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this in almost any possible contingency. If it could not earn a dollar, its importance as a link in a great through line would make it immensely valuable. Its $50 shares sold in February for $120, the premium being higher than that on any other railroad stock in New England. The owners of such a road are bound to give the public the best of service. It is fair to ask of them what cannot reasonably be expected of those who control poorer properties. They should share their good fortune with the public which has given them their franchise. We hear little complaint that they do not recognize and act upon this fact, — the improvements and concessions of the last few years having at least induced their patrons to wait patiently for others.
The present condition of the Concord road is excellent. Its roadway and road-bed can hardly be improved. The double track is all in steel. The ties number 3,000 to the mile, and are renewed as often as is necessary. The sidings, though hardly sufficient at some points to accommodate the immense business of the road, are being rapidly extended. The yards at Concord and Manchester were greatly improved and enlarged last year, – at the former place by a fill 2,520 feet long, 60 feet wide, and 9 feet high, upon which were laid 5,040 feet of steel track, and at the latter by one 550 feet long, 15 feet wide, and 12 feet high, which made room for 3,000 feet of track. There is also a new siding at Amoskeag 1,250 feet long, and short ones at other points. The bridges are substantial, and have received due attention. New abutments have been built at Chandler street in Concord, and iron girders for four tracks put upon them. The Bow Junction, Pembroke, Suncook, Hooksett, and Amoskeag bridges have been repaired. The one at Cemetery brook in Manchester has new iron girders, ties, and floor timbers, and that at Goffe’s Falls a new iron roof. The stations at Suncook, Goffe's Falls,
Merrimack, and Nashua have new platforms. About 30,000 feet of new steel track were laid on the main line in 1886.
CONCORD & PORTSMOUTH RAILROAD.
Main Line. From the sea-coast at Portsmouth to Manchester, 40.5 miles. Branch: Suncook to Concord, 7 miles.
History and Condition. In 1845 the Legislature chartered the Portsmouth, Newmarket & Concord and the Portsmouth, Newmarket & Exeter railroads, which were consolidated the same year. The grantees had in mind a road which would connect our only sea-port with the interior of the State and be a strong competitor of the Concord and Nashua & Lowell in carrying people and merchandise of all kinds between tide-water and the upper Merrimack Valley. They did not, however, impress this view upon capitalists sufficiently to raise the necessary funds to construct the road until the original charter expired in 1850 by limitation, and an extension for three years was obtained. The road was opened in 1852 under the name of the Concord & Portsmouth Railroad, its track running from Portsmouth to Candia, and thence in a direct line via Suncook to Concord. Its early days were full of embarrassment and trouble. It was heavily burdened with debt, its earnings scarcely paid operating expenses, and its race to bankruptcy was a short one. In June, 1855, it was surrendered to the mortgage bondholders, and two years later a special act of the Legislature authorized a new corporation to buy it, which it did September 1, 1857, for $250,000. A year afterwards it was leased to the Concord road for five years at an annual rental of $17,500, of which $2,500 were to be spent in improvements. In 1862 a new lease was made for ninety-nine years at a
yearly rental of $24,500, and $500 to maintain the organization, the capital stock being increased to $350,000.
The Legislature of 1861 authorized the discontinuance of the track between Candia and Suncook and the construction of a new one from Candia to Manchester, and the hundred thousand dollars which accrued from the sale of the new stock were spent in making this change. Of the $1,108,859.21 which stockholders and bondholders invested in the enterprise up to the time of the sale to the new corporation, all that was saved to them was the $250,000 paid by the purchasers. The business which it was built to do is carried by uncontrollable forces elsewhere, but it is the one channel through which Manchester, Concord, Hooksett, Suncook, Franklin, and the smaller towns in their vicinity receive their coal, and the route by which the people of Central New Hampshire reach the beaches of this State and Maine, and as such it is a source of profit to its lessors, and a potent factor in the development and support of the enterprises and industries of the State.
A new station to accommodate the transfer business of this road and the Boston & Maine at Newmarket Junction should be built next year. The others on the road will bear inspection.
Most of them are comparatively new, neat, and commodious. The improvement of the road-bed by regrading was continued last year. Between Massabesic and Auburn, Raymond and East Epping, and Greenland and Portsmouth, about 22,000 feet of ballast were added, changing the grade from two to thirteen inches. New sidings were laid at Hallsville, West Epping, Epping, Newmarket Junction, and Portsmouth, and 28,875 feet of steel rails were added to the track. An extension of 250 feet was also made to the wharf at Portsmouth, at an expense of $27,935.35.
SUNCOOK VALLEY RAILROAD.
Line. From Suncook village to Pittsfield, 17.37 miles.
History and Condition. The first charter, which was granted on January 4, 1849, was allowed to expire, and July 1, 1863, a new one was procured. The building of the road was begun in April, 1869, and finished in December of that year. It was leased March 1, 1870, for forty-two years to the Manchester & Lawrence and Concord Railroad corporations, at an annual rental of $14,400,- or 6 per cent upon 2,400 shares of the capital stock,- and $200 for maintenance of
of organization. The cost of the road was $348,199.19. Of this amount Manchester paid $50,000, Epsom $17,700, Pittsfield $31,000, and the Pittsfield Manufacturing Company $3,000, receiving therefor 1,017 shares of the capital stock, coupled with a provision that they should draw no dividends during the continuance of the lease. Individual gratuities to the amount of $8,000 were also received, and 1,349 shares of stock were sold at par. The balance of the 2,400 shares, which are the basis of the rental, was taken by the Manchester & Lawrence and Concord roads in satisfaction of their claim for money and material furnished to complete the road. The road is in serviceable condition, with a road-bed and track somewhat improved from last year, and a superstructure in good repair. The seven stations are plain, but meet the requirements of the business.
MANCHESTER & NORTH WEARE RAILROAD.
Line. From Manchester to North Weare, 19 miles.
History and Condition. The New Hampshire Central Railroad was chartered June 24, 1845. Its projectors expected to build a road which would extend from Manchester via Weare, Henniker, and Bradford to Claremont, and be a link in a great through line between Vermont and
Boston. Their hopes and plans were greatly out of proportion to their available resources, and from the beginning this ill-starred venture was a financial failure. It was with great difficulty that sufficient stock subscriptions were secured to warrant any progress; and when an attempt was made to collect these, it was found that many of them were coupled with conditions that could not be met, that others were purely fictitious, and still others valueless by reason of the irresponsibility of the parties. Later on, when the road had become involved in debt, the suggestion that stockholders were individually liable caused a panic among them and drove them to various desperate devices to escape beyond the reach of what they feared would devour their all. Of the total amount subscribed, about $40,000 were never collected. But the directors, when money failed, traded stock for land, money, and labor. They paid most of the land damage, one third of the contractors' bills, and a part of the officers' salaries in this way. It was their boast, in one report, that $80,000 worth of stock had been placed among creditors
The corporation was also greatly troubled by quarrels among its officers and agents. A considerable part of the early documentary history of the road is made phlets filled with charges and counter-charges, one of the allegations being that Samuel H. Pierce, the managing director, was accustomed to “strut the streets of Manchesterin silks, satins, ruffled shirts, and gloves”; to which he replied that the charge was an unmitigated falsehood, that he never wore a ruffled shirt in his life, and that the treasurer, a son of Noyes Poor, his assailant, was the only officer of the road who was guilty of such a misdemeanor. But in spite of financial difficulties, official friction, and stockholders' fears, the road, which was begun in 1848, was opened to Oil Mill village February 19, 1850, and to Henniker December 10 of the same year. In the mean time