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WOONSOCKET

       Woonsocket was crossed by two railroads: the north/south Providence & Worcester opened in 1847 and the east/west New York & New England.  The latter was built to Woonsocket from the vicinity of Boston in 1863 as the New York & Boston.  The plan to continue an "air line" to New York was stymied but part of the plan was realized when the Woonsocket & Pascoag was opened to Harrisville in 1891 under lease to the New York & New England.  By connecting with NY&NE's Providence & Springfield, the NY&NE had an indirect route from Boston to Providence to compete with the New Haven's more direct route. 
 
WOONSOCKET
The Providence & Worcester enters from the right bottom with its station in red.  The NY&NE to Harrisville enters from the upper right and its station is at the overpass.
 
 
A train from Providence enters the P&W Station at Depot Square in Woonsocket
 
 
 DEPOT SQUARE - PROVIDENCE & WORCESTER STATION
 
The P&W crossed the Blackstone River on a double-track deck-type truss bridge built in 1876 and strengthened in 1890 by placing pile bents at each end under the second truss panel.  One span was 146 feet long, the other 91 feet long.
Providence is to the right while Depot Square is just across the river on the left.
 
The two Howe truss spans were replaced in 1915 by three deck plate girder spans, two 73 feet long and one 91 feet long.  Each span was placed on the Howe span by two flat cars.  The girder span was then lifted with manila rope and tackle blocks suspended from wooded frames as shown above. The ropes were attached to a locomotive several yards from each end which then lifted the span off the flatcars which were then rolled off the bridge to a position behind the locomotives.  The Howe span's floor system was then cut and dropped allowing the new girder span to be lowered between the Howe trusses.  New bridge seats and a steel tower on a low pier had previously been prepared.  As can be seen above the Howe trusses had been partly supported on pile bents permitting cutting away part of the lower cord to provide room for the new girder supports.  The spans were replaced on three successive Sundays when traffic was light.  One track was blocked for ten hours but the other track carried twenty trains during the time of the replacement.
 
 
 
 THE INTERCHANGE BETWEEN THE P&W AND NY&NE ROUTES
 
New Haven steam locomotives were serviced about a mile north of the P&W station on the Rhode Island side of the border of Blackstone, Mass.  The G-3 Class 4-6-0 was built by Rhode Island in 1904.
 
HAMLET AND THE COVERED BRIDGE
Hamlet Station, about half a mile south of the P&W's Woonsocket Station, is most notable for a short branch that left there and crossed the Blackstone River on a covered bridge that lasted until destroyed by flood in 1955.  The branch was less than a mile in length and served about a half dozen sidings on the north bank of the river in the Social Village area.  The bridge was not replaced after the floods created by Hurricane Diane because there was little business on the branch. 
 
THE COVERED BRIDGE WHICH SURVIVED UNTIL THE FLOOD OF 1955 
The covered bridge was composed of two separated spans, one of which was too short to require high trusses and a roof.  The bridge was covered at some time after it was built.  Coverings use relatively inexpensive boards that protect the expensive, difficult to replace trusses from the weather..  
 
SURVIVED UNTIL 1955 
The bridge appears lopsided because it is skewed due to crossing the river at an angle.  The covered walkway on the side also give it an unbalanced look.
 
THE BRIDGE DESTROYED IN 1955 WAS A 127 FOOT HOWE TRUSS
 PHOTO BY C. GUNN
 
NEW YORK & NEW ENGLAND IN WOONSOCKET
 The Boston & New York (officially the New York & Boston Railroad Company) opened a line to Woonsocket from the vicinity of Boston in 1863.  In 1865 it was purchased by the Boston, Hartford & Erie in order to eliminate the competition of its nearly parallel route.  Both railroads became part of the New York & New England.
The NY&NE line in Rhode Island north of Woonsocket was abandoned in 1934 and the Slatersville to Harrisville section in 1937.  The Slatersville stub outlived the New Haven. 
 
 
 
 
The Boston & New York combination freight and passsenger station in Woonsocket.
 
THE NEW STATION
Built by the New Haven in 1903 just west of the old Boston&New York (NY&NE) station.
 
 
TRAIN FROM BOSTON AT THE 1903 STATION
 
 
 NEW HAVEN G-3 CLASS 4-6-0 SWITCHING WOONSOCKET
The twenty ten-wheelers built by Rhode Island in 1904 had low axle loadings useful on light rail branches.
 
BRIDGE REPLACEMENT
       THE NEXT FIVE PHOTOS SHOW THE TRESTLE UNDER CONSTRUCTION THAT REPLACED THE 1890 HOWE TRUSS SPANS ON THE NY&NE BRIDGE DESTROYED BY FIRE IN 1935.  THE BRIDGE WAS WEST OF THE P&W ON THE LINE TO HARRISVILLE.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
THE GIRDER BRIDGE THAT REPLACED THE TRESTLE WHEN IT WAS DESTROYED BY FLOOD
PHOTOGRAPHED IN 1982 BY EDWARD J. OZOG
 
 
 Providence & Worcester ALCO RS-3 on connector between P&W and NY&NE in 1979
PHOTO BY EDWARD J. OZOG 
  
Subpages (1): PASCOAG LINE
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