the right-of-way is owned by the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority, and a number of walking paths have been built atop it in a number of locations.

You forgot the part where there is a good chance for revitalization of the line for freight and commuter rail by about 2025/2030

Windham, NH


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