THE FIRST RAILROAD IN
Compliments of the Granite City
B.P.O.E.Quincy Lodge No. 9431924
The first Railroad constructed in the United States was built
in Quincy, Mass., in 1826. This was the famed "Granite Railway"
so called then and now. It ran from the Quarries in the western
part of the Town to the tidewater at the Neponset River, a distance
of about three miles.
After many delays, and much obstruction, on March 4, 1826,
a Bill was passed by the Legislature of the State (by only a small
majority) granting a Charter for the construction of this railroad.
Ground was broken for the same, April 1, 1826, and on October
7, of the same year, the first car passed over its entire length.
Stone sleepers (many of which can still be seen) were laid,
about eight feet apart, on top of which wooden rails were placed,
which in turn were topped with iron plates, 3 inches wide, and
¼ inch thick, fastened with spikes.
The gauge of track was 5 ft.
Horse power, rather than steam was used, so in reality what
was at that time called the first Railroad, was what might have
been termed an improved tramway.
The cost of construction was under $50,000.
The man who planned and built this now famous "Granite
Railway" was Mr. Gridley Bryant, who was born in Scituate,
Mass., in 1798, and who died on June 13, 1867, in Scituate, Mass.
Quincy has since honored this man, by naming one of her schools
Many interesting coincidences attach themselves to the construction
of this Railroad, as, for instance, we find that:
The First Contract ever entered into in this Country for hauling
freight by rail was over this road. It called for the hauling
of 3,000 tons of hewn stone to be used in the construction of
the Bunker Hill Monument, at Charlestown, Mass., from the Quarries
in West Quincy, to Tidewater at Neponset, at a rate of So cents
per ton. This Contract was dated March 27, 1827.
Also, we find that on July 25, 1832, railroading in America
claimed its first victim in the person of Mr. Thomas B. Achuas,
of Cuba, who lost his life in the first fatal railroad accident
in America. He was on a tour of inspection of this road, with
three other gentlemen, one from Baltimore and two from Boston.
The car in which they were riding was derailed and this resulted
in the death of Mr. Achuas, and in serious injuries to the other
We find in the "History of the Granite Industry of New
England" by Arthur W. Braley, of Boston. Published in 1913:
"Also that in March, 1847, the road was purchased from its
first owners by certain parties and a new Company was Incorporated,
with a capital of $300,000". If this statement is correct,
here would have been the first manipulation of Railroad stock
for promotion purposes, on record, in this Country.
Parts of this Railroad can still be seen, and part of its original
roadbed is at the present time in use, by the New York, New Haven,
and Hartford Railroad Co., and also by the Granite Railway Company.
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This page originally appeared on Thomas Ehrenreich's Railroad Extra Website