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NASHUA & LOWELL RAILROAD.

Line. From Lowell, Mass., to Nashua, N. H., 14.50 miles.

History and Condition. Chartered June 23, 1835, the first charter granted by the Legislature of New Hampshire; chartered in Massachusetts April 16, 1836. Consolidated in 1838, in which year the road was opened to Nashua. Operated independently until 1857, paying dividends averaging 8.32 per cent; operated for twenty years, from January 1, 1857, by joint contract, with the Boston & Lowell Railroad. Dividends for eighteen years 10 per cent. No dividends from October, 1874, until October, 1876; 4 per cent paid until October, 1878. The Nashua & Lowell resumed its independent relations December 1, 1878; paid 6 per cent in 1879; 71 per cent in 1880. October 1, 1880, the road was leased to the Boston & Lowell corporation for the term of ninety-nine years, at 71 per cent. Capital stock, $800,000. The road is up to the standard in every respect until it reaches Nashua, where it is unfortunately located, its tracks running across the principal streets at grade, and its transfer station, which is small and dingy, being so placed as to be difficult of access from the Concord depot, or in fact from anywhere else. The entire situation at this junction is bad, and must continually annoy and endanger not only passengers, but people traveling on foot, in carriages and horse-cars, who have occasion to thread the labyrinth of tracks, paths, and streets which separate the two stations. It is probably too late to remedy the evil altogether, but ingenuity ought to be able to devise some way to mitigate them.

WILTON RAILROAD.

Line. From Nashua to Wilton, 15.42 miles.
History and Condition. Chartered December 28, 1844.

. Built to Amherst in 1848, and to Wilton in 1851. It

was operated by the Nashua & Lowell, which leased it at 6 per cent until 1857, when it passed into the joint management of the Boston & Lowell and Nashua & Lowell. October 1, 1880, the lease of the Nashua & Lowell to the Boston & Lowell carried the Wilton with it, and in 1884 it was re-leased to the Boston & Lowell for ninety-nine years at 7 per cent upon its cost, which was $242,000.

Its track is mostly iron, but is kept in good repair. Its road-bed and roadway call for no criticism, and its small stations are neat and tidy. The one at Wilton, though a substantial building, is ill-contrived, contracted, and unattractive, and the water-closet in it was a nuisance when the road was inspected. We have a promise that it shall be abated this year.

PETERBOROUGH RAILROAD.

Line. From Wilton to Greenfield, 11 miles.

History and Condition. Chartered in 1872. Completed to Greenfield, and opened January 1, 1874. Leased to Nashua & Lowell Railroad for twenty years from October 1, 1873, at 6 per cent on cost, which was $588,950. October 1, 1880, the Boston & Lowell road purchased the lease, and has since operated the road. One half the rental goes to establish a sinking fund for the payment of the debt. This is held and paid out by the New England Trust Company of Boston.

We found nothing especially faulty in the road, but considerable money can be spent upon it to advantage.

MANCHESTER & KEENE RAILROAD.

Line. From Greenfield to Keene, 29.55 miles.

History and Condition. The history of this road until it passed into the hands of the present owners is a record of folly, bad faith, and failure. It bankrupted those who built it, wrecked the reputations of many who were prom

inent in its management, sowed the seed for a great crop of lawsuits, and was for a long time a burden upon the towns through which it runs. It was chartered July 16, 1864, and subsequent legislation in 1870, '72, '73, "74, authorized the grantees to build and maintain a road from Manchester or Goffstown to Keene, to lease the road before or after it was built, and to mortgage it for $800,000. About the first step taken by the owners of the charter was to secure a pledge of gratuities from the towns along their line, and the next was to mortgage the prospective road for half a million dollars to secure bonds. This mortgage was dated September 19, 1876, and the next year the short section of the road between Greenfield and Hancock was built, the funds being procured by selling the $17,000 gratuity of the town of Hancock and by borrowing $20,000 of the Nashua & Lowell Railroad, which was given, as security, bonds for that amount and a lease of the whole road when done. April 4, 1878, the firm of Dawe & Bonallie contracted to construct the road from Hancock to Keene for $50,000 in cash, $230,000 in bonds, the gratuities of Keene, $128,951, of Marlborough, $8,795, and of Harrisville, $15,459, and $249,990 in stock, making in all $683,195.

Of the cash payment, $40,000 were to be furnished by the Nashua & Lowell Railroad, and $10,000 by the Northern Railroad. The contractors were from the beginning greatly embarrassed by lack of money, but by re-assigning the gratuities, disposing of the bonds, and exhausting their credit, they contrived to keep at work until December, 1878, when they failed and departed, leaving behind hundreds of unpaid employés, and numerous other creditors who had furnished them supplies. They had constructed an apology for a road-bed, and had laid a track upon it from Hancock to Keene, and during the winter of 1878–79 an engine and cars, owned by the Nashua & Lowell road, made irregular trips over

it. Demand was then made upon the towns for the gratuities, but they resisted payment on the ground that the road was a railway only in name, and it was only after long and expensive litigation, and the expenditure of considerable sums upon the road, that these gratuities were held to be due and paid to those to whom they had been assigned.

In March, 1879, the Nashua & Lowell road withdrew its engine and cars from the Manchester & Keene, and it was not operated again until the next year. When it became evident in the fall of 1879 that the road could not be completed without the help of outside parties, its president, T. H. Wood, sold for $8,200 his interest, consisting of $24,000 in bonds and $250,000 in stock, to the Nashua & Lowell road, which had previously secured other bonds as security for its loans, and was expected to finish the road, but failed to do so. After much litigation to determine the ownership of the securities, various parties in interest put it into condition in which it could be operated, and trains were run over it for a time by the Connecticut River road, and subsequently by the Boston & Lowell road.

In the mean while the court appointed a receiver, and finally, the necessary legislation having been obtained, the road was sold for the benefit of bondholders to the Boston & Lowell and Concord roads for $125,000, and the receiver’s liabilities, amounting to about $60,000 more. A large amount of money has been expended upon it since the sale, the cuts have been widened, the fills broadened, many of the rotten trestles replaced with iron bridges, and others filled up, and the track is greatly improved. The stations are generally poor, very poor.

The road is now operated by the Boston & Lowell, and during the past year has done a largely increased business.

NORTHERN RAILROAD.

Main Line. From Concord to White River Junction, 69.5 miles. Branch: From Franklin to Bristol, 13.41 miles.

History. The Northern Railroad was first chartered June 18, 1844. The charter authorized the grantees to build the road after buying the necessary land of the owners. As it was found impracticable to do this, the charter was repealed at the fall session of the Legislature the same year, and a new one providing for the condemnation of the land without the owners' consent was obtained. The corporation was organized soon after.

At the first meeting of the directors, of whom Hon. George W. Nesmith was chairman, they voted to engage Onslow Stearns as agent or superintendent of contracts, and thus secured the services of the man to whose courage, sagacity, and skill the road owes much of the success that has attended its operation, for the Northern is emphatically the child of good management.

Its route is from Concord to the western bank of the Connecticut at White River Junction. Its grades are heavy, and it is an expensive road to keep in repair and to

Its local business has always been comparatively light, and its through traffic has been secured in the face of sharp competition. It has no natural advantages over many others that have passed from stockholders to bondholders, from bondholders to bankruptcy, and finally been lost in consolidations. But it paid an average dividend of 3 per cent until 1855, and after that time from 4 to 8 per cent.

Its stock was quoted at $128 March 1. The construction contracts were made in the fall of 1845, and in December, 1846, the road was opened to Franklin. As it had no equipment, the Concord road was hired to operate it to this point while it was being extended to Grafton,

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